Disneyland Paris Accident – Big Thunder Mountain Faux Rock Fall Injures 5

Around 2:50 pm today, pieces of decorative faux rock at Disneyland Paris’ Big Thunder Mountain Railroad roller coaster attraction fell and struck guests riding the attraction. Five guests were hurt. Four were treated at the park, however one ‘serious’ head injury was taken to the hospital. Our best wishes are with him and his family while he recovers.

The fallen ‘rock’, made of a special mix of fiberglass and wood, was said to be from the final lift hill scene (“Lift C”), during the simulated earthquake scene. The attraction is closed pending inspection as is standard procedure for incidents like these.

It’s definitely too early to speculate as to the cause of this accident. However, I think a good place to start looking would be the maintenance records for the attraction. Reports from guests who have visited Disneyland Paris resort in the last few years indicate that the park appears to be saving money by cutting back on some of the day to day upkeep that is required for a themepark with attractions as complicated as Disney creates. On the other hand, it might just be something weather related.

Also, it’s notable that the sister Big Thunder attraction at Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom has been missing a huge section of faux rock work from that very section of the attraction for at least a couple of months now. All you see when riding through is a black tarp covering a hole that’s approximately 3 feet tall and 8 feet wide. Is there something in the structure of Lift C that’s inherently unsafe?

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16 Responses to Disneyland Paris Accident – Big Thunder Mountain Faux Rock Fall Injures 5

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  4. Judy Nickell says:

    We were at Disneyland Paris on April 19th and found many issues with the rides. Thunder Mountain was closed twice that day because safety alarms sounded. Other rides were also delayed because of maintenance issues. I made the choice to not let my family ride on Thunder Mountain and we stayed with the slow scenic rides. Several times we commented on how inferior the park was from Disneyland Orlando. What a shame that they put safety last.

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  6. maggie says:

    We have just got back from DLP and this same ride broke down on Friday 22 April – me & my kids had just been on the Thunder Mountain ride when we noticed the next carriage stuck at the top of the Mountain, at the highest point! About 5 minutes later, all the passengers had to climb out the carriage and walk down the side of the mountain?! I was so stunned that this could happen, we made the decision not to go back on that ride again, even thought we stayed at the Parks until Sunday.. A bit suspicious that this accident could happen 3 days later??

    • John Frost says:

      Ride stops like this are pretty common on any theme park attraction. Usually it’s related to a traffic jam at the loading/unloading station. Both Space Mountain and Big Thunder Mountain share a similar ride operating system that is subject to frequent ‘cascade’ shut downs. I doubt your experience was related to the scenic rock work falling.

  7. Samlou says:

    We were in the park over the whole weekend, and in fact had only just been on Big thunder just over an hour before. We found many issues of faulty rides, poor upkeep, unhelpful staff and facilities like the toilets were dreadful. Disappointing as Orlando is great.

  8. andrea says:

    Hello,
    last year, in the same period, the big mountain was closed for renewal and service.
    after 1 year that happened.
    park is still opened, is it not dangerous?

  9. Bill says:

    My family were on this ride. That something was very seriously wrong was apparent before the train went into its final high speed descent. Disney can be thankful nobody was killed, because having failed to safely halt the ride (and they could have), their first response was appalling. Our train once halted was left in the dark and we listened petrified as the next train hurtled towards us; no attempt was made to reassure us via PA that this train would stop before it crashed into us. Once staff did arrive on the scene they made some serious first aiding errors. Specifically, they attended to the first casualties they came across rather than checking the whole train, and they assumed that because many passengers had managed to wriggle out of their seats everybody could, but some couldn’t because they were trapped by the safety rail. It seems to me that Disney does not have effective Accident Prevention or First on the Scene procedures for their high speed roller coasters.

  10. Vic says:

    I’ve been a few times over the past few years and have never noticed a problem with the upkeep/maintenance of BTM (other rides such as Pirates, Phantom Manor and it’s a small world are beginning to show their age with frequent breakdowns and looking old).

    DLP may be a bit run down compared to WDW (though I personally have been stuck on more broken down rides at WDW than DLP), but that’s because of the money issues (DLP is still paying off the debt from when it was originally built, not to mention the Studios and subsequent structures). But DLP does not skimp on paying out for safety (as none of the other parks do… and WDW has a more checkered past then DLP does!), I’ve been three times in the last two years and everytime Indiana Jones has been closed for scheduled maintenance/general upkeep and BTM once, if it needs regular maintenance, they do it. And believe BTM has had a refurb more recently too… this was obviously not seen to be a concern then (since all the moving parts in this lift are checked out) and just seems to be an unfortunate accident. And if a similar piece of BTM at WDW is missing, perhaps this is something that is only recently coming to light.

    Best wishes and a speedy recovery to the unfortunate guest.

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  12. Harvey says:

    My wife and I are big Disney fans and just got back from Disneyland Paris. We were there on the day of the accident and rode Big Thunder Mountain early in the morning. The park does not have the super-clean, everything perfect look of Walt Disney World in Orlando. Age is taking its toll as well as lower levels of everyday maintenance. They also tolerate people crossing over fences and even climbing trees and the overall look is getting a bit worn and tired.

  13. chandan says:

    I was with my family in DLP during April 25th – 28th . Thunder Ride was closed but there was no mention of any accident. Other rides worked well . There were too few staff to manage such large crowds . It was boring to wait for more than 60 minutes in ques for a ride lasting 60 seconds . Our time was spent from one que to the other . After 5 such rides we decided not to go to any other rides – it was the same situation on all 4 days . The aparades were better but we had stattion ourself at vantage positions atleast 30 min before the parade to get a good glimpse of the actors

    • John Frost says:

      Artificially depressing ride capacity is the worst form of cost control in my opinion, but parks do it all the time. That said, queuing 60 minutes for a major attraction is probably average wait length for busy days. Also a 30 minute wait to see a parade is standard.

  14. Codruta says:

    I was yesterday at DLP and we stayed on the row to wait our turn, 65 minutes and sth wrong was, the Thunder Mountain was stopped . we stayed there 58 minutes to wait our turn and then stopped all their go. we were disappointed about Disneyland Paris, because there were another 5 corusel which were not working. WE ARE DISAPPOINTED ABOUT DISNEYLAND PARIS. And another thing is that the ticket is 69 euro /person which is so much!

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