Woman Sues Disney World over Jungle Cruise Docking Incident

Jungle Cruise - Courtesy Disney

Update: a cast member on the Jungle Cruise lends some insight below.

A woman is suing Walt Disney World over injuries she claims to have suffered on the Jungle Cruise attraction at the Magic Kingdom. The guest claims she was unloading from the boat when it was struck from behind causing her to fall. She wants $15,000 in compensation for her injury, her hospital visit and lost wages.

If the guest’s claim is true, Disney will likely have video of it. However, based on her story, I have doubts it happened exactly that way. The boats at the Magic Kingdom’s Jungle Cruise unload one at a time and the boat behind it does not approach within even a half-dozen yards until the boat at the dock is empty. At least that’s Standard Operating Procedure as I’ve experienced it. For her boat to be struck while she was disembarking seems like there was a pretty bad violation of safety standards. If that was indeed the case, it would not be that difficult for Disney to implement a gate system to prevent this sort of collision while unloading going forward.

Disney has released a statement from spokesman Bryan Malenius, “We will respond to the lawsuit as appropriate in court.” Which seems a bit cold, not even, the standard, we have the safety of all our guests always in mind or something.

Speaking of the Jungle Cruise, I’ve heard a rumor that it will shortly get a few new scenes, possibly even a new ‘river’ to travel down. The Disneyland version was upgraded a few years ago and it’s about time for that plussing of the show to make it out east.

Update: I received the following from a cast member on the Jungle Cruise attraction. Apparently, boats do occasionally touch at the docks:

As much as I’d like to say that the boats bumping doesn’t happen it does. Some skippers are just careless, get stuck spieling and lose track of how fast their boat is going. To stop the boats all you have is reverse throttle! Obviously when boats bump its a serious matter and management gets involved. During my stay I only ever witnessed one boat bump on stage and a few hard hits backstage. All of them were documented.

If that’s the case, that makes me wonder even more about this lawsuit as Disney doesn’t like lawsuits like this to make it to public if they really are at fault.

In terms of S.O.G. You receive a hand signal providing the all clear go ahead to come into dock. In the case you described their are two things that could have happened. They were pulling a “2” where one boat unloads at the typical unload area and another unloads at the wheelchair load and unload mid section of the dock…or the even more rare “3” which three boats unload at once (no boat is at load when a 3 is pulled) They have strayed away from doing this and it now requires a managers go ahead although it can be a huge life saver when the river is all backed up.

So the bump could have been a misjudgment with speed and distance pulling a 2 or 3 and or someone coming into load without getting the proper hand signal.

I have been on the ride when it backed up and two boats were unloading at the same time.

As far as a gate system one exists! It’s actually a pneumatic switch that alters the trough direction. When the gate is closed boats can reverse into the boat storage kinda behind Swiss Family Robinson Tree House when it is open the boats move freely around the river. The main issue with this is adding time to the go ahead to bring boats in, the extra wear and tear on the switch, and the likely need for an extra skip to operate that position.

That’s very interesting. It would be an extra measure of safety, but I’m not sure I’d like how it impacts the attraction capacity. The long queue waits are already uncomfortable in the summer.

As for a refurb and or update last I heard was that pirates got bumped above jungle simply due to the amount of evacs they have been experiencing. When I was there it was at times a multiple times daily thing…never good for guest satisfaction. They would pull mostly cross trained skip/pirates to help with the evacs. They would dawn their waders and go help guests out of the boats.

A big thanks to my source for filling us in.

(via WESH)

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10 Responses to Woman Sues Disney World over Jungle Cruise Docking Incident

  1. Duy Truong says:

    $15,000 for falling down? Really? REALLY?! My friends and I got cuts from falling down at the parks and it’s only worth free bandages at the First Aid center.
    This lady needs to calm down.

    The boats to shake from time to time which could have caused the fall. I hardly believe that another boat would cause that.

  2. Marthis says:

    Thats a lot of money! That woman needs to think a little of what she does, dont tell me that the boats are that fast because i won’t believe it.

  3. Bob Brinkman says:

    Sadly, if she ended up going tot he ER, $15k is really low.

    While Duy is astonished at how large this lawsuit is, I’m surprised at how SMALL it is. Disney is a big company with DEEP pockets and, as litigious as the US has become, that a lawyer would take a Disney lawsuit for that little just staggers the mind.

    In the end? Even if this woman wins everything will be eaten by legal fees.

  4. Matt Koenigs says:

    That is a very good point Bob. Maybe her lawyer made the compensation so low because they don’t believe they will be able to prove her accusations and were hoping for a quick settlement from Disney.

  5. Ben Webster says:

    My thoughts exactly, Bob. Seems almost bizarre to me. I’m thinking she’s hoping for a simple settlement.

  6. Candace says:

    My husband got a concussion and amnesia from being flipped put of a tube at Typhoon Lagoon and I spent years trying to find a lawyer to sue. No one would touch The Mouse, even though all was documented by the ER. We did get a reimbursement of the ER copay from Disney without an explanation.

  7. John Hundley says:

    On the flip side of Matt’s point, I wonder if this is such a small request for compensation that Disney would just pay it or at least the portion she can document. It doesn’t seem to be worth spending $150,000 on a team of lawyers to defend an otherwise “reasonable” request (just the cab ride in an ambulance could cost a couple grand). I’m sure Disney has insurance for this exact kind of thing and it’s not like she was asking for 12 million dollars for “pain and suffering.”

    • Skipper P.C. says:

      Ambulance rides out of Disney property are free. It has to do with the fact that disney owns and operates reedy creek. No guest pays for a trip to celebration hospital.

      • John Frost says:

        Did not know that

      • Gen says:

        Minor medical attention is also free. Our son was running in BLT hallway and hit his head on metal corner of elevater. We iced the bump and he seemed fine. A bit later he was acting a little out of it. We were in Contemp lobby and asked about nearest med center or ER (we had a car). We wanted to make sure he did not have a concussion. We were told to sit tight. Cast member made a call to paramedics. I spoke to them about how my son was acting and they showed up in a few minutes to check him out. He was fine They took all of our info but we never received any bill and they only asked personal info, not insurance, so they were not billed either.

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