Theme park guests get sick after Disney World and Universal rides, report says
The road to the entrance of Walt Disney World has few cars Monday, March 16, 2020, in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. The Magic Kingdom, Epcot and Hollywood Studios were closed along with other theme parks around the state to help curb the spread of the coronavirus. (AP Photo/John Raoux)

It's not always the Most Magical Place on Earth.

At Disney World, a 75-year-old fainted after getting off the Frozen-themed water ride at Epcot, and a 73-year-old suffered chest pains after riding the high-flying Big Thunder Mountain Railroad coaster at Magic Kingdom.

The two seniors were part of eight incidents where Orlando theme park visitors were hospitalized for at least 24 hours from ride-inducing sickness or injuries, according to a new state report released this month.

When someone gets hurt or sick at Florida’s theme parks, it’s hard for the public to know exactly what happened because there’s little government oversight at the biggest theme parks in the state. Occasionally, somebody files a lawsuit or fodder pops up on social media.

The state injury report is released by the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services every quarter. But even then, it’s missing details to explain the circumstances. For instance, the report revealed somebody died last year after riding Big Thunder with only a short explanation.

The report released this month details the incidents from October through December 2023.

A 41-year-old felt dizzy and fainted after Test Track, Epcot’s car-themed ride that reaches a top speed of 65 mph.

On the classic Pirates of the Caribbean, a 73-year-old got lightheaded exiting the ride. Another individual, who was 59, felt lightheaded at Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster Starring Aerosmith, the roller coaster at Hollywood Studios.

Another person, a 66-year-old, had chest pain after getting off Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind, the new high-speed coaster at Epcot where the ride vehicle moves during the ride.

Many of the Disneygoers had preexisting conditions, although the state report does not indicate what those conditions are.

At Universal, the only guest issue reported was a 59-year-old with motion sickness at The Incredible Hulk Coaster.

Nobody was hurt or sick at Legoland Florida, SeaWorld Orlando or Busch Gardens Tampa Bay, according to the state report.

Last year, Gov. Ron DeSantis threatened to add more oversight and require inspections at Walt Disney World rides as he feuded with the giant entertainment company. However, lawmakers did not push any new laws to change how the current system works.

As part of a longtime deal with the state, Disney, Universal and the other largest theme park companies handle their own ride inspections and then are supposed to disclose the most serious incidents when their guests are hurt or sick on a ride, requiring at least 24 hours of hospitalization.

Florida lawmakers did, however, pass a law last year that allows state inspectors onto the Disney World monorail for the first time.

Disney is fighting DeSantis and the state-controlled tourism board in court. Disney has accused Republicans of retaliation after the entertainment company spoke out against Florida’s parents’ right measure, known by critics as the “Don’t Say Gay” law.

Gabrielle Russon

Gabrielle Russon is an award-winning journalist based in Orlando. She covered the business of theme parks for the Orlando Sentinel. Her previous newspaper stops include the Sarasota Herald-Tribune, Toledo Blade, Kalamazoo Gazette and Elkhart Truth as well as an internship covering the nation’s capital for the Chicago Tribune. For fun, she runs marathons. She gets her training from chasing a toddler around. Contact her at [email protected] or on Twitter @GabrielleRusson .


  • Linwood Wright

    January 22, 2024 at 3:24 pm

    This article was a waste of bandwidth.

    • Amy

      January 24, 2024 at 11:27 am


    • CRyan

      January 24, 2024 at 3:40 pm

      Totally agree! Anyone ever consider to think of the previous health concerns of these 75 and 73 years olds?? You take the risk when you step foot on these rides.

  • Reya

    January 24, 2024 at 8:10 am

    The “Don’t Say Gay” law isn’t really about parents. Is this a site that just wants clicks?

  • jean solomon

    January 30, 2024 at 4:25 pm

    oh please. these foolish older people should know better than to get on these rides..if the parks tried to keep them off the rides, they would get sued..’discriminating against older people’..what aload of bs.

  • Dont Say FLA

    January 31, 2024 at 9:41 pm

    How can a water ride be Frozen themed? Wouldn’t that necessarily be an ice ride? Oh never mind. It’s Florida. Rules and reality don’t apply.

Comments are closed.


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