Tens of millions of visitors head to Disney's theme parks every single year. Although the parks' operations typically run very smoothly, occasionally things will go wrong. And, inevitably, sometimes guests affected by mishaps will throw a lawsuit at the company. Some of these have real merit, and there have been some large payouts as a result. Others, though, are bordering on the ridiculous.
The most serious lawsuits again Disney generally attract extensive media coverage - and, frankly, are not something we'd cover on fun-loving Theme Park Tourist. However, after stumbling across an amusing story about one frivolous lawsuit, we thought it would be fun to hunt around a for a few others and share them with our readers.
Here's a look at 10 of the most amusing lawsuits brought against Disney by theme park visitors over the last few decades.
10. The Three Naughty Pigs
Disney's loveable characters would certainly never harm or assault a guest...would they? Well, one woman claimed otherwise in 1976. The woman, who weighed some 240 pounds, alleged that one of the Three Little Pigs had run up to her, grabbed her chest and begun shouting "Mommy! Mommy!".
Unfortunately for the allegedly distressed guest, her case didn't progress far. Disney quickly pointed out that the Three Little Pigs are unable to move their arms.
9. Feeling dizzy
David Koenig's excellent book Mouse Tales documents a huge number of lawsuits against Disneyland. One of these demonstrates the importance of Disney's nurses taking extensive notes after any incident, no matter how small. One guest claimed to have been made to feel dizzy by Disneyland's former Circarama theater, causing her to fall over a railing and strike her head. Similar theaters are still in place at Epcot's China and Canada pavilions.
Unfortunately for the guest, the nurse that she saw afterwards noted that the guest had said she had tripped over the railing trying to take a "shortcut". Oops.
8. The Tower of Terror fan
In 2009, Disney was sued by Denise Mooty, a lady who rode the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror over 50 times a day. Every day. Mooty suffered from abdominal adhesions, and claimed that the frequent drops on the ride at Disney's Hollywood Studios helped to ease the pain.
Mooty was able to acquire a Guest Assistance Card, allowing her to cut to the front of the line. Eventually, a new manager instigated a limit on the number of rides she could take per day. Allegedly, she became angry at this, and was banned from the parks for abusing Cast Members - although she denied this.
7. The falling "brick"
Any self-respecting Disney fan will know that Cinderella Castle at the Magic Kingdom is not, in fact, made of stone. Instead, its shell is made of fiberglass. Evidently, one woman was unaware of this - she sued Disney claiming that a brick had fallen from the structure and struck her on the head.
Note: this one may be an urban legend. I'm yet to find a news story that verifies it - let me know if you do.
6. It's a Small World after all
The cheesy music from It's a Small World is legendary - and, indeed, many people would rather do almost anything other than listen to it on a permanent loop. Jose Martinez successfully sued Disney, winning $8000, after he was left trapped in one of the ride's boats for 40 minutes. The ride had broken down, and Cast Members were unable to remove Martinez (who is confined to a wheelchair) from the boat - with the judge ruling that inadequate assistance had been provided.
What does the woman weighing 240lbs have to do with anything at all? What does it add to the article? It seems as though the author is insinuating that because the woman is obese it isn't possible that she was assaulted. Careless writing, tpt. Also, every time I see that lawsuit mentioned, it is with the accompanying photo-- which clearly shows movable arms. We've got to do better. Come on, y'all.
It's pretty clearly because she was suing for the alleged comments of pigs calling her mommy because of her weight and comparing her to a pig. Including the weight was completely relevant and, in fact, vital to the set up of the story.
I was tripped by a small child at Disneyland and broke my arm in two places. Several people asked me why I didn't sue Disney. It wasn't Disney's fault it was the mother of the little boy who wasn't watching him. As I was laying on the ground, unable to get up, the woman had the nerve to say, "Well she's not bleeding',gathered her family and left before the paramedics arrived.
As for the Three Little Pigs incident. Look at the picture provided. The pigs arms are certainly able to move in this pictures. Not sure if the costumes were the same at the time of the lawsuit.
The costumes in the photo are from later. The earlier ones the head was larger and the arms were fake.