The family of a disabled woman, 66, who died five months after falling on the Jungle Cruise ride, say Disneyland employees laughed at the park-goer as she struggled to get off a boat, according to a homicide lawsuit. guilty.
Joanne Aguilar, 66, visited Disneyland in August 2021 and opted to ride a regular Jungle Cruise boat with the help of her daughters when park officials said a wheelchair accessible boat was not available, according to the lawsuit. opened in Southern California last November.
When Aguilar tried to get out of the boat at the end of the ride, the lawsuit says she lost her balance and fell backwards, breaking her leg.
He also alleges that staff placed at the exit of the ride to help passengers not only failed to help her, but laughed as she struggled to climb the boat steps.
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“My clients went to Disneyland hoping to create happy memories for a lifetime and are instead left with the memory of a lack of dignity and respect for their mother that ultimately led to her final death,” said the family attorney, Michael Jeandron, told the Southern California News Group. “Two daughters are heartbroken, healing and seeking responsibility for the Disney cast members who laughed at their mother instead of helping her.”
The lawsuit says officials “placed small, unsecured blocks on top of the existing steps inside the boat to reduce the height of each step” as she was exiting the boat.
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“Getting off the boat was more difficult as it required her to propel her body up with her legs, which due to her handicap was not possible. The struggle was apparent and the Disney cast members began to chuckle softly [sic] and laughing as they watched Mrs. Aguilar tries to get out of the boat safely,” says the lawsuit, which caused Aguilar to fall backwards and break his leg.
She was rushed to a hospital, underwent surgery and spent the next five months in a rehab facility. She contracted an infection and died of septic shock in January of last year.
The lawsuit, which names the Walt Disney Company, Disney’s theme parks division and Disneyland, alleges wrongful death, a violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act and seeks monetary damages for pain, mental suffering, humiliation, medical costs and funeral expenses. .
The lawsuit was filed last November and was assigned to a judge in a Santa Ana courthouse in early January.
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Disney denied that it discriminated against Aguilar in any way and said his injuries were caused by its own negligence in a written court response in late December. The company is seeking a jury trial.
Disney did not immediately return FOX Business’s request for comment.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.