The family of a disabled woman, 66, who died five months after falling on the Jungle Cruise attraction, says Disneyland employees laughed at the park visitor as she struggled to get off a boat, according to a lawsuit. for manslaughter.
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 employees said a wheelchair-accessible boat was not available, according to the lawsuit filed in southern California last November. .
As Aguilar was trying to get out of the boat at the end of the trip, the lawsuit says she lost her balance and fell backwards, breaking her leg.
She also alleges that employees stationed at the exit of the attraction to help passengers exit not only failed to help her, but laughed as she struggled up the steps of the boat.
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“My clients went to Disneyland hoping to create lifelong happy memories, and instead were left with the memory of their mother’s lack of dignity and respect, which ultimately led to her ultimate death,” said the attorney for the family, Michael Jeandron, at Southern. California Newsgroup. “Two daughters are heartbroken, healing and seeking responsibility for the Disney cast members who laughed at their struggling mother instead of helping her.”
The lawsuit says employees “placed small unsecured blocks on top of the existing steps inside the boat to reduce the height of each step” as it exited the boat.
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“Getting out of the boat was more difficult, as it required her to propel her body up with her lower legs, which was not possible due to her disability. The struggle was evident and the Disney cast members began to laugh for the low [sic] and laughing as they watched Ms. Aguilar attempt to safely exit the boat,” the lawsuit says, causing Aguilar to fall backwards and break her leg.
She was rushed to a hospital, underwent surgery, and then spent the next five months in a rehab center. She contracted an infection and died of septic shock in January of last year.
The lawsuit, which names The Walt Disney Company, the theme park division of Disney and Disneyland, alleges wrongful death, a violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act and seeks money damages for pain, mental suffering, humiliation, medical costs and funeral expenses.
The lawsuit was filed last November and was assigned a judge in a Santa Ana court in early January.
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Disney denied discriminating 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 respond to FOX Business’s request for comment.
Associated Press contributed to this report.