Disney Slapped With Lawsuit From the Family of a Guest Who Suffered a Fatal Fall

disneyland fatal fall

It’s unhappy news from the Disney Parks today—a 66-year-old disabled woman faced a fatal fall at a Disney Park, and Disney is now facing a lawsuit.

The Disneyland Resort has, in many ways, earned the moniker of “the Happiest Place on Earth.” But occasionally, there are stories that spring from the Parks that don’t quite fit that vibe. At the end of last year, we reported on the tragedy of a man who died by suicide at the Disney Resort. This is, unfortunately, the story of another fatality, with the Disney Resort facing consequences for reported actions of Cast Members on scene.

sleeping beauty castle

Sleeping Beauty Castle/Courtesy of Disney

For a mother and her two daughters, their late summer 2021 trip to Disneyland would tragically change their lives. As reported by the OC Register, a wrongful death lawsuit against Disneyland alleges that 66-year-old Joanne Aguilar from Ventura County “fell while getting out of a Jungle Cruise boat and died five months later due to complications from her injuries.”

On August 22, 2021, Joanne Aguilar visited Disneyland with her adult daughters, Andrea Mallul and Zenobia Hernandez. Aguilar was allegedly told that there were no wheelchair-accessible boats available at the Jungle Cruise ride for the physically-disabled Aguilar. After the family of three opted to go on another boat when it came time to exit the boat, the lawsuit alleges that “Aguilar’s daughters helped her out of the Jungle Cruise boat without the assistance of Disneyland Cast Members” and CMs “placed small unsecured blocks on top of the existing steps inside the boat to reduce the height of each step.”

disneyland jungle cruise

Jungle Cruise, Disneyland Resort/Courtesy of CNN

Related: “Atrocious” Guest Behavior at Disney World—Guest Mocks Make-A-Wish Visitors

The lawsuit further alleges that rather than helping Aguilar, the Cast Members laughed at her struggles to exit the boat. During this struggle, the now-deceased fell backward and fractured the femur in her right leg; she later died from complications arising from this fall.

Aguilar’s family took action against Disney and sued Disneyland on November 18 for “wrongful death and violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act.” The lawsuit demands a monetary judgment for physical pain, mental suffering, humiliation, medical costs, and funeral expenses.


The Jungle Cruise entrance sign, Disneyland Resort

Disney’s official comment on the matter so far has come from its lawyers, and to deny all allegations and say that Aguilar’s own negligence and conduct caused her fall. They have not responded to any press inquiries.

More on the Disneyland Resort

The Disneyland Resort in Anaheim, California, is home to two Theme Parks: Disneyland Park and Disney California Adventure Park, both of which have multiple lands, attractions, and rides that have Guests flocking to them for that classic Disney experience. Similar to its Central Florida counterpart—the Walt Disney World Resort, the home of the beloved Magic Kingdom, Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park, and more—the Southern California Disney Resort is beloved by Guests worldwide.

About Priyanka Kumar

Priyanka is a writer, artist, avid reader, and travel enthusiast based in Chicago. In her free time, she is probably walking by the lake, catching up on the latest releases on TV, or spending inordinate amounts of time rewatching Moana, Encanto, and her Disney Channel life-long favorites Zack and Cody wreak havoc on the Tipton.

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