Bird attack at Disney World leaves woman with “traumatic” brain injury

in Disney, Entertainment, Hotel, Theme Parks, Travel, Walt Disney World

Credit: Disney

A woman from Celebration, Florida was attacked by a bird at a Walt Disney World Resort dock and suffered severe brain injuries, according to a lawsuit claiming Disney knew seasonal nesting birds are a threat to hotel guests.

According to the suit filed in Orange Circuit Court last week seeking unspecified damages in excess of $15,000, Lisa Dixon was injured when the bird struck her in the head in May 2017 at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort. The attack caused Dixon to suffer from a traumatic brain injury and herniated discs in her neck after the bird had “dive-bombed” and stuck Dixon, said her Orlando Lawyer Thomas Schmitt.

Disney's Polynesian Village Resort
Credit: Disney

Schmitt says the incident has left Dixon needing surgery and that the force of the bird hitting her could be compared to Dixon being struck in the head with a baseball.

The bird struck Dixon when she walked on the dock at the Polynesian Village Resort where visitors can take a boat across the Seven Seas Lagoon to the Magic Kingdom or another resort, according to the lawsuit. The suit accuses Disney of not keeping the dock safe and failing to properly warn visitors of the dangers as well as give Dixon a false sense of security, among other allegations.

“If there’s a company that’s well-versed in safety, it should be Disney,” Schmitt said.

Disney's Polynesian Village Resort
Credit: Disney

Schmitt could not say what kind of bird it was except it was a seasonal migrating bird.

Dixon is in her early 30s and is originally from the Midwest. Schmitt says she’s lived in Celebration to manage her family’s investment property. Although, it seems this injury has affected her focus and her personality, “It’s changed her life,” says Schmitt.

Disney has not yet made an official comment on the bird attack. A Disney Spokeswoman has said that the company will respond to the allegations in court.

Source: Orlando Sentinel


  1. Jen

    How in the ever loving HECK is a bird’s behavior Disney’s responsibility??? What a frivolous, stupid lawsuit. This is a clear case of an ambulance chaser and someone wanting to make a buck.

    1. 100% agreed. Someone trying to bank on Disney money. Sad.

  2. Jason

    This is so pathetic. Looking for easy money. This woman is what is wrong with society.

  3. Harley

    I agree and add i love how people get just bc i am here and on vacation i am free on responsibilities thats on the employees and where i am… NO! Its like anyone whom asks dumb ? Or all those whom complain during hurricane season etc. Did you go on vacation and forget your right mind at home! Disney does the right things and warns people which they dont have to but they do its your responsiblity to listen! Also i never come across an animal bird or otherwise at wdw that didnt act like it was domesticated bc of being around people all the time!

  4. sam

    Of course she’s suing. Absolutely ridiculous. What does she want? Disney to kill all the nesting birds on property? We’re already killing all the alligators that are just trying to live.

  5. Dixie

    Why is traumatic in quotes in the title. TBI is a medical diagnosis. Regardless of whether the suit is warranted a traumatic brain injury is a real thing.

    1. There’s a tendency in news articles to quote specific descriptors used in a lawsuit, in this case the word ‘traumatic’ was a descriptor specifically stated by the woman’s lawyer and thus technically a quotation (which would require quotes).

      … I have to say I’m on the ‘what, really??’ boat, though. I mean, yeah, it sucks that the poor woman got beaned with a bird out of nowhere but it’s not like it was like… tossed at her by a ride or something. It’s in the same category as trying to blame Disney because you got hit by lightning during one of Florida’s many storms.

      1. Dixie

        The descriptor is “traumatic brain injury” not “traumatic”.

  6. Carl wisneski

    Even if Disney wins, it will cost thousands in attorneys fees and court costs. Next thing you know, people will complain about the prices going up.

  7. Pete

    I got attacked by a bird at Epcot twice on the same path. Both hits to the head. My family laughed at me. Hopefully the courts will laugh at this woman.

  8. Mary

    Disney, like any other business or residential property, is responsible for anyone who gets injured on their property. They were fully aware of the alligators and one little boy, God bless him, died. They were also aware of the migrating birds on their property and should have educated themselves on their behavior and posted signs. Most people have beware of dog signs on their fences to alert folks of an unfriendly dogs! They need to take responsibility! Goodness knows they charge a fortune for a family to go to Disney between their hotels, food and each park is $$$$$ per person. They should be responsible for safety. Last year, my 4 yr. old grandson fell and hit his head in the splash pool at the hotel. Do you know that they didn’t even have a first aid station at the hotel! Really!!!! With the amt. of kids that go to Disney and no one at the hotel to check him out!! Shame on them. No, we didn’t sue, but I guarantee I will never go back. Best of luck to the woman who got hurt.

    1. Salley

      My kid fell and hit his head in my living room. Should I never go back?

    2. Delton Streetman

      Thank you for giving another group of people who might actually consider that Disney would be liable for ten times as many lawsuits if they were to try and offer medical assistance to a hotel guest without having a medically licensed person on duty. I’m sure that if you had felt it was a serious enough injury they would have been more than happy to call 911 and summon an ambulance and medical assistance. I do know that at the parks they DO have a first aid station with licensed nurses on duty that can offer minor care or if there are serious injuries will summon first responders and an ambulance.
      But we do thank you for making room for others who WILL enjoy the experience.

  9. Joe

    Frivolous lawsuit at it’s finest way to waste taxpayers money putting this in the courts is a shame. Disney for some people equals dollar signs. Would she sue her neighbor if the same thing happened on their property… probably not.

  10. cody

    Doesnt disney have cameras everywhere? they probably have it on camera somewhere.

  11. It’s a stupid lawsuit about a bird. Its awful your grandchild fell in the pool and hit his head but that too is not Disney’s fault. That could have happened anywhere. Maybe if someone was watching him better he would not have fell. Disney is the best when it comes to safety and caring about their guests.

  12. If Disney posted a sign for every hazard in the park, you wouldn’t be able to move for all the signs. C’mon…. animals need to live SOMEWHERE and they are a risk like any animal. My cat is a risk for crying out loud!! So do I sue the person I got my cat from because I get injured by her?? It sucks. She got injured by a bird. That’s terrible. But sometimes life is terrible and it does mean you are owed money for it!!

  13. J

    Well for sure you should have access to a clinic in your home…lol
    That’s what ambulances are for . To check people out at home or out. Restaurants don’t have clinics or repair shops. Holy …why should Disney

  14. Delton Streetman

    If you don’t know what kind of bird it was how can you positively be sure that it was a migratory bird and no just a bird that has become acclimated to the living conditions around the resort with the people and a ready consistent food source? I know that at the California park there are ducks that never leave the immediate area of Disneyland even though their breed is usually migratory. And in our area in Northern California we have a sizable gathering of Canadian geese that never leave the area around a local park that is so known as a goose hangout that it is known locally as Goose Park.

  15. suddenlygrandma

    Are they supposed to dome off their entire property to keep away the migrating birds? How could they better protect people?

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