Shortly after the end of Disney Enchantment fireworks at Cinderella Castle, when Guests were leaving for the Ticket & Transportation Center via the Magic Kingdom ferryboat, an elderly Guest collapsed just as the gates were closed. One medical professional who was also a Guest at the Disney Park that day was on the scene at the very same moment.
At around 8:45 p.m. on Friday 25 February at Magic Kingdom Park in Walt Disney World Resort, one Guest suffered a significant medical emergency when he went into cardiac arrest while onboard the ferryboat. Another Magic Kingdom Guest, who happened to be a trained medical professional, was also exiting the Disney theme park at this time, and helped the gentlemen when he collapsed. They shared the following with Inside the Magic:
“When I reached the gentleman, he was still breathing, but really we needed to assist respirations with a bag valve mask, and none was available (or if it was, staff was not aware of it or its location). When he lost pulses and we started compressions, it took far too many minutes before an employee was able to locate and bring us the AED [Automated External Defibrillator] to shock his heart (this should have been within a 60-second reach on a boat, and should have been brought to his side immediately when he collapsed, well before we lost pulses.)”
The Guest shares their view on the situation in relation to the timely manner in which Cast Members were able to locate and provide the essential equipment for the incident.
“While I recognize that the ferry is quite possibly one of the worst places in the park to suffer a significant medical emergency, I do think that having basic medical equipment aboard, as well as educating staff regarding names and locations of equipment, is of tantamount importance. This gentleman was very lucky that multiple experienced medical personnel were aboard at the time of his arrest.”
The Guest told Inside the Magic that the patient’s wife had revealed her husband had been suffering from chest pain in the moments before his cardiac arrest, and that the notable help from the various medical professionals on board the Magic Kingdom ferryboat significantly aided in this man’s care. The Guest added that paramedics boarded the boat around 15 minutes after the elderly gentlemen’s collapse. The Guest ended by saying:
“I hope the staff that helped respond to this were able to debrief from a traumatic event that fortunately ended in return of pulses for the patient.”
The ferryboat incident, as the Guest reports, showed that Cast Members were seemingly not as prepared as one would hope during this extremely tragic moment. Unfortunately, it is not the first time that health and safety have been called into question at Disney Parks.
Last year, firefighting personnel stated that Disney Guests were “in danger” due to significant under-staffing, a report from the Orlando Sentinel found. The statement came after a woman sadly passed away after suffering a heart attack at Bay Lake Tower. Reedy Creek union members claimed that first responders did not get to the Disney Contemporary Resort location until nine minutes post-attack with medication not being issued for a further 11 minutes.
As Jon Shirey, president of the Reedy Creek Firefighters Association, told the Orlando Sentinel last year: “Time is tissue; time, in this case, is life-saving.” Following this, a Disney spokesperson flouted Shirey’s claims saying:
“The safety of everyone who comes to Walt Disney World Resort has always been extremely important to us, and we are grateful to all the first responders who continue to keep our property safe.”
The medical professional’s concerns from the Magic Kingdom ferryboat incident echo the worries found in these earlier reports regarding the Disney Resort.
The Walt Disney World Resort lists all their health and safety protocols on their official website with the direction for emergencies being to call 911.
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Central Florida’s Walt Disney World Resort is made up of Magic Kingdom, EPCOT, Disney’s Hollywood Studios, and Disney’s Animal Kingdom. The theme parks are joined by Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon Water Park, Disney’s Blizzard Beach Water Park, and Disney Springs.