Safety Advocates Claim Theme Parks Are Misreporting Injuries, Fight For Change

in Universal Studios, Walt Disney World

Guests entering Universal Studios Orlando Florida

Credit: Universal

The Florida Department of Agriculture’s quarterly MOU Exempt Facilities Report informs readers of injuries that Guests sustain while enjoying the state’s major theme parks. Orlando Sentinel recently shared that as claims of misreporting continue to stack up against the Parks, ride safety advocates are fighting for more transparency.

It’s been two years since an 11-year-old boy’s foot and leg shattered upon approaching E.T. Adventure’s exit at Universal Studios. The child lost a significant amount of blood and x-ray films showed multiple fractures, one of which was to the second largest bone in his body.

Universal reported the injury as “foot pain.”

Boy's foot crushed on Universal Studio's E.T. ride, seeking $15,000 in damages
Credit: Universal Orlando

Related: Medical Responders Carry Disney Character Off Stage After Brutal Injur

There are many similar instances of these major theme parks providing underwhelming details for serious injuries throughout the quarterly report as seen in an investigative piece published by Orlando Sentinel in 2020. From listing a broken neck as numbness to reporting that a stroke sufferer “felt ill,” the report’s flaws began mount, and State regulators took notice.

Two years later, the reporting process is exactly the same and the lack of injury transparency remains a problem.

flight of passage
Credit: ITM

With a self reporting system and zero consequence for misreporting, there is no real accountability for the theme parks who continue to provide vague accounts of concerning injuries, each requiring at least 24 hours of hospitalization.

There’s also no real way to quantify exactly how many of these injuries are in fact misreported, as there is little to no government oversight and many of the injuries that have resulted in lawsuits are often settled or sealed, according to the Orlando Sentinel‘s findings.

They also shared that the parks had no plans to do anything differently without an amendment to the state law that requires the reporting in the first place. Politicians have since offered to sponsor a new bill that would institute a more extensive reporting process, but share that both the parks and The Florida Department of Agriculture have not been agreeable thus far. Critics have accused them of throwing ethics to the wind.

Universal Orlando welcom sign
Credit: ITM

Related: 38 Injuries Requiring Hospitalization Reported at Major Florida Theme Parks

When the investigate piece was first shared, many were hopeful that improvements would have taken place by now. The July MOU Exempt Facilities Report suggests otherwise, as it contains several accounts with vague details that leave readers wondering what truly happened.

Do you think that Florida theme parks should be required to report more injury information? Tell us your thoughts in the comments. 

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