Disabled Guest Died After Falling on Disney Park Ride as Cast Members Laughed, Lawsuit Claims

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Monkey animatronics take over a white boat on the Jungle Cruise.

Credit: Disney

As Disneyland Resort fights a legal battle with disgruntled Magic Key holders, another lawsuit has been filed against The Walt Disney Company.

A wrongful death lawsuit filed by the family of Joanne Aguilar against The Walt Disney Company, its Theme Park division, and Disneyland Resort alleges Aguilar died due to complications from injuries obtained at the Southern California Disney Park.

Wondrous Journeys projections at Sleeping Beauty Castle
Credit: Disney

According to the Orange County Register, the family alleges that Disney Cast Members laughed at 66-year-old Aguilar as she struggled to get out of a boat on Jungle Cruise. The disabled woman then suffered a fall.

“My clients went to Disneyland with the hopes of creating life-long happy memories and instead are left with the memory of a lack of dignity and respect for their mother, which ultimately led to her final demise,” family attorney Michael Jeandron said. “Two daughters are heartbroken, healing and seeking accountability for Disney Cast Members who laughed at their struggling mother instead of helping her.”

jungle cruise monkey
Credit: Disney

The incident occurred on August 22, 2021, when Aguilar visited Disneyland Park with her daughters, Andrea Mallul and Zenobia Hernandez. When they got to Jungle Cruise, Disney Cast Members informed the family that the wheelchair-accessible Jungle Cruise boat was unavailable. She opted to ride a standard boat with her daughters’ help.

Related: Popular Bay Area Theme Park to Permanently Close

As Aguilar exited the ride, her family claims Disney Cast Members “snickered and giggled” at her. She lost her balance on unstable blocks placed to help Guests exit the ride and fell backward, fracturing the right femur in her leg.

A little girl hugs Minnie Mouse at the entrance to disneyland Park.
Credit: Disney Parks Blog

Aguilar was rushed to Anaheim Hospital via ambulance. She had surgery and remained there for ten days before moving to a rehabilitation center. After five months at rehab, she developed an infection, went into septic shock, and died on January 29, 2022. The lawsuit claims Aguilar’s death directly resulted from the fall at Disneyland Resort.

On January 5, the lawsuit was assigned to United States District Judge Cormac Carney at the Ronald Reagan Federal Building and United States Courthouse in Santa Ana. The family is seeking monetary compensation for physical pain, mental suffering, humiliation, medical costs, and funeral expenses. They also claim that Disneyland Resort violated the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

Related: Guest Shares Near Death Experience at Disney California Adventure

The Walt Disney Company denied the allegations and planned to seek a jury trial. Officials refused to comment further on the lawsuit.

More on Jungle Cruise

Dwayne Johnson in Jungle Cruise
Credit: Disney

This classic Disneyland Park attraction has been replicated in Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World Resort, Tokyo Disneyland at Tokyo Disney Resort, and Hong Kong Disneyland. It also inspired a 2021 film of the same name, starring Emily Blunt and Dwayne Johnson (“The Rock”). From Disneyland Resort:

Cast off on a guided tour of the world’s most remote rivers where adventure abounds—and the animals get the last laugh.

Head off to Adventure

Board a canopied tramp steamer and leave civilization behind on a tongue-in-cheek journey through the globe’s most “treacherous” rivers—and oldest gags.
Highlights of your unforgettable adventure include:

  • Ancient Cambodian Shrine
    Come face-to-face with leaping tigers, lethal cobras and snapping crocodiles.
  • Jungle Cruise Safari Camp
    Cruise past a former camp overrun by explosively curious gorillas.
jungle cruise boat in the dark.
Credit: Livin’ LaFever Loca
  • Indian Elephant Bathing Pool
    Venture into this sacred pool where you’ll see bathing Indian elephants. Feel free to take pictures—they have their trunks on.
  • The African Veldt
    Behold angry hippos and hungry lions guarding a sleeping zebra.
  • Schweitzer Falls
    Be awed as you take in a true natural wonder—the back side of water!

Throughout your voyage, you’ll enjoy lively narration from your brave and trusty skipper. It’s a sometimes perilous, always hilarious 10,000-mile journey you won’t soon forget!

A Classic Cruise

The original Jungle Cruise opened on July 17, 1955 at Disneyland Park. Based on Disney’s award-winning True-Life Adventure films, the attraction had a more educational tone. In the early 1960s, Walt Disney introduced more drama and asked animator Marc Davis to sketch some humorous gags. 

Over the years, more “wildlife”—and new wisecracks—were added. These updates, along with our talented skippers, make for fun surprises on every trip down the river.

What do you think of the wrongful death lawsuit against Disneyland Resort? 

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