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Walt Disney World Dedicates New Roller Coaster
It’s been the talk of the Southeastern tourism set for weeks. First announced in 2011, Orlando’s Walt Disney World this week will dedicate its newest ride, the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train roller coaster, part of the park’s revamped Magic Kingdom attraction based on Disney’s 1937 film, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. While we here at Todd E. Copeland & Associates are excited too, we also want to make sure you’re aware of the potential risks that a visit to your favorite theme park holds.
Throughout the year, America’s 400 amusement parks welcome more than 300 million visitors, who take in over 1.7 billion rides, according to statistics from the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions (IAAPA). And with the spring break season winding down and summer right around the corner, the nation’s theme parks are gearing up for their busiest annual season.
An IAAPA-commissioned report by the National Safety Council Research and Statistical Services Group showed that there were an estimated 1,415 injuries on amusement park rides in 2011. Collective statistics for both fixed amusement parks and traveling carnivals paint a far more troubling picture. According to a Consumer Products Safety Commission analysis, an estimated 37,154 people were injured seriously enough to be treated in hospital emergency rooms in 2011. Of those, 1,177 were admitted to the hospital or died.
Statistics also show that some types of rides are riskier choices than others, as evidenced by the reported percentage of deaths by ride type:
- Roller coasters, 27.6 percent
- Ferris wheels, gondolas and cable rides, 20.7 percent
- Water rides, 15.3 percent
- Spinning rides, 13.6 percent
- All other rides, 22.7 percent
If you’re planning a family trip to a theme park soon, be sure to take all the recommended safety precautions. For example, wear well-fitting shoes, strap your safety belts, and keep limbs inside ride cars. However, understand that factors far beyond your control can cause injuries and accidents. These factors include ride operator error, mechanical failure of rides due to age or poor maintenance, or poorly designed or defective rides.
Also, know that if you or your dependents are injured because of negligence on the part of an amusement park or its employee, vendor or ride provider, you have a legal right to compensation for all related damages including medical, therapy and medication costs, lost wages, pain and suffering. Inform a park employee of the injury, get medical treatment and contact an amusement park injury attorney. Orlando’s Todd E. Copeland & Associates can be reached 24/7 at 407-999-8995 in Orlando or 407-847-7277 in Kissimmee.