Disabled Man Won Thousands in Lawsuit After Being Stuck on Disneyland Ride

its-a-small-world_alt disneyland

Disneyland has had lots going on this week and there’s still more Disneyland news coming! A disabled man has won a lawsuit against the Disneyland resort awarding him $8,000 this week.

Jose Martinez, a fifty-two year old paraplegic resident of Los Angeles county, went to the amusement park with his wife on November 27, 2009. The couple reported enjoying their time at Disneyland until they decided to ride the infamous “It’s a Small World.” While their boat was leaving the goodbye tunnel, the ride temporarily stopped moving, but the music kept playing. Cast members began removing other guests from the ride, but due to his disability, cast members were unable to help him exit the ride. The fire department was not called immediately to come assist the guest in exiting the ride so the man sued the Disneyland Resort. Martinez filed his lawsuit in the U.S. District Court in Santa Ana, California. The court awarded the man $4,000 for negligence and $4,000 related to other access violations this week.

Suzi Brown, a spokesperson for Disney commented, “Disneyland Resort believes it provided all appropriate assistance to Mr. and Mrs. Martinez when the ride temporarily stopped and is disappointed that the court did not fully agree.” According to Martinez’s attorney David Geffen, the Martinez’s visit “went from an experience that he doesn’t get as often as other people…. His disability vanished during that time and then it came and hit him hard and right in the face as soon as the ride broke down.”

Do you agree that Martinez should have been awarded money for being stuck on the ride? Be sure to let me know what you think!

Magically Yours,



Siera (250 Posts)

When Siera isn't planning Disney vacations for her friends and family, she is spreading Disney magic with everyone around her! Siera is a graduate of the Disney College of Knowledge and a Disney travel specialist with Destinations in Florida.

About Siera

When Siera isn't planning Disney vacations for her friends and family, she is spreading Disney magic with everyone around her! Siera is a graduate of the Disney College of Knowledge and a Disney travel specialist with Destinations in Florida.

  • Dennie

    I spoke with a physician about this and discovered something that might apply here. As I understand it, some paraplegics and quadriplegics suffer from a condition where the urge to urinate comes on suddenly and intensely and if not addressed quickly can result in extremely high blood pressure which requires medical treatment. In a longer article about this event, it was reported that it took hours to stabilize this man’s condition once he was removed from the ride. IF all this is correct, we may be judging without understanding all the facts.
    That being said, it is common knowledge that rides sometimes stop in amusement parks and it is unrealistic to expect that in a non-life threatening situation (as viewed by the cast members), they would risk causing harm to the guest by having untrained personal try to evacuate him. Disney can learn to change and improve its procedures from this experience, but perhaps it also falls to the guests with disabilities and other health issues , and I fall into both categories, to make intelligent, informed decisions before entering any attraction.

  • Siera

    He was only stuck 20-30 minutes…

  • angie

    No – he doesn’t deserve a penny. Disney didn’t CAUSE the ride to break down. He was inconvenienced and a bit uncomfortable at most. Unfortunate, yes. Worth money? I don’t think so. After all, it’s not uncommon for people to wait in line at amusement parks to get on a ride WAY LONGER than he was stuck on the ride for 30 minutes. Lots of people have panic disorders and they take a risk every time they get on a ride, get in a car, fly on a plane, etc that something might set them off. This frivolous lawsuit angers me – shame on him. It also gives other people frivolous litigious ideas…

  • Siera

    Hi Misty, he apparently sued just because the fire department was not contacted immediately when cast members were unable to assist him. You’re right though that people can sue over anything!

  • Dennie

    Was he in danger? Was the place on fire or crumbling around him? How long was he stuck? Twenty minutes? Seven hours? Days without food or water? (well, okay, unless they drained the ride there was plenty of water) I too am frequently in a wheelchair for rides and Disney always does the best it can to accommodate folks with disabilities. Unless he was in some sort of medical distress or the situation lasted longer than an hour, this suit was all about greed. Could Disney use this experience to learn how to better handle similar situations? Sure, but giving this man money for sitting a while longer than he had planned in a ride is absurd.

  • misty

    No….that is just crazy; there is no way he was harmed by the incident. It would be interesting to know how he says he was harmed…was it because he had to listen to “Its a Small World” music over and over? People can sue for anything these days and this is just another example of somebody looking to take advantage of a situation in order to get something for nothing. What a shame.