Lawsuit alleges Disneyland employees laughed at a disabled woman before she fell while getting off the ride


Rosa Morales, Staff Writer

A wrongful death  lawsuit against Disneyland alleges a 66 year old Venture County woman  fell while getting out of a  Jungle  Cruise boat and died five months later due to complications from her injuries, has been assigned to a federal judge.

Disneyland employees laughed at the struggles of a disabled woman rather than helping her out of a jungle cruise boat before she suffered a fall that ultimately led to her death,lawsuit alleges. The lawsuit filed by the family of Joanne Aguilar against Walt Disney  company ,its theme park division and Disneyland was  assigned on Jan. 5th  to United   States  District Judge Cormac Carney at the Ronald Reagan Federal Building and United States Courthouse in Santa Ana.

In its response to the lawsuit filed with the court,Disney denied all the allegations and said it is seeking  a  Jury Trail. Disneyland officials reached this week declined to comment further on the lawsuit.

Aguilar visited the Anaheim theme park on Aug.22,2021 with her adult daughters Andrea Mallul and Zenobia Hernandez,according to the lawsuit. When the family arrived at the jungle cruise attraction, the physically disabled Aguilar was told by Disneyland employees that a wheelchair accessible boat was unavailable, according to the lawsuit.The Jungle Cruise Attraction which takes riders on the cruise along the rivers of the world helmed by a comedic skipper has an ADA-accessible to roll onto a platform on the riverboat from the dock without exiting their wheelchair. Aguilar opted to ride another Jungle Cruise with the assistance of her daughters . After the ride, Disneyland employees “placed small unsecured blocks on top of the existing steps inside the boat to reduce the height of each step,” according to the lawsuit.

After the ride ended, Aguilar’s daughters helped her off the boat.Instead of assisting,Lawsuit alleges cast members laughed at Alguilar’s struggles,leaving her feeling ashamed and embarrassed. Aguilar ended up losing her balance on blocks paced on the steps ,fell back and fractured her right femur. She was taken to a hospital where she remained for 10 days before moving to an Oxnard rehabilitation center. Aguilar stayed there for five months before she got an infection, went into septic shock and died Jan 29,2022. The suit alleges Aguilar died as a result of her injuries from the fall at the park. Her family sued Disneyland on Nov.18 for wrongful death and violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act.They are seeking a monetary judgement for physical pain,mental suffering,Humiliation,medical costs and funeral expenses,according to the register. Disney lawyers said Aguilar’s injures were caused by her own conduct and negligence, and that Disneyland did not discriminate against her .

“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 ultimate led to her final demise,” the family’s attorney,Michael  Jeandron, told the Register.”Two daughters are heartbroken ,healing and seeking accountability for Disney cast members who laughed at their struggling mother instead of helping her’.