A disabled man who was stuck inside Disneyland’s “It’s A Small World” ride four years ago and later sued the amusement park has been awarded $8,000 in a court decision, the man’s attorney said Tuesday.
Santa Monica-based attorney David Geffen said his paraplegic client, 52-year-old L.A. County resident Jose Martinez, went to Disneyland with his wife for the first time since he was a child on Nov. 27, 2009.
The pair were having a great time, Geffen said, but the “It’s a Small World” ride “stopped working as he was just exiting the goodbye tunnel. The music was still blaring.
“They started evacuating other guests and weren’t evacuating him,” Geffen said. “They said they couldn’t move him out of the cave.... They didn’t summon the fire department right way.”
The suit was filed in U.S. District Court in Santa Ana and Geffen said the court awarded $4,000 for negligence and $4,000 related to other access violations.
“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,” said Suzi Brown, spokeswoman for Disneyland Resort.
Martinez’s trip to Disneyland “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,” Geffen said.
“Transformed a really beautiful, magical experience into a nightmare.”