A 71-year-old man with a pre-existing heart condition died at the Blizzard Beach water park at Walt Disney World on June 10, one of 15 incidents Disney parks reported as part of the quarterly disclosure released by the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS).
The major parks in Central Florida report guests’ injuries and illnesses requiring at least a one-day hospital stay to FDACS as part of an agreement to avoid state inspections.
The Orange-Osceola County Medical Examiner’s Office identified the man who died at Blizzard Beach as James Persons of Waterford, Pa. The report said he suffered a heart attack while in the park’s Melt-Away Bay wave pool.
Persons’ obituary said he was a veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps and served in the Vietnam War, earning dozens of awards and retiring with the rank of Master Sergeant.
Other deaths have occurred on Disney property recently, including an employee killed on July 9 in what was described as an “industrial accident” near Disney’s Pop Century Resort. Persons’ death, however, is the first involving a guest since a 54-year-old man — also with a pre-existing condition — died February 2017 after riding Big Thunder Mountain Railroad.
The other incidents in the report ranged from guests feeling dizzy after riding Dinosaur in Disney’s Animal Kingdom and Mad Tea Party in the Magic Kingdom to more serious accidents, like a 25-year-old man who broke his ankle on Typhoon Lagoon’s Mayday Falls tube slide.
In a far-less common incident, the report said a 27-year-old woman went into labor on April 28 after riding Animal Kingdom’s Kilimanjaro Safaris. No other FDACS report dating back to 2001 mentions a theme park guest in Central Florida going into labor.
Universal Orlando reported three incidents and injuries involving guests this past quarter. On April 19, a 49-year-old man reported feeling weak on Transformers: The Ride. On June 8, a 76-year-old man experienced shoulder and wrist pain after riding the Jurassic Park River Adventure. In another water park injury, a 27-year-old reported pain in his hip and pelvis after riding the Tai Nui Body Slide at Universal’s Volcano Bay
SeaWorld Orlando, Legoland Florida and Busch Gardens Tampa didn’t report any incidents between April and June.