Laser Time #306 – The Deadliest Place On Earth: Fatal Accidents At The Disney Parks

WARNING: This is a high speed podcast that includes sudden and dramatic acceleration, climbing, tilting, dropping, and backwards motion. Listeners who are pregnant or have heart conditions are prohibited from listening.


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That ridiculous Grad Night video mentioned in the show:

Bret Michaels hitting his head at the Tonys:

Check out our other podcasts like the Laser Time episode about Dead Theme Park Rides and subscribe to Laser Time on YouTube for lots more absolutely, indisputably correct opinions and watch our playthrough/virtual park tour of Disneyland Adventures!

16 thoughts on “Laser Time #306 – The Deadliest Place On Earth: Fatal Accidents At The Disney Parks

  1. I worked at Disney World in one of the resorts about two years ago. I have two stories that this episode reminded me of. One is that one day as I was walking around the resort I noticed that they were building fences around the pools. I asked my coworker why and they said that at the Art of Animation resort, a toddler had drowned in one of the pools late at night when there was no lifeguards and so they started building fences at all of the pools. And it was not even a week after that happened that the pools were built and completed. The other has to do with the safari ride at Animal Kingdom. Apparently, that bridge that you drive over in the ride is also where they feed the gators. So, the protocol is that if someone falls off the ride off the bridge, the driver must quickly get out of there before the family tries to go down there.

  2. I had to leave a comment regarding poor Lane Graves because that hit really close to home for me when it happened.

    We took a vacation to Disney World two months before that happened. We stayed at the Grand Floridian resort. Our hotel was right next to the beach where the gator took him.

    We walked past that beach every day. It was an artificial beach with sand they’d brought in, and while there were signs telling people not to go swimming there was nothing about not splashing around in the water. No one from Disney was stopping anyone. They set up movies on that beach every evening at dusk which is prime gator hunting time.

    My wife and my mom took my two and a half year old son down to that beach a couple of times to build sand castles and play at dusk. Which is what that poor kid was doing. I wouldn’t have put him that close to fresh water in Florida, but I wasn’t around and neither one of them knew any better.

    We stayed at one of the New Orleans themed resorts our first night there and then moved to the Grand Floridian the second night to stay with my mom and stepdad, and I remember riding the river boat to Disney Springs and wondering aloud to my wife how many gators were out there in that river. She laughed and said it was Disney and they wouldn’t allow gators on their property.

    We’re from Indiana, but I have family in Florida so I knew you could fill a puddle in your yard, walk away for five minutes, and you assume a gator has somehow made its way in there. I can also see why a lot of people wouldn’t think of the danger because they’re not from Florida or they assume Disney takes care of that stuff. After it happened it was also painful to think that the same damn thing could’ve happened to my kid because he was right there, he was the same size and age, and the only difference was timing.

    It was a tragedy all around. I’m glad they’ve put up more signage since and taken steps to avoid it happening again, because it was a disaster waiting to happen before with the way they had that beach set up and the way they encouraged little kids to play down there.

  3. Putting this on all three pages just to make sure you guys see it.

    It’s an admirable feat, how regular you fellows (and Diana) are at getting these shows up without missing a beat, even for national holidays. It is definitely appreciated. Cheers.

  4. My grandma’s sister died instantly from a blood clot walking through Disney World. I think she was with her kids and grandkids. When my Dad told me, all I said was “huh, that’s a good way to go”.

  5. The Disneyland Railroad incident actually led to them quitting using the siding for the passing freight train (“Retlaw 2”) afterwards.

  6. I remember my 5th grade teacher was telling our class about how he had a guide of the best places to sit on all the rides at Disneyland. When he told us about space mountain he mentioned once he was in the middle of the ride and the lights came on and the whole room is just Grey. He later found out someone was decapitated on the ride.

    My 5th grade teacher also had license plate that was hulk2-8. He told it was because he sold those comics to buy the van he had. He also still sells action figures and stuff st the comic con every year still somehow.

    I also performed st Disneyland in 7th and 8th grade with my honors drama class which was interesting because we got to go behind the scenes to practice. Very strange being behind the fake sun line in the cartoon town and staring at broken down ride cars.

    Great episode dudes

  7. Fantastic and fun episode guys! Woke up feeling like crap today and this was a delight to listen to while trying to be at all productive at home.

    1. If we’re correcting Chris’s Disney facts, Scar was not killed by falling. He fell, but survived and the hyenas devoured him. That being said, this was one or my favorite episodes. I felt bad laughing so hard at some of these deaths, but many were just so ridiculous to hear out-loud. I suppose that is cathartic in a way. You all have been killing it lately (no pun intended?) so keep up the great work!

  8. This episode reminded me of the recent story out of Disney Sea in Tokyo where a park employee was found dead, apparently drowned. This sent me googling to see if it was the first Disney fatality in Japan, but it was not. According to this list (all in Japanese) the first fatality inside Tokyo Disney was back in 1984 when a woman lost consciousness on Space Mountain and died en route to the hospital. Save for a second, similar incident in 1987 and the aforementioned worker in 2015, there have been no deadly accidents or mishaps.
    Meanwhile, here in Osaka where I live, there was a famous theme park accident that basically killed the park. A teenager died in May 2007 at Expoland when a broken axle caused a roller coaster to derail. The park closed for necessary safety inspections (as did other parks around Japan), eventually reopening but then shutting down in December that same year after few customers were willing to tempt fate. Eventually the whole operation folded two years later when no one could pony up funds to reopen/rebrand the park. On a personal note, the space that was Expoland eventually turned into a pretty nice shopping mall called Expocity and that happens to be where I work!

  9. I wonder if Chris knows that the lyrics to Tigger’s song are, “bouncy, trouncy, flouncy, pouncy, fun, fun, fun, fun, fun?” I think he said bouncy bouncy bouncy bouncy about the chipmunks playing with the ladies boobs, but he may never have noticed that Tigger said four different words in his song, it’s easy to miss if you’re not paying attention.

  10. You guys don’t park hop at WDW? That’s crazy to me for people with no kids. I partly dread my next Disney trip (as much as one can dread something they are looking forward to) because it will be my first with small kids and I probably won’t be able to park hop like before. Pre kids, my wife and I almost never spent one day in one park, we’d always go until noonish, flee the heat by heading to our hotel pool (always stayed onsite) and then head to Epcot for dinner and drinks. Sometimes we’d go from park to park, you just have to know the best way and almost no one takes the ferry from Epcot to Hollywood Studios. That’s the only way we were able to get into a special Villains Night at Hollywood because the traffic going there was gridlocked, eventually resulting in the park reachoing capacity.

  11. First off: the part about the girlfriends hating Space Mountain cracked me up, because my wife also hates it and has refused to ride it both times we’ve been to Disneyland. She also got motion sickness from Star Tours, so next time I’ll have to suggest Dramamine.

    Next, a heat-stroke-at-Disneyland story. The last time I went there was the first (and so far only) time I’ve taken one of my kids, and my wife’s grandmother came along with us. The last several times I had visited the park had been with either just my wife or with friends, and I was not prepared for how much slower it was to have a child and an elderly person with us. On top of that, we planned for October, but that particular weekend was a heat wave and it was 104 degrees and humid. I had made the most Dad-like move I have ever made by getting a room outside of the park to save money, because I had done that before and just walked to the park. With the kid and grandma along with the extreme heat, things got bad soon after we reached Disneyland proper. My wife’s grandma started suffering from mild heat stroke and I rushed to find the nearest cast member to help us, but surprisingly, there were none in the immediate vicinity. I finally found a guy sweeping trash and he seemed bewildered and wasn’t sure what to do. He made a call and it took several minutes for some people to arrive and take her to the little med center by the lockers off of Main Street. Fortunately, about an hour of rest and lots of water got her back on her feet and the rest of the trip was a success. Three years later, I still feel terrible about it.

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