Disabled Guest Falls Into Rivers of America at Magic Kingdom

Published: February 14, 2024

A guest fell into the Rivers of America at Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom this past week, which could have been avoided. Is Disney doing enough for disabled guests or training Cast Members to identify situations where they need to be more tactful?

WDWNT spoke with the guest in question, who asked to go by the name ‘Storm.’ As explained by Storm, the situation highlights the need for more safety precautions and better training for Cast Members.

The guest’s service dog ‘Tinker Bell’ is able to notify Storm if an issue with his balance is imminent. This was the case when the guest boarded Magic Kingdom’s legacy raft ride in Frontierland. 

According to Storm, if the service animal alters him, he will take a seat on a box on the Tom Sawyer raft. This is not the first time he has had to use the fixture of the ride to balance himself, and Cast Members have been accommodating, although they do issue him a word of caution.

On this occasion, the Cast Member on board the raft denied Storm’s need to sit down. This resulted in the guest losing both his balance and consciousness. Storm fell over the raft’s side and into the Rivers of America. 

Thankfully, he regained his senses while in the deep water. Although the current is strong, he could float with his head above the waterline. A fire rescue team pulled him from the water. 

The incident could have been avoided if the Walt Disney Company had added only a few things to the Rivers of America rafts. One is seating, which Storm is no stranger to requesting Disney to install. He says he has clarified this issue to the company for a decade.

The other element is getting Cast Members up to speed regarding guests with balance issues and service animals. While sitting on a box on the ride may not be ideal, it’s hardly a hindrance to the ride. Making notable exceptions in these cases is best until Disney modifies the rafts to suit those who need help balancing better.

[Source: WDWNT]

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