Report sheds light on Jungle Cruise changes
An incident in which a 5-year-old girl fell into the water while boarding Disneyland's Jungle Cruise attraction last November prompted some of the recent safety upgrades to the ride, according to a California Division of Occupational Safety and Health (DOSH) report obtained by MousePlanet.
On November 5, 2011, a child tripped and fell while boarding the Jungle Cruise, slipping into narrow gap between the boat and the dock. A cast member told MousePlanet that a quick-thinking Jungle Cruise skipper pushed the boat away from the dock and pulled the child from the four-foot-deep water. No injuries were reported, but a complaint was filed with DOSH, prompting the agency to begin an investigation.
After inspecting the ride on three dates in January, DOSH issued a "Notice to Correct" to Disney, requiring the park to implement new safety procedures to close the gap between the boat and the dock, which the inspector measured to range from seven to nine inches, depending on conditions.
A Jungle Cruise skipper says that even before DOSH filed its notice, Imagineers "swarmed all over" the Jungle Cruise, taking measurements and discussing changes. Within weeks, Disney implemented a new operating procedure that required skippers to load the dock side of the boat first, helping keep the edge of the boat closer to the dock.
The DOSH report confirms that Disney had already implemented new operational guidelines before their investigation was complete, and that the new guidelines did help to "somewhat" reduce the gap.
Still, the agency required Disney to "develop and implement a way to reduce and maintain a minimum gap between the dock and the boat," so that "any patron's body or body parts is unable to fall or be entrapped between the boat and the dock." The agency says two other guests have fallen into the water in the past 5 years, and 15 others reported that "part or parts of their body" fell between the boat and the dock during the same period.
DOSH required Disney to present its plan before starting work.
Earlier this month, Disney closed the Jungle Cruise to install new bumpers on both the dock and the sides of the boats, along with a new tethering system to keep the boat snug against the dock during load and unload. Disney also added nets around the boats.
Walt Disney World spokesperson Kathleen Prihoda told MousePlanet that she was unaware of any plans to make similar modifications to the Florida version of the ride.