Article from The Motley Fool - July 26, 2005
Buying Dangerous Brands
Is Disney World safe?
Over the weekend, Disney's (NYSE: DIS) flagship theme park resort in Florida was dealt another blow when a medical report detailed the case of an April fatality on the Dinosaur thrill ride at Disney's Animal Kingdom. The ride was cleared in the mishap; the 30-year-old passenger had an unfortunate medical history and was wearing a pacemaker. But the press picked up on the story, adding to the bad publicity Disney has garnered lately.
This is the kind of story that would normally scoot below the radar. In fact, it almost did. If it were not for the reports coming out of the Bureau of Fair Rides and Exhibitions and the Orange County Medical Examiner's Office, the media would have probably not even have known that it happened.
But it did happen. And journalists love to rubberneck when covering the self-proclaimed Happiest Place on Earth.terrible. It's incomprehensible. There's no doubt about that. However, two of the three deaths were apparently the result of bad timing as the guests came packing plenty of medical history baggage.
According to Amusement Business, Disney's four Florida parks combined for 40.7 million guests in attendance last year. The law of averages states that a few folks will pass away while on vacation. I've been on cruise ships where guests bid bon voyage and it never makes the printed page. Disney, on any given day, is probably a much safer place to be than, say, driving or walking around. The problem is that the press couldn't care less about the guests who expire while dozing in their guest rooms or on their way to catch a plane to Orlando. It just doesn't make the headlines sing the way an on-ride casualty does.