Deceased Man’s Family Sues Universal Orlando Over Lack of Proper Signage

Dec 31, 2018

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The family of a man who died at Universal Orlando Resort is suing the park in a lawsuit that alleges Universal Orlando had an obligation to provide warnings in languages other than English about potential dangers attractions pose to riders. The lawsuit also alleges it took too long for park employees to deliver medical assistance to the man.

The 38-year old victim suffered a heart attack while sitting on a park bench after riding Skull Island: Reign of Kong, which like many rides at theme parks, has a warning in English for riders as they enter:

“Warning! This ride is an expedition through the rough terrain of King Kong’s natural habitat. The movement of the truck is dynamic with sudden accelerations, dramatic tilting and jarring actions.”

The sign also warns that people with heart conditions or abnormal blood pressure, back or neck conditions, and expectant mothers shouldn’t go on the ride. Besides the text, each of the situations has an accompanying drawing.

English-only signs are a somewhat common occurrence in theme parks. While Disney World provides maps in many languages to guests, you won’t find much in the way of translated signs throughout the parks. Disney does have a program called Ears of the World, where guests can hear translations of certain park experiences in French, German, Japanese, Portuguese and Spanish using a translation device. It’s unclear whether safety warnings for rides are included on the Ears of the World device.

Skull Island: Reign of Kong is neither the calmest or most intense ride at Universal Orlando Resort.

The Bottom Line

Orlando is an extremely popular destination for those living in the US and abroad. Millions of people who aren’t native English speakers show up in Orlando every year. Incorporating signs with multiple languages would be challenging, but video boards and other emerging technology may make this easier in the future. For now, a family is struggling with the loss of their father/husband and whether a theme park should have done more to prevent that loss.

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