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Quadriplegic Suing Disneyland For Leaving Him Stranded On ‘Small World’ Ride

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ANAHEIM (CBS) — It’s the happiest place on Earth, but one man says it is not if you’re disabled.

San Pedro resident Jose Martinez, a quadriplegic, is suing Disneyland after a 2009 incident which left him stranded on a malfunctioning “It’s A Small World” ride.

Martinez says the other guests on the ride were evacuated, but he and his wife were left behind for 40 minutes, even as he suffered a medical emergency.

Disney cast members helped Martinez onto the ride, but told him they couldn’t help him out from where the ride stopped.

“No one came to us, which I felt was another potential deadly situation,” Martinez said. “I told my wife, I said,’ they want us to roll to first aid? I don’t think we’re gonna make it.’”

In the 40 minutes stranded on the ride, Martinez suffered from dysreflexia, a condition experienced by those with spinal cord injuries caused by stress and overstimulation. Dysreflexia can lead to a stroke or death.

The Disability Rights Legal Center is representing Martinez, accusing Disneyland of violating federal and state laws and being unable to evacuate disabled guests in the event of an emergency. The lawsuit is seeking policy changes and unspecified damages.

Martinez says his lawsuit is about making sure theme parks are accessible to the disabled.

“This is Disneyland, for crying out loud,” he said.

A spokesperson for Disneyland said they had not seen the lawsuit and could not comment.

(©2010 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Wire services contributed to this report.)

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