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 This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.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.)

Comments (178)
  1. cartec says:

    This guy is looking for a windfall. He is bitter due to his condition and he wants everybody else to pay for it. If he was so delicate that he could not wait for the staff to help him off the ride then he should not have been on it in the first place. Where was his wife while he was waiting? I doubt that he is pushing this frivolous suit for others, if he were he would donate the money to charity.

  2. Scott says:

    This guy is a complete moron looking for a freeride. Take him out of the gene pool !

  3. pch and crenshaw says:

    this guy makes a living doing this. check out how many other lawsuits this guy has filed.

  4. Andy Woo says:

    everybody deserves a good time. but why would u go on a ride where u can get off yourself? seriously. its like going off a plane without a parachute.

  5. DAO says:

    The regular line was probably a hour long and he got on the ride in 5 mins because he is disabled. Disneyland does nothing but cater to the disabled. Rides break down. It happens to mechanical things. What did the guy want them to do carry his fat a$$? He looks like he weighs 300lbs., plus if they dropped him he would have sue over that. In the long run he probably waited the same amount of time that most of the people waited to just get on the ride. The reality is disabled don’t want equal rights they want preferred rights. I have met enough disabled people who will openly admit they sue to make a living. How many family businesses have been distroyed because of their greed? They will sue for any reason. Even when they can get service but it’s not exactly like a non-disabled. Give me a break. Sometimes being disabled will not allow you to do what non-disabled can do. It sucks but that is reality. I hope he get nothing and stays away from Disneyland.

  6. Jeff says:

    What gets me is that they didn’t call 911 on their own phone. They sat there filming and they didn’t call 911. Heck there was the case over at Universal where the Harry Potter ride paused and in like 5 minutes someone called for an emergency. It doesn’t make sense to me.

  7. Brandi Palms says:

    you know iam a mother of four boys and a wife of a quadrapligic my husband had a tubbing accident back in 2008 just a few years ago iam angry with the way some of you feel i understand the complications it is to move a quad around and iam almost positive disney did there best and the ones that are telling him to sue should be ashamed i couldnt even imagine putting my husband on a ride what was he thinking but my heart does go out to him hoping he will make the wright decission .

  8. DHNC says:

    its a small world is not a thrill ride, but still I don’t trust all amusement park rides

  9. Dee says:

    I have a disabled teen in a wheelchair. The Disney staff have always been accommodating to his special needs, there are some rides that are just not accessible to the disabled, HOWEVER , there is just as many that are! Which is why my child and many others like him, can have so much fun at Disney Land! It is a special place where they can have as much fun as others, I sympathize with the victim, but a simple question of” who can assist me, if you can not”?Would of made a big difference. I would hate to think that such lawsuits could limit other disabled persons from riding rides at Disney in the future.

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