“New book asks if lawsuits and lawyers are taking the fun out of Disneyland”

“The vast majority of operational changes at Disneyland in the last 10 years have been the result of lawsuits past, or in anticipation of lawsuits in the future,” [author Dave Koenig] said…. “People just have no common sense. Most activities have some inherent risk. It’s to the point where Disney’s tolerance for risk is zero. It used to be they expected that people would have some common sense.” [Orange County Register, profiling Koenig’s new book “The People v. Disneyland: How Lawsuits & Lawyers Transformed the Magic.”]


  • I have to agree with him. A while back we had a mother stand her young son on top of a safety rail, at a local zoo, so that he could supposedly get a better look. The kid fell into the exhibit and the animals in the exhibit killed him. It didn’t matter that she had no business putting him up there, the zoo was considered liable.

  • This child at Cleveland did not die. Parent an obvious moron for holding (then failing to hold) child over cheetah pit.

    Apparently wild dog exhibit in Pitt is more dangerous, as this boy died.

    And the barriers to viewing the animals just keep getting higher, perhaps enticing even more parents to hoist their young higher in their arms… An arms race that ends only when no one can see the animals.

  • Some exhibitors have realized that a Plexiglas barrier protects undersized children even while allowing them to see what their parents see.

  • I was referring to the incident in Pittsburgh.

    There was a barrier in place, Hugo. The mother stood her child on top of it. That’s where he fell from.

    • Jim,

      Hugo’s point was that opaque barriers actually encourage parents to lift up small children so that they can see.

      Some zoos are switching to transparent barriers that keep people out but allow small children to see into the exhibit while standing on the ground.

  • Maybe we don’t need actual zoos any more. Staring at a large sheet of plex that has animals behind it is not much different from staring at a large-screen TV. In aquariums, there is a bit a of a wow-factor when you can walk thru a plex tube and have all the fish swimming around you, but that is really not like actually swimming in the sea, as any scuba diver can tell you.

    I suspect that VR is going to take over from all these faux-fantasy sites. It does not require you to travel, it is arguably safer, is better for the environment, allows the right people to incorporate appropriate teaching moments into the experience, and protects the vulnerable from all sorts of unpleasantness that might be upsetting to delicate constitutions. All good progressive goals. And it leaves the real experience alone, to be savored by people who really appreciate it.

    • 1. Zoos do a good deal more than let people gawk at animals. Captive breeding programs run by zoos have saved a number of species from the brink of extinction.

      2. Not many people can afford TVs large enough to show animals life size (for the distances typical for viewing distances typical in a zoo environment. In fact few could afford houses large enough to accommodate such a set even if they could afford the set itself.

      3. VR is a long ways (generations) away from replacing zoos, even if the scenery is generated from cameras in a RL zoo. We’ll talk again when someone builds a VR system capable of handling all five senses.