38-year-old Jose Calderon Arana suffered a fatal heart attack two years ago after taking the “Skull Island: Reign of Kong” ride at Universal Orlando Resort. He had heart problems, didn’t speak or read English, and now his family has filed a wrongful death lawsuit, arguing that Universal was negligent by not displaying warning signs in Spanish, since it knew that many tourist were non-English speakers.
Skull Island employs animatronics and 3D screens to simulate a truck expedition through the monster-filled island depicted in the “King Kong” movies. (If those icky giant bugs are on the ride, I might have a heart attack.) A very large sign at the entrance says, in English, “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.” It goes on to warn that people with heart conditions or abnormal blood pressure, back or neck conditions, and expectant mothers shouldn’t go on the ride. Graphics accompany the warnings:
HO HO KABOOM!
Call it “Miraculous Stupidity On Six Flags’ Street.” I’m sure I could come up with something more clever if my brains weren’t splattered on the walls and ceiling.
Jerry Henderson and his wife visit Six Flags Over Texas almost every weekend to walk the park for exercise. Jerry has white hair,a long white beard, and a little round belly that shakes when he laughs like a bowl full of jelly. Around this time of year, he wears a red vest and a Santa hat.
“This ain’t a costume,” says Henderson. “I go to Walmart like this. This is me,” he said. “I enjoy making kids smile.” He’s looked like Santa Claus for almost 20 years . On this visit to the theme park, a woman asked him to pose for a picture with her children. “Knelt down, put my arms around them, and afterward I reached in my wife’s walker, pulled out two candy canes, handed it to them,” recalled Henderson. The kids were thrilled.
Jerry was then confronted by park security, who ordered him to leave the park. “For what reason? Jerry asked. The stupid answer was, “You look too much like Santa Claus.” Continue reading