California Closes Disneyland Ride After Accident


LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - California safety inspectors on Friday said they have closed Disneyland’s Big Thunder Mountain Railroad ride for at least two weeks to investigate a Thursday evening accident, the roller coaster’s third in less than a year.

Three passengers were injured and sent to the hospital after two trains on the Western train-style ride collided in the loading area Thursday evening, said Dean Fryer, a spokesman for the state Division of Occupational Safety and Health.

Walt Disney Co., which owns the Southern California theme park, said it was working with investigators.

Big Thunder partially derailed last September, killing one passenger, after a wheel which held the train on the tracks fell off in a mechanical failure.

In April, two trains without passengers slammed into each other, an accident blamed on operator error.

“What makes this one stand out more is the close proximity of the incidents. There have been three now, two involving patrons, in the course of a year’s time. But our findings of the last two are totally unrelated to each other and we’ve yet to figure out what was the cause of the current incident,” Fryer said.

“It could take several weeks, several months,” to investigate, he said, adding that if the matter were resolved quickly it could still take a couple of weeks.

Disney spokesman Bob Tucker in a statement confirmed that the ride was closed. “The safety of our guests and cast members is our highest priority,” he said. Disney refers to Disneyland employees as “cast members.”

The accident involved “two trains bumping into each other,” he said, declining to give further details.

The three injured passengers, who complained of neck and back pains, were a family of Canadians, including a 44-year-old woman, a 42-year-old man and a 10-year old boy, Anaheim Fire Department spokeswoman Maria Sabol said.

Fryer said they were released from the hospital on Thursday evening.


This is so sad! I hope they are allright! And this right after Disney spent so much time and money making sure the ride was safe! I really hope they dont decide to scrap the ride, but I can kinda see it happening.



I don’t think they need to get rid of the ride…I think they need to take everything apart and find out why it keeps messing up. I mean 2 times in less than a year is insane! They need to work on the computer running it as well. I think it needs to close for a good 6-12 months so they can do a thorough test. When I heard about it and posted it all I could think was…“again? Geez”


Actually, this was caused by a CM who wasn’t paying attention. It was not the same problem as before, which was caused by a malfunction in the track.


Oh I see…I thought the one in April was the operator one. I hadn’t reallly heard what caused this. Then again I never really followed up on Friday. I just remember seeing it Thursday night on the news here.


I don’t see how a collision can be a CM error. The computer systems on roller coasters are designed to run themselves and prevent any collisions using a blocking system. Essentially, the computer system should have prevented the two trains from being in the same block. It is not the job of a Castmember to make sure trains are not in the same block.

The computer, if it was working properly, would have recognized that the loading areas were already full and would have stopped the oncoming train in the final brake run.

Unless Big Thunder Mountain runs on a very untraditional computer system, this was definitely not the error of a Castmember.


Oh My Again? I hope the people injured are ok. Mechanical error or CM, it still shouldn’t have happened. I hope they get to the bottom of it nad correct it immediately…right this time.


That is scary. I cannot believe that something like this could happen in such a short amount of time.


Its strange because the ride ran flawlessly for all those years. I understand the derailment accident because that was a result of Paul Presslers wonderful budget cuts… But why is the computer system having so many problems?? Disney should invest in getting a Consign AG system for the ride. The company has a perfect safety record!


i never heard of the incident that took place in april. but it is still sad that this ride is closed because of the accidents. i just hope that it won’t be closed indefinitely. i also hope that it doesn’t lose its popularity in WDW, you know. that’s a great ride but it’ll be sad to see not many people on it in september because of the incidents that took place in DL.


Y’know, it’s funny…I used to think about the previous accidents every time I rode Big Thunder recently, but I told myself I was being silly. I told myself, “After the 2 accidents that have already happened here, there’s no way anything will happen again.” Well, lookie here…I hardly know what to think, except that I’m scared to ever ride it again!!!


use to ride that ride all of the time. but now i can’t ride it because i’m disable, use to to love it. still wish i could ride on it. i don’t think they should shut it down, they should reslove the problem and reopen it.


I really hope the people who were hurt are okay, and I also hope (call me a bit jaded, I used to work for attorneys) that they aren’t exaggerating the situation so they can sue the heck outta Disney. :ph34r:

In my opinion, this ride just has to go. :sad:


Being an electrical systems specialist, I have paid attention to some of the systems running alot of the rides at Disney in Orlando. If they haven’t been changed recently I would imagine the Programmable Controls are a little outdated are no longer supported by the OEM. We have had to change out ours at a high cost, but with budget cuts, we have had to postpone alot of the updates. I am sure that they have to have some type of redundant systems in place where injury is possible like that, but I couldn’t tell for sure. I can, btw, vouch for the failure of electrical components. If the ride has been running for a while, they must have implemented a schedule for swapping out devices on a pedicted failure basis. Even with that you still run an upside down bell curve on failures. Anyway, the view as I see it.


This is all very sad. First of all I hope that those injured on BTR get better soon.

The next thing I’d like to say is that the words of Roy Disney ring ever more true in light of these accidents. The Disney Corp should not be thinking about investing money in the building of more Parks before ensuring that the existing ones are safe and are of high quality build and control.

In particular those Parks with rides that are getting a little long in the tooth need to be looked at. Don’t get me wrong I don’t want to see these rides closed down…I love them …but merely updated technologically in the way that they are operated. To blame CMs for these accidents is absurd. The safety of a ride should never ever be their responsibilty anyway.


I agree with you absolutely about the company needing to spend more money on their current parks than on future parks. Once again, just so everyone knows, I despise Michael Eisner.

However, regarding the CMs being “blamed”…of course I do not know the exact situation, because I was not there. But I do know that in the most current BTM accident, it was not a result of any mechanical failure. It was merely a cast member failing to pay attention. So as sad as it is, we can get blamed for these things. Because sometimes…we do make serious mistakes. :sad:


Just a thought. Shouldn’t there be a computer system in place that alerts CMs to any potential problem that might require attention before the ride can proceed ? It would necessitate a conscious action by the CM to ensure safety at all times and go a long way to eliminating accidents.

I’d hate to be endlessly going around Mickey’s ears on California Screamin waiting for a CM to realise there’s a problem…or maybe not…sounds like fun.


Is this ride still closed??? What did they find??


I haven’t heard anything new either…

I do however think Disney really needs to take a long look at this situation. They have a GREAT track record for safety, cleanliness, etc in their parks. DL’s version of BTMRR is really starting to tarnish that reputation.


I would hate to this ride close at either location. It is the first ‘rollercoaster’-type ride my youngest DS ever rode. And he loved it! He talks about riding it over and over the next time we go.