Emma McGuinness traveled with her family to Walt Disney World in October 2019, in part to celebrate her 30th birthday.
But when she went down a 214-foot water slide called the Humunga Kowabunga, she experienced a “painful wedgie” and “suffered severe and permanent bodily injury,” according to a lawsuit that she and her husband, Edward McGuinness, filed in Orange County, Fla., last week.
The lawsuit seeks at least $50,000 in damages and accuses Walt Disney Parks and Resorts of negligence.
Disney World did not immediately respond to emails seeking comment. Humunga Kowabunga is part of the Typhoon Lagoon water park at Disney World, in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. Disney’s website says the slide features “a near-vertical, five-story drop — in the dark!”
According to the lawsuit, Ms. McGuinness followed the slide’s instructions for riders, which direct them to cross their legs at the ankles. But as she neared the end of the slide, “her body lifted up, she become airborne and she was slammed downward against the slide, which increased the likelihood of her legs becoming uncrossed or otherwise exposing herself to injury,” the lawsuit says.
“The impact of the slide and her impact into the standing water at the bottom of the slide caused Ms. McGuinness’s clothing to be painfully forced between her legs and for water to be violently forced inside her,” the lawsuit says. “She experienced immediate and severe pain internally and, as she stood up, blood began rushing from between her legs.”
She was taken to a hospital by ambulance for treatment and was eventually brought to another hospital for the “repair of her gynecologic injuries by a specialist,” the lawsuit says, adding that she had “severe vaginal lacerations.” The suit says that Ms. McGuinness’s bowel also protruded through her abdominal wall and that she had damage to her internal organs.
The complaint says the slide carries risks that Disney World knew about, or should have known about.
“Specifically, when a rider of the slide reached the bottom of the ride and traveled into the pool of water designed to stop further travel, the force of the water can push loose garments into a person’s anatomy — an event known as a ‘wedgie,’” the lawsuit states. “Because of a woman’s anatomy, the risk of a painful ‘wedgie’ is more common and more serious than it is for a man.”
Mr. McGuinness “has suffered loss of his wife’s care, comfort, consortium, support and services,” the lawsuit states. The couple’s lawyer, Alan F. Wagner, did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
Unlike other water slides at Typhoon Lagoon, the Humunga Kowabunga does not involve the use of a raft or tube, according to the lawsuit, which claims that riders on the slide reach speeds of nearly 40 miles per hour.
Disney World failed to provide Ms. McGuinness and other patrons with “proper protective clothing or equipment necessary” to ride the slide, the suit says. The resort also failed to warn her and others of the “inherent dangers” of the attraction and failed to fix “the defective and unreasonably dangerous condition that caused Ms. McGuinness to become airborne” as she descended the slide, the lawsuit says.
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