Death at Disneyland

by David Koenig, contributing writer

Don't miss “Koenig Radio” — tonight (June 24)! Details below.

Anaheim police are awaiting autopsy results for a four-month-old baby who died at Disneyland Monday Monday, June 9.

After exiting Pirates of the Caribbean, the family realized that their infant son had stopped breathing. They called for help, and quickly park security, emergency medical personnel, and police were on the scene.

According to an onlooker at the Disney Gallery: “A cast member informed me that there was a baby who was not breathing over near Pirates. When I looked out, I saw a crowd of people over to the right of the entrance to Pirates (near the Royal Street Verandah), but no baby. The guests were being held back by security cast members and managers. They made a really big semi-circle around the area. After a few minutes, the crowd dissipated and everything went back to normal.

The child was rushed to the hospital, but was not revived.

Since the family had just ridden Pirates, management shut down the ride and notified the state Division of Occupational Safety and Health. D.O.S.H. thoroughly inspected the attraction on Tuesday June 10 and found nothing inoperable or dangerous that could have contributed to the baby's death. Pirates reopened the following day.

As well, Anaheim police Sgt. Rick Martinez denied rumors that the infant suffered a physical injury. Results of a medical examination could show if the boy had a pre-existing condition. The officer speculated that the child died of natural causes, while admitting, “I know this kind of thing is not supposed to just happen.”

On a Roll

Disneyland's Custodial Department is considering putting sweepers back on wheels. Some sweepers currently roll around on in-line skates at Disney's California Adventure park, and a few years ago the experiment was tested at Disneyland.

At least one cast member thinks it won't last. “It seems like no one remembers why it did not work at Disneyland,” he said. “Most of the park has bricks or cobblestones. And on a really busy day, we are going to have a lot of collisions between guests and cast members."

Edwin Remembered

Due to the calls, letters and e-mail received from dozens of guests and cast members, a “Magical Memories” stone has been installed in the promenade between Disneyland and DCA to honor the late New Orleans Square musician Edwin Pleasants.

Edwin's stone is number 033, located in Section C59. The address map and certificate for the marker were sent to his family.

A new tile in the Esplanade remembers Edwin Pleasants.

Former cast member Heather, who organized efforts to encourage the park to honor Edwin, sends her thanks to MousePlanet readers who joined the cause: “Thank you so much for your help and encouragement in this venture. It's gratifying knowing that we all did something special to remember this wonderful man.”

Saxophonist Edwin Pleasants, one of Disneyland's most memorable characters, passed away at the age of 68 in early 2002 after a battle with cancer. Pleasants entertained guests around Royal Street in New Orleans Square for 20 years.

Radio DisneyLand

Now, I am the last person on earth who would suggest anyone listen to radio's Howard Stern. But you might listen to his Southern California affiliate, KLSX 97.1 FM, tonight (Tuesday, June 24), starting at 8:00.

The talk will be all about Disneyland. I'll be in studio with guest host Riki Rachman, and we'll take plenty of calls. Rachman, while known for his appearances hosting MTV shows and wrestling matches, has a fondness for the Happiest Place on Earth.

The last time I appeared on his show, he went out of his way not to slam Disney and only poked fun, once, at Disney's California Adventure. “A theme park about California in California?” he asked. “What were they thinking? Who would want to see that?”

We then cut to a commercial — for DCA.