Child Sustains Head Injury on Disney Resort Property, Lawsuit Filed in Federal Court

pool at aulani
Credit: ITM/Canva

A new lawsuit filed in federal court in the state of California claims that a pool area owned by Disney Parks and Resorts is too slippery and that Disney has known about the problem for years but refused to take steps to correct the situation.

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Credit: ITM

In March 2023, Scott and Danielle Thompson took their ten-year-old son with them on a trip to Disney’s Aulani Resort & Spa, located in Kapolei, Hawaii. The Thompson family was looking forward to their vacation on the island of O’ahu, but their trip started out on the wrong foot–almost literally–when, on the first day of their Disney Hawaiian adventure, they visited the Waikolohe Pool at the Disney resort.

A Head Injury at Aulani

According to court documents, the Thompson’s son slipped and fell in the area around the Waikolohe Pool, hitting his head. His injuries required emergency medical treatment that included a trip to the emergency room at The Queen’s Medical Center in West O’ahu. While they were at the hospital, the Thompsons’ son’s injuries further required stitches to close a wound he sustained to the back of his head as a result of his fall at the pool area.

Now, the Thompsons have filed suit against The Walt Disney Company, alleging that the area around the Waikolohe Pool at Disney’s Aulani Resort & Spa is dangerously slippery, and thus, resulted in their child’s fall and related injuries.

Waikolohe Pool at Aulani Resort

According to Disney’s Aulani website, the Waikolohe Pool is the largest of the pools at the resort, spanning more than 8,200 square feet. The pool offers a zero-entry feature and a tunnel body slide called the Volcanic Vertical.

waikolohe pool at aulani

Aulani’s Waikolohe Pool/Credit: Disney Parks

There are also poolside parties with Disney characters that appear as part of a special signature celebration at Aulani. The website also notes that Waikolohe is Hawaiian for “mischievous water,” something Disney claims the “pool lives up to,” thanks to its “whimsical features.”

According to court documents filed as part of the lawsuit, Disney has known about the dangers of the pool area surface since 2013, but Disney has yet to apply any kind of anti-slip surface to the area. The lawsuit also alleges that the resort has not properly maintained the area in an effort to prevent guests from slipping and falling in the area.

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Credit: Disney Aulani

“… It should provide adequate warnings prior to, and at the time of, [a guest’s] arrival that its grounds are particularly slippery and that it has failed to apply anti-slip products and/or technology on the ground to decrease the likelihood of slips and falls,” the suit claims.

Local Hospital Says This Isn’t the First Time

Emergency room medical provider Lauren Pangle at The Queen’s Medical Center in West O’ahu, Hawaii, reportedly told the couple that their son wasn’t the first patient that hospital staff had treated due to a slip and fall at Disney’s Hawaiian resort. According to court documents, Pangle told the Thompsons that the medical staff at The Queen’s Medical Center had treated multiple children who experienced the same incident that the Thompsons’ son had faced–slipping and falling at the pool area at Disney’s Aulani Resort.

hospital near aulani resort in oahu

Credit: Queens Medical Center

Multiple reviews of the resort on the TripAdvisor website also noted multiple slip and fall accidents in the pool area related to the slippery surface, according to the lawsuit.

The plaintiffs, Scott and Danielle Thompson, are represented by Francis J. “Casey” Flynn, Jr. of the Law Offices of Francis J. Flynn, Jr., in the Disney Aulani pool class action lawsuit, named Thompson, et al. v. The Walt Disney Co., with Case No. 2:23-cv-09441, and the suit was filed in the United States District Court for the Central District of California.

About Becky Burkett

Becky's from the Lone Star State and has been writing since she was 10 and encountered her first Disney Park when she was 11. It was love at first Main Street Electrical Parade. Joy is blank lined journals, 0.7 mm pens, and all things Walt, Woody and Buzz, PIXAR, Imagineering, Sleeping Beauty (make it blue!), Disney Parks history and EPCOT. At Disney World, you'll find her croonin' with the birdies at the Enchanted Tiki Room or hangin' with Woody and the gang at Toy Story Land. If you can dream, you really can do it!