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Claim: A hostess working the America Sings attraction was crushed to death by a rotating wall.
Origins: A little more than a week after Disneyland’s refurbished Carousel of Progress theater reopened as America Sings in 1974, an 18-year-old cast member was killed when she became caught between a rotating wall and a stationary one. The Carousel of Progress had been shut down and its animatronic workings shipped to Florida’s Walt Disney
World in 1973; the Disneyland attraction was then revamped and debuted on 29 June 1974 as America Sings. Like its predecessor, the attraction featured an outer ring of six seating areas which rotated around a stationary center housing multiple stages.
On the evening of 8 July 1974, a 18-year-old woman from Santa Ana named Deborah Gail Stone was working the attraction as a hostess. Her job was to greet each new audience as they settled into the seating area. Standing to the left of the stage, she welcomed the guests over a microphone before the outer ring rotated and carried the audience to the first scene of the carousel. About 11:00 PM that evening, Stone approached too closely to the area between the rotating theater wall and the non-moving stage wall and was crushed to death between them. Ride operators were notified by a guest who heard Stone’s screams from an adjacent theater.
Immediately after the accident, America Sings was closed for two days while a safety light that alerted the attraction’s operator whenever someone got too close to the danger area was installed. Eventually the solid walls were replaced with breakaway ones to prevent similar accidents from occurring.
Last updated: 21 August 2007
Koenig, David. Mouse Tales: A Behind-the-Ears Look at Disneyland.
Irvine, CA: Bonaventure Press, 1994. ISBN 0-9640605-5-8 (pp. 172-173).