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Disneyland's 59th Anniversary: 10 Legally Weird Disney Incidents

By Brett Snider, Esq. on July 17, 2014 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

Disneyland's 59th Anniversary is today, which makes it a great time to reflect on all the joy (and pain) Disney has brought its fans.

From injury suits to employee beard bans, the company has enjoyed a wide range of legal issues from its employees, intellectual properties, and customers.

It really is a small legal world of Disney, but these 10 legally weird Disney incidents capture the magic of the iconic company:

1. 'Pirates' Ride Costs Man His Fingertips.

A British tourist had his fingertips "walk the plank" after having them sliced off on Disney World's Pirates of the Caribbean ride. Keep your hands inside the ride!

2. Disney Sues Over 'Frozen Land.'

An animated movie called "Frozen Land" got slapped with a trademark suit over Disney's "Frozen" property. Was it just a knock-off?

3. Deadmau5 or Mickey Mouse?

Famous DJ Deadmau5 (pronounced "dead-mouse") fought with Disney over the trademark rights to a black mouse outline with big ears -- sound/look like Mickey?

4. Disney Sinkhole Destroys Fla. Villa.

In 2013, a 100-foot sinkhole near Disney World swallowed up a whole Florida villa, leaving the owner to wonder who was responsible.

5. Disney Relents in 'SEAL Team 6' Fight With Navy.

Disney (probably) respects our armed forces. So it's a good thing the company dropped the application to trademark "SEAL Team 6" in deference to our Navy.

6. Segways Not a Right in Disneyland.

A mom with muscular dystrophy had sued Disneyland for the right to use a Segway in the park. Disney prevailed mostly because she couldn't provide evidence past her own experience.

7. 'Dia de los Muertos' = Escandalo!

Yes you can trademark a holiday name for a movie, but Disney actually backed off this one after the public outcry over its "Dia de los Muertos" trademark proposal.

8. Dishonest Line-Cutters at Disney World.

Disney eventually got wise to the upper-crusty habit of hiring disabled tour guides to allow wealthy patrons to skip the line at Disney World.

9. Beard Ban Busted.

In 2010, Disney dropped its longstanding prohibition on facial hair, perhaps worried about complaints for religious accommodation.

10. ID Thief Goes on 17 Disney Vacations.

Crime may not pay in the long run, but one ID thief managed to squeeze 17 Disney vacations (including two Disney cruises) out of his crime spree.

Happy 59th birthday, Disneyland! For our sake, let's hope your next year will be as legally weird as the last few.

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