In July of last year, Ramon Aponte Jr., his wife, and their two daughters flew from New Jersey to Orlando, Florida, with the intention of spending time at The Most Magical Place on Earth. As Mr. Aponte had recently been diagnosed with brain cancer, the family eagerly anticipated their upcoming trip. Mr. Aponte Jr. had undergone brain surgery and numerous rounds of chemotherapy to eliminate the tumour. The Disney World vacation was intended to help the family build lovely memories that would last a lifetime, but tragically, this did not occur.
Mr. Aponte Jr. and his family visited Toy Story Land at Disney’s Hollywood Studios on July 8. They opted to wait in line for the extremely popular ride, Toy Story Mania, while they were there. Mr. Aponte Jr. observed two youngsters attempting to access the Lightning Lane, which requires a reservation. A Disney Cast Member advised the teenagers that they were unable to join the Lightning Lane and would have to wait in the standard standby line. Since they had a reservation, Mr. Aponte Jr. and his family entered Lightning Lane.
Mr. Aponte Jr. claims that while his family was waiting in the Lightning Lane, two teens jumped from the standby line into the Lightning Lane. Hitting the eldest daughter of Mr. Aponte. The family remained silent and decided to avoid the mischievous adolescents.
However, the youths then knocked down the display of 3-D glasses, and as Mr. Aponte Jr. scooped up the glasses, he informed them that they had committed a “a-hole act.” Mr. Aponte Jr. disregarded the teenagers’ retaliation.Both parties entered their respective lanes for the ride, but the teenagers continued to make threats. Mr. Aponte Jr. confronted the teenagers and informed them that their behaviour was unacceptable after receiving repeated threats.
A other Guest informed Mr. Aponte and the teenagers that they were behaving improperly. Then, one of the adolescents threatened Mr. Aponte Jr.’s daughter and shoved him, prompting Mr. Aponte Jr. to push him back. As Mr. Aponte Jr. sought for security, the adolescent then repeatedly struck him in the head.
Mr. Aponte Jr. was able to hunt down the teenagers and bring security with him. Mr. Aponte Jr., his wife, and his children all reported the incident to security. Unfortunately, Mr. Aponte Jr. was arrested for assaulting a minor because the youths were 18 and 17 years old, with 17 being considered “underage.”
Disney issued trespassing notices to Mr. Aponte Jr. and the teens, which prohibited them from entering any Disney theme park in the future.
The accusations against Mr. Aponte have been withdrawn after Assistant State Attorney Alicia Modeen of Florida ruled that the case was “not suited for prosecution.” Mr. Aponte, a disabled veteran who completed numerous tours of service in Iraq, is challenging his exclusion from Disney with documents from his doctor proving his condition.