Florida’s theme parks are legendary. They are among the greatest tourism draws in the state, aside from the beaches, with millions paying hard-earned money for a chance to meet their favorite movie characters or climb aboard a thrill ride.
But the industry is not as tightly regulated as one might think. While the Department of Agriculture is responsible for inspecting amusement park rides and carnivals, the state’s largest theme parks – Universal, Disney and Sea World – are exempted from that oversight from the state. The reason is because those parks have more than 1,000 workers and also full-time inspectors on staff. Lobbyists for the industry fought hard for those exemptions.
Critics have rightfully asserted that having internal inspectors investigate park-related accidents is a clear conflict of interests. When inspectors are paid for by the parks.