December 6, 1995 in Nation/World

Disney Sued After Kids’ Fantasy Ruined

Compiled From Wire Services

A former Mouseketeer who was robbed in a Disneyland parking lot is suing the park, claiming her grandchildren were traumatized when they were taken to an office and allowed to see Disney characters remove their costumes.

Billie Jean Matay, 52, was returning to the car with her daughter and three grandchildren after a day in the park Aug. 17 when a gunman robbed them, police said. The robber wasn’t caught.

In a lawsuit filed last week in Superior Court, Matay contends park security was lax, guards held her family against their will for questioning, and Disneyland workers exposed her grandchildren “to the reality that the Disney characters were, in fact, make-believe.”

Matay, who appeared on television’s “Mickey Mouse Club” and was a member of the troupe that performed at Disneyland’s 1955 opening, is seeking unspecified damages for negligence and emotional distress.

In 1990, an Idaho couple settled out of court after contending their children were traumatized by seeing Disney characters carrying their costume heads.

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