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Black Girl's Kin Sue Disneyland in Car Giveaway

January 04, 1986

The family of a black 9-year-old girl from Michigan sued Disneyland on Friday in federal district court in Los Angeles because park officials allegedly prevented the youngster from winning a new car that was being given away as part of the amusement park's 30th anniversary celebration last year.

The lawsuit claimed that Jennifer Wright, of Dearborn, Mich., and her family were about to enter the Anaheim park Jan. 3, 1985, but a ticket taker and another park employee held them at the turnstiles for four minutes without explanation. During that time, family attorney Thomas Byrne said, no one came through the turnstiles.

An unidentified white teen-ager suddenly came through a turnstile set aside for annual pass holders, Byrne said. "Then they called him the winner" for being a 30,000th visitor and awarded him a new Pontiac automobile, Byrne added.

The girl's family protested to Disneyland officials in several letters, but they received no reply, the suit said.

Park officials declined comment on the suit, which was also filed Thursday in Santa Ana Superior Court.

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