It’s no secret that 2020 has not been a stroll through Main Street U.S.A for Disney Parks since the pandemic slowed down business big time. Although California officials have barred Disneyland from reopening for seven months to adhere to the state’s health safety guidelines, Walt Disney World has had its doors open since mid-July with precautions in place.
The four parks have continued to see an uptick in attendance, with a reported average of 19,000 guests pouring into Magic Kingdom and 11,000 in Hollywood Studios on weekends nowadays. And with more guests comes more potential for guest liability once again. In recent months, a guest was caught breaking into the park and another was thrown out for yelling A Bug’s Life references without a mask on. On a more alarming note, during Labor Day weekend, a guest brought along a AR-15 rifle, 9mm handgun and over a hundred rounds of ammo to a resort during his family's Disney vacation.
When the 43-year-old Florida man checked into Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort in Orlando at the top of September, a bellman found the two weapons, along with three rifle magazines with 90 total rounds, and two 9mm magazines with 20 rounds total, stuffed into a tennis bag with his belongings. Police were notified of the weapons and the man was questioned at the sheriff’s office.
The man had a valid weapons permit for the guns, and his weapons were subsequently stored for him at the hotel until the end of his trip, according to the incident report filed by Orange County Sheriff’s Office that was obtained by the Orlando Sentinel. The Floridan claimed he brought the weapons along due to safety fears over the recent anti-racism protests that have occurred in Orlando and across the United States. Black Lives Matter protests have remained prominent since the killing of George Floyd by police in May in demand of justice and police reform.
He was not charged for bringing the guns along “because no laws were broken,” per the police report. If the man had brought the weapons into the parks at Walt Disney World, he could have easily faced charges. Disney spokeswoman Andrea Finger made the company policies clear following news of the incident:
Our policy is clear that guns or weapons of any kind are not allowed at our resort regardless of whether someone has a permit.
In December 2019, the owner of a 9mm Smith and Wesson handgun attempted to enter Disney World while in line for security check. He was faced with third-degree felony and carrying concealed firearm charges, along with being banned from the park.
Clearly firearms have no place in a theme park such as Walt Disney World and Disney does not allow weapons on their property even with a permit in hand.