(photo credit WFTV News)
WFTV News is reporting that last Friday a Miami Lawyer was arrested trying to smuggle a gun inside the Magic Kingdom Park in Walt Disney World Resort in Florida.
According to the report, A Walt Disney World security guard noticed a bulge in a mans pants in the bag check line. The man, Andrew Gerson, 36, tried to make a joke about it being part of his anatomy.
The security guard located a sheriff’s deputy and the deputy followed Gerson at a distance, but when he noticed he was being followed, he started running.
The sheriffs deputy reportedly drew his weapon and ordered the suspect to stop.
Gerson then dropped to his knees and admitted he had a weapon. The weapon was a snub-nosed revolver loaded with five hollow-point bullets.
“He did the right thing,” said Orange County Capt. Angelo Nieves. “He offered the commands, and the subject did obey and surrendered to the deputy.”
“We immediately engaged law enforcement and the matter was resolved quickly and without incident,” a Walt Disney World representative said. “Our policies are clear, and we have zero tolerance for any violation of them.”
Investigators said Gerson claimed he had a concealed weapons permit, but officials said the permit expired 10 years ago.
Is it Really Safe to Go to Disney World? – 5 Things to Consider
by Chad Nykamp
While personal safety is usually a concern on some level for most people, it rarely bubbles up to the surface when we’re at Walt Disney World. After all, it’s the Happiest Place on Earth, right? There is a tendency to believe that nothing bad (other than rain) ever happens in this magical place. However, every time a terrorist attack grabs the headlines and our attention many guests are going to start wondering how safe they really are when they visit the parks. So, in light of the recent attacks in Paris, France, is it safe to go to Walt Disney World? Obviously, not even Madame Leota can predict the future or make guarantees. But here are 5 things to consider when making a decision about visiting Disney World.
5 – Bad News/Good News
The bad news is, for obvious reasons, Disney World is going to be on the list of attractive targets. Lot’s of people in a place that is so closely tied with the American way of life. However, this is good news as well. As such, Walt Disney World will be top of mind for the various government agencies as far as monitoring and protection. In other words, the higher profile the target is, the closer attention everyone pays and the more resources are dedicated to protection.
4 – Disney Security Presence
Disney World has an enormous security apparatus far beyond bag checkers at the front gate. While the bag check is the most obvious (and in some ways only) thing we see it’s barely the tip of the iceberg. Disney World has an extensive network of cameras deployed throughout it’s property that is monitored for any type of suspicious activity. There are also many plain clothes security personnel deployed through out the public areas that intentionally blend in to the crowd but are watching and waiting to respond to any threat. In instances where there is any concern it is impressive how quickly security seems to materialize out of nowhere. Disney parks also have an impressive system of barricades in place to protect both on stage and back stage areas. These are the things you see. Undoubtedly, there is far more in place that we don’t.
3 – Disney Cooperation with Law Enforcement
In addition to the Disney Security Cast Members, you will almost always see uniformed Sherriff’s Officers at the entrances to the parks as well. Disney World has a long history of working with law enforcement agencies to ensure the safety of their guests. The also actively employ both current and former members of law enforcement to provide both uniformed and undercover security services and protection. This of course is what you see. There are many rumors about how deep the relationship between Disney and its extensive use of new technology and the government go. Certainly, much of this speculation is probably far fetched and off the mark. However, what is safe to assume is that given the high profile nature of Disney Parks there is active cooperation between Disney and the various governmental agencies tasked with keeping us safe.
2 – Disney Wrote the Book on this Stuff
Disney literally wrote the book on providing security for large public gathering places such as the theme parks. Interestingly, in the wake of the September 11 attacks the federal and many state governments went to Disney to develop strategies and best practices for providing security for crowded public areas. Disney has always been a leader and innovator in this area and for good reason.
1 – Disney has a Lot to Lose
At the end of the day, what gives me the most comfort in visiting Disney parks is considering, along with points 2-5, is how much Disney has to lose if it doesn’t protect the safety of it’s guests and employees. Disney is a massive company (#84 in the world according to Forbes) with hundreds of billions of dollars at stake. A terrorist attack at a Disney Park would be devastating for the company and its shareholders. These are smart people who understand what’s at risk. I have a lot of confidence in their resources and their will to protect their best interests.
There are many facts about what Disney does to keep us safe that we know. There are many more things they are doing behind the scenes that we don’t know about. Bottom line, visiting places like Disney World in the age of global terrorism is a choice that every person must make for themselves. As for our family, we will continue to enjoy the parks, make family memories, and appreciate all the Disney Company and each Cast Member, whether on stage or off, does to make our visits not only enjoyable but as safe as is possibly can be.