EXCLUSIVE: Walt Disney Parks and Resorts have dramatically stepped up their security measures in response to the mass shooting of June 12 that saw 49 people dead and 53 injured in a nightclub in Orlando, Florida. The company almost immediately increased undercover security and surveillance at Disney World, Disneyland and other domestic resorts after Sunday’s fatal shootings at the nearby Pulse club, sources close to the situation tell Deadline.
Along with that response becoming more long term, there will be more defense measures put in place in other aspects of the company’s parks business too. The likes of the Florida city’s Disney Springs, previously called Downtown Disney, has commonly been light in terms of security without the use of bag checks or metal detectors. More plainclothes security will now be in the area as well as potential uniformed security too in coming weeks. There is no word if more visible or electronic security systems will be put in place.
Additionally, sources say that event days at the theme parks like the unofficial Gay Days celebration that has been held on the premises since the 1990s will see much more security going forward – again, some apparent and some more stealth. This year’s Gay Days were held in Orlando from May 31 to June 6. The Anaheim dates at Disneyland are currently set from September 30 to October 2.
“Unfortunately we’ve all been living in a world of uncertainty, and we have been increasing our security measures across our properties for some time, adding such visible safeguards as magnetometers, additional canine units, and law enforcement officers on site, as well as less visible systems that employ state-of-the-art security technologies,” a Disney spokesperson said on Tuesday.
Days after the murderous San Bernardino shootings of December 2, Disney banned toy guns and Star Wars blasters at its parks and resorts. As well, the company added more metal detectors, random checks and a ban on visitors over the age of 14 wearing costumes or masks on the properties
Contacted by Deadline, the FBI would neither confirm nor deny today that it has had discussions with Disney about security at the company’s parks and resorts nor that the Orlando shooter was on the premises recently in a possible scouting of the area. The shootings at the Pulse nightclub are the worst mass shooting in American history.