How will Orlando theme parks react to the Pulse nightclub shooting?

June 12, 2016, 8:38 AM · If you haven't yet heard the horrible news, a gunman killed 50 people in an Orlando nightclub early this morning — focusing the world's attention on Central Florida in a most unwelcome way.

I'll refer you to our friends at the Orlando Sentinel for ongoing coverage of the attack, in which the gunman ultimately was killed. The shooting — now the deadliest recent mass shooting inside the United States — came one day after another shooting in Orlando that attracted international headlines — the killing of singer Christina Grimmie.

In both cases, according to local police, the shooters were not from Orlando, but came to the city to carry out their attacks. Obviously, that's troubling for everyone in the Orlando area. No one wants the community to become an attractive target for outside criminals and terrorists. Nor does anyone in the tourism industry want the public to begin conflating easily the words "Orlando" and "shooting," and thereby reconsider their vacation plans to the area.

The Pulse nightclub was located on South Orange Avenue, well way from the traditional tourist zones of the city. But it certainly was known and frequented by cast and team members of the Walt Disney World and Universal Orlando resorts, as well as employees of other area attractions. We've not seen a list of the victims, but it is hard to imagine that cast and team members will not be among them.

The challenge today is to embrace and comfort the survivors, and the friends of families of the lost. Then, to promote and ensure the continued safety of all other residents and visitors to the area. It's a rough, rough day today in Orlando. But here's our message to our friends throughout the community — we're all here for you, no matter where we are.

(Note: I'm not in the mood for hateful comments right now. Not that I accept or condone what happened, but I recognize that hate and anger is what led us to this horror. More hate and anger will lead only to more horrors, somewhere down the road.)

Replies (29)

June 12, 2016 at 8:47 AM · Without in any way wishing to scare or over-hype the danger it is only a matter of time before a terrorist attack is focused on a theme park. The nature and intent of terrorism is to create terror and one day those whose hatred of the West is so great that they will commit any atrocity to further their cause will move onto the relatively obvious target of people enjoying a family day out in a flagrantly decadent and Western way. There's real concern in France this week that the European Football Championships are a likely target and again they're right to be worried - lots of ordinary people gathered together having a good time. When your world view is so warped that this offends you it's an obvious target.
Our only response is to be vigilant, to be careful, but to carry on and be ourselves. If we change ourselves in any way or change our behaviours the terrorists have already won.
June 12, 2016 at 9:37 AM · Longtime reader and International Disney CM, posting anonymously. A terrible tragedy. I am dreading the list of victims. At what many know as the 'CP Housing', live thousands of us 18 year old+ international Cast Members who come to the USA and work at Disney World for a year. I have had fellow international CM friends on this program who cannot express their sexuality openly due to cultural norms of their country and for many, homosexuality is still a punishable crime. The program and Orlando more generally, provides an escape for hundreds, if not thousands of these international CMs. They can come here and for the first times in their lives, be accepted without fear of being punished. I dread to think that some of these victims, for whom places such as Pulse are a safe-place free of judgement, are involved in this terrible tragedy.

Thoughts are with all those affected.

June 12, 2016 at 10:01 AM · Universal has got to be given credit for the use of metal detectors prior to entering their parks, both in Hollywood and Orlando. Hopefully other parks who haven't done so will follow as well.
June 12, 2016 at 11:37 AM · Disney has had such poor gate security until recently, they should count their lucky stars this didn't happen at DLR or WDW.
I don't understand why assault rifles are legal. If these type of shootings continue to happen in a way that it starts to impact the bottom line of corporate America, then you will see change in the laws.
June 12, 2016 at 11:57 AM · I had planned on going to Orlando for the first time ever in July. After hearing about Christina Grimmie, I cancelled my plane tickets and requested a refund for my SeaWorld, Disney World, and Universal Orlando tickets. Now I hear about the shooting and this is just devastating. I don't think I'm going to Orlando for a long time
June 12, 2016 at 2:58 PM · This shooting was a hate crime, targeting a specific group, the LGBT community. It has nothing to do with tourism. No need to cancel travel plans because of this. And Disney has a lot more security than a nightclub.
June 12, 2016 at 2:01 PM · This was a terrible act, and my heart goes out to the victims family, friends and the Orlando community.

I do think that allowing things like this to change the way we live and travel is pointless. These kind of attacks can happen at any time, in any place. There is no evidence yet that it was religiously motivated, but whether it was or not living in fear solves no problems, and only further harms those already affected (in this case the Orlando community who rely on the tourism dollar for their income).

June 12, 2016 at 2:42 PM · @disneyversal: This could just as easily happen in LA. Or Chicago. Or New York. Or some back-water town. No-where is safe, and yet everywhere is safe. The chances of you getting caught up in something like this are vanishingly small. No one can predict where the next crack-pot extremist will surface, but frankly right now Orlando is probably the safest place in the US....
June 13, 2016 at 9:57 AM · My thoughts go out to the families but I think we do not need to make this terrible act into its going to happen at a theme park, that just gives them what they want, fear.

June 12, 2016 at 4:40 PM · My thoughts go out to all of the victims and their loved ones.
June 12, 2016 at 4:41 PM · Tony Perkins writes: "Disney has had such poor gate security until recently, they should count their lucky stars this didn't happen at DLR or WDW."

I Respond: Please provide us with all of your in depth insight into the WDW and DLR security operations that would lead you to make such an assessment. Please tell us about how you gained unique and detailed awareness/knowledge of the company's procedures.

June 12, 2016 at 5:12 PM · Can we please refrain from using this horrible situation into an excuse to push a political agenda?
June 12, 2016 at 6:02 PM · Several years ago on the news in Portland, OR, a man woke up to put some coffee on. He then returned to his room, only to find a stream of light that had gone through his roof, ceiling, pillow, mattress, and into the floor. A small meteorite had made the hole. He was grateful to have made his coffee that morning. I tell you this story so you can see that even staying home can be dangerous. This is an ugly world, but it's also a beautiful world. Don't let things like this change your plans. Go and live your lives. Visit theme parks. Treat your kids. This is horrible and sad, but we can't put our lives on hold because of it. Some of my best memories center around theme parks, and now that I'm a father, I'm continuing that tradition that my parents made before me. For me, Disney and Universal is all about love (a lot of money, too). I'll keep traveling and keep living my life.
June 13, 2016 at 10:14 AM · I can respond that Disney's back of gate security is pretty abysmal. All you needed was a black Mickey sticker on your bumper, and most guards waved you through. If they did stop you a non photo ID sufficed. They have gone to photo ID's but seriously I just got waved through basically no matter what back area I entered. Even my managers at the time said the security was a joke. My friends who are still there say it's hardly improved.
June 12, 2016 at 7:56 PM · @TH_Creative
Before installing metal detectors at the gates, it was trivially easy to bring guns or bombs into the park by strapping them to one's body.
June 13, 2016 at 12:19 AM · As the authorities at Brussels airport discovered crowds of people standing in line OUTSIDE a secure area are just as vulnerable to a bomb attack as those beyond the barriers. A terrorist could create just as much mayhem, possibly more, by targeting the people in line waiting to get through the security barriers at Disney as they could beyond them.

The simple truth is that there is NOTHING a government can do to stop terrorism. And if you choose to stay at home bear in mind that statistically you are more likely to die from a domestic accident in the home than from leaving it.

The only answer is to carry on as normal, but just be vigilant and sensible.

June 13, 2016 at 12:29 AM · I had a trip planned with my mother in November of 2001, just 6 weeks after 9/11. She wanted to cancel as we were flying from Nevada to Florida. I refused sighting that life goes on, it has to go on, and changing our lives because of acts such as these is what keeps us from winning this war. Appropriate humor, happiness, kindness, consideration and making future plans are all necessary in the scheme of things. Don't let cowardly acts of hatred win.
June 13, 2016 at 12:34 AM · The only way to fight this hateful section of society, is to stand in solidarity as good, decent people, live our lives to fullest and carry on with our lives with hope in our hearts.

My heart is with Orlando, my adopted second home. I hope that all of us who use this website, and those you love, were safe.

June 13, 2016 at 12:44 AM · This is a very tragic event, and my thoughts go out to those present at the club (regardless of how they made it out), as well as the families of the victims. It is unacceptable that this type of incident happens as frequently as it does, but unfortunately there is very little that can be done to prevent it. The elimination of terrorism would require global change, and sadly that is highly unlikely to happen.

As for modifying travel plans, I'll just say this: I do not currently have any plans to visit Orlando, but if I did I would not change them. One isolated incident is not an indication of increased danger because an isolated incident can occur anywhere. The goal of terrorism is to place terror into a population, and the best way to fight that is to avoid being terrified and go on with life. In my opinion, if a terrorist commits a horrible act and 1% of the population changes their daily routine due to it, the terrorist has won. Besides, there are things the average person does on a daily basis that, according to statistics, they should be much more afraid of.

June 13, 2016 at 3:29 AM · Whenever these security discussions happen, some say it doesn't matter if there are metal detectors at the gates because then the perpetrator will shoot everyone up at the gate. That line of reasoning belies one of the most important reasons for having a security gate: that the space beyond the gate is safe. That space is where masses of people will spend their entire day and can then feel a good bit of safety. This is why most stadiums, airports, major tourist attractions (Empire State Building, Statue of Liberty, etc.) and government offices (White House, Capitol, etc.) have security gates. It's not about stopping a mass shooting from happening at all, it's about stopping it from happening in a certain location. I, for one, am happy to watch the fireworks in front of the castle with thousands of other guests in the dimly light hub without unduly worrying about bombs and guns.
June 13, 2016 at 8:43 AM · A terribly sad event! My heart goes out to all the families and those who witnessed the events unfolding first hand. For the city of Orlando and especially the LGBT community, my heart feels such pain. Orlando is a wonderful destination for everyone but sometimes not even Disney magic can hide the reality of hatred that surrounds us.
June 13, 2016 at 10:02 AM · David Brown, I agree it does not have to be the park itself, image the mayhem if it was on the boat or monorail train, I think Disney needs to take the metal detectors back to entry points on the monorail and boats if they want to be 100 percent safe, this would include entry to hotels as well. It a sad world we live in that a small minority of people can bring such hurt and pain to normal people's way of life but this is the world we live In today that a small amount of people can cause such widespread panic and people second guessing there next move. I for one will carry out my normal day to day life and not allow others like this to make me change my plans.
June 13, 2016 at 11:32 AM · Again, this wasn't a terrorist act, it was a hate crime. And the only connection to theme parks is that it occurred in Orlando.
June 13, 2016 at 3:21 PM · A quote on another site about the attacker that you hope was not true,

Federal law enforcement says that Disney Springs at Walt Disney World was a potential target of the Orlando Pulse nightclub gunman, Omar Mateen.
Mateen visited Walt Disney World in April with his wife, Noor Zahi Salman, who told investigators that he had been “scouting Downtown Disney (now known as Disney Springs) and Pulse for attacks.”

June 13, 2016 at 4:14 PM · I know I am coming into this a bit late, but one of the first victums identified from this horrible event was a Universal "Cast Member" (or whatever they call them).

June 13, 2016 at 4:26 PM · "this wasn't a terrorist act" really? while he's screaming Allah Akbar, & pledging loyalty to ISIS, seriously? It's a hate crime in the sense that radical Islamic terrorists hate gay people. If it walks, talks, looks like, smells like, acts like, calls himself a duck, guess's a duck.
Now there are reports that he scouted Disney Springs & perhaps WDW.
June 13, 2016 at 11:09 PM · Shame. Someone that worked there with me passed in this shooting. We weren't friends, but we had the opportunity to meet. I send my condolences to Jerald Wright's family.
June 14, 2016 at 12:02 AM · I have no words. Just :(
June 14, 2016 at 3:59 PM · Just read Disney is donating 1 million dollars to help people from these tragic events, it's times like this that it does not matter where your from or who you work for but how we can make a difference and support those at these terrible times. Well done to Disney and any one else that's offering support no matter how little you may feel it all helps.

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