Walt Disney World is adding extra security to their theme parks, including officers on horseback at Disney Springs. A mounted patrol unit from the Orange Count Sheriff’s Office will begin their patrol this month, though it’s not clear how often they will be patrolling.
A Disney spokesperson said plans for the mounted patrol were already in place before the incident on Christmas night where a fight broke out and people began to run, panicked that they’d heard gunshots.
There are currently 63 sheriff’s employees who patrol the Disney resort as part of a $7.6 million yearly contract. Eight bicycle deputies have been added to patrol the new parking garages at Disney Springs as well. The mounted patrol will consist of five deputies and will not be an additional cost for Disney. The horses are currently used in other areas around Orange County. The sheriff’s spokesman, Capt. Angelo Nieves, said, “They’re deployed depending on our needs” and that the mounted patrol “allows the crowds and people to see that law enforcement has a presence.”
Nieves said that the horses were used in the past at Disney, but stopped using them because of the manure. He said the sheriff’s office will now provide special bags for catching it
Disney is also changing their gun policies and making them stricter. Previously, guests with the proper licenses were allowed to check in their weapons with Disney security while they were in the theme parks; they will now be asked to leave and store them elsewhere. Disney said that this change is official, but declined to share details about the process.
Dave Workman, spokesman for Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms, wonders if the tightened gun policy is more about legalities than about safety. Workman said, “It’s possible they didn’t want to take the responsibility or the liability for any lost firearm. I’ve never heard of another theme park that would be willing to store a firearm for somebody.”
As an additional security measure, Disney added metal detectors out in front of their parks last month, though not every guest is required to go through them. It’s currently random selection process.
Disney spokeswoman Andrea Finger said, “We have a comprehensive approach to security and continuously review our security procedures in collaboration with law enforcement.”
News source: Orlando Sentinel