Disney raises security at theme parks as report says Orlando shooter had scouted Disney World as target

Security officers at the entrance of Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom in Orlando, Florida, on June 13.
Security officers at the entrance of Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom in Orlando, Florida, on June 13.PHOTO: REUTERS

ORLANDO (Reuters) - Walt Disney has raised security at its theme parks, the company said on Monday (June 13) after the worst mass shooting in modern United States history in Orlando, Florida, the home of Walt Disney World.

"Unfortunately we've all been living in a world of uncertainty, and during this time we have increased our security measures across our properties, 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," spokesman Jacquee Wahler said in an e-mailed statement.

New York-born Omar Mateen, 29, killed 49 people in an Orlando, Florida, nightclub on Sunday. Mateen had scouted Walt Disney World as a potential target, People Magazine said on Monday, citing an unnamed federal law enforcement source. Reuters was unable to verify the report.

Disney World is the best-known tourist destination in Orlando, a Florida city with several theme parks.


Outside the Magic Kingdom theme park at Walt Disney World, where a US flag flew at half mast in mourning, vacationers Ernst and Rose Lorentzen on Monday said that they had seen more uniformed security guards, marked vehicles and dog units at resort properties since the shooting. They said they had arrived at Disney World on June 8.

Bags of all guests are searched and some are selected for checks with a magnetometer, or metal detector. "They're really doing a lot of random searches. Maybe one out of eight people," Mrs Lorentzen said.

Their Disney hotel where they are staying also has been more vigilant. They "gave us a look-see and checked our passes at the gate", said Mr Lorentzen, who is retired and declined to give his age.

"Makes me feel like they're more alert," he said.