The Impact On Disneyland & Florida’s Tourism By Orlando Terorrism

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Jun 14 2016
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Since Disney World opened in Orlando city in 1971, follows by Sea World and Universal, kids from every corner of America and beyond have dreamed of a trip to the Magical Land. It would never be the same again after the Sunday terrorism that killed 49 and sent shockwaves through the tourism industry, with employees at Disney and Universal amongst the victims.

Orlando Florida Disneyland

Disney is the largest single taxpayer in central Florida, employing 74,000 employees and registering an annual regional payroll of US$2.4 billion (£1.7 billion; RM9.8 billion). In Orlando, Disney operates a total of four theme parks and 27 resort hotels. According to the city’s tourism association, more than 63 million people visited Orlando in 2014, making it the “most visited destination in the nation.”


When American-born son of Afghan immigrants Omar Mateen starts spraying bullets on Sunday, very few people realised that the gay nightclub is located just within 20 miles from the city’s flagship amusement parks – Disney World, Sea World and Universal. One of the attack victims was Luis S. Vielma, who worked on the Harry Potter ride at Universal Orlando.



Just like the inconvenience introduced in airports post-9/11, tourism experts expect tighter security at theme parks not only in Orlando but also the rest of the United States. People will start thinking twice before booking and eventually, fewer visitors to amusement parks. But was Disneyland a target for future terrorism?


Orlando gunman Omar was revealed to be a regular at gay nightclub Pulse. And he had no issue slaughtering people in the club he once visited for whatever pleasure he was seeking. Now, his wife – Noor Zahi Salman – also exposed to federal authorities that her husband had more recently been “scouting Downtown Disney and Pulse nightclub for attacks.”

Omar Mateen with New Wife Noor Zahi Salman and Son

Unlike the four Disney World theme parks, Downtown Disney, which was recently renamed as Disney Springs, doesn’t have security and bag check before entry. Essentially, Walt Disney World is a potential target for a radicalised Islamic terrorist like Omar Mateen. If he didn’t pick Disney this time, somebody else would do so in future.


After last year’s deadly terror attacks in Paris and San Bernardino, Calif., Walt Disney World beefed up security significantly. Disney World, Universal Orlando and SeaWorld installed metal detectors at the gates and the parks began hiring more security guards. But it wasn’t until after the Sunday’s shooting that deputies at Disney World “were put on high alert”.

Orlando Florida Disneyland Universal Studio - Safety Announcement

Dennis Speigel, president of International Theme Park Services, says – “I believe this massacre will be the ‘tipping point’ for all venues – parks, arenas, stadiums, theatres. ‘Total security’ is the way we must operate. Metal, dogs, officers, random checks, multiple checks as well at the entrances will happen.”


However, security checking will not be confined to popular amusement parks such as the Disney only. People who go clubbing will be affected too. Josh Wallack, owner of Mango’s Tropical Café on I-Drive, said the club will start checking guests at the entrance using security wands.

Orlando Florida Disneyland Security - Dog Sniffing Bags

While the Orlando International Airport said the airport is operating as usual, its security has been increased after the attack. If the attack wasn’t bad enough to spook tourists, the Orlando tourism has already been affected by Brazil’s economic recession which saw fewer Brazilian tourists to the city.


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