Orlando Nightclub: Shooter Considered Walt Disney World As Potential Target [Report]
The Orlando nightclub shooter reportedly eyed Walt Disney World in Florida as a potential target before deciding to walk into a gay club with an assault rifle and kill as many people as he could. According to People Magazine, gunman Omar Mateen was at Disney World in April, scouting the area, this according to his wife, Noor Zahi Salman.
— CBS News (@CBSNews) June 12, 2016
The report indicates that Salman spoke with the FBI after the tragic shooting at Pulse Nightclub, telling them that her husband was considering an attack at Disney Springs (formerly Downtown Disney). The area is more wide open with thousands of visitors each day, and there is no way for anyone to really be screened before entering.
For those that haven’t visited Disney Springs in Orlando, it’s basically like a big shopping center filled with stores and restaurants. It provides a bit of a change of pace for Disney visitors who may need a break from standing in line at Space Mountain. From just about every Walt Disney World Resort, there is a bus that will take guests to Disney Springs. At any one time, there can be thousands of people there from all different parts of the world.
The Walt Disney World amusement parks (Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Hollywood Studios, and Animal Kingdom) all have security set up, checking the bags of each guest before they are permitted to enter the park. In addition, these four parks have installed metal detectors over the past few months. While not every guest must go through a metal detector, there are random screenings.
There have been reports that Disney World will implement more metal detectors over the next few months and that by the end of 2016, every Disney guest will be required to take this extra security measure. While this does create longer lines, most people realize that this extra step is necessary to ensure the safety of all theme park guests.
— Phil@Ear2ThereTravel (@ear_to_there) February 16, 2016
Walt Disney World has beefed up security since the deadly attack. Several Disney goers have taken to social media to comment on the long lines to get into the parks, many confirming that every Disney guest has been required to go through the metal detectors since the nightclub shooting. The extra security precautions will be in effect for days, presumably, or may even force the company to bring in additional metal detectors and change their security routine sooner than the end of the year, as previously scheduled.
According to AL.com, Disney security is also being extra thorough while searching people’s bags and other belongings.
“We are all heartbroken by the tragic and horrific events in Orlando, and offer our thoughts, prayers and support to everyone in our community affected by this senseless act,” said Bob Iger, Chairman and CEO of the Walt Disney Company.
The Orlando nightclub shooter ultimately decided to carry out his attack at Pulse Nightclub in downtown, the authorities saying that he had developed a hatred toward the LGBT community in recent months. It may have been this reason alone that Omar Mateen chose Pulse over Disney Springs.
[Photo by Matt Stroshane/Getty Images]