Orlando area theme parks including Walt Disney World and SeaWorld have increased security measures in the wake of the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history.
“Unfortunately we’ve all been living in a world of uncertainty, and we have been increasing our security measures across our properties for some time, 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,” a Disney spokesperson said in a statement.
Forty-nine people were killed and 53 injured early Sunday morning in a mass shooting at Pulse nightclub in Orlando. Omar Mateen opened fire on the crowded gay club with an assault rifle, sending patrons fleeing. He was killed after engaging with S.W.A.T.
Mateen had been investigated twice before by the FBI, but still managed to legally purchase the AR-15-style assault rifle he used in the massacre, along with a slew of other weapons. Media reports also indicate he may have targeted Downtown Disney, now renamed Disney Springs, as a potential site of attack.
Disney World in Orlando installed increased security measures, including increased law enforcement on site and K-9 units in December, as well as metal detectors, though reports from visitors indicated that not every person was made to go through them.
Posts on social media collected by Chip & Company Sunday indicated long lines as most ticket holders were directed to go through metal detectors whether they had bags or not. While a Disney spokesperson confirmed to TheWrap that security measures and procedures at the park are constantly reviewed and changes are made, they declined to specify what, if any, changes were made in direct response to the Pulse shooting.
Nearby, SeaWorld Orlando also confirmed an increase in security, releasing a statement saying: “The safety of our ambassadors, guests and animals has always been our top priority. Our security teams work closely with law enforcement, and we have enhanced security measures at all our parks.
“It’s important to note that our security protocols are varied and layered, some are easily visible to our guests and many are not. Like other major attractions and law enforcement agencies in the area, we do not comment on the details of our security measures in order to maintain their effectiveness,” it concluded.