Fear and Loathing in the Magic Kingdom


Oh noes, there was a dude with a gun at Disneyland!

A man with a loaded pistol was arrested outside the main entrance to Disneyland last month after another park visitor reported seeing something suspicious, Anaheim police revealed Tuesday.

Just before 9 p.m. on July 9, officers assigned to the resort property received a radio call from Disneyland security regarding a report of a man with a gun, according to police spokesman Eric Trapp.

Plain clothes detectives went to investigate and located a man with a handgun in the esplanade area of the resort, Trapp said. The esplanade is the open area that divides the entrances to Disneyland and California Adventure once patrons pass through security.

I was at Disneyland in late 2013, and I’m surprised that this sort of thing doesn’t happen more often there. The security at the park is pretty much a bag search at the entrance, cameras everywhere and cops milling about inconspicuously. They do a great job of not harshing the mellow of The Happiest Place on Earth™, but the fact is, it’s dead-simple to get a knife or a concealed pistol onto the grounds of Disneyland on your person. In fact, I may or may not have had a multi-tool and a folding knife on me in the park during my last trip. Yes, it’s the happiest place on earth, but, I am not going there without something to help get me out if it all goes to hell.

Bag searches and cameras help prevent mass-casualty events like the Boston and Bangkok bombings, and Disneyland’s zero-tolerance rule towards boisterous behavior cuts down on the riots and fistfights, but unless Disney wants to re-create the TSA at the entrance of each park, stuff like this is going to happen.

Although I will admit, I’d LOVE to see how the Haus of Maus might put a happy face on a full-body x-ray scan and cavity search. I digress.

I’m ok with a bag search at places like Disneyland because they’re prime targets for our enemies, and a bag search would limit the ways they might do us harm. Rather than go with metal-detectors and x-rays, though, I’d prefer Disney to allow concealed carry on the grounds and let those who can safely defend themselves do so inside their parks. Clamping down on security and turning their parks into “The Happiest Prison Grounds on Earth” won’t work. To borrow a line from a movie now owned by Disney, “The more you tighten your grip, the more people will slip through your fingers.”