Disney World may be the happiest place on Earth, but there’s no doubt the popular theme park has had its share of troubles this summer.
The Deadliest Mass Shooting, on Disney’s Doorstep
First, there was the tragic shooting at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando. On June 12, Omar Mateen shot and killed 49 people and wounded 53 others at the popular gay club. While obviously not a Disney property, Pulse was another hot spot in the Orlando area. The mass shooting may have had a cumulative effect, scaring away tourists from Disney World and other attractions, as well.
Zika at Disney World?
The outbreak of the Zika virus has been another concern for potential tourists. Several dozen people have caught the virus in the Miami area. So far, the outbreak seems to be fairly localized, but it’s spread via mosquito, so it wouldn’t take much for the virus to spread. The Centers for Disease Control is already warning pregnant women to avoid traveling to the Miami area. Now, Miami is over 200 miles away from Orlando and Disney World, but some families may opt to stay home this summer out of caution.
Tragic Disney Alligator Attack
Image Credit: Disney
Also in June, 2-year-old Lane Graves was attacked and killed by an alligator near Disney’s Grand Floridian resort. The family was outside for a movie night at the resort and Lane had been building sandcastles near a man-made lagoon. An alligator pounced and quickly dragged the boy underwater. His body was found several days later.
Disney has since placed signs warning visitors of possible alligators. Wildlife officials also killed several alligators found in the area and are confident that one of them was the animal that attacked Lane Graves. Nonetheless, the incident has many tourists spooked and could drive them to stay at an off-Disney hotel, if nothing else.
A Disney Honeymoon Turned Deadly
A new incident, though, may even keep them away from those neighboring hotel properties. Last Thursday, a Turkish couple on their honeymoon were attacked in their hotel parking lot, and the husband was shot and killed. The two were staying at the Wyndham Orlando International Drive and had been approached by a armed robber who demanded the woman’s purse. After a struggle, the robber fatally shot the husband.
This was surely an isolated event, but it could still influence travel decisions for potential visitors to Disney World, or even other Orlando Attractions like Universal Studios and SeaWorld.
First Alligators, Now Snakes?
TMZ is also reporting on a new lawsuit from a Pennsylvania man who claims he was bit by a snake at a Disney resort. The incident occurred back in July 2013 when he was swimming in one of the resort pools. The snake bit him on the right thumb, causing him to spend 5 days in the ICU where he received 16 vials of anti-venom. The man says that his right hand is now partially paralyzed as a result of the attack.
Normally, an isolated incident involving one snake bite from three years ago wouldn’t be cause for alarm. The problem is the cumulative effect all of these events create. When viewed together, it presents a scary picture to potential travelers, which is something Disney can ill afford.
What do you think? Would all or any of these incidents cause you to cancel a Disney World trip?