Disney Bomb Lockdowns, Threats & Scares

Title: Bomb Scare Leaves Disney Guests
September 18, 2009
Orlando Sentinel

Abstract: Thousands of Walt Disney World visitors were stranded at the resort's theme parks, hotels and water attractions Thursday when the company's buses were removed from service after a suspicious object was found mounted on one, authorities said.

A bomb squad spent 3 1/2 hours examining the device, which turned out to be harmless.

Nevertheless, Disney workers inspected the entire fleet of about 300 buses as a precaution. A line of buses waited for inspection at a maintenance building near Disney's Animal Kingdom. They were returned to service, one by one, as soon as they were deemed safe (Orlando Sentinel, 2009).

Title: German Tourist Arrested for Making Bomb Threat At Disney World
Date: November 30, 2009
Source: Fox News

Abstract: A German tourist has been arrested on charges of making a false bomb threat while visiting Walt Disney World.

A report from the Orange County Sheriff's Office says 37-year-old Jochen Naumann of Leipzig, Germany, was going through the security checkpoint at the entrance of the Magic Kingdom Sunday when he told a Disney employee that he had two bombs in his back pack.

The Disney employee questioned Naumann and he repeated the bomb threat.

A sheriff's deputy at the checkpoint had a bomb sniffing dog check Naumann's bag. No explosive devices were found.

Naumann claimed he was only joking about the devices. He was arrested on a charge of making a false report of a bomb and taken to the Orange County Jail.

Jail records show bond was set at $10,000 (Fox News, 2009).

Title: Object Used In GPS Treasure Hunt Closes Downtown Disney
Date: February 23, 2012
Source: OC Register  

Abstract: Downtown Disney was reopened after about 90 minutes Tuesday following a report of a suspicious object that turned out to be part of a high-tech treasure-hunt.

Anaheim Police Sgt. Bob Dunn said police received a call of a suspicious object in Downtown Disney at 11:07 a.m. Assisted by Disney security, the object was located on a box on a walking bridge east of the ESPN Zone and west of the House of Blues and the Orange County Sheriff's Department Bomb Squad was called.

Disneyland Resort spokeswoman Suzi Brown said about half of the shops and restaurants in Downtown Disney were evacuated at 11:30 a.m. (CORRECTION: A previous version of this story incorrectly stated that all of Downtown Disney was evacuated, based on initial reports from Disney officials.)

At 12:38 p.m., Dunn said the object was discovered to be a "geocaching" site – a location for high-tech scavenger hunters, who use GPS devices to find objects left at specific locations.

"We would like to inform those who geochache not to leave items out in open places where it could cause suspicion," Dunn said.

Workers and patrons in Downtown Disney took the evacuation in stride.

"If it's really a bomb threat, then why are we here?" said Jessica Taylor, a barista at Compass Books and Café.

Carol Coughman, a bookkeeper at Compass Books and Café, has worked at Downtown Disney since it opened in 2000. Coughman said the only other time the entire had been closed was after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

Robert Root of Whittier was leaving Disneyland with his wife and was attempting to cut through Downtown Disney when the couple was rerouted.

"We had to walk all the way around," said Root, 67. "It's no big hassle for us. We just got to walk a little further."

The Disneyland bomb scare may not be the first time this month that a geocaching site had garnered a bomb-squad response.

The bomb squad and the Huntington Beach Fire Department hazardous-materials team responded to a muffler shop on Goldenwest Street on Feb. 7 for a suspicious device that was eventually determined to be safe. Several tipsters told investigators that the device was a geocaching unit, although detectives haven't released an official determination, Westminster police Cpl. Van Woodson said.

The bomb squad was also called out to the Anaheim Plaza to deal with a suspicious device that ended up being a geocaching unit about a year ago, Dunn said.

However, Sheriff's officials who oversea the bomb squad say that other than the scattered incidents they haven't seen a larger trend of geocaching responses (OC Register, 2012).

Title: Disneyland Bomb Scare Today Prompts Closure, Lockdown Of Entrance
Date: March 3, 2012
Source: LALate

A Disneyland bomb scare today has prompted a lockdown of all entrances and exits of the Anaheim park. Disneyland’s bomb scare today March 4, 2012 has not resulted in the closure of the actual amusement park. But officials confirm to news that all entrances and exits are on lockdown and will remain closed until the matter is resolved.

Bomb squad investigators are on scene at Disneyland in Anaheim, CA currently as of 10 am PST. The scare comes after a park official confirmed a suspicious package found on park ground. While Disneyland remains open for customers inside the park, all entrances and exits are currently closed until the bomb scare is completed.

Sgt. Bob Dunn of the Anaheim Police Department tells news that the package was located near the park’s entrance. The package was discovered by a park employee shortly after 8 am PST.

Anaheim police is aiding in the investigation. They are focused on the area around the ticketing booths. No persons are being let in and out of the park until the matter is resolved.

In July 2009, Austin Wuennenberg died in a Disney World monorail crash in Florida. Two monorails collided while transporting park visitors who had just witnessed the 4th of July fireworks. Officials said in a news statement at the time “The safety of our guests and Cast Members is always our top priority.” They added “The monorail is out of service as we continue to work closely with law enforcement to determine what happened and the appropriate next steps.”

That same year, Anislav Varbanov died on the Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular while he was rehearsing for a stunt. Days later, a 47 year old Disney World park worker died on “Captain Jack’s Pirate Tutorial” .

UPDATE: The alert has been lifted, the park is open. For more, click HERE (LALate, 2012).

Title: Disneyland Lockdown Ended After False Bomb Scare
Date: March 3, 2012
Source: LALate

Abstract: A Disneyland lockdown has ended after a false bomb scare today. Disneyland confirms the lockdown of all entrances and exits has ended, and that the park is open with business as usual today March 3, 2012. Disneyland, in a news statement before noon today, confirmed that caution prompted the lockdown. But the object was reportedly determined as harmless.

Shortly after 7 am today, a Disneyland park official spotted the object during a walk near front door ticketing. Officials would not confirm the nature of the object. But they do confirm it was harmless.

The object was reportedly found near a tree at the entrance. Local reports claim that the person who put the object in the tree called the park and informed them it was not harmful. Moreover, he detailed it as a simple a paper item stating a “spiritual message of goodwill” for visitors to the park. The “spiritual message” prompted safety concerns instead. The object was placed high in the trees, preventing security guards to see it from foot initially.

By 10:30 am, the park was opened and all security alerts were ended. “The safety of our guests and cast members is our top priority,” park spokeswoman Suzi Brown said in an emailed statement. “In an abundance of caution and to allow the security teams the opportunity to learn more, we are keeping guests away from the area at this time” (LALate, 2009).

Title: Local Man Sparks Disneyland Bomb Scare, By Accident

Date: March 7th, 2012
Source: Rohnert Park

Abstract: Last weekend’s bomb scare at Disneyland that locked thousands of visitors out of the park for up to three hours was unwittingly triggered by a Rohnert Park man who had placed a scroll of paper in a tree near the ticket booths.

The unidentified man went to the famed amusement park with his daughter and her Rohnert Park youth football spirit team for a national cheerleading competition there. He apparently wrote something ornately on paper, rolled it up and placed it in a tree to bless or encourage the girls.

A park employee performing an inspection Saturday spotted the object at 7:10 a.m., and Disneyland officials reported the discovery to Anaheim police.

Sgt. Bob Dunn said officers who responded couldn’t make out what the item was.

“It was a bit out of the reach of the officers,” he said.

Concern that it might be something hazardous led officers to summon the Orange County Sheriff’s Office bomb squad. The gates to Disneyland and adjacent Disney California Adventure Park had been opened and a small crowd had entered when officials locked them down.

People in the parks did not have to leave, but no one else was allowed in while the bomb squad mustered.

Hundreds of Sonoma County girls on youth football cheer squads were at Disneyland for a national competition and some of them were headed in for the day’s meet when the gates were shut.

In the midst of the rare lockdown, the Rohnert Park dad phoned police after seeing news coverage of the bomb scare “and noticing that Disneyland was not open,” Dunn said.

The man met with officers and described what he had innocently placed in a tree for the benefit of the Rohnert Park Warriors cheer team.

“We were able to confirm that what we were looking at was what he was describing,” Dunn said.

Disneyland’s entry gates had been closed for about three hours when park officials resumed normal operations at 10:30 a.m.

Asked to describe the man’s response to the shutdown and its effect on the thousands locked out, Dunn said, “What I would say is remorseful.”

He said that causing a great commotion “certainly was not the intent of his action.“

“At this time it does not appear we will be pursuing charges,” Dunn said.

He said it was unclear why the man put the rolled-up paper in the tree.

Tracey Poueu-Guerrero, president of the Rohnert Park Warriors football and cheer team, said in an e-mail that the man “set up a scavenger hunt for the cheer team.”

“It was an innocent act intended only as a game for the girls while we were down at the Nationals,” Poueu-Guerrero said.

She declined to identify the man. Anaheim police also would not provide the man’s name because he has not been cited or charged with any crime.

Dunn said he did not know if the man had placed the scroll as part of a scavenger hunt. If officers couldn’t easily reach it, it seems it also would have been out of reach of the girls.

“To our knowledge, it was the only item” that the man placed, Dunn said. He said it appeared the scroll was created and placed “to spur team unity and spirit.”

Coaches and parents with other of the Sonoma County football cheerleading teams at Disneyland said the park’s closure wasn’t a serious problem.

Jennifer Crum, cheer director for the Petaluma Panthers, said she and her 53 girls were walking toward the park when the gates were closed.

She said they waited an hour to get in but the girls weren’t bothered by the police activity.

“It was exciting to them,” Crum said. “It wasn’t scary to them at all.”

As consolation for the lockdown, Disney officials kept the main park and California Adventure open an hour later than usual Saturday night.

Saturday wasn’t the first time Disneyland has been closed by concern over an unknown device. On Feb. 22, 2011, part of the park was closed because of a suspicious box that turned out to be a “geocaching” site — a location for high-tech scavenger hunters who use GPS devices to find objects left at specific spots (Rohnert Park, 2012).

Title: All's Not Well At Tokyo Disneyland After Quake
March 29, 2012
Japan Today

Although the visitor parking area at Tokyo Disneyland suffered considerable liquefaction damage due to the March 11 earthquake, the rides and facilities in the park itself appear to have stood up to the temblor without major problems.

J-Cast News (March 24) reports that the huge theme park has in many ways fared better than the surrounding community in Urayasu City, where nearly half the homes in the neighborhood were without running water. Many are also without gas for cooking and heating.

The theme park’s owner, Oriental Land Corp, completed a safety inspection on March 18, and determined that the resort was in condition to “permit reopening.” Its inability to secure a steady supply of electricity, however, remains a major stumbling block, and is the key reason why a reopening date has yet to be set. (The park’s website says the reopening date had not been decided as of noon on Monday, March 28.)

The power needed to operate Disneyland’s attractions, lighting and other facilities comes to approximately 570,000 kilowatt hours per day, a figure equivalent to roughly 10 times that utilized by the Tokyo Dome stadium in Tokyo’s Bunkyo Ward, or by 50,000 households.

The rolling blackouts scheduled by Tokyo Electric Power Co (TEPCO) are likely to continue through summer, and this appears likely to impact future park operations. Unlike 21 of Tokyo’s 23 central wards that have so far been exempted from the blackouts, Urayasu City is located in the blackout area designated Group 5.

Another problem for TDL involves park access. The JR Keiyo Line that serves Maihama, the station closest to the park, has reduced the number of trains as a power-saving measure, and the prospect of severe congestion is also likely to impact any plans for reopening the park.

“Since Tokyo Disneyland consumes a large amount of electric power, it may be affected by any power-saving measures,” an official at Urayasu City’s disaster response center told J-Cast. “Presently illumination has been turned off on the Cinderella Castle—the park’s symbol. Our hands are full dealing with recovery tasks right now, but we will be holding discussions with Disneyland’s people to discuss how to get through the Golden Week and the summer holidays.”

Meanwhile, the Mainichi Shimbun (March 26) reported that other leisure facilities around the nation have also been hit hard by the disaster. Tokyo’s Ueno Zoo has been closed since March 17, mainly due to concerns over the power shortages, and postponed the debut of two pandas recently arrived from China that had been scheduled for March 22. The Nikko Edomura theme park in Tochigi has been closed since March 11. It had planned to reopen one week later, but this has been delayed indefinitely.

Hakkeijima Sea Paradise in Yokohama reopened from March 22, but several attractions remained closed due to possible quake damage. Yomiuri Land in the Tokyo suburb of Inagi City has shut down many of its 30 attractions due to their high power consumption. “During the three-day Vernal Equinox holiday weekend (March 19-21), the gate was about one-fourth of what we usually get,” a spokesperson said.

Leisure facilities as far away as Kyushu have also been affected; the Huis Ten Bosch theme park in Sasebo City reported some 11,000 hotel cancellations, mostly from South Korea and other neighboring Asian countries.

A spokesperson for the Fujikyu Highland amusement park in Fujiyoshida City, Yamanashi Prefecture was quoted as saying “Due to gasoline shortages, the general sentiment has been to refrain from going places, and this mood been spreading” (Japan Today, 2012).

Title: Custodian Finds Hand Grenades In Downtown Disney Trash Can
Date: January 3, 2013
Fox News

Abstract: A custodian at Downtown Disney in Orlando got a shock when they discovered three hand grenades in a trash can.

MyFoxOrlando.com reports the three grenades were hollowed out and posed no threat to the theme park. Authorities say they were removed and transported to a secondary location.

Jeff Williamson with the Orange County Sheriff's Office tells MyFoxOrlando.com authorities believe the grenades were used for some sort of training.

He says officials are investigating how the grenades ended up in the trash (Fox News, 2013).

Title: 3 Hurt In Hotel Explosion Near SeaWorld San Diego
Date: January 30, 2013
Yahoo News

Abstract: A powerful explosion on Wednesday ripped through a hotel near SeaWorld San Diego from a room where authorities say a couple was extracting hash oil, sending guests fleeing for safety.

A 22-year-old man in the room suffered life-threatening injuries. Also hurt were a woman in the room and a young man staying next door, authorities said. All three were hospitalized.

Julie Jordan of San Diego was sleeping with a friend's baby in a nearby room at the three-story Heritage Inn Sea World Hotel when she felt the building shake violently, then heard a loud explosion. She ran outside and saw a shattered window and a badly injured man sitting at the bottom of some stairs moaning.

"People were screaming and running, and a man was burned from head to toe," said Jordan, 30. "His skin was falling off."

Investigators found several boxes containing canisters of butane inside the room where the blast occurred, police Lt. Joseph Ramos said.

The butane apparently was ignited by a cigarette, Fire-Rescue Department spokesman Maurice Luque said. The second-floor room looked like a "war zone," he said.

"It was a very intense and devastating explosion," Luque said.

Hash oil is made by packing finely ground stems and leaves of marijuana plants in a pipe and pouring butane through it, said Amy Roderick, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, which is leading the investigation. The liquid typically is then cooked on a stove to separate the butane.

Hash oil averages about 15 percent THC, the chief intoxicant in marijuana, according to the DEA. A drop or two is about as potent as a marijuana cigarette.

The DEA did not confirm that a cigarette ignited the butane or know the size of the drug operation.

"It just looks like a bomb that blew up there," Roderick said. "It's hard for us to tell what was going on there."

The DEA will review the evidence before deciding whether to send the case to the San Diego County district attorney's office for criminal charges.

Authorities said the couple in the room where the explosion occurred suffered burns, and the man in the neighboring room had bruises, cuts and possible burns.

The badly burned man was in "very, very serious" condition, Luque said. His female companion and the man in the next room — both believed to be around 20 years old — were in moderate condition. Their names were not released.

Joseph Tydingco, 52, rushed out of his room after what felt like a major earthquake and saw black smoke billowing from rooms. He grabbed a fire extinguisher and, with another guest, removed mattresses as they heard people screaming outside.

Tydingco, a SeaWorld maintenance worker, estimated that walls collapsed in six rooms. Police said at least four rooms were destroyed or badly damaged.

The blaze was mostly under control within minutes of the blast, which happened at about 11:15 a.m.

Tydingco said the hotel largely caters to vacationing families on tight budgets and local residents who lack enough cash to sign a rental lease (Yahoo News, 2013).

Title: Long Island Teen Dies Of Mysterious Illness During Disneyland School Trip
Date: February 22, 2013
CBS Los Angeles

Abstract: A 15-year-old boy from Long Island died of a mysterious illness while on a school trip to Disneyland.

Joseph Tutaj was one of 80 students from Seaford High School’s marching band who traveled to the Southland to perform at the Anaheim theme park last week.

“The first day at Disneyland he was okay. He went on Space Mountain and everything with us. Then the second day he wasn’t feeling well at all,” said band member, Michael Nicola.

On Tuesday, Tutaj was at the Santa Monica Pier when he complained of a high fever.

The teen was taken to Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center and died 24 hours later.

Doctors told the boy’s family they believe Tutaj may have contracted a debilitating infection.

Tutaj’s parents said the 15-year-old trumpet player had no history of medical problems.

The LA County Coroner’s Office said the cause of death has been deferred pending further tests.

The boy’s passing is the latest in a string of tragedies to hit the Tutaj family.

His father, Robert, is currently battling stage four cancer, and the family’s home was destroyed in Superstorm Sandy (CBS Los Angeles, 2013).