Last updated: 09:12 AM ET, Tue June 14 2016

REPORT: Orlando Shooter Scouted Disney Park For Potential Attack

Impacting Travel | Donald Wood | June 14, 2016

REPORT: Orlando Shooter Scouted Disney Park For Potential Attack

PHOTO: Disney Springs, formerly Downtown Disney. Pulse nightclub shooter Omar Mateen reportedly scouted out Disney Springs in addition to the nightclub before the attack. (Photo via Flickr/Forsaken Fotos)

A new report suggests that the shooter in the Orlando terrorist attack had also recently scouted Walt Disney World as a potential target in addition to the Pulse nightclub.

According to, the shooter—Omar Mateen—had visited Walt Disney World in April with his wife Noor Zahi Salman, and Salman told police Sunday that her husband had scouted both Disney Springs and the Pulse nightclub for attacks.

While most Disney parks like Magic Kingdom, Hollywood Studios, Animal Kingdom and Epcot have metal detectors outside, Disney Springs (previously known as Downtown Disney) doesn't have security and bag check before entry.

Sunday’s terrorist attack at the Pulse nightclub was the deadliest shooting in United States history, killing 49 victims and injuring 53 others. Since the tragedy, amusement parks have stepped up their security and are on high alert for any potential attacks in the future.

The Orlando Sentinel is reporting that deputies from the Orange County Sheriff's Office—which provides law enforcement services for Disney World—were put on high alert following the revelation that Mateen had targeted a theme park in addition to the nightclub he attacked. As for Disneyland in Anaheim, California, local authorities who patrol the park are taking security "very seriously” and are ensuring that there is an increased police presence.

One certainty after the report surfaced that Mateen was contemplating attacking a theme park is that there will be an increase in security at parks and other areas where large crowds congregate across the country.

“The carnage that occurred is going to elevate security at all parks, arenas, stadiums, theaters. I believe this massacre will be the 'tipping point' for all venues listed above,” International Theme Park Services president Dennis Speigel told “‘Total security’ is the way we must operate. Metal, dogs, officers, random checks, multiple checks as well at the entrances will happen.”

In addition to the new information regarding Mateen scouting Disney Springs, the amusement park industry was hit hard by the attacks, as several of the victims worked for Disney, Universal Studios and other facilities in the area.


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