Disney World Guest Caught with AR-15, Handgun on Property

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Last month, a South Florida man checked in to Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort with an AR-15 and a 9mm handgun in his luggage out of fear of Central Florida protests.

According to the Orlando Sentinel,

“The 43-year-old Palm Beach Gardens man checked into the Polynesian Village Resort with his guns in a tennis bag on Saturday of the Labor Day holiday weekend, according to a newly released sheriff’s incident report… ‘he brought the rifle with him for their safety because of the riots and civil unrest going on down south and in the Central Florida area,’ the incident report said.

The firearms were discovered by the Disney bellman who had questioned why the Guest’s bag was so heavy. The Disney Cast Member reported the firearms to his manager who in turn called the Sheriff. The Sentinel does not say how the bellman made the discovery, or whether or not he opened the bag without the Guest’s permission.

polynesian night exterior
Credit: Disney

The man who brought the guns on his Walt Disney World vacation reportedly did so out of fear of protests. The Sentinel states that protests, violent and non-violent, have occurred regularly across the Orlando area in response to the death of a 22-year-old woman by a deputy in early August.

However, the man in question had a concealed weapons permit and was not arrested.

“No arrests were made because no laws were broken,” the Orange County Sheriff’s Office said Tuesday when reached for comment by the Sentinel.

Disney stored the guns for the remainder of his trip. The handgun was held in a safe at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort while the larger rifle was taken across Disney property to Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge.

The only rules that appear to have been broken were those of Disney property. Note that firearms and weapons of any kind are not allowed at the Disney Parks, the Disney Resort hotels, or any other area of Disney property, whether a Guest has a permit or not.

“Our policy is clear that guns or weapons of any kind are not allowed at our resort regardless of whether someone has a permit,” Disney spokeswoman Andrea Finger said in a statement.

Walt Disney World also states the following on its website:

“Guests are not permitted to have firearms, ammunition, knives or weapons of any kind at or in Disney Resort Hotels and Disney Vacation Club Resorts, including in hotel rooms, units, vacation home villas and general public areas within the hotels and resorts.”

The Guest did not respond to comment, the Sentinel reports.

This incident follows the recent arrest of a Guest who attempted to bring a 9mm handgun into EPCOT using a diaper bag.

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