Although Walt Disney World Resort is billed as “The Most Magical Place on Earth” — and usually is for most Guests — there are occasionally less-than-magical moments, too.
Furthermore, they occasionally have to deal with Guests breaking the rules when it comes to their children’s safety, like the time an intoxicated couple tried to hold their baby up “like Simba” on the classic Dumbo the Flying Elephant ride.
Last month, a child was seemingly very much endangered at Disney’s Hollywood Studios Park, and the situation could have been much worse if an off-duty police officer had not intervened.
Per an arrest record, Fernando Cunha, 49, was booked on child abuse charges on April 27, 2022. Cunha, who resides in Brazil, apparently became enraged when his five-year-old adopted son wanted a “lightsaber-type sword,” presumably from Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge.
Per the arrest report, Cunha began physically beating the autistic child until FBI Task Force Officer and Southaven, Mississippi Police Department Detective Tyler White stepped in.
White heard the boy’s crying from behind the souvenir ID tag machine by Toy Story Land’s Alien Swirling Saucers ride. The law enforcement officer reported that he saw Cunha’s arm swinging “in a striking motion” while holding the little boy on the ground.
White informed Cunha that he was in law enforcement and that he would not allow the offender to leave the area until local authorities arrived.
Per the aforementioned report, White’s wife, Chelsea, witnessed the entire incident and “[she] advised that she saw the older man kneeing the child while dragging him on the concrete. Chelsea indicated she saw the older man drag the child behind the engraving station.”
She also ““advised that the child was trying to get away from Cunha. When asked how many times Cunha struck the child, Chelsea stated she saw Cunha knee the child two times and strike the child with his hand/fist three times.”
White has been recognized for his valor by his local Southaven department. At this time, Cunha has pleaded not guilty.
More on Savi’s Handbuilt Lightsabers
Although it is unknown if the child involved in this unfortunate incident wanted to construct a Star Wars lightsaber or purchase a pre-made one, Disney World Guests can visit Savi’s Handbuilt Lightsabers on Batuu. The official description of the Black Spire Outpost location reads:
Choose Your Path
Travel to Black Spire Outpost, where a group known as the “Gatherers” ushers you into a covert workshop packed with unusual parts, whimsical pieces and miscellaneous memorabilia collected from the far reaches of the galaxy.
Under their guidance, you can construct your very own lightsaber and bring it to life through the power of kyber crystals. Builders beware—you must protect the shop’s secrecy to avoid being discovered by the First Order!
Once your lightsaber is complete (purchase required!), you’ll be ready to embark on incredible new adventures—from the far reaches of Wild Space to Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge!
Have you ever witnessed violence in a Disney Park?
Let the expert team at Academy Travel help you plan your next magical vacation to Walt Disney World Resort’s four theme parks — Magic Kingdom, EPCOT, Disney’s Animal Kingdom, and Disney’s Hollywood Studios — and the Disney Springs shopping and dining district!