Drunk Naval Academy Graduate Terrorizes EPCOT and Injures Cast Members, Updates Given

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A man and woman carry a cocktail and food through EPCOT's France pavilion with a background of EPCOT's drink varieties.

Credit: Inside the Magic

It seems like EPCOT has always been a hub for drunken shenanigans.

Epcot Disney 100
Credit: D23

Related: Disney World to Strictly Enforce Resort Rule, Will Change Guests’ Vacations

For years, The Walt Disney Company has earned widespread acclaim for its innovative approach, dating back to the visionary days of Walt Disney himself. Leveraging the remarkable creativity of Disney Imagineering, which seamlessly integrates elements from Disney Animation Studios, the company crafts exceptionally immersive experiences that captivate visitors worldwide. Embracing Walt’s philosophy of constant improvement or “plussing,” Disney Parks frequently embrace change, from implementing augmented reality features in attractions like the Haunted Mansion, the company continues to push the boundaries of magic and imagination. It was this philosophy that birthed the Walt Disney World Resort, and in particular the EPCOT Theme Park (Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow) — renowned for hosting seasonal festivals and celebrations in the Parks at various points in the year.

However, there are definitely moments when Disney’s bubble of perfection wavers, especially when rowdy Guests and alcohol is involved.

Adults drinking around the world
Credit: Disney

The (in)famous EPCOT Food and Wine Festival

This highly anticipated event, hosted annually at Walt Disney World Resort’s EPCOT Theme Park (Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow), boasts an enticing array of delectable dishes and fine wines from around the globe. Aimed at foodies and Disney enthusiasts alike, the event advertises that Guests can delight in a culinary journey like no other, getting to savor exquisite flavors crafted by renowned chefs. From mouthwatering street food to gourmet delights, there is something to please every palate — as well as the chance to actually consume alcohol on Disney Park premises. This year, the EPCOT International Food & Wine Festival presented by CORKCICLE allows Guests to “Taste Your Way Around the World”, giving them the chance to “embark on a culinary exploration across 6 continents”, from July 27 to November 18, 2023.

However, with the fact that it’s a Food & Wine Festival, cases of severe intoxication are basically inevitable — even prompting worried Guests to ask for better safety regulations.

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Credit: Inside The Magic

Related: Disney Fans Call For End to “EPCOT Drinking Culture”

More details surface on drunken rampage

Twitter user Ash details the whole affair, with added information to our coverage of the initial arrest last year.

Ash, who was a Walt Disney World Resort Cast Member at the time, shares the story of Austin DeVan Hill “from Pensacola, FL” — the 23-year-old Naval Academy graduate who went on the dangerous, drunken rage in — with additional first and second-hand accounts and details from workers and witnesses at the time. Ash begins the sordid tale as follows:

this is austin de van hill from pensacola, FL. chances are that you’ve never heard of him. or maybe you have if you worked in Epcot during the 2013 Food & Wine Festival, where austin decided to unleash a few hours of fear upon the people working in the park on a day in october.

(continued) austin, 23 at the time, was a u.s. naval academy graduate visting epcot for the annual food & wine festival. for those unaware, this is a yearly festival with lots of food and alcohol from around the world. the drinks are not for the faint of heart. those boys are STRONG.

Ash proceeds to explain how DeVan Hill, intoxicated, entered the backstage area of EPCOT, similar to the Magic Kingdom’s underground “Utilidors” tunnel system that spans the whole Park, restricted only to the Cast Members themselves:

our boy austin was enjoying life when he found himself a little too drunk. like any rational person would do, he decided to take this opportunity to enter a backstage area of Epcot that led directly into a tunnel system meant for cast members to get around undetected by guests

(continued) epcot, like magic kingdom, has a system of underground tunnels that cast members can use to get from point a to point b. unlike magic kingdom, epcot’s tunnels don’t have a cool name like MK’s utlidors do, & they’re much smaller than the utilidor system of tunnels at magic kingdom

The user sharing this experience, Ash, recounted how they were a Cast Member working at Walt Disney World’s Animal Kingdom Park at the time. Inevitably, they heard of this incident happening in the Resort, with their roommate also working as an EPCOT employee herself, therefore hearing of the incidents live on scene. Ash was informed that “custodial radios were going crazy” with “reports of a man backstage at EPCOT”, who was “stealing golf carts” and “beating people with pipes he ripped off the walls”. It seems like a “drunk as hell” DeVan Hill “straight up decked” a Cast Member who came up to him backstage at the now-defunct Innoventions East, with the Cast Member in question receiving a “large gash on his head”:

roomie informed me that the custodial radios were going crazy with reports of a man backstage at epcot, stealing golf carts & beating people with pipes he ripped off the walls. would you believe this? i didn’t, until a friend of mine who didn’t know my roomie also brought it up

austin, drunk as hell, waltzed into a backstage area near innoventions east, a defunct epcot attraction. a cast member approached him to ask if he was alright, and austin straight up decked this dude. the cast member was left with a large gash on his head.

It was then that DeVan Hill stole the vehicle and “found himself face to face with another confused Cast Member” — whom he also punched in the face.

After this, the Naval Academy grad ripped a PVC pipe off a wall, and ventured back into the Park to Club Cool, a location with a soda fountain featuring drinks from around the world:

after punching and seriously injuring the first CM, austin somehow found himself face to face with another confused cast member. being in a rational state of mind, austin did what any lost guest would do & also punched this cast member in the face. we are now down 2 cast members

(continued) now wielding a plastic pvc pipe he had ripped off a wall, austin entered the park again through a door leading to the attraction club cool. club cool is a soda fountain where guests can try sodas from around the world and buy coca cola merchandise for absurd prices.

It was here at Club Cool that a third Cast Member was assaulted by DeVan Hill using the pipe in question, “smacking [the Cast Member] in the face”. At this point, Disney World security had begun “closing in”, with the more severely injured Cast Members taken to a hospital:

a third cast member working the cash register asked austin if he was okay. austin responded by smacking her in the face with the pvc pipe and attempting to leave club cool. at this point, security was well aware of austin’s weird behavior and they were closing in on him quickly.

(continued) austin would not assault any other cast members that day. the first two who were punched backstage were taken to a local hospital and treated there, and the club cool cast member was treated at the scene.

What happened to DeVan Hill? Well, Ash shares that the man resisted being detained, getting “scraped up and bleeding”  after “yelling, struggling and kicking” during the process. DeVan Hill was then handed off to police, where he was charged with “aggravated battery”, eventually getting enough to “bond out” of Florida jail:

disney security located and detained austin at club cool, before he could escape to hurt anyone else. our boy didn’t go down easy. he was yelling, struggling, kicking which caused him to trip on a planter while being escorted by security. he was scraped up and bleeding.

(continued) eventually, security handed austin off to the police, who charged him with aggravated battery. he got it together enough to bond out and that’s where our story ends, folks. thanks for reading! if you made it this far, you deserve a joy ride on a golf cart backstage in epcot

Some might write this incident off as simply another dramatic exploit of “Florida Man” — but this incident will certainly remembered by those who were there at Walt Disney World Resort at the time.

What do you think about this Naval Academy grad going on a drunken rampage in Walt Disney World’s EPCOT? Do you think alcohol should be allowed at the Disney Parks? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

The Walt Disney World Resort is a truly iconic Disney destination nestled in the heart of Orlando, Florida, at Lake Buena Vista. It boasts an awe-inspiring array of popular rides and attractions across its four theme parks. Embark on an epic adventure aboard Space Mountain, join the swashbuckling Captain Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp) in the Pirates of the Caribbean, or meet your favorite Disney Princesses at the enchanting Cinderella Castle, in the Magic Kingdom Park. Walt Disney World Resort also offers immersive lands like Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, transporting Guests to a galaxy far, far away. Alternatively, experience the wonders of Pandora – The World of Avatar at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, as you soar on the back of a banshee through breathtaking landscapes.

Also in Walt Disney World is EPCOT (or EPCOT Center), where innovation and imagination unite to create an unforgettable experience. Guests can venture through World Celebration, World Discovery, World Nature (which all used to be part of Future World) and World Showcase Lagoon — the last of which houses 11 global Pavilions — the Mexico Pavilion, Norway Pavilion, China Pavilion, Germany Pavilion, Italy Pavilion, The American Adventure Pavilion, Japan Pavilion, Morocco Pavilion, France Pavilion, United Kingdom Pavilion, and Canada Pavilion.

Guests can experience popular EPCOT rides and attractions like Soarin’ Around the World, Test Track, Spaceship Earth, Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind, Frozen Ever After, and Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure. Immerse yourself in a world of culture, cuisine, and creativity at an EPCOT Festival — this includes the EPCOT International Food and Wine Festival, EPCOT International Flower and Garden Festival, EPCOT International Festival of the Arts, and EPCOT International Festival of the Holidays.

You can book and buy Walt Disney World Resort tickets and packages at the official website.

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