Following terrorist attacks, Walt Disney fears downfall

By on September 20, 2001

After Tuesday’s series of horrific events, the Walt Disney theme park closed its doors to the public and now fears a fall in both tourism and profits.
At 12:19 pm on Tuesday September 11, after the nation watched New York City and Washington crumble before their eyes, Walt Disney officials decided to close the park as a precautionary measure. “This is the first time that Walt Disney World has ever closed because of terrorism. It has only been closed one other day – – during Hurricane Floyd,” says Diane Leder, a Disney World spokeswoman.
Doors were reopened the following day but now with the initial shock behind us, administrators at one of the largest theme parks in the world, become concerned about their visitors or the lack there of.
Large companies relying on tourism worry that visitors will be weary of traveling and vacationing in “high” target areas. Disney World is one of them. “Heightened security was called for because Orlando is considered among the top 10 targets for possible attacks on American cities,” officials said.
These along with other statistics is what is starting to scare both the public and the workers at the Disney theme park. “We have a large number of international tourists that come here,” said Tom Hurlburt, Orange County Public Safety Director. “Disney, Universal Studios, Sea World and all of the parks represent what America is supposed to be about,” Hurlburt commented.
All of what is “Disney” symbolizes the American family and the good old fashion fun everyone shares at the park. “What makes these and other places targets is they have government installations and centers of business that are symbols of America,” Hurlburt said.
Fear is now entering people’s minds as they frantically cancel their vacation plans. “The scary thing is, Disney would make a prime target, you’d think,” said Kelly Rider, of Charlottsville, VA and whom was visiting the recently reopened, almost ghost town theme park. “I’ll just cross my fingers and hope for the best,” Rider said.
Marlene Weisner was in the park on Tuesday morning when park officials decided to close Disney to the public. “It always happens somewhere else, not here,” she said. “All of a sudden we saw them closing up and on the loudspeaker they kept saying they’re shutting the park down.”
With all the pain and uncertainty lingering, it is a question to many how long the process of regaining trust will take. Millions of tourists each year, from countries all over the globe, gather in a small area of central Florida for fun in the sun and memories to take home with them.
With the recent fall of events in the Big Apple and our nation’s capital, it is no wonder why these Disney officials are on the edge of their seats. Worrying that they will be forced to lower their prices, causing profit and demand to go downhill. When questions were asked regarding if the park will be back to normal upon its reopening, according to the Associate Press officials commented, “we’re under no delusions that things were back to normal.”
Park officials of other tourist attractions in this area had different opinions. “People have to start living their lives again,” said Fred Jacobs, a spokesperson for Sea World.
The public relations departments of these two parks are hoping the American people use their theme parks and attractions as a form of salubrious therapy, to take a breather from the tragedy that has come over their lives.
As America joins together within the next few months, Disney readies for a lull that may sweep through their theme parks and ups security for those who will travel to Disney World to help ease the anguish of this past weeks calamity and heartbreak.


About Erica Morello