Theme park violence is a ‘national problem’

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If you’ve read any of our stories over the past few weeks, you’ll surely have seen a few stories about fights at theme parks. Surprisingly, a few included altercations at The Walt Disney World resort, a location that bills itself as “the most magical place on earth.”

However, these incidents are not limited to Disney. Universal Studios has also seen a few fights at the park recently, and this apparent increase in fights isn’t something to look away and forget.

Credit: Universal

Theme parks across the United States have all gained an undesirable reputation for having violent fights between teenagers and rowdy guests. Although some of these altercations did not result in any serious injuries, guests are beginning to feel much less safe when visiting.

“This is something we hadn’t really seen in our theme parks until last year,” said Dennis Speigel, an industry expert at International Theme Park Services. “Customers are less temperate because of the pandemic. The slightest altercation will trigger something.

This comes from a new story shared by Daily Press in which author Brady MacDonald discusses this concerning increase in fights at theme parks.

However, these fights aren’t just limited to angsty teenagers, at least according to Speigel. “It’s not just relegated to teenagers,” Speigel said in a phone interview. “You see adults fighting.”

As we reported, a fight broke out at Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom last month, sending social media and the news on fire. The fight was intense, occurring in the Fantasyland section of the park. The incident involved several guests who all appeared to be over the age of 18. The incident was shared on spaces like Twitter and TikTok shortly after.

Another incident took place on one of the Walt Disney World trams, with several visitors shouting at each other. The scuffle takes place at one of the tram drop-off/pick-up stations at Disney World between a guest on the tram and others waiting to board. The cast members attempt to deal with the situation, but the guest begins screaming uncontrollably from the tram. We don’t know what happened after this video was recorded.

The situation unfolded after the group of guests refused to leave the park, with a deputy attempting to detain a member of the group where a struggle ensued, according to Constable Mark Herman.

A man was also arrested after allegedly shoving a police officer at Six Flags Great America. The man also allegedly punched a security guard in the face. This all happened during a fight at the theme park.

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Credit: Six Flags

Much like Knott’s Berry Farm, Universal Studios Resort in Orlando, Florida recently revealed a new policy it will be implementing in order to keep guests safe. Customers under the age of 21 will now have to observe a curfew on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, effective immediately.

Visitors under the age of 18 will be escorted out of CityWalk by security after 9 p.m. if not accompanied by a parent or other member of their party over the age of 21. Guests over 18 but under 21 will be permitted to stay in CityWalk after 9:00 p.m.

Guests under the age of 21 will not be allowed through hub security after 9 p.m. unless accompanied by an older guest. There are, however, a few exceptions:

  • Guests accompanied by a parent, guardian or other family over the age of 21
  • Guests staying at a Universal Orlando Resort hotel with a key card
  • Guests who have already purchased a movie ticket at Universal Cinemark will be escorted to the cinema. Customers under the age of 21 will not be allowed through security to purchase a ticket
universal globe
Credit: Universal

Waldameer Park, Pennsylvania also faced a series of fights. Beginning of July, a fight between two Waldameer pass holders sent one to the hospital. A guest has been banned from the park.

Amusement Industry Consulting owner Jerry Aldrich said the rising number of fights at theme parks could simply be the result of increased reports, which social media plays a big part in. in an interview.

“Theme park visitors as well as the general public have changed,” Aldrich said. “Our society no longer penalizes as before. Kids think they can get away with it, and they normally do.

Kraken at Sea World Orlando
Credit: Sea World

Attraction Magazine Editor and publisher Matt Roseboom noted how “rare” such violent outbreaks were before making headlines in recent months. “It seems like it’s been in the news a lot lately,” Roseboom said.

“With TikTok, it’s easy to grab a video, upload it, share it, and then spread it more than before,” Roseboom said. “There have probably been fights in the past that nobody recorded and just didn’t get publicized. People are tense. They are on edge with COVID,” Roseboom said. “They’re just coming out now. This is the first full summer that people are finally entering the parks after a few years.

Whether or not these actions are the result of people being “locked in” in 2020, there’s no denying the rise in fights at theme parks, at least with reports of altercations.

six-flags-new-england
Credit: Six Flags New England

Oaks Park in Portland, Oregon was forced to close last month after a fight broke out. The amusement park closed an hour and a half earlier due to “unruly behavior and altercations involving a number of patrons”.

During the altercation, a security guard reported hearing a teenager on the phone telling someone to “come shoot in the park.” However, police questioned the teenager and they said they were only calling for a ride home and someone else from an opposing group made the statement.

oak park
Credit: Oaks Park

More recently, a shooting took place at Six Flags in Illinois, which left several people injured, as reported The Chicago Tribune.

A car pulled into the Six Flags parking lot around 7:50 p.m. and headed for the entrance. A person got out of the sedan and began shooting in what authorities say was a targeted attack on another person. They then got back into the sedan and fled. A 17-year-old boy from Aurora, Illinois and a 19-year-old woman from Appleton, Wisconsin were shot dead. Both were shot in the leg and treated at Advocate Condell Medical Center.

Do you feel safe when visiting theme parks?

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