Mass panic at Disney World: False ‘shots fired’ scare causes crowds to run for lives

Image: DisDining.com
Image: DisDining.com

Vacationers at Orlando’s Walt Disney World fled in panic late Christmas Day when a fist fight was mistaken for gunfire.

A massive police response ensued after patrons at Bongos Cuban Cafe at the popular Disney Springs shopping and entertainment district (that used to be called Downtown Disney) yelled “shots fired.”

One Twitter user captured video of some in the crowd describing the incident.

Disney patron Ariana Landi told the Orlando Sentinel that she was having dinner at Bongos with her parents and boyfriend when people started screaming, running and crying. As panic took hold, witness Gertrud’s Amaya said “a wave of people” were running toward her–she heard someone say there was a bomb.

But was just a fight that created a loud noise, according to the Orange County Sheriff’s Office, which tweeted “order restored.” One person was arrested on a charge of disorderly conduct, spokeswoman Deputy Lourdes Clayton said.

Frightened vacationers may not forget about the experience so quickly.

Given the park’s sensitivity to firearms after a Miami man recently brought a gun into the Magic Kingdom, prompting a deputy to draw his weapon after the man ran, the oversized reaction by law enforcement is understandable.  Disney installed metal detectors at all parks on Dec. 17 in response to the gun incident.

One tweet took it all in stride, quoting the popular movie “Monsters Inc.”

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Steve Berman

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