Posted: 5:23 p.m. Friday, May 3, 2013

Are other theme parks denying sex offenders like Disney is?


Fantasyland Expansion at Walt Disney World photo
David Roark
Guests take a spin on "Dumbo, the Flying Elephant" at Magic Kingdom Park. With an unprecedented two Dumbos aloft, guests get to their flights faster aboard one of the park's most iconic attractions. Connecting the two Dumbos, a new "big top" area allows guests to immerse themselves in circus lore in a series of fun, interactive experiences before a spin with their favorite circus elephant. The double Dumbos help anchor the Storybook Circus area of New Fantasyland at Magic Kingdom Park -- part of the largest expansion in Magic Kingdom history.


As Channel 9 first reported, Disney is profiling guests and issuing trespass warnings to any guests who are convicted sex offenders.

Reporter Christopher Heath posed that same question to the other major parks in the area.

A convicted sex offender who asked only to be identified as Mike said he is one of more than 75 people who have been issued a trespass warning from Disney World since August.

"My ID basically is a pass to tell you that I am an offender," he said.

If he ever tries to go back, he'll be arrested, but the trespassing warning only covers Disney property, not all theme parks.

"I've thought about going to Universal (Studios), but then I thought, what if they don't let me in," he said.

Of the more than 200 records Channel 9 obtained, there were several trespassing warnings for other amusement parks but none that listed "sex offender" as the reason and none of the names matched the state database.

Heath attempted to ask Universal Studios if it had a policy of removing sex offenders or if it was considering one, but he was told the park doesn't discuss security.

Heath also tried to talk to Sea World, but the park said it also doesn't discuss security.

Meanwhile, discussion on theme park travel sites has picked up since Channel 9's first story aired, with visitors now discussing both the Disney policy and whether other parks will follow suit.

Heath also attempted to contact Legoland in Polk County, but officials there have not returned his calls.

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