Disney World visitors and cast members clashed in tension-filled moments over rules about masks and parade route enforcement, according to law-enforcement reports that depict three incidents happening within less than three weeks at the Magic Kingdom.
Nobody appears to be arrested after the encounters although the sheriff’s deputies responded and three tourists — including one visitor who tried to fight an elderly cast member — were trespassed from the parks.
The reports reveal the challenges for Disney World cast members who sometimes deal with tourists who refuse to follow the rules and then lash out at employees for enforcing the protocols. During these latest altercations, guests manhandled cast members or made false accusations against them, the Orange County Sheriff’s Office incident reports showed. The sheriff’s office released the reports this week.
On Aug. 16, a 21-year-old New York woman said she was watching the Magic Kingdom parade floats with her family and she “unknowingly crossed the white line to attempt to get to the other side when a Disney cast member… approached (her) in what she says was an aggressive manner, and advised her to go behind the white line.”
According to the New York woman’s version of events, the tourist said she stuck her hand out in front of her to keep the cast member from walking toward her and pushed on the cast member’s chest. The cast member responded by pushing the tourist’s arm down and scratching her.
After that, the New York woman was ready to come to blows. The tourist “dropped her bags and admitted that she wanted to fight (the cast member), getting into an aggressive stance,” the report said.
The tourist had to be separated from the cast member.
But the sheriff’s office also interviewed the cast member, who is an elderly woman. The sheriff’s office redacted her age in the report.
The cast member said she was doing her job to keep people from jumping into the road in front of Disney World entertainment on the parade route. When she tried to direct the tourist, the tourist stuck her hand onto the cast member’s chest and pushed her back. “It created pressure on her chest, which in turn almost caused (the cast member) to lose her breath,” the report said. The tourist also swore at her. The cast member slapped the tourist’s hand away in self-defense because the cast member was scared the tourist would hurt her, especially since the cast member previously suffered health problems with her chest.
Another Disney employee witnessed the incident and said the elderly cast member had not been rude or aggressive to the tourist. He saw the tourist put her hand on the cast member’s chest and the cast member slap it away. Then the tourist threw her phone and purse on the ground, puffed up her chest and got into the cast member’s face, yelling at her, the employee said.
The elderly cast member decided not to press criminal charges against the tourist but wanted her removed from Disney World.
When the tourist was told to leave Disney, she “became verbally argumentative with Disney security as she demanded that she received a refund,” the report said, noting she did not get her money back.
On Aug. 30, a 46-year-old Californian, who was a former Disney employee in California, got into an altercation with a Disney World cast member because he wasn’t properly wearing his mask inside the Haunted Mansion.
The man told the sheriff’s office he was heading onto the ride when a cast member “punched him four times on his right shoulder using a close fist,” the report said.
The man said “he was treated at the First Aid Station within the park, because he had pain in his right shoulder,” the report said. He “said he has pain (in) his right shoulder and he’s having trouble rotating his right arm.”
For her side of the story, the 31-year-old cast member said the man wasn’t covering his nose with his mask so he was breaking Disney’s coronavirus pandemic rule inside the attractions. She didn’t punch him; she was just getting his attention, she told the sheriff’s office.
“She left her work area to walk over to tell (the man) to pull up his mask. (The cast member) said as she reached (the man), she told him verbally several times to pull up his mask,” the report said. “It appeared (the man) didn’t hear her, she then used two fingers on her left hand to tap (the man) two times on his right shoulder. (The cast member) said (the man) did not react and she tapped him again two more times on his right shoulder. (The man) did stop and she informed him he needed to pull up his mask per WDW Mask policy.”
That’s when the man started yelling, “She just hit me!”
But another Disney employee said she clearly saw what happened. The cast member ran toward him and placed her hand on his right shoulder, but never punched him or hit him, the employee said in the report.
A ride operations manager saw the cast member “waving her hands and yelling at the guest about the way he was wearing his mask” which concerned the manager because that’s not how cast members are supposed to treat guests, the report said. But the manager also reiterated to authorities that the cast member did not touch the man.
The sheriff’s office investigated and decided no crime had taken place, but forwarded the case to the state attorney’s office anyway because the tourist was adamant he was punched, the report said.
It does not appear the cast member has been charged with battery, according to online court records.
And in the third incident, a Disney World cast member was trying to stop a 17-year-old, who is autistic, from going into the street during the parade route at the Magic Kingdom.
The 29-year-old cast member outstretched her arms to keep anyone from entering the street, and that’s when the boy’s mother pushed past the cast member and bumped into her, the report said. The cast member said she felt sore.
The mother, who is a 37-year-old from Pennsylvania, said she had been separated from her son in the crowd. Her son doesn’t like to be touched, and the mother claimed when she looked back and saw him, the cast member was holding onto him by his arms.
Two other Disney employees witnessed the scene and said the boy’s mother started yelling to let go of her child. Then the mother used her chest and shoulder to run into the cast member.
Both the tourist and the cast member were willing to pursue criminal charges, so the sheriff’s office forwarded battery charges to the state attorney’s office. Again, nobody appears to have been arrested or charged with a crime, based on online records. The incident wasn’t captured on Disney security video, the report said. The state attorney’s office did not have any public information to release on the case.
Disney issued trespass warnings to the boy’s parents, the report said.