I wasn’t going to write about this today but it’s now being covered by the Associated Press and NBC News as well as the LA Times and others so it appears to be more than just a southern California story.
If you’ve ever been to Disneyland, you’ve probably seen families that aren’t having a wonderful time. The lines can be long, the weather can be hot, and sometimes children aren’t on their best behavior. Add to that the fact that a lot of people in the park have spent a tremendous amount of money on a vacation to ‘the happiest place on earth’ and there’s a lot of pressure on everyone to have a good time. So you’ll occasionally see exhausted, stressed parents snap at one another on a line or while walking in the park. But in all the many times I’ve been to Disneyland over the years when my own kids were younger, I’ve never seen anything like this:
The footage, recorded at Mickey’s Toontown on Saturday, shows two men and two women throwing punches at each other near at least three young children, two of them in a stroller.
Several people tried to intervene and stop the altercation, as other parkgoers, including children, appeared stunned.
Park security eventually arrived to stop the fight. It’s unclear how much time passed before they got to the scene.
It’s not really true that Park security stopped the fight. They showed up when it was basically over thanks to several bystanders. More on that below. NBC News points out that police later identified the brawlers as part of one unhappy extended family:
The Anaheim Police Department said in a statement Monday that it responded to the park, and found everyone involved in the melee was part of the same family. They were all uncooperative with police, and were escorted from the park, but didn’t face charges because they “wanted nothing done,” police said.
Officers were not aware of video footage of the incident at the time, but now that it has surfaced, police said detectives are “following up to see who did what and if there is the potential for filing criminal charges.”
It’s only because the brawl was captured on video by a bystander that police might bring any charges. Everyone involved is denying anyone was hurt which doesn’t seem possible given what happened. It’s also why it’s possible to answer the question about how long it took for security to show up. The answer is more than three minutes. As you’ll see, this brawl just keeps going. Every time the guy in the pink/red shirt seems to be calming down he finds a new reason to get upset and starts hitting someone else including his own wife/girlfriend. Bystanders step in to shield various people from attacks, but the brawl just keeps going. Regular people finally pull the out-of-control instigator to the ground just as security arrives.
This is obviously a personal disaster for this very dysfunctional family, but the response by Disney is the larger problem. Disney has been a target for would-be terrorists on several occasions that we know about. Omar Mateen, the Pulse nightclub shooter originally intended to target Disney World. Back in 2016, French authorities claimed to have stopped a terror plot in which five people would have attempted to create mass casualties at a number of sites including Disneyland Paris.
Given this recent history, I imagined that Disney had some kind of smiley-faced SWAT team that would swarm out from underground tunnels in the case of violence in the park. But that’s not what you see happen here. And when the authorities do finally show up all they have is radios. Those wouldn’t be much good against terrorist with knives, much less guns. It’s scary to think about and after watching this you’ll probably find it hard not to think about. [Warning: There is a lot of very NSFW language in this clip including the N-word, not to mention an enraged man beating up women.]