In the wake of a recent increase in US and international terrorist attacks, The Reedy Improvement District, which includes the cities of Bay Lake and Lake Buena Vista, has increased their outside law enforcement budget to $15.8 million dollars for the current fiscal year.
The fiscal year began on October 1st, the same day a gunman killed 58 and injured 546 people when he opened fire on a crowd at the Route 91 Harvest Music Festival in Las Vegas, NV. The public safety budget from 2011 through 2015 was allocated at $7 million per year—less than half of the current budget.
Reedy Creek has continued to increase their law enforcement spending since the June 2016 terrorist attack at the Pulse Nightclub in Orlando. Recently, it was revealed that the gunman, Omar Mateen, had alleged conversations with his wife, Salman, about which would cause more outrage, attacking Downtown Disney or a nightclub.
The increase in budget suggests that Disney is taking these allegations seriously. Reedy Creek currently has an annual contract with the Orange County Sheriff’s Office for $8.3 million that hires approximately 70 on-duty law enforcement professionals. In addition to those employed by Reedy Creek’s government budget, Disney spends more than $7 million to independently hire off-duty deputies. Disney offers off-duty deputies $40 per hour—$10 more than required by their union.
“We continuously review and adapt security procedures in coordination with law enforcement offices,” said Jacquee Wahler, Vice President of Communications at Walt Disney World, “but we do not discuss specifics in order to avoid compromising their effectiveness.” Although Reedy Creek’s government budget is public record, Disney is not required to disclose the details on their law enforcement spending. However, the new budget will most likely provide a stronger visual presence within the parks.
Many visitors have already noticed an increase in security at both the ticket booths and throughout the park. While some feel that the presence is too sobering for the magical world of Disney and causes unnecessary anxiety, others are comforted and feel safer by the increase in security.