TIL on 9/11, all guests at Disney World were evacuated effectively with little panic by Cast Members, who did so by forming a human wall and gently herding them out of the parks. The guests at first didn’t understand why this occurred, and some saw a gunship flying low over WDW in response to 9/11.

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Not sure if it happens today, but when I worked in the Emporium on Main Street at WDW, that was how the guests were escorted out of the park at closing time. The cast members on 9/11 were following a typical procedure, but perhaps a little more earnestly. Can’t imagine what that must have felt like.


The air defense makes sense. There’s an AFB right down the road from Orlando and an attack on a massive tourist destination would seem probable, especially with the confusion of that day.


I know that they’re all called cast members not employees but the word makes me imagine a solid line of silent staring Goofies and Minimice corraling confused and terrified hordes towards the exit.


A little known story about Disney at 9/11. As many had gotten up to get to the airport to return home and others were expected to arrive for vacation there were the usual changes. After people arrived at Orlando International Airport all planes were grounded. As with many others, almost every extra dollar was spent on breakfast, that last begged for stuffed toy, etc. with just enough left to pay parking back home. Now what? total fear and confusion. Disney sent buses to return all those leaving that day. Gave vouchers for rooms and food ( no cost) and provided everything needed for those days until people were finally able to leave again. It was not on the news. There was then a monthly Disney world newsletter. I think called Eyes And Ears, that wrote about it and published all the Thank you notes very grateful people sent in.


I was staying at the hotel at Tokyo DisneySea when the attacks happened in the evening Japan time. For precautions the next day, even this park delayed opening for an hour because of security checks. One of the entertainment offerings was a Broadway musical revue type of show. The final number included the songs “Give My Regards to Broadway” and “76 Trombones” while the dancers performed in front of an image of the Statue of Liberty and a skyline of NYC and pyrotechnics going off. Most of the dancers (non-Japanese and Japanese) were crying or close to. It was a surreal thing to see that day.