Carrying a firearm at Disney

Carrying a Firearm at Disney

April 8, 2022


To say that we get a lot of calls about carrying a firearm at Disney or other Orlando theme parks would be a drastic understatement. These local tourist attractions are some of the most famous in the world.  However, most people do not think to look for their firearm and weapons policy before heading to the parks.

Unfortunately, many Floridians and visitors become unwittingly entwined with the criminal justice system as a result of carrying their concealed firearm to these locations, or having them in their vehicle, hotel room or campsite.

Carry a Firearm at Disney – Parking lots

Although the Florida Legislature attempted to clearly provide the right of all Floridians to keep a firearm in their vehicles even in the parking lots of businesses that prohibited firearms on their property, Florida Statute §790.251, was declared unconstitutional by the Federal District Court for the Northern District of Florida. See Florida Retail Assoc. v. Attorney General, 576 F. Supp 2d 1281 (N.D. Fla. 2008) which held that only employees with CWFLs were protected by this statute.

Like any other property owners, Disney, Universal and the other theme parks have a right to ban possession of firearms and weapons from their property.  This includes their parking lots.

What are the theme parks policies on Carrying a Firearm?

On their websites, both Disney Resorts and Universal Orlando post their firearms policy.  

Per Disney Resorts website, (accurate when written on April 1, 2022):

Firearms, ammunition, knives, and weapons of any kind are prohibited.

The Disney Website goes on to list prohibit items which include:

  • Firearms, ammunition, knives, and weapons of any kind.
  • Self-defense or restraining devices (e.g., pepper spray, mace)
  • Objects or toys that appear to be firearms or weapons

On the other hand, Universal Studios more broadly prohibits:

  • Any type of explosive, weapon, item that can be used as a weapon or has the appearance of a weapon.

Carrying a Firearm at Disney – Employees

Employees are also prohibited from carrying a firearm at Disney and other Orlando area theme parks. Frequently however we are contacted by those who believe they fall under the constitutional portion of Florida Statute 790.251. These employees call to complain and seek help because either Disney or Universal has prohibited them from keeping a firearm in their car, which they believe they have a right to do under the law. 

Unfortunately, Florida Statute 790.251(e), excludes the property of an employer who has obtained a permit required under 18 U.S.C. § 842 to engage in the business of importing, manufacturing, or dealing in explosive materials on such property.  Both of these parks have done so and use these materials in their stunt and fireworks shows.  Therefore, they can ban firearms from their property, even for employees with CWFLs. This includes all 48 square miles of property owned by Walt Disney World in the Orlando area.

What if You Get Caught Carrying a Firearm at Disney or other Theme Park?

 At Resort Hotels

It has been our experience that if you are “caught” carrying your firearm on your person, with a Concealed Weapons and Firearms License (“CWFL”), or a license otherwise recognized under current Florida reciprocity laws, you will be asked to either store the firearm in the hotel’s safe and/or to leave the property immediately.

At the theme parks or retail property

If, however, you attempt to walk into the theme park, or in the case of Disney Springs, attempt to pass through the parking garage metal detectors, you will be asked to leave and a trespass warning will be issued preventing you from entering any of the theme park’s property, potentially forever.

If you attempt these same acts without the protection of a CWFL, or recognized out of state license, you will be arrested and criminally charged with possession of a concealed firearm and given a trespass warning.

It won’t happen to me

A significant portion of those who call to ask about carrying a firearm at Disney, simply say that they will just keep it in the car or in the room and no one will ever know. I ask you to consider the real matter we helped in recently.  A U.S. LawShield member was visiting from out of state staying on Disney property. 

One day, while visiting one of the Disney parks the member was called by Disney security and asked to meet them at his hotel room.   He left the park with his family and returned to the hotel.  Once there, he learned that a maintenance attendant had discovered a firearm in his nightstand drawer despite the fact that the maintenance attendant was there to fix a sink. The member insists the sink was working perfectly, and that no one had ever called in a maintenance request. Sure, there are a lot of issues here about the supposed maintenance attendant’s improper entry, but for the purposes of this article, the point is clear – they may actually find out.  

In the case above, this U.S. LawShield member was properly licensed in his home state, no legal charges were ever filed, but he was required to turn his firearm over to security if he and his family wished to remain on property.

Want to learn more?

To learn more about the constitutional issues in Northern District of Florida. See Florida Retail Assoc. v. Attorney General, 576 F. Supp 2d 1281 (N.D. Fla. 2008) please click here to read a Florida State University Law Review Article on the case.

To view Disney Resorts FAQ on firearms click here.

Going to a sporting event while in Florida? Learn how to stay legal with your firearms by clicking here.

Traveling to Florida soon? Learn how to visit the Sunshine state legally with your firearms, watch our video or read our blog post.


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