Disneyland arrest: Explosion at a family vacation spot is hard to hear about

Disneyland arrest: A Disneyland explosion thankfully didn't harm anyone, and the Disneyland explosion caused park staff to evacuate the Toontown area where it occurred.

Paul Hiffmeyer/Disneyland Resort/AP
A Disneyland explosion was caused by dry ice in a water bottle but did not injure anyone. Here, cast members of the show 'Mickey and the Magical Map' perform at the park.

The parks are probably the most legendary family vacation spot in the world (remember those “I’m going to Disney World” commercials?).

And that makes headlines this morning with the phrase “Disneyland explosion” just a little more sad to see.

The good news is that no one was hurt in the incident, which prompted Disney staffers to evacuate part of the park. According to authorities, dry ice was left inside a plastic bottle, which was then put in a trash can in the Toontown area of the park. Toontown is an area containing the “houses” of popular cartoon characters like Mickey and Minnie Mouse as well as some rides. Authorities have since arrested a park employee who worked as a vendor and Disneyland stated they are working with investigators.

The small explosion caused by the water bottle resulted in the area being evacuated for about two hours, according to the Anaheim Police Department. Sgt. Bob Dunn told the Los Angeles Times that the plastic bottle seemed similar to other explosives that had been put in other areas of Anaheim.

“Unfortunately," Dunn told The Times, "it's an all-too-common occurrence.” 

Of course, the incident could have been an accident, he said in a separate interview with NBC Los Angeles.

“At this point, we don't know it was on purpose or by accident or accidentally thrown away," Dunn said. "We are looking at all aspects.”

Dry ice bombs are usually composed of water and some pieces of dry ice. The pressure created by the combination leads the container to explode and could obviously cause injuries by doing so. Others who have placed the devices in public areas, such as a Colorado teen in 2011, have been arrested for use of an explosive device.

Whether it was malicious or a mistake, an explosion, even one that thankfully didn’t injure anyone, at Disneyland is still plenty sad to anyone, especially someone like me who loves the Disney parks. 

I’ve only been to Disneyland once but have been to its Florida equivalent, Disney World, a lot more, going first as a toddler and then many other times as I was growing up. My family are Disney experts by now with favorite rides that we return to time and time again. And no matter how old I get, I still feel my breath catch when I see the “Fantasmic” park show where Mickey battles a massive dragon and smile when I see a character waving at me.

And if I’m sad to hear about an explosion at a Disney park, a place that is sacrosanct to me, I can only imagine how parents who have traveled there with their children or were planning future trips feel about it. When you’re a parent taking your kids to see the characters they’ve watched over and over on the TV screen, you want to be leaving the depressing real-world headlines behind you. If I’m standing in the line at Splash Mountain, I want to just be anticipating the steep drop on the flume ride, not wondering what’s in the trash can a few feet away from me.

The good news is that the Disney park responded quickly – the Disneyland Twitter account stated that staffers evacuated the area “in an abundance of caution,” which you would certainly prefer they do. The quick response showed that the park is ready if any emergency occurs and has steps in place for keeping park-goers safe.

That makes it a little easier to simply enjoy the Haunted Mansion ride.

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