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Reports: Disney employees spit on, attacked over theme park's COVID-19 rules

Not all park-goers are willing to abide by the theme park's safety guidelines--and sometimes things get violent.
Credit: AP
FILE - In this Thursday, July 2, 2020, file photo, cars drive under a sign greeting visitors near the entrance to Walt Disney World, in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. A new television show about the residents and caretakers at Walt Disney World's Animal Kingdom is being produced by National Geographic and will start streaming in the fall of 2020 on the Disney+. (AP Photo/John Raoux, File)

ORLANDO, Fla. — A trip to the "Most Magical Place on Earth" has looked different since Walt Disney World reopened its gates in July 2020 with new coronavirus safety guidance in place.

“It may be different from the last time you visited. But together, we can find new ways to create magical moments—and memories to treasure," the theme park wrote on its website.

Guests two and up are required to wear face coverings in the park, regardless of having received a COVID-19 vaccine. Plus, the mask requirements themselves are stringent and detailed in the hopes to keep park-goers safe. 

But that doesn't mean everyone participates in following the rules on the theme park's property. Sometimes things turn violent and guests spit, fight and make threats when employees attempt to resolve issues.

The Orlando Sentinel was the first to uncover the alarming ways some guests have responded to being asked to abide by Walt Disney World's rules. 

In August, Orange County deputies said 35-year-old Eric Toro was arrested and charged with misdemeanor battery after he hit an EPCOT employee in the head and threatened to kill him. 

At the time, the sheriff's office said the employee was trying to enforce the theme park's mask policy.

Toro's alleged attack was the third time someone that month had been charged for similar behavior, according to the Associated Press.

And he's not the only one who threatened to kill regarding face covering requirements, according to the Orlando Sentinel. 

The outlet reports, a man who appeared to be drunk and without a mask began yelling at first responders providing care to his wife who hurt her ankle at the Walt Disney World Dolphin Hotel.

“I do not have a mask, buddy!” The man screamed, according to an arrest report obtained by the outlet. He is also accused of threatening to kill a sheriff's deputy, fighting with them and grabbing the deputy's gun from their belt.

A more recent arrest report, obtained by the AP, shows that violent acts by guests are still happening on the theme park's property.

Just this month, a Florida man was accused of spitting on a Walt Disney World security officer after she asked him to put on a mask. 

Kelly McKin, 51, now faces a battery on a uniformed security officer charge following the incident.

With millions of guests walking through Disney's gates during the year, it says these bad actors don't represent their guests as a whole.

"Guests have overwhelmingly been supportive of our protocols. Millions of Guests visit our theme parks each year and in rare instances when things of this nature occur, we hold them accountable," a Disney spokesperson said.

In addition to face covering requirements, Walt Disney World has implemented COVID-19 safety protocols like temperature screenings, limited capacity and enhanced cleaning. You can read more about its guidelines here.

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