In the great state of Florida, a properly licensed gun owner can legally carry a concealed handgun in public, except for at schools, airports and courthouses [source: Wang]. But what about amusement parks? As private entities, they can make their own rules. At the Walt Disney World Resort, there is a strict "no guns" policy -- apparently not strict enough, though.
In 2013, a woman riding the Dinosaur ride at Disney's Animal Kingdom with her grandson was more than a little surprised to find a loaded handgun in their seat. The owner of the gun, who had a concealed carry permit, didn't notice it had slipped out of his pocket during the bumpy ride. He also didn't know that guns weren't allowed in Disney. To his credit, no such signs were posted outside the park [source: CBS News].
In 2007, authorities closed down Gillian's Wonderland Pier in New Jersey when an off-duty police officer misplaced his loaded weapon in the amusement park. It turns out that a 16-year-old girl had found the gun earlier in the day on the Sling Shot ride and assumed it was a toy. The .22-caliber handgun was small, but still deadly. The teen realized her mistake when she shot a live round into a sand dune and quickly turned the gun over to police [source: NBC10.com].
For lots more odd tales of wonder and amusement park thrills, check out the related HowStuffWorks links below.
Author's Note: 10 Surprising Things People Lose on Roller Coasters
There's a ride at our local amusement park — the amazing and historic Kennywood — called the Aero 360. I'm a huge roller coaster fan, but this "thrill ride" seems exclusively designed to part riders with their earthly possessions. The ride starts by swinging in increasingly higher arcs until you complete three or four full loops. But when it comes time to change direction, the ride holds you upside down for a full 10 seconds. While you and your family scream in terror, the entire contents of your pockets — cell phones, change, car keys — fall 100 feet to a black net below. Next time I'll check it for glass eyes.
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- Harness, Jill. "27 Awesomely Stages Roller Coaster Photos." Mental Floss. May 16, 2014 (June 26, 2015) http://mentalfloss.com/article/56224/27-awesomely-staged-roller-coaster-photos
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- NBC10.com. "Off-Duty Officer's Gun Found by Teen" (June 26, 2015) http://www.southjersey.com/articles/?articleID=17101
- Nightzel. "I proposed to my girlfriend on a roller coaster yesterday. She said yes!" Reddit (June 26, 2015) http://www.reddit.com/r/pics/comments/1iszbq/i_proposed_to_my_girlfriend_on_a_roller_coaster/
- Steinberg, Stephanie. "The art of eye making." CNN. July 21, 2011 (June 26, 2015) http://www.cnn.com/2011/LIVING/07/21/eye.making.art/
- Walt Disney World. "Lost and Found" (June 26, 2015) https://disneyworld.disney.go.com/guest-services/lost-and-found/
- Wang, Betty. "Are guns allowed at amusement parks?" Findlaw. June 6, 2013 (June 26, 2015) http://blogs.findlaw.com/law_and_life/2013/06/are-guns-allowed-at-amusement-parks.html
It may be the 'happiest place on Earth,' but the story behind Florida's Disney World isn't so sweet. Stuff They Don't Want You To Know takes a look.