Disney resort recovers after hostage situation


LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- The Boardwalk Inn at Walt Disney World, now a peaceful place, became a tourist attraction in its own right at the end of June, and one not easily forgotten in July.

The hotel was the focus of some 12 hours of nationwide television and radio reports chronicling the hostage drama that unfolded there, which ended early on the morning of June 30 with the peaceful surrender of the 39-year-old suspect, Bismark Rodriguez and the freeing of his four-year-old son and a room service waiter.

In the interim, Orange County Sheriff's Office deputies, including a SWAT team and dozens of Disney security personnel, swarmed over the complex.

From a distance, visitors videotaped the excitement -- a very uncharacteristic scene for those coming to the G-rated destination resort.

What happened to the selected Boardwalk Inn guests evacuated for their own safety?

Disney officials said the incident caused the evacuation of 104 rooms occupied by 286 individuals.

The evacuation was carried out under the direction of the Orange County Sheriff's Office.

The guests were assigned rooms at other Boardwalk units away from the hostage drama or at other Disney resorts, such as Disney's Yacht & Beach Club properties. Disney employees (referred to as "cast members" by the company) packed bags of toiletry items and T-shirts for those relocated guests who had luggage in their rooms.

When normalcy returned the next day, guests were given the option of returning to the Boardwalk Inn or staying in their replacement hotel.

"Our intention was to have the least possible disruption for our guests, but also to maximize their safety," a Disney spokeswoman said.

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