Fact Check

No, the FBI Didn't Increase Its Presence at EPCOT in Disney World

There's no evidence of any major threat to national security being reported at Disney World.

Published May 9, 2023

 (Nik Wheeler/Contributor, Getty Images)
Image Via Nik Wheeler/Contributor, Getty Images
In May 2023, the FBI increased its presence at Disney World following national security threats.

In early May 2023, multiple Disney blogs published articles that claimed that there had been national security threats reported at EPCOT, a theme park located in Walt Disney World.

On May 6, 2023, Disney Dining published an article that claimed the FBI had increased its presence and surveillance at the park because of a major threat to national security:

FBI Increases Presence, Surveillance at EPCOT, Fearing Major Threat to National Security

Most Guests who frequent the Walt Disney World Resort in Central Florida will tell you that they feel completely safe during their visits to the Most Magical Place on Earth. But because the federal government didn't share the same feeling of safety at one of Disney World's theme parks, the FBI was called in to be sure all was exactly as it seemed.

Two days after that, fellow Disney blog Inside the Magic published an article with the headline, "National Security Threat Reported at EPCOT."

We found social media posts on platforms like TikTok, Twitter, and Reddit about an increased FBI presence at Disney World that linked to the articles.

Neither of the articles discussed current events that were happening at the time of publication. The basis for both articles was an FBI document that was dated Oct. 29, 1981. The document detailed how the bureau was concerned about certain countries, including the Soviet Union, Poland, and China being involved with EPCOT, which opened in October 1982. 

In particular, China was one of the original 11 countries that got its own national pavilion as part of EPCOT's World Showcase, the resort's version of a world's fair. The 1981 document states that the pavilions were operated by people from a country featured in the World Showcase. The blogs embedded parts of the document that detailed China's participation in the World Showcase, as well as where Chinese nationals staffing the national pavilion would be living. The embeds formed the basis of both articles' claims. 

The document was released by the FBI in December 2015, lumped together with other documents that detailed FBI investigations of Disney World, like an investigation into two people who impersonated FBI agents at the resort during the summer of 1989. The original records request was for Muckrock, a nonprofit news organization that specializes in public records requests, which wrote in January 2016 about the document:

In 1981, Walt Disney World was getting ready to unveil a new gem in its crown of amusement parks, the Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow, or EPCOT. Revolving around a massive sphere called "Spaceship Earth" and a lagoon that initially called for cultural installations from nine countries, EPCOT was intended to be the ultimate harmonious international village, a shining example of global unity. Naturally the FBI had a problem with it.

As of this writing in May 2023, there was no evidence that national security threats were reported at EPCOT, let alone that there was an increased FBI presence at the park because of those threats. If there were a national security threat at the park, it would be reported by many reputable news publications. We couldn't find any other articles about national security threats at Disney World in publications other than the two Disney blogs.

Therefore, we rate the claim False.


Addison, Bill. "All of the Countries in Epcot's World Showcase, Ranked." Eater, 26 Aug. 2015, https://www.eater.com/2015/8/26/9192203/epcot-world-showcase-ranked.

Del Ponte, Joey. "FBI Investigated a Pair of Bureau Impersonators at Disney World." MuckRock, 14 Mar. 2018, https://www.muckrock.com/news/archives/2018/mar/14/fbi-impersonators-disneyworld/.

"Disneyworld and Disneyland." MuckRock, 16 Mar. 2012, https://www.muckrock.com/foi/united-states-of-america-10/disneyworld-and-disneyland-1213/.

Federal Bureau of Investigations, 29 Oct. 1981, https://cdn.muckrock.com/foia_files/2015/12/11/1185661-1_-_Section_1-2-Imported_Media.PDF.

Guariglia, Matthew. "The FBI Feared Communist Infiltration of EPCOT." MuckRock, 14 Jan. 2016, https://www.muckrock.com/news/archives/2016/jan/14/fbi-epcot/.

Izz Scott LaMagdeleine is a fact-checker for Snopes.