ANAHEIM (CBS) — Disneyland reopened Saturday after being placed on lockdown for more than three hours while authorities investigated a suspicious item.
As tens of thousands of patrons were left stuck in garages outside the resort, Anaheim police questioned a man who called them to say he had left “some rolled up paper that contained, basically, a goodwill spirit message,” said Anaheim police spokesman Sgt. Bob Dunn.
“First he called us, and then we made contact with him,” Dunn told City News Service. “He explained it to be a good message that he placed in a tree, and we’re in the process of speaking with him.”
Suzi Brown, Director of Media Relations and External Communications for Disneyland Resort confirmed the item was found to be harmless.
The park resumed operations just before 11 a.m. and announced it will extend its opening hours.
As a thank you to our guests for their patience this morning, Disneyland Resort park hours have been extended tonight,” says Brown. “Disneyland park will now close at 1am & Disney California Adventure park will close at 10pm. Also, an additional ‘World of Color’ show at Disney California Adventure has been added tonight at 10:15 p.m. and an additional ‘Fantasmic!’ show at Disneyland has been added tonight at 11 p.m.”
According to police, the suspicious item was discovered by a park employee about 7:10 a.m. It was reportedly spotted in a tree near a ticket booth.
The bomb squad was called to the scene. Police say no one was being allowed into the park but patrons were not evacuated.
Brown issued the following statement to CBSLA during the investigation:
“The safety of our Guests and Cast Members is our top priority. In an abundance of caution and to allow the security teams the opportunity to learn more, we are keeping Guests away from the area at this time.”
Park visitor Chad Segersten and his family considered themselves lucky to be inside the park when officials closed the gates.
“We started noticing there was no crowds,” says Sergesten. “I think it’s the first time in history of Disneyland I got to stay on a ride. They said, ‘Do you want to just ride again?’”
Those left outside the park were not as happy, reports a season ticket holder who visits the park twice per month.
“A lot of people were cussing and saying like, This is ridiculous; they should have a backup plan for this,” she says.
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