March 17, 2013 at 5:34 AM ET
Disney theme parks will soon require anyone under the age of 14 to be accompanied by someone who is older than 14, a Disney spokeswoman said Saturday.
The new policy will take effect March 23 at all U.S. Walt Disney World and Disneyland resorts and parks.
"If a cast member who is working at the front gates sees a guest who appears to be younger than 14 without someone who appears to be older than that, they will engage in a conversation with the guest," Disney spokeswoman Suzi Brown told NBC4.
The employee will verbally determine whether the guest is too young to enter on his or her own, since children that age typically do not carry identification with them, she said. The child’s parent or guardian would then be contacted if the visitor is underage, and that adult would need to physically come accompany the child into the park.
Disney chose the age of 14 after the company surveyed its guests and reached out to organizations that deal with child welfare, Brown said. She said both the organizations and visitors agreed on the new age limit.
"That was the age they felt was appropriate," she said. "That's also the age the Red Cross recommends for babysitting."
No particular incident triggered the change in policy, Brown added.
“We regularly review all of our policies, and we identified an opportunity to provide a consistent age of admission and address a question we occasionally get from parents, ” Brown said. "The question is just if we have a minimum age."
The Disneyland parks did not previously have a set age for solo admission, and the age rules at Walt Disney World Resort varied among the parks, she said.
"This was a move to bring a consistent age policy across our domestic resorts," Brown said.
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