WASHINGTON – Ditch the carpet, Aladdin. Tinkerbell and Dumbo? Your flights are grounded, too.
That’s because for the past decade, Disney World and Disneyland have benefited from a deal slipped into a 300-page spending bill that designates airspace above both parks as no-fly zones.
That means anyone caught trying to chopper into Cinderella’s castle could risk federal prosecution and jail time.
The no-fly zones were put in place ostensibly for security reasons following 9/11 but have stayed in place in what some say is a cleverly crafted plan by Disney to keep pesky aerial advertisers out of its pristine airspace.
The zones over the Disney parks in Anaheim, Calif., and Orlando, Fla., work the same way as those imposed when the president travels, during air shows and during large sporting events. Only Disney’s zones are not temporary.
Backers of the no-fly zones argue that these areas should stay restricted because of the large crowds they draw. They also say that Disney is a major American attraction that deserves extra attention.
“We believe the airspace restrictions over large gathering places like sports stadiums and our theme parks continue to make sense for enhancing public safety,” a Disney spokeswoman told FoxNews.com in an email.
Not everyone is feeling the Disney magic.
Critics say the no-fly zones, which cover a three-mile radius in each of the parks, are only in place to prevent pilots from towing advertising banners over Disney. They also say the no-fly zones will do little in the event of an actual terrorist attack.
In 2003, a conservative Christian organization and an aerial advertising company sued Disney over its no-fly zone. In that particular case, the organization wanted the no-fly zones removed so it could fly banners protesting a gay festival being held in the area.