JUPITER, Fla. -- A Jupiter family looking to celebrate a Sweet Sixteen birthday party at Universal Studios in Orlando got a sour surprise instead.
Christian Jarosz said he and his family were ejected from the theme park Aug. 24 because he was wearing a T-shirt containing the word ‘police’ and he is not a law enforcement officer.
The shirt was a gift from Jarosz’s brother, who is a retired police officer in New York. Jarosz said he had previously worn the shirt to Disney World and other theme parks without incident. This time was different.
Jarosz, his wife and two daughters — including his eldest, Sabrina, who was turning 16 that day — were on their way to watch a performance of the Blue Man Group at Universal when park security stopped them.
“You can’t wear that shirt in here,” Jarosz said he was told by one security official, who cited park policy.
Jarosz and his wife requested to see a copy of the policy, but “never cursed or got loud.”
Unable to make any headway, Jarosz said he decided to walk to a nearby store and buy another shirt without any objectionable markings. But as Jarosz prepared to purchase the shirt, he was surrounded by park security and told not to bother.
“You guys are out of here,” Jarosz said he was told by a security officer, who added that the family was being “disruptive.”
He said they were threatened with arrest if they did not leave.
The family complied and missed the show, ruining Sabrina’s birthday party. Jarosz, an electrician, said he did not have to pay for the tickets he reserved.
Universal Studios Director of Public Relations Alyson Lundell said in an email that park security responded properly.
“The only people we allow in our parks with shirts or other clothing that might identify them as police officers are working law enforcement personnel,” Lundell said. “This is for everyone’s safety and to avoid confusion by our guests.”
Lundell said she could not specifically respond to questions regarding the Jarosz family.
“I can tell you it is our practice to clearly explain policy decisions to our guests — and it is not our practice to ask guests to leave our theme parks simply because they ask us questions,” Lundell said.
Jarosz said repeated emails to Universal Studios received no response so he went with his family’s story to Orlando-area media. Since then, Jarosz said his wife have heard from a senior official in guest relations at Universal Studios, who apologized for the family’s treatment.
Jarosz said he’s been to Universal Studios at least 15 times and is particularly fond of the park’s Islands of Adventure. But after this latest experience is he considering going back?
“Probably not,” Jarosz said.