Pablo Escobar once visited Disney World and there’s a photo to prove it

Narcos even referenced this momentous family holiday.

Pablo Escobar at Walt Disney World Florida
Bored Pablo Pablo Escobar at Walt Disney World Florida in May 1981.

At the height of Pablo Escobar’s power money was no object.

The Colombian drug lord turned over $60 million a day thanks to his cartel managing to supply the United States with 80% of the cocaine it required. Just remember, this was the 80s and Wall Street and Hollywood would’ve required a lot of powder.

Escobar had a net worth of around $30 billion by the time he was shot and killed by Colombian National Police in 1993.

Rewind more than a decade, though, and Escobar was still unknown as Colombia’s number one drug trafficker to authorities. He was able to travel to and from the US with relative ease, including one memorable family holiday to Walt Disney World Florida.

In what can only be described as the Escobar version of National Lampoon’s Vacation, Pablo took his wife Maria Victoria Henao, five-year-old son Juan Pablo, mother Hermilda, brother Roberto and cousin Gustavo Gaviria to the resort in May, 1981.

Pablo Escobar Disney World Florida

“Our family life hadn’t yet become encumbered by complications. That was the only period of pure pleasure and lavishness that my father enjoyed,” Escobar’s son Juan Pablo said in his book Pablo Escobar, My Father.

Photographs of the vacation have now surfaced courtesy of Dangerous Minds – and they show Escobar not exactly looking like he’s in his element.

Though Pablo may seem like he’s been dragged there against his will (legend has it he was also scared of rollercoasters), it actually inspired him to build his own theme park at the family’s Hacienda Nápoles home.

It featured everything from zoos to go-karts to keep the Escobars entertained. Now the venue is open to the public as ‘Pablo World’ and is a three-and-a-half hour bus ride from Medellín.

The moment was also briefly referenced in the Narcos episode Deutschland 93, in which Wagner Moura crime lord reminisces about the “beautiful”, “organised” and “very clean” Disney World.

Previous Post
Next Post
Loaded digital media manager Simon Reynolds has written about film and entertainment for various leading websites since 2008. Follow Simon at @simonreyn