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Disneyland to move security check outside Downtown Disney

November 6, 2016, 9:13 PM · Disneyland is changing its security checkpoints. The resort will move its westside checkpoint to put almost all of Downtown Disney inside the secured zone, the Orange County Register reports.

Currently, Disneyland has two main checkpoints, one on either side of the esplanade separating the two theme parks. The eastside checkpoint, the one nearest Harbor Blvd., will remain in place for now, though it eventually will move east of Harbor, once Disneyland completes its next parking garage.

On the other side of the esplanade, Disney by the end of this year will push the security checkpoint back to the ESPN Zone, bringing Downtown Disney within the secured area. With that, visitors can come and go to Downtown Disney as well as the two theme parks without having to go back through the security check.

That should help reduce the wait times at the checkpoints later in the day, especially when the after-work and after-school crowds of annual passholders descent upon the parks. Since the tram drop-off is located within what will be the newly expanded secure zone, Disney will create a new checkpoint at the tram loading area outside the Mickey and Friends parking structure.

What the Register story doesn't address is... what about people who choose to walk from Mickey and Friends to the park? And what about people staying in the Grand Californian who head to the park via the hotel entrance into Downtown Disney, next to Sephora? Disney would need to add security checks at those points, in addition to the ones at Mickey and Friends and the ESPN Zone.

Assuming Disneyland does that, people entering Disneyland from the west will go through one of five checkpoints, instead of the current one: at Mickey and Friends for people parking there and riding the tram, on the access walkway for people walking from Mickey and Friends, one at the ESPN Zone for people in the Downtown Disney parking lot, another at ESPN for people walking over from the Disneyland Hotel, and one at the Grand California. (That's in addition to the current checkpoint at the Grand Californian for people entering Disney California Adventure.) The change also would bring the Downtown Disney monorail station inside the secure zone, so there would no longer need to be a bag check there.

The new checkpoint at Mickey and Friends likely would be the big one, though, although it should see a more even distribution of people, rather than the surges hitting the current checkpoint when trams arrive. But Disney will need the other four checkpoints on the west side of the resort to take a lot of the pressure off the Mickey and Friends checkpoint, because there's not enough space at the Mickey and Friends tram loading area to handle people coming off the trams plus anywhere near the current length of lines waiting at the existing checkpoint during a busy Friday afternoon rush.

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Replies (15)

November 6, 2016 at 9:21 PM · This is great news. Now I can go see a movie in Downtown Disney and not worry about a nut with a gun shooting the place up.

Since there will never be any real change in US gun laws and regulation, this will eventually be the future of all large spaces where the public can gather.

November 6, 2016 at 11:38 PM · I suppose they will eventually institute mandatory metal detectors for everyone entering the park, like at Six Flags.
November 6, 2016 at 11:51 PM · I'm not surprised as I've expected something like this to be coming for a while. Overall, this may create more congestion at the tram boarding area but should result in a more efficient experience getting into the parks (particularly if flow through the checkpoint is matched to what the trams can handle). I do hope Disney takes this opportunity to reconfigure the checkpoint to force all guests through a metal detector (or just removes the detectors completely...the current setup is faulty) AND adds a no bag line to the main entry points on the west side.
November 7, 2016 at 8:57 AM · A couple of the access points will likely have to be limited to guests of the Grand Californian but its not a big deal for most visitors. As far as the people being able to walk from Mickey & Friends along Disneyland Drive. Remember that a new hotel is going to start construction soon so that sidewalk might not even be an option in the near future. As to the concerns about a jam-up at the future checkpoint at Mickey & Friends. They are in the process right now of reconfiguring the tram route. They are creating a new opening in the garage and a good part of the Pinocchio parking lot (adjacent to the garage) is going to used so there will be more than enough room.

The checkpoints never deterred from going to Downtown Disney but it did me riding the monorail for some reason. Maybe because I remember days when all you needed was to get your hand stamped at the DLH to return to DL.

It’s going to be a plus for Downtown Disney and considering the large number of locals who treat the resort as others would their regional mall it makes a lot of sense.


November 7, 2016 at 9:17 AM · When will Disney address the lack of elevators at the Mickey and Friends parking structure. Two elevators isn't enough. They can partially solve the elevator problem by having exit ramps for levels 2 and 3. Getting on the tram at Mickey and Friends is already a huge problem. The congestion can only get worse with a security checkpoint. The tram route itself seems like a slow moving snail. Doubling and back creates a longer route. Shave a few seconds by having the tram stop at the road entrance.

They should include the Grand California into the perimeter. It has a some fine restaurants like Napa Rose where theme park guests want to visit. The bell service should screen all luggage and bring them up to the room.

November 7, 2016 at 9:34 AM · I have to commend Disney for their thorough security checkpoints. I was at USH yesterday and I had a large tote with lots of small zipper bags inside - phone chargers, earbuds, etc. The Security Officer looked in my tote and said 'ok'. At Disney, they have me open each zippered bag and/or pocket; which I gladly do. Yikes!
November 7, 2016 at 9:42 AM · I always choose to walk from parking lot into resort normally walk in to Grand California into DCA thru middle esplanade into DLR to avoid security check point at Downtown Disney. I believe it would be illegal to check people at the entrance of a hotel as a hotel guest, what I do know is that DCA already has a security check point from Grand Californian into DCA which is proper entry way into park from hotel anyway. All these security check points surely give us a sense of safety but it's extremely taking away from our rights to freedom liberty & justice for all..
November 7, 2016 at 10:20 AM · This must explain all the work currently happening at the Mickey & Friends tram loading area. To my eyes it looks like it's being widened/expanded into the Pinocchio parking area where the tour buses park, to allow more space for the security checkpoint going in there.
November 7, 2016 at 10:23 AM · This must explain all the work currently underway at the Mickey & Friends tram loading area. To my eyes it looks like the tram route and loading area are being widened into the adjacent Pinocchio parking area (where the tour buses park) to accommodate the new security checkpoint going in there.
November 7, 2016 at 11:10 AM · Tony. Guns are not the problem, people and our devolving culture are. If someone truly wants to do harm they will find a way. There are plastic knives and bombs that will easily pass through a metal detector. And heck if someone was fully armed it wouldn't take them long to dispatch the unarmed security workers and enter the secured areas. Gun laws only punish law abiding citizens who ironically might actually save your life if an attack was happening. Or they can just get us in the parking lot or hotels before we pass through security. These security apparatus only exist to make you feel safe so that their businesses are not affected. But it is only an illusion. You are better off arming and equipping yourself for the unthinkable.
November 7, 2016 at 11:45 AM · OK, let's talk about the locals (I live in Anaheim)....I think this will add one more thing to have them not visit Downtown Disney, you have the parking issues, as many folks are being sent to the Simba lot next to the Paradise Pier Hotel currently. The lot is a paid lot, yes there is some free and validation periods, but it seems like most folks do end up paying something to park. And then the issues of the heavy traffic to get to the parking lot, and not even knowing where you will be parking (North or south of DtD). Now add to that a possible longer walk to a security area.

Then have to go through security, and I can see less trips to visit the Shopping mall.

Now, the tenants might actually make out, as it will be easier for park guests to eat and shop the area. So will that offset the few guests that will attend.

One of the big local draws, House of Blues is moving to the nearby Anaheim GardenWalk, though it does have the same paid parking issues.

Guess it is a win for the local malls, The Outlets at Orange, Main Place Mall, and Buena Park Mall. All have movie theaters and lots of "entertainment" options along with dining and shopping. Plus free parking and easier access to the malls.

November 7, 2016 at 5:38 PM · @172.90.34.238
Actually the security gates will make DtD more popular with locals as it is now the only shopping district and move theater that screens for guns. I know I'll be watching my movies only at the AMC in DtD from now on.

@66.87.65.222
Perfectly legal for a hotel to screen guests for guns. It's private property so they can do as they please as long as it is not done in a discriminatory manner. And this is actually the American concept of liberty and freedom in action: private property owners can set the rules of entry and agency within their domain.

@Daniel Galvan
The point of a well-designed and implemented security gate is not to stop acts before or at the gate, but after the gate. 99% of your day will be spent at the space after the gate, and it will now be gun-free. That's the point of the security gate and why the White House, Pentagon, most stadiums, Statue of Liberty, Empire State Building, etc. have them. After going through the gate, I don't have to think about a nut with a gun mowing down guests in front of the castle during the fireworks. And I'll take my chances against a plastic knife (which I can outrun and/or fight back against) than a Glock. Bomb making with plastic explosives is a red herring as they are extremely hard and expensive to build, and difficult to get the proper materials. Quite a few wannabe bomb makers blow themselves up in the process of construction (and good riddance).

This is the future of American public space as security technology improves (more efficient and invasive) and gets cheaper. Eventually, security gates will be implemented at all places where the American public gathers.

November 7, 2016 at 11:51 PM · Thanks to Mr. NRA above, for giving nasty people ideas! Much appreciated!
November 9, 2016 at 12:48 AM · Only in 2016 America can a conversation about moving the security gates at Disneyland become a full on debate about gun rights & violence. Weird.
November 13, 2016 at 12:32 AM · “Empire of Mouse” says the inclusion of Downtown Disney in the security area will create massive security breaches that Disney cannot adequately address by the end of the year.

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