Top Theme Parks Install Metal Detectors at Enhanced Security Checks
What's the newest "attraction" coming to the Walt Disney World Resort?
Metal detectors. And they're not just coming to Disney World. Universal Orlando and SeaWorld have installed the security devices at the entrances to their resorts, and the major California theme parks are expected to have them in place soon.
Metal detectors at theme parks are nothing new. Some Six Flags theme parks installed the devices decades ago, and Disneyland Paris features detectors not just for people, but separate airport-style units to scan bags, as well.
Universal Orlando recently installed metal detectors in the queues of several major roller coasters, however those were designed to keep people from bringing in all material in their pockets — not just prohibited items, such as weapons. For that reason, it is expected that those metal detectors will remain in place, even as Universal installs another set at the entrance to CityWalk. Universal has used metal detectors at its entrance for Halloween Horror Nights and other hard-ticket events in the past, as well.
The change comes after a couple of widely-publicized shooting attacks, in Paris and in San Bernardino, Calif. Earlier this month, a Disney World visitor was caught by the resort's traditional screening process and prevented from bringing a gun into the parks. In April at Universal Studios Hollywood, a man brought a gun into the park (despite the security check), then committed suicide near the Super Silly Fun Land play area.
Disney is taking the additional steps of stopping the sale of all toy guns in its theme parks, and is formally banning the wearing of costumes by adults at all theme park events, including its Halloween parties.
Ok, I'm fine with the metal detectors at the entrance, but prohibiting the selling of toy guns and wearing costumes? That's just outrageous!
High priced tickets, longer wait times, now not only will lines be longer at check in, and most likely they will have TSA type searches soon, but kids can't even get toy zappers at the parks. Goodbye theme parks, it was fun while it lasted But there's better stuff to do in my spare time.
No adult costumes, not even at Halloween parties. Star Wars costumes were previously allowed at Disneyland during "Season of the Force" but that language was just removed from the site overnight. So much for "Show your Disney Side"...
Metal detectors, fine...I get it. But banning costumes for adults and teens at the Halloween party?! Isn't Disney where we can go to feel like a kid again? The costumes at the party were my favorite thing about it. Great response to terrorism Disney, let's ban fun!
It strikes me that one of the reasons the metal detectors have been installed is because there has been a lot of message board comments related to Disney's ban on firearms. The policy has gotten a lot of pushback from gun owners with concealed weapons permits. Many have posted stuff like "I don't care what Disney will allow. I'm going to bring my gun."
That's a total hypocritical argument those folks are making. Gun owners want to protect their rights to own and carry a gun, but at the same time they too should also want to protect property owners rights.
The guns don't concern me that much but the number of guys I've seen in the parks with 8, 10 and 12 inch survival or hunting knives is a little worrisome...
On our last visit to Universal Studios on the weekend of Dec. 5th, they had moved the security check from the outside perimeter of the entry area (near the rotating metal Universal globe) to at the ticket entry area. I asked the security guard why they were doing this, and he said it was easier to monitor every single guest at the ticket entry. He also said the San Bernardino attack was the reason why the security check had been moved. Not sure where they will be adding the metal detectors at Universal.
The only thing that surprises me about this is that they didn't do it several years ago.
I agree with Tracy. It's an annoying thing to do, but the world we live in now has forced us to resort to these types of measures.
Anything to make these places safer is a good thing, not going to stop every possible issue but it's a step in the right direction to keep families safer. It may add time to get to the parks but the alternative does not bear thinking about. These are high profile large crowd places that unfortunately get high profile coverage everytime something happens and the people who would look at doing something bad are looking exactly for that profile, keep safe everyone.
Too many crazies in the world? A need to have done this years ago? I don't think so.
So basically, if there's going to be an attack it will be in the crowd of hundreds waiting in line to pass through the metal detectors rather than the crowd of hundreds after the metal detectors. Just another time wasting false sense of security I suppose.
It will be interesting to see whether parks, such as Holiday World, in extremely rural areas resort to installing metal detectors. Holiday World is probably the most hospitable park I ever visited and I was glad not to have to go through a metal detector the way I do at my home park, but these days safety cannot be taken for granted anywhere, even in Santa Claus, IN.
Does this mean America is losing the "war on terror"?
Our local park, Kennywood, installed metal detectors in response to an accidental shooting outside of the park this spring. We went to their Holiday Lights event two weekends ago and they had the scanner's sensors turned ridiculously high. Even change in the pocket, or a metal belt buckle would set it off. Subsequently the entrance lines were crazy slow. It took us about 45 minutes to go less than 20 yards. Hopefully Disney & Universal use settings that don't trip for inconsequential items.
I am not at all surprised by this move and actually think it is overdue at destination theme parks. While it may be an inconvenience, I would much rather be delayed a bit when arriving than be involved in any type of tragic event while visiting. I don't mind the metal detectors becoming a permanent addition, but I hope the other measures taken are only temporary and will be relaxed in the future when the climate warrants it.
Yeah, I'm with AJ and others. Like I said (and quite elaborately) halting the sales of toy guns and prohibiting people to come to the park in costume is a bit of a dumb decision. I do, however, have no problem with metal detectors. I don't like them in front of rides because they're trying to avoid letting in any metallic object and as such is more of an inconvenience. But these metal detectors are targeting specific items that most people won't be carrying around anyway.
I agree this is long overdue. My question has never been IF something will happen but WHEN. Extra safety is worth the additional wait time, hassle of bags being screened, or being physically patted down provided everyone gets the same treatment. The crazies will always be on the lookout how to beat the system though.
Disney is only randomly screening with the metal detectors. I will NOT set foot in Disney until ALL visitors are screened. What good are random screenings?
Not sure about Universal, but the Disney metal detectors are being used as a secondary screening measure. When used in conjunction with behavioral profiling, this new procedure certainly can make things safer because it gives security personnel more time to observe the guest. The longer you spend with someone, the easier it is to read the behavioral cues that suggest that something isn't normal.
We have similar in the UK on a quite a scale compared to the US. I lined up to go through metal detectors at the O2 Arena in London to go to a concert.
With regards to the costume ban, remember the unfortunate tragedy in aurora colorado where a masked man opened fire during the midnight premiere of a batman movie a few years ago? Metal detectors and a costume ban were introduced by that cinema chain afterwards.
In the land of the free and the home of the brave goes a diseas around that is called fear.
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