Top Theme Parks Install Metal Detectors at Enhanced Security Checks

December 17, 2015, 8:12 AM · 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.

Replies (24)

December 17, 2015 at 9:21 AM · 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!

I mean, first off, one of my favorite parts of riding POTC is getting off and partaking in plastic sword fights with my family in the gift shop. And the little guns have always played a crucial role in those. Are we actually trying to kill each other? No! (Though it can be tempting sometimes). And I know we still have the swords, but if we're gonna ban the guns, why not ban them as well? They're also modeled after real-life weapons! I mean, wasn't there one guy who tried to attack a California University using a knife?

And if you're gonna ban the toy guns, why not ban attractions that feature guns?! Like Buzz Lightyear, the Tom Sawyer Island fort, or Midway Mania? Y'know, that super-popular attraction you promised you were gonna expand?

And banning costumes?! Does that mean that the hundreds of people I saw at Comic Con are all Islamic terrorists? Does that mean that the little kids that were trick-or-treating in my neighborhood on Halloween are all threats to America?

And, Disney, does this mean you're gonna stop doing meet-and-greet characters? Does this mean you're gonna take away what's been a huge staple of the parks since Disneyland first opened? Does that mean you're gonna take away that special moment when kids brighten up at the sight of their favorite a Disney characters and rush into their arms? I hope not...

December 17, 2015 at 9:30 AM · 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.
December 17, 2015 at 9:56 AM · 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"...
December 17, 2015 at 9:59 AM · 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!
December 17, 2015 at 10:34 AM · 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."
December 17, 2015 at 10:45 AM · 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.

Disney's theme parks are on private property and they have the right to set the rules. If Disney doesn't want guns on their private property then their rules should be respected.

I'm a pro-gun advocate, but I'm also realistic. Carrying a gun into a theme park, even if concealed, is reckless and ridiculous!

December 17, 2015 at 11:04 AM · 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...

I watched one guy slip his large folding knife down the back of his babies coat to get past security. This guy obviously knew he wasn't suppose to have it in the park and worked hard to get it in anyway.

December 17, 2015 at 11:08 AM · 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.

In Southern California, with Disneyland/California Adventure and Universal Studios adding metal detectors for guests to walk through, and Six Flags Magic Mountain already having them, does this mean that other parks like Knott's Berry Farm, Legoland, and Sea World will also be adding them eventually?

December 17, 2015 at 11:10 AM · The only thing that surprises me about this is that they didn't do it several years ago.

There are just too many crazies in the world and unfortunately, public places like that would make a great target that would get tons of news coverage.

December 17, 2015 at 11:27 AM · 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.
December 17, 2015 at 11:41 AM · 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.
December 17, 2015 at 12:05 PM · Too many crazies in the world? A need to have done this years ago? I don't think so.

The fact is gun violence in the United States has been on the decline for the past decade or more. The issue here is the recent events and possibly intelligence we are not privilege too.

However, metal detectors won't prevent a determined individual from carrying out an attack. If you feel safer because of them then you should have your head examined.

December 17, 2015 at 12:21 PM · 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.
December 17, 2015 at 12:23 PM · 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.
December 17, 2015 at 1:07 PM · Does this mean America is losing the "war on terror"?

I guess this proves that invading Iraq was a huge mistake. Hurrah!

December 17, 2015 at 1:18 PM · 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.
December 17, 2015 at 5:09 PM · 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.
December 17, 2015 at 5:50 PM · 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.

And, yes, metal detectors won't eliminate every single problem. But I'm just saying...ever since airports have started using metal detectors we haven't had another 9/11. Coincidence? I think not.

December 17, 2015 at 8:09 PM · 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.
On a lighter note, wonder how Disney will make the security line into an interactive queue.
December 17, 2015 at 10:01 PM · 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?
December 18, 2015 at 2:05 AM · 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.
December 18, 2015 at 6:42 AM · 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.
I agree I am surprised they didn't do this sooner.
But I also heard they had even stopped selling the bubble making 'guns'. Is this a touch too far? I don't know, I guess I can see both sides.
December 18, 2015 at 7:52 AM · 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.

It was just a matter of time before such measures were implemented at theme parks.

Now one wonders why hasn't cedar fair has not followed suit yet?

December 18, 2015 at 2:24 PM · In the land of the free and the home of the brave goes a diseas around that is called fear.
It happened before, no matter where they or others fight wars, when it hit on their own hometurf there is fear.
To build security they go the route of the middle ages, building high walls, watchtowers and gates that check. It gives a false feeling of security but like the middleages those walls come down quick, gates are passed in trojan horses and th terrorist can kill again.
But it's better then doing nothing, the times are asking for it. That is what I hear, but the result is ignorance. The atttacks will continue and they will be worse when you feel safe.
In London got many people killed by terrorists, a bus blown up. Still there are no restrictions to get in the public transportation. Sure camera's and intelligent software keep een eye out but the main thing is that we are asked to take notice, to alarm a policeman if there is a package. We are taking matter in our iwn hand by beeing mindfull to our surroundings, not in fear but to care for each other. Realy it's not that difficult, but false security is and was never the solution.

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