Breaking: All Three Major Theme Park Chains Add Metal Detectors

As if Disney, Universal, and SeaWorld all sat down in a meeting together to discuss new safety measures for their parks, today, all three major chains added metal detectors outside the entrances of their parks for the busy holiday season.  The security add-ons, which are being received with mixed opinions among fans and Guests, are in response to the recent terrorist attacks and major rise in gun violence across the world. 

Each company has responded differently to questions about the new security measures, but all meaning the same thing.  The terrorists are winning and affecting our every day life.  Walt Disney World did not say how long its metal detectors would remain at their parks.  SeaWorld announced the new security measures are being used to increase security for the upcoming holiday season.  And Universal Orlando has remained with its statement that the metal detectors are simply a test to see how well they work; something we’ve been hearing for months from them after the addition of the metal detectors outside of a few of their major roller coaster entrances.  All parks have stated they would also be increasing the number of security and police officers both in and out of the parks as well.

Walt Disney World has even added additional security measure which could set a precedent for Disney and the surrounding parks.  Disney has announced people ages 14 and older will no longer be allowed to wear costumes inside the parks, including at the Halloween parties.  Yea, my jaw dropped too.  Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party is well known for the encouragement of Guests coming in costume making it the only major Halloween event with this ability.  However, it now looks like this will no longer be the case.  Disney has also discontinued the selling of toy guns, another blow to children’s play time.

The other new security measure Disney is adding will be at AMC Theaters located at Disney Springs.  Tonight is the premiere event for Star War VII: The Force Awakens, and with it will come at least one metal detector, says Disney.  The Star Wars film premiers are infamous for fans to dress up as their favorite Star Wars character, but almost all theaters across the country have banned that for The Force Awakens.  Masks and toy weapons, including Light Sabers, are not allowed inside the theater.  (Light Sabers?  Really?)  This is a bit easier to understand, but I know Star Wars fans across the country cried out when they read that.  However, the metal detector is was worries me the most.  Yes, we’ve had some terrible incidents at movie theaters over the past few years; places I myself hold up as sanctuaries.  But I shutter at the idea of one day having to stand in line to pass through metal detectors just to go see a movie.  One can bet that if this were to become standard, I would be going to the movie theater much, much less.

Returning back to the topic at hand, many are surprised it has taken this long to get metal detectors installed at the major parks here in Florida, including myself to an extent.  Disney and Universal are both excellent with its security measures.  The parks are not perfect, and yes, situations do happen, but you don’t hear about them because they are contained before anything major actually happens.  Both parks implement regular and undercover security officers around the park, and you barely ever see them.  But when something does happen, they all appear in a blink of an eye.  It’s very impressive.   But some still want the metal detectors, because after all, they’re an everyday thing now.  Six Flags has used them for years at their park gates.  Universal uses them for its Halloween Horror Nights event; something I’ve always been OK with and thankful for.  Every major sporting event has them at their gates.  And we don’t even bat an eye at taking off our shoes at the airport anymore. (Well, I still do, but that’s not the point. It’s become accepted.)

However, because of the recent attacks in Paris and San Bernardino, California, the federal Department of Homeland Security issued a bulletin saying it was “especially concerned that terrorist-inspired individuals and homegrown violent extremists may be encouraged or inspired to target public events or places.”  This concern generally dates all the way back to 9/11, one of the few times in history when Walt Disney World closed its parks for the day.  Walt Disney World is a major world attraction and because of that, many feared it would also be a target for terrorist attacks.  So of course there is concern, but we’ve powered through it for the past 14 years.  It’s just unfortunate that we must continue to have these concerns, and with the recent attacks, I actually fully understand the addition of the metal detectors.  Disneyland and Universal Hollywood have also announced they will be implementing the use of metal detectors.

The big question remains, however.  Just how long will they be in place?  You can bet all three chains will keep them in place through New Years, but who, if any, will remove them first and when?

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About Chris DiPaula

Creator of DiPaula on Disney: entertainment website dedicated to Walt Disney World, Universal Orlando, other Florida parks and activities, and other adventures. Co-creator and producer of Parks, Brews, and Geek News: an entertainment website dedicated to the Florida theme parks including Walt Disney World and Universal Orlando, movie & geek news, and food and brews. Chris DiPaula has been an avid theme park and amusement park goer since childhood and a die hard Disney fan for as long as he can remember. He is currently an active concierge Cast Member at Walt Disney World Resort and has worked for The Walt Disney Company since 2011. Previously, he worked for Busch Gardens Tampa and SeaWorld Orlando in the entertainment technician field as well.

Posted on December 17, 2015, in Park News, Universal Orlando, Walt Disney World and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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