On the same day that the Homeland Security Department activated the National Terrorism Advisory System for the first time since its creation, theme parks around the country activated higher security measures. These new measures were put into place according to theme parks officials to help secure the parks and to help guest feel safer when visiting.
In a rare move of solidarity three different theme park chains instituted higher forms of security measures at its parks around the country. There had been rumors of increased forms of security coming to the theme parks, but no one expected the giant shift in security overnight.
The Walt Disney Parks instituted new higher measures of security at the Magic Kingdom as well as all of its other parks in Orlando. The new security measures also affect Disneyland and California Adventure in Anaheim. The new enhanced security measures will continue having guest go through a bag check, but now guest are being randomly screened using walk-through metal detectors. It’s not yet know whether the parks will institute a policy of having everyone go through the metal detectors.
[pullquote]”We continually review our comprehensive approach to security and are implementing additional security measures, as appropriate,” Disney Statement[/pullquote]
The Walt Disney Parks have also increased the number of security officers patrolling the front gates and throughout the parks. If you have been to a park in recent weeks you have noticed this increase in law enforcement presence. Disney officials have also stated that Vapor Wake Detection Dogs will be patrolling throughout the resorts and at its transportation hubs.
Under the new security policies a ban on bringing toy guns into the parks has also been instituted. Disney will also discontinue the sell of toy guns and blasters at its theme parks around the country. Those who like to dress up in costumes at the parks will no longer be allowed to do so as a ban on costumes has been put into place for anyone over the age of 14 including Halloween Party nights. It’s not yet know if this ban on costumes extends to the runDisney events.
The Walt Disney Parks were not the only ones to make these changes overnight as Universal Studios began using metal-detecting wands to search for weapons or explosives from guest entering its entertainment district both at Universal Studios Orlando and Universal Studios Hollywood. A spokesperson for Universal said that the decision was not driven by a specific threat. “We want our guests to feel safe when they come here….This test is a natural progression for us as we study best practices for security in today’s world.”
SeaWorld and its 11 theme parks also added enhanced security using metal detectors and metal detecting wands. They describe the changes as part of a continuing evaluation of their security plans in keeping both their guests, team members, and animals’ safety a top priority.
Six Flags theme parks have had metal detectors installed at it’s main gates since after the 2001 terrorist attacks.