Disney World has a reputation of being a family-friendly park that is both clean and safe. Its procedures have evolved over the years, and more has been added to keep park guests safe.
Some of these procedures are obvious while others are not so obvious.
Guests can clearly see baggage checks, metal detectors, law enforcement, and security officers, but we can’t see things like surveillance cameras, undercover personnel, and the training that every Disney World Cast member goes through to ensure guest safety.
Security at Disney World
Nearly every public place these days has some type of security. We see it in our malls, our shopping plazas, our schools, our churches, and even in our homes. We know that there are bad people out there with bad intentions, and we want to keep ourselves safe.
Disney World wants to uphold its good reputation, and it wants its guests to feel comfortable in the parks, so it has extensive security in place to make that happen.
First is baggage check. If you have a bag of any kind including a purse, diaper bag, backpack, cooler, or even a waist pack, it will be screened before you enter the parks. Strollers will also be checked.
Disney also installed metal detectors at all of the theme parks. While anyone with a bag or stroller will go through baggage check, not everyone will have to go through the metal detectors, and some will have to do both. The security officers choose these people randomly, and they may also use a wand-style detector in addition to or instead of the walk through detectors.
Despite this new layer of security, not much time has been added to the security process of actually getting into the park. Even if you have to go through the metal detectors, it only adds a couple minutes, and the Cast Members are polite through the whole process.
Finally, you may also notice law enforcement officers stationed at various locations throughout the park entrance. Their presence has increased incrementally over the years, and I have to say I like seeing them there. I know Disney security is completely capable of doing their job of keeping us safe, but the increased presence makes me feel even better.
Keep in mind that these metal detectors is are in the theme parks. As of this writing, there are no metal detectors at the water parks or at Disney Springs. Both Blizzard Beach and Typhoon Lagoon have baggage check procedures. Disney Springs has an extensive law enforcement presence at all times. They have been quite effective at keeping this area safe.
Security at Other Orlando Theme Parks
Universal Studios has the most extensive security process. All visitors and bags are screened. Visitors walk through metal detectors and bags go through an x-ray machine on a conveyor belt.
Sea World is a mix of both worlds. They use security officers to check bags, and guests go through metal detectors before entering the park.
Neither of these areas is conducive to crowds, and they can easily become congested. Some people have even expressed concerns about how Universal’s security guards handle guests in the screening process citing that they are sometimes rough, rude, and unpleasant.
It seems that Disney wins again in yet another category of excellence!
Ten Tips for getting Through Quickly
1. Arrive Early
Security is a long and boring process, but it is necessary. Be prepared for long waits and crowds by arriving 30-60 minutes before park opening.
2. Have your bags ready
The best way to make this process go quickly is to have your bag off of your person and every zipper unzipped, open, and ready to show the security personnel.
3. Have your strollers ready
Since the security officers will check strollers, have your kids out of the stroller and the stroller ready to be checked. This includes removing other bags from under-seat storage and having them ready to be screened as well.
4. Leave any dangerous items at home
Anything even as small as a pocket knife can be used as a weapon, and security may confiscate it. Just to be safe and keep the line moving, leave it at home.
5. Leave the selfie-sticks at home too
I think this was a is that is fading away, but Disney still has them on the list of things that are banned from the parks. If you have one, the officer will confiscate it and hold it at Guest Relations where you can pick it up before you leave, but you will not be allowed to take it into the parks. To prevent backups, just leave it at home or in your hotel.
6. Remove everything from your pockets
Before you go through the metal detectors, take everything out of your pockets and put it in the plastic tub. Don’t forget to take off any celebratory buttons as they will set off the detector!
7. Keep an eye on your stuff
Watch where your tub goes so you can retrieve it quickly. Looking for your belongings can be stressful and it can hold up the line.
8. Keep moving after the metal detectors
Avoid loitering after going through the metal detectors. Keep moving forward. If you need a minute to gather your belongings, zip your bags, refill your pockets, and put the kids back in the stroller, step aside so other people can keep moving through security.
9. Avoid photography in the area
Many security officers have expressed concerns of people taking pictures in the security line. These pictures could be used with bad intentions. Though there aren’t signs saying so, avoiding photography in the area will make the officers more comfortable and avoid confrontations.
10. Be observant
As the saying goes: If you see something, say something. If something seems off, notify security or a law enforcement officer. Even if it’s nothing, you can be confident that you didn’t let a potentially dangerous situation go unnoticed. If you ever feel unsafe while you are in Florida, you can and should call 1-855-FLA-SAFE.
Do you think Disney does a good job keeping the parks secure?