Last week, Universal Orlando Resort surprised guests at Universal Studios Florida with a pop-up metal detector in front of the Hollywood Rip Ride Rocket roller coaster. Though the metal detectors are not permanent and only appear during specific intervals throughout the day, this so-called "security test" has been quite controversial among park-goers and has incited quite a bit of discussion about what is appropriate when it comes to ride and park security.
Though this latest security measure has definitely caused quite the uproar, it is certainly not the first time Universal Orlando Resort has implemented an unpopular security measure in the park, and it likely won't be the last. These three security measures have all been implemented to varying degrees over the past six months at Universal Orlando Resort, but all have caused some serious guest issues.
1. Ban on outside liquids
Universal stirred up some massive controversy earlier this year when they instituted an all-liquid ban at the park that lasted a week and was heavily enforced. Guests entering the "bag check" area right before CityWalk during this test were instructed to discard all liquids, including drinks and water, and were not permitted to enter the park until they had, causing massive backups and delays for other guests. Some guests even reported having trouble bringing medicine, baby formula and other necessary liquids into the park.
After several days of the all-liquid ban, Universal Orlando Resort ended this test, just as a very passionate backlash was mounting online. Though Universal spokesman Tom Schroder confirmed the end of the test back in February, no reason was ever given as to why the test was implemented in the first place, or what Universal hoped to gain by prohibiting outside liquids inside its parks (though some speculated it was in response to reports of some guests bringing alcohol into the parks). In any case, this is one controversial security practice that we are happy to say is over.
2. Aggressive searches at roller coasters
Though Universal Orlando Resort has always encouraged guests to store personal belongings like hats, glasses, wallets, etc. in free lockers while they are waiting to experience an attraction, this practice became a little less voluntary a few months ago. Beginning late last fall, Universal Team Members stationed outside The Hulk roller coaster at Islands of Adventure began asking guests to turn out their pockets at the front of the ride queue, and any guests with something in their pocket was asked to turn around.
Similarly, if a Team Member found a guests fiddling with a smartphone while waiting in line or pulling something out from another pocket, said guest would be dismissed from the line while they went to go store their belongings in a locker.
However, this newfound strictness ultimately didn't last, and within weeks Team Members stopped asking guests to turn out their pockets and began turning more of a blind eye to those in the queue with smartphones. No official reason was given for the starting or halting of this procedure.