When you're on vacation at one of Orlando's theme parks, the last thing you want to think about is security. While we'd all like to think that Walt Disney World, Universal Orlando Resort and SeaWorld Orlando are all safe spaces, the reality is that each of these parks has sweeping security measures in place that help keep guests as safe as possible. Just last week there was an incident at the Magic Kingdom with a guest carrying a concealed weapon that was resolved by well-trained staff and security. However, in an effort to beef up security, the Orlando theme parks banded together yesterday in an unprecedented fashion to help keep guests as safe as possible in the coming months.
Here's everything you need to know about the security changes that are already in effect at parks across Orlando, including Universal Orlando Resort, Walt Disney World, and SeaWorld Orlando.
1. You’ll be subject to much more security at the gate
The first thing all guests will notice as they approach any Disney or Universal park is the presence of walk-through metal detectors. At Universal Orlando Resort these are located at the resort’s bag-check area near CityWalk, and at Walt Disney World these walk through detectors are in white tents in front of each park entrance, after the bag check station. Disney is also randomly selecting guests for secondary screenings, and metal detecting wands are also in use at all parks.
Over at SeaWorld Orlando, the situation is a little bit different, as there are no walk-through detectors, but the park is using wands to check guests before they enter the park.
2. No more costumes…ever?
Though costumes are not typically allowed at Walt Disney World during regular operations for guests over 9 years old, Disney has changed its costume policy as part of these new security measures. Under the new policy, guests 14 and over are not allowed to wear costumes in the park, ever. And according to the Orlando Sentinel this includes Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party.
Though a lot can happen in the 9 months between now and next September, at least as of this writing, Mickey’s Not-So-Scary 2016 will be a costume-free affair, much to the disappointment of several fans. While no one is happy to go through metal detectors or have wands waved all over their person, by far this change has been the most controversial, and many are hoping an exception will be made for this annual tradition by next fall.
3. Toy guns are no longer allowed at Walt Disney World
Another security measure that has taken effect immediately at Walt Disney World is the removal of all toy guns. Though there aren’t that many to be found at Disney parks to begin with, toy guns had previously been available in the Pirates of the Caribbean gift shop and in some locations around Adventureland and Frontierland. However, all of this merchandise has been removed and will not be stocked again for the foreseeable future.
In addition, no toy guns of any type will be allowed for guests to bring into in the park. No matter what kind of toy it is, if it resembles any kind of gun, guests will be asked to keep it in their car.