The Internets are a-buzz with news that Walt Disney World and other Orlando attractions installed metal detectors. What do these changes mean and how will it impact your next visit to an Orlando theme park? Let's find out.
Should Theme Parks Have Metal Detectors?
The reason for this sudden change seems quite obvious after recent attacks in Paris and San Bernadino, CA. Crazy people with guns want to shoot up folks who they know won't be able to defend themselves. News reports shared the notion that Islamic terrorists are encouraging their followers to attack soft targets, which is a euphemism for unaware civilians. In other words, bring a weapon and surprise your neighbors by killing them.
This strategy isn't new. Remember the attacks on Charlie Hebdo in Paris and the hotel in Tripoli last year? The idea is to attack westerners where they feel safest and least expect to fear for their lives.
Orlando theme parks and attractions, as well as parks in California and other parts of the nation, fall into this strategy. It isn't surprising that Walt Disney World, Universal Studios and Sea World have all put up metal detectors. The only interesting part is that they all did it on the same day, suggesting some sort of collaboration regarding security for the parks.
Let's not have any doubt, these measure are to protect their property and assets more than concern for the safety of their guests. Visitors to theme parks and resorts get injured and die all the time. You just don't hear about it on the news. It's the same with Las Vegas casino resorts. All the dead people are very quiet.
After all, who wants to stay in a room where someone had a drug overdose or hung herself? It's creepy enough in Las Vegas, but even more so in a room that has The Little Mermaid staring at you with her big eyes.
The simple truth is that Orlando attractions should have metal detectors. Security at Walt Disney World parks has been a gaping hole for anyone who wanted to cause harm.
Until recently, guests without a bag had absolutely no security check at any of the Walt Disney World parks. It's not hard to imagine Jihad Johnny strapping a bomb under his clothes and walking right down Main Street before he pushed a button during the Christmas parade.
The ensuing chaos would reach worldwide attention. Not only because Walt Disney World is famous, but because theme parks are potential death traps with a single way in and out. Look at the chaos that happened in Disney Springs when an altercation last Christmas turned into a panic with people claiming that shots were fired. There is simply no way to get people out of there in a quick and safe manner.
When Walt Disney World closed its parks after the terrorist attacks on 9/11, it was a slow period for guest count and it was early in the morning. Even when the park was well below its capacity, it took 20-30 minutes to get the guests out of the parks. – and that was without a direct attack on property. That doesn't seem so bad for end of the night, but it's an eternity when there is a potential threat.
The problem with metal detectors is not that they are now present, but how they will impact the flow of visitors in the parks. Universal Studios and Sea World are using wand-style metal detectors, which means a security officer has to wave it around each guest to its parks and CityWalk. That is a very time-consuming practice that seems to indicate these attractions were not prepared to implement these new measures.
I expect the process will get better, but it's still going to be slower. How long before we have to take off our shoes before we can enter the Magic Kingdom?
Of course, there were other new policies announced at the same time that have some people scratching their heads. Let's clear up those issues.
Walt Disney World Beefs Up Security By No Longer Selling Toy Guns
This one seems obvious to me, but I've had fun reading the comments about this policy. Some believe that Walt Disney World doesn't want to contribute to the concept of violence in a child's mind, so it's removing toy guns. Of course, you can still buy toy swords and light sabers, so the idea of non-violence is a bit of a delusion.
Here's my take on this new policy. Walt Disney World wants to be able to say that there are no guns in its parks at all. If it has to respond to someone carrying a gun, they can do so with the expectation that it is a REAL gun and deal accordingly.
Let that thought sink in for a moment.
We live in a society where cops shoot people with cell phones because they were “in fear for their lives” because they thought it was a gun. To be fair, you can't expect a cop or anyone else to determine if a gun is real or a toy by waiting to see if someone shoots at them. If they see you holding a gun, they behave in the moment as if it is real and may shoot you if you don't comply.
Well, that situation has PR Disaster written all over it if this happens inside of a Walt Disney World park. I'm sure the idea has been discussed there before. Adding the metal detectors seems like a good time to address the toy gun issue and remove them as a potential problem in the future.
Basically, don't sneak anything that looks like a gun inside of a Walt Disney Park. You can expect that they will treat it as a real weapon with a real threat.
No More Adults In Costume At Walt Disney World Parks
You typically couldn't wear a costume to Walt Disney World Parks as an adult, but there were exceptions for special events, such as Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party.
While I know there are many people who enjoy dressing up or Cosplay, I really get the point of this issue. The folks at Disney don't want guests to be confused by someone who is not a cast member that's dressed up as one of their characters. Guests should be guests and let the professionals wear the costumes. There are exceptions for small children and that's fine. Nobody is really going to believe that your toddler is really Cinderella or Jack Sparrow.
The big change is that you can't dress up for the Halloween party. Let's face it, some people really did go all out with their costumes and showed some creativity. In fact, a bit too much creativity. I can tell you the reason for this policy change in three words.
Transvestite Cruella DeVille.
I was fairly shocked with the number of transvestite costumes I saw at the Halloween party I visited last year, particularly the dude in the red mini-skirt who liked bending over.
This change is because a few folks took things a bit too far and screwed it up for everyone else. I welcome the change in policy as I cannot un-see that man's scrotum.
Is This The New Normal?
How do you feel about the way Walt Disney World beefs up security with metal detectors and other policies? Do you think the new security policies are here to stay or will the metal detectors become too much of a burden for the parks? Will they find a way to streamline the security process?
Tell us what you think in the comments below. If you've been to one of the Orlando attractions since the metal detectors went up, let us know how you felt about the process. Thanks!