At Wandering in Disney, we don’t often react to the everyday news of the Disney theme parks. We don’t make it to the parks as often as some other blogs and, as a group, we’ve decided that regurgitating press releases isn’t what we want our blog to be. With that being said, I thought today’s news was of interest and I’m hoping I could add some interesting commentary to the news.
The Disney community woke up today to the news that Disney Theme Parks have increased the amount of security inside of the parks, as well as adding metal detectors to the baggage check area outside of the parks. As most bits of news are met with these days, there was outrage among some in the fan community. I’ll add in my two cents but before I do, Disney Tourist Blog had a good response earlier today and I agree with everything Tom had to say on the subject. I’ll try to add in a few different points, but his post is probably the place to begin reading if this news interests you.
To begin, I think this change was inevitable. While I was hoping the parks would avoid increased security, and especially metal detectors, I’m honestly surprised it didn’t happen earlier. One of the biggest aspects of this situation to realize is that this probably isn’t Disney’s call. Universal and Sea World also added these measures to their park today. I’m guessing that all three companies didn’t just randomly choose the same day to make these changes. Theme Parks are high-profile areas that could be targeted for attacks and the government knows that. They want the Parks to take the precautions necessary. Is this being too cautious? I don’t know and that’s not the type of argument or discussion I want to have on this blog. If people want to be outraged about that, then that’s their right and that’s fine. But, arguing that this will affect your vacations is what I really want to delve into.
A few years ago, the Seattle Mariners decided to add metal detectors to their entrances. I frequent quite a few Mariners games each year (pity me) and honestly didn’t notice much difference to the experience in this added security measure. There was always a baggage check line that clogged up the entrance anyway (just like Disney Parks), and adding the metal detectors did nothing to slow down lines. They were implemented in smart locations and did nothing to take away from the experience. They definitely did not affect the beautiful nature of that ballpark. I bring this up because I think this is much more applicable example than comparing increased security measures at Disney to airport security lines. At this point, they aren’t even making all guests go through the metal detectors. In short, I don’t think adding these metal detectors will ruin anyone’s vacation (unless you’re dealing with incredible grumpy people).
What I do think people may notice is an increased amount of security guards inside of the parks. For whatever reason (I just write about theme parks, I’m not a scientist!), simply seeing security makes people nervous. When seeing an unusual amount of security, people start to get worried. I think this could be a short-term effect of these measures that we saw happen today. I say short-term because I think theme parks, Disney and Universal specifically, are pretty good at adjusting to situations like this. They will figure out the best spots to utilize security without them getting in the way of your vacation. Still, there is an adjustment period and the next few weeks could feel a little awkward inside of the parks.
I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention that Disney security is made up of some of the nicest people I’ve met. In the last few years, I’ve enjoyed being one of the last people to leave the parks, as I love to take photographs at night. I usually run into security on those nights and they are always patient, kind, and happy to oblige as long as I’m being reasonable. Just because there are more security guards doesn’t mean that they will all of a sudden be angrier and more frustrating to deal with.
Last of all, please remember that this increase in security isn’t the fault of cast members or security guards. If you are frustrated by the long lines at baggage check or nervous about an increase in security, don’t take it out on the employees as they are just trying to do their jobs. If you are truly nervous, go ask a cast member or security officer about what might be happening and they will let you know as much as they are allowed to tell you.
I don’t think it will take long for the increased security measures we saw today to become more natural. It’s sad that it has to happen but I wouldn’t blame Disney (or Universal) for these changes. Stay patient and most of all just enjoy the parks.
Thank you for reading and Happy Star Wars Day. May the force be with you!