Theme Parks Install Metal Detectors to Protect from Soft Target Attack

Theme Parks Install Metal Detectors to Protect from Soft Target Attack

In a sign of how jittery the nation has become about terrorism and gun violence against soft targets, all three major Orlando theme parks have installed metal detectors at the front of their attractions.

Walt Disney World would not say how long its metal detectors would be in place, while SeaWorld said the devices were only in place through the holidays. Universal suggested that they would only be testing them at the Orlando theme park, they would decide late the permanence of the security measure.

The changes extend outside Orlando, with Disneyland and Universal Studios in Hollywood also installing the devices.

Security in general has been a big concern following recent attacks in Paris and San Bernardino, Calif., the federal Department of Homeland Security issued a bulletin saying it was “especially concerned that terrorist-inspired individuals and homegrown violent extremist may be encouraged or inspired to target public events or places.”

Disney World, where a man was recently arrested for trying to get into the Magic Kingdom with a gun – is now discontinuing the sale of toy guns. They have also banned people who are 14 or older from wearing costumes. More deputies and security guards have been visible at the resort lately, and specially trained dogs have been patrolling key areas.

SeaWorld said they would be “enhancing security measures for the busy holiday season, including increased security presence both inside and outside the parks,” while Universal just wants “our guests to feel safe when they come here.”

Metal detectors have become more welcome for general security reasons. Travelers have walked through them at airport, stadiums and major events for years, creating a sense of familiarity.

 These parks are not the first to up security, however. Six Flags theme parks put up metal detectors after Sept. 11, 2001. In 2004 Disney World experimented with metal detectors at their entrances but ended up not making them permanent. Universal has metal detectors in front of certain rides to make sure that people don’t bring on certain items, such as cell phones.

About the Author

Sydny Shepard is the Executive Editor of Campus Security & Life Safety.

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