Amid Terrorism Concerns, Big Theme Parks Start Using Metal Detectors


Disneyland and Universal Studios Hollywood began using metal detectors and other new security measures yesterday to increase guest screening. The added measures, including an increased use of bomb-sniffing dogs at Disneyland, represent an acknowledgment by the $55-billion-a-year theme park industry that past insistence on discrete, behind-the-scenes security doesn’t go far enough to protect guests from potential terrorist attacks, the Los Angeles Times reports. At Disneyland and California Adventure, walk-through metal detectors were added for use on randomly selected customers.

The parks have banned visitors from carrying toy guys and prohibited those over age 14 from wearing masks or costumes that conceal their identities. And the park no longer sells replica guns. Universal Studios began to use metal-detecting wands to screen visitors. SeaWorld Entertainment Inc. in Orlando said it was “enhancing” security at all 11 parks for the holiday season but declined to say what measures were being taken. Metal detectors were added yesterday at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Universal Studios Orlando and SeaWorld Orlando. Theme park officials would not say whether the addition of the security measures was a coordinated effort among executives of the theme parks. Theme park operators have long been tight-lipped about surveillance and protection of crowds, which can grow as big as 80,000 people a day. Theme parks may have resisted adding metal detectors because they don’t want customers to think about being vulnerable to gun violence or terrorism, said Martin Lewison, a theme park expert at Farmingdale State College in New York.

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