Disney installs metal detectors at Central Fla. theme parks
Move comes after attacks in Paris, California
ORLANDO, Fla. – Walt Disney World has installed metal detectors outside all four of its theme parks as part of its increase in security, the company announced Thursday.
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“We continually review our comprehensive approach to security and are implementing additional security measures, as appropriate,” Disney said in a statement.
Visitors will be randomly selected to go through the metal detectors, but it's not known how long they will be used at the parks.
“Considering what's going on around the world, that's going to be a natural reaction by the theme parks locally,” said Larry Zweig, a bureau chief with the Orange County Sheriff’s Office. “We work very closely with the Orlando Police Department, all Central Florida law enforcement, and with all the theme parks. And there is a heightened awareness, but there is no specific threat.”
SeaWorld Orlando and Universal Orlando will also begin using metal detectors.
"The safety of our guests and team members, along with the welfare of our animals, has always been our top priority," SeaWorld said in a statement. "Like other major attractions and venues, we continually evaluate our existing comprehensive security plans. We are enhancing security measures for the busy holiday season, including increased security presence both inside and outside the parks. Guests entering SeaWorld Orlando can also expect thorough bag checks as well as wand metal detector checks."
Universal also released a statement to News 6 saying they have begun testing metal detection at its parks.
"We want our guests to feel safe when they come here," said Tom Schroder, vice president of communications at Universal. "We've long used metal detection for special events, such as Halloween Horror Nights. This test is a natural progression for us as we study best practices for security in today's world."
Inside Disney security changes
Before you are allowed inside the park, you can see an increased security presence at the front gates. Large metal detectors are set up at the entrances of Disney World's four theme parks. Security thoroughly goes through each guest's bag, pulling out items and opening wallets.
Visitors are selected a random for a secondary screening using a metal detector. There were two stations set up at Magic Kingdom and one at Epcot. News 6's Amanda Castro was asked to walk through before she could enter the theme park.
Even with the beefed up security measures, the line through security did not take too much time.
Several law enforcement vehicles are parked around the resort. Uniformed Orange County sheriff's deputies and members of Disney's security team were seen walking among the large crowds, along with police dogs patrolling the area.
Children came dressed up as the favorite characters, but a new security measure doesn't allow anyone older than 14 years old to come inside the park wearing a costume. Disney made this announcement to the guests on the tram ride over to Magic Kingdom.
Visitors can no longer buy toy guns inside the park. The gift shops in Frontier Land and Pirates of the Caribbean stopped selling the plastic fake weapons, but still sells bows and arrows and swords.
There will also be a metal detector at the Disney Springs movie theater Thursday night for the premiere of "Star Wars: The Force Awakens."
Security has been a major concern following terrorist attacks in Paris and San Bernardino, California. A man was arrested last week at Magic Kingdom after he was found trying to take a gun into the park, officials said.
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