After a string of recent incidents around the country involving guests bringing weapons and other things into Theme Parks more parks are taking the precaution of installing metal detectors at their entrance.
We say this is something that is LONG overdue.
Written by Gregg Condon
Before we get to what's happening now, let's take a little trip in the way back machine to the 90's and a little park called Six Flags Magic Mountain.
Sure, you've heard the stories, you may have even been there. Concerts at the park (most notably TLC) and riots and gang problems and many other issues at the park. It wasn't just on concert days but quite often. It was so bad that many parents wouldn't take their kids to the park anymore and it was known as a gang infested park. And honestly, it wasn't that far from the truth.
But then the park did something about it. They installed Metal Detectors and a security checkpoint. Not only did Six Flags do this at Magic Mountain but to my recollection this is something that has been implemented at all Six Flags parks. I can't remember a SF park I've visited in the last decade that doesn't have metal detectors.
It's simply become a way of life and something we all expect when we go to Six Flags parks. And honestly, that sense of security is a good thing. The Six Flags security procedure is leaps and bounds above the inconsistent security check at many other parks.
So let's fast forward to now.
If you've gone to Disneyland in the past 10 years or so you know they have a bag check at both sides of the esplanade. If you've gone to Disneyland more than once you'll know their bag check is HIGHLY inconsistent. I've known more than one person who has forgotten they've had a knife in their bag until after they've gone through security.
A few months ago there was a shooting at Universal Studios Hollywood as well as quite a few at Universal CityWalk and we all figured that it was inevitable that metal detectors would go in. Security checks definitely increased but that was about it.
I've even been at the park and seen people handing bags over the railing and not going through Security Check. I always go by the rule "If you see something, say something". And I think that's just the world we live in.
This latest rash of installation of metal detectors seems to stem from an incident in Florida last week where a man tried to take a gun into Walt Disney World.
So now something that is long overdue is coming to a theme park near you.
Many are concerned that these new procedures will take longer for people to get into the parks. I honestly don't think it will.
You are going to have to actually have people trained to use the metal detectors and to be able to make sure they are working correctly. This means having trained security people, not just random CM's or employees with a half day of training going through your bag.
It's going to require a standard operating procedure and it's going to have to be done right.
So while of course, we don't want to live in a world where we have to go through airport like security everywhere we go, it's time for us to realize that this is the world we live in now. Whether the threat is foreign of domestic, we've got to step up and realize that this is the right thing to do.
So sure, right off the start it may take 5 or so extra minutes to get in the park. Be patient, be understanding, know that it's there for your protection. Because waiting an extra 5 minutes is better than the alternative.
So what do you think about these new procedures? Let us know in the comments below. We hope to have some pictures of the metal detectors at some of these parks over the next few days.
Update 12/17: A couple of pictures of the new set up at Disneyland with "Random" security checks. One can only hope this set up is completely temporary. Thanks to our good friend Jim for sending us these pictures.