Photo courtesy of Disney Photo Pass Deanna Wright is a Disney frequenter, pictured here meeting Mickey and Minnie Mouse.

Grace Newton

Last month, a man trying to enter Animal Kingdom was stopped by the park’s security, who found a semi-automatic pistol in his bag.  Amusement parks strive to remain secure following incidents in the last few months. Walt Disney World, the Most Magical Place on Earth, has proven itself to be secure. While the man claimed to have “forgotten” it in his bag, he was unable to enter the parks. The man attempted to enter using the “no bag” line, so security’s capability to detect the issue reinforces the reputation of the Walt Disney World security team as a strong force.

This is not the first incident that has occurred in the last few months at the Orlando theme parks . A security scare shut down a Universal Studios Parking Garage this past July. Many people are turned away from the parks every day for possessing unauthorized items. Theme parks commonly have extensive security measures, as they are visited by large amounts of people every day. According to the Themed Entertainment Association’s Global Attraction Attendance Report, the Magic Kingdom alone was visited by 20.45 million people in 2017. 

Lakeland is within 50 miles from a variety of theme parks, including Walt Disney World, Universal Studios, SeaWorld and Busch Gardens. While the parks themselves are varied, they all place an emphasis on security. Screening measures have increased dramatically in the last five years; prior to entering any theme park security guards search bags, guests walk through detectors and some guests are even scanned twice.

The increase in security has been of deep concern to theme park officials because of recent public safety concerns. The measures are constantly changing and evolving, in hopes of continuing to catch violations before entrance to the parks, such as the previously mentioned Disney’s Animal Kingdom incident. In a CNBC article statement, Disney stated, “We continually review our comprehensive approach to security and are implementing additional security measures, as appropriate.” 

Living in close proximity to theme parks, many Florida Southern students visit the parks throughout the year, and some possess annual passes to specific places. Sophomore communications major Deanna Wright has been a Walt Disney World Annual Passholder for many years, and she has watched security evolve over the past few years. Regarding the incident last month, Wright is impressed by the security team’s quick actions

“I feel like Walt Disney World has gotten better at having the security check…it has improved how fast bag check goes,” Wright said. “It makes me feel comfortable and safe to still go to the park without having the thoughts that I could be harmed by another while visiting there.” Wright said.

The Walt Disney World website notes that “we do not broadly discuss the specifics of our security procedures to avoid compromising their effectiveness.”


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