Disneyland “Security”?

I have to say that Disneyland and California Adventure have a pretty smooth operation. Yes, they charge you an arm and a leg and a kidney for the two theme parks (especially if you want to go to both and not just one), but they know how to manage large crowds of people.

The people leaving rides exit one direction. The people getting on the rides enter from the other side, and only after the people leaving have left. The staff rope off sidewalks for parades so that there’s a clear division between those who want to sit and watch the parade and those who want to pass through the area. The “fast pass” system makes it easy to get into semi-popular (not the absolute newest, though) rides without waiting in line for hours.

But what is up with the “security” check when you first arrive at the park? It’s not like airport security (which has its own problems and holes)… it doesn’t even resemble security. If you have a bag, they have you open the bag, and they take a cursory glance inside the bag. I had a backpack and unzipped the large pocket and that’s all they saw. I don’t know if they were checking for guns, drugs, or bombs, but I could have had any or all of the above in the small pocket of my backpack, the large pocket (but buried underneath the top layer of stuff), or my jacket pockets.

The second time I went through the check, they picked up my little insulated lunch bag and asked “What’s in this?” I said it was some snacks. They believed me and put it down. How is that security? I can say it’s full of snacks. Of course I can say that. It could really be full of fireworks or spray paint or box cutters. They’re going to take my word for it?

Generally Disney has a smooth operation going in its theme parks. If they could just get the “security” check out of there—or actually checking people’s bags thoroughly—it’d be even smoother.


  1. I guess it’s just there to make people feel safe. I can’t see anyone especially wanting to blow up disneyland, it wouldn’t be a great ideological victory for anyone to blow up a bunch of children, but I’m sure there are some parents who are really concerned with the prospect of someone suicide bombing mickey.

  2. When I went to the Imperial War Museum a couple of days ago, the same happened to me. The simple fact it is would take far too long to do it properly (especially for a free museum). I guess it it just a detterent.

  3. @mc
    I suppose it might make some people feel better. But most of us with brains know we don’t feel any safer because of the search… and the search is just annoying.

    A little off-topic, but that’s cool. So you got one?

  4. I worked at disney in security for 6 years i left about 6 months ago. the people checking bags are not security and have not been trainded to look for anything there main gate ticket takers. they were given the budget after 9/11 and they will not give that budget money back to security. makes you feel real safe right.

  5. I can’t stand the place. Most of the things there are boring, and there’s nothing on TV at night. Granted i don’t watch TV at all these days except for heroes, it’s not that great.

  6. “…“What’s in this?” I said it was some snacks. They believed me and put it down. How is that security?”

    The person who asked you that question does not care what’s in the box (well… unless you say it’s a bomb :-) ). What this persons wants to see is your reaction. Your reaction is more telling to this person and he or she is trained to analyze it.

  7. I don’t think that disney is foolish enough to pretend to have security…What a liability that would be ??

    I think that within those Awnings… there are scanners of some kind….the security people just slow everyone down enough to get scanned. They certainly have the technology and they are not going to take chances with anyone. In front of each awning there is a warning sign,stating that there are small amounts of things on premise that may be danger. (don’t remember the exact wording).

  8. The people checking bags are mostly Ticket Takers, and sometimes Sellers picking up hours. If they get short, the parking lot people help out because they are the de facto muti task folks. Guest Relations now administers the Ticket Department because their Director has been trying to get more budget money and final say in decisions, but Security still gets final say in all policy matters. Anyway, I spent 5 years at DLR and 2 years at WDW and I can tell you that WDW has a much better Cast. Security actually checks your bags there, though only marginally better than the DLR Ticket folks. They are really only looking for 2 things: Glass bottles, and sharp objects. They have also been told not to reach into bags or move anything which is why they tell you to do it, but in practice they kinda gotta move things themselves if they are serious.

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