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.