Disney, other theme parks adding security measures

LOS ANGELES — Disney announced that metal detectors will be installed at the entrance to Disneyland and its Florida theme parks starting Thursday, as part of enhanced security measures that will also ban adults from wearing masks or costumes and discontinue toy gun sales inside all Disney parks.

The entertainment giant announced the changes quietly Thursday, saying they were not based on “any single event,” but were intended to help security personnel and to make guests feel secure.

The portable metal detectors will be positioned beyond the “bag check” area at Disneyland and Walt Disney World parks in Florida. Contract security personnel will randomly select some visitors to pass through the magnetometers as part of a secondary screening. Only some guests will be subjected to the extra checks.

The company also announced that it will beef up the deployment of police officers contracted to help with security around the parks. At Disneyland, that means beefing up patrols by the Anaheim Police Department. Disney did not give details about the scope of the expansion.

Disneyland will also increase patrols by explosive-sniffing dogs around the parks and related properties, such as Downtown Disney and its resort hotels, the company said.

The ban on masks and costumes will apply to all guests over 14 years old. And the company will no longer sell toy guns inside its parks, or allow guests to carry toy guns with them, regardless of age. Spokeswoman Suzy Brown said the company banned the toy guns “to avoid confusion or distraction for our cast members and security personnel.”

The rules are an apparent response to recent terrorist attacks in San Bernardino and Paris. Disney’s overseas parks also will enhance security, in accordance with recommendations from its experts at those locations, the company said.

The new rules are included on the company’s Disneyland Resort Park Rules page. Spokeswoman Brown said in a statement: “We continually review our comprehensive approach to security and are implementing additional security measures, as appropriate.”

A Universal Studios Hollywood spokesperson said the park is testing metal detection as well, but doesn’t sell toy guns.

“We have begun testing metal detection at our theme park,” the spokesperson said. “We want our guests to feel safe when they come here. 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.”

SeaWorld Entertainment Inc is also using metal detectors at its Orlando park, a report aired on MSNBC said.

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