Breaking news: Increased security has been put in place at a number of theme parks, including Disneyland and Walt Disney World as of December 17, 2015. Find out what you need to know for your upcoming vacations.

Increased Security at Disney Parks

Photo credit: Leslie Harvey / Frequent Flyer TravelingMom

Disney, Universal, and SeaWorld are ramping up security at their theme parks. Metal detectors are now being used at Walt Disney World, Universal, and SeaWorld in Orlando as well as at Disneyland and Universal Hollywood in California.

Weapons, as always, are prohibited at all theme parks. Disney now also will ban toy guns and will stop selling them in Disney stores. Costumes and masks for adults over the age of 14 are also out, even during special events like Mickey’s Halloween Party. Expect to see increased security personnel roaming the parks, particularly during the holiday rush when crowds often swell to fill parks to capacity.

No Threats, Just Precautions

SeaWorldNo theme park has identified any specific threat that led to the decision to implement these changes. Security concerns in public places, however, have certainly been paramount in recent weeks in the wake of the Paris and San Bernardino terror attacks. In addition, a man was arrested just last week trying to enter the Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World with a gun.

On my frequent visits to Disney parks, I’ve found varying levels of bag check security that certainly isn’t as robust as what exists at airports or sports stadiums. There was certainly room for improvement if the threat level warrants it.

What does this mean if you have a trip to one of these destinations soon? If you are planning a Disney or theme park visit during the upcoming busy holiday season, be sure to pack your park daypack carefully to avoid including prohibited items. More importantly, plan for delays as park personnel adjust to the new security measures. In particular, give yourself extra time to pass through bag checks if you are hoping to make morning rope drop at your theme park of choice.

What do you think of the new security measures? Will you feel safer at theme parks or are you concerned that the measures are overkill?Increased Security at Disney and Universal