Just after I did my post on being armed at Disney, the company came out and announced that they would be placing metal detectors at their parks. This was apparently done in response to the man who was arrested while carrying a 5 shot Smith and Wesson revolver into the park, without a concealed weapons permit.
One article made this claim:
Before you are allowed inside the park, you can see an increased security presence at the front gates. Large metal detectors are set up at the entrances of Disney World’s four theme parks. Security thoroughly goes through each guest’s bag, pulling out items and opening wallets.
I went to Disney’s Hollywood studios in the Orlando area to test the claim that they would be looking for firearms by opening wallets and running guests through metal detectors. To test the claim, I decided to carry my J frame Smith and Wesson in a pocket holster in the front right pocket of my jeans.
There is an area just in front of the entrance where park security checked the bags of guests who were bringing bags, but this was haphazard at best. There is a “bypass” that allows guests without bags to enter the park without passing through the bag check area. Since I did not have a bag, that is the way that I went. There were security guards there, including an off duty deputy, and a security guard with a dog. I passed through without them giving me a second look, despite the fact that I was armed.
I watched them for a bit. They stopped one man to look in his fanny pack, but allowed at least three guests through who were either pushing strollers or wearing backpacks without giving them a second look. I did not, in the five minutes I watched, select a single person for a magnetometer, nor did I see a single magnetometer in use. It is possible that the magnetometers were discretely hidden, but I watched hundreds of people enter the park, and none were given more than a quick look, and most passed through without question.
Just as I have done dozens of times, I entered the park with my weapon, walked around for about an hour, and then left. I was armed the entire time, yet I did not break a single law, nor did I do anything to hurt anyone.
I also recently visited Universal Studios. The security there is just as much of a joke, and it is full of holes. Let me give you some examples:
If you are a guest who drives to the park at Universal, you must pass through a security checkpoint where they do the same sort of cursory inspection that is done at Disney. If you are staying at one of the hotels on Universal property and decide to walk to the park, you must also pass through a second security checkpoint. However, if you take the complimentary water taxi from the hotel to the park, the boat drops you off BEHIND the checkpoint into the “secure” area without so much as a glance.
Another security lapse at Universal is the mini golf course. It is surrounded by a 3 foot tall wrought iron fence. The golf course is in the nominally secure area, but is separated from the general public by this fence, and nothing more.
In short, this is not security, it is theater that is designed to make people who don’t know any better FEEL as if they are safe. It is all smoke and mirrors.