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Searching for Bombs at Walt Disney World

There are reports that Disney Cast Members are now searching monorails for abandoned packages. It’s nice to know they’re doing this on the monorails and, I hope, the trains/buses/boats that also transport guests around the Walt Disney World property.

A few years ago I was riding the train at Disneyland and boarded an empty car only to find a small hard-sided suitcase alone on the bench. I signalled a Cast Member who went over and picked it up instead of calling security. Not the wisest move, in my opinion. Procedures now call for security to be summoned if an abandoned package is found. This, of course, can and will cause delays on the rail systems.

Which reminds me of why I think the bag searches that all Disney parks have implemented since 9/11 are next to useless. First off, there are any number of opportune targets for a terrorist outside the gates (the monorail for instance). Second, It is relatively easy for someone to get any number of ‘contraband’ items past that inspection (hint: no one ever looks under the seat of my sons stroller). Third, the crowds created at the bag check stations make a perfect target for a terrorist.

Disney has taken many measures that I do think will be effective at preventing a terrorist attack, but the bag check stations aren’t one of them.

6 thoughts on “Searching for Bombs at Walt Disney World”

  1. I work the bag check and I always check under the strollers. I think if we didn’t do them, people would be bringing in a lot more stuff. I think it is a pretty good deterrent. I find alchohol and glass pretty much every single day.

  2. I have not had anyone in our numerous visits (Disneyland) look under the stroller or give more than a passing look at the contents of our diaper bag. I often feel that the security personal is overly concerned about delaying our entrance to the parks and moves people through at such a rate that they cannot possibly be catching a majority of contraband.

  3. We just got back from a week in Disney World. The CM’s at the monorail are checking the cars to see if they are empty at the Transportation center. We were riding from EPCOT to MK so this was the only stop where everyone got off. They checked the cars before letting anyone on.

    Our bags were checked at every park, but with varying degrees of thoroughness. MK was most thorough, checking the stroller and all of its pockets as well as the bag. MGM was the most lax. They barely looked in the bag.

  4. The bag check has always appeared to be more a matter of making people feel better than actual safety. Most of the people who hired in at Disneyland around the same time I did (post Sept. 11th) have worked the bag check areas, even though they work in Costuming, Foods, Stores, Attractions… when I was doing it we weren’t allowed to touch anything, and our main concern was looking for glass bottles, not bombs.

    On the other hand, it’s been SOP to call your leads and Security when anything is left abandoned in a store, at least since late 2002 — I’d be surprised to see post 9/11 CMs just picking up packages, though presumably the real veterans would get just as annoyed over taking such precautions as they did over all the other “new” stuff.

    Randomly: at Disneyland, they do bag checks before you board the monorail. When I was an AP I noticed they checked the compartments before letting people board (parkside) but that was mostly because of trash and forgotten strollers, as far as I could tell.

  5. You’re exactly right, John. This is a perfect example of what folks in the security field call “Public Releations Security.” (The same goes for “security checkpoints” at airports.) It’s not really effective, but most people either feel better because it’s there or worry because it’s not. The effectiveness of it plays no part in its implementation and, as Sarah mentions above, it’s more an exercise in “looking for glass bottles, not bombs.”

  6. Interesting

    This seems to be the first place I’ve read about useless “security” measures outside of security-geek circles. It’s good to see that that non-geek (differently geeked? ) folk are starting to realize what a waste of time and ef…

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