Disney’s theme parks have had Bag Checks as far back as I can remember (perhaps for the last 20 years). But since late 2015 metal detectors have been added to the security lineup.
On 17 December 2015, literally overnight, America’s theme parks all began using some form of metal detectors. This includes Disneyland, Walt Disney World, Universal’s theme parks, and SeaWorld Parks theme parks.
In this post we will go over just what to expect in regard to security checks at Walt Disney World and Disneyland, so that you’ll be prepared. We’ll also add some tips to help you get through as quick as possible
Updated December 2019
As you prepare to enter one of Disney’s theme parks you will go through a 100% bag check and metal detector check which is at times random and other times 100%.
Disney is checking for the following items, which may not be brought into Disney’s Parks:
- Recreational devices such as drones, remote control toys, skateboards, scooters, inline skates, shoes with built-in wheels
- Alcoholic beverages, marijuana or any illegal substance
- Strollers larger than 31″ wide and 52″ long or smaller and no Stroller Wagons!
- Suitcases, coolers or backpacks, with or without wheels, larger than 24″ long x 15″ wide x 18″ high
- No loose liquid ice or dry ice. Reusable ice packs are allowed
- Any trailer-like object that is pushed or towed by an Electronic Conveyance Vehicle, wheelchair or stroller, or pulled by a person, including wagons
- Wheeled mobility devices with less than 3 wheels or devices that cannot maintain stability and balance when stopped, unpowered or unoccupied. Training wheels or similar modifications are not permitted. Devices must be manually or electrically powered and operated at a walking pace. Devices should be single rider and not exceed 36″ in width and 52″ in length
- Weapons of any kind, objects that appear to be weapons, or toy guns (also including toy blasters, squirt guns, etc.)
- Folding chairs
- Selfie sticks, hand-held extension poles for cameras or mobile devices
- Large tripods
- Glass containers (excluding small containers such as baby food jars)
- Pets or other animals, except approved service animals e.g., dogs and miniature horses. Service animals should remain on a leash or in a harness and under the control of the owner at all times. Due to the nature of some attractions, service animals may not be permitted to ride certain attractions
- Balloons and plastic straws are not permitted in Disney’s Animal Kingdom Park for the safety of the animals
- Other items that they determine may be harmful or disruptive
The bold text is mine to emphasize the big things that they are looking for.
Security Check Locations
Walt Disney World
- For Disney’s Monorail Resort Guests – Prior to boarding the monorail at your resort
- For those arriving via Disney’s fleet of buses – Between the Magic Kingdom bus terminal and the entrance
- For those arriving by boat from Disney’s Magic Kingdom Resorts – After exiting the boat at the Magic Kingdom
- For those arriving via the Transportation and Ticket Center (parking lot and non-Disney Transpo) – Prior to boarding the monorail or ferry to the Magic Kingdom
- For those walking from Bay Lake Tower, the Contemporary, Grand Floridian, or Polynesian Village Resorts – On the path to the Magic Kingdom
- For those arriving via Buses (Disney and other) or the parking lot – At the front of the park prior to the ticket booths
- For those arriving via monorail from the Transportation and Ticket Center – The Monorail Station is outside of the security area. You will be screened at one of the above MK checkpoints prior to boarding and then again to enter Epcot
- For those arriving via boat from the Epcot Deluxe Resorts or Hollywood Studios – At the International Gateway entrance
- For those walking from the Epcot Deluxe Resorts – At the International Gateway entrance
- For those arriving via the Disney Skyliner – At the International Gateway entrance
Disney’s Hollywood Studios
- For all Guests – Prior to the entrance and ticket booths
Disney’s Animal Kingdom
- For all Guests – Prior to the entrance and ticket booths
Disneyland Park and Disney California Adventure
- On the east side of the Esplanade (central area between the parks)
- On the west side of Downtown Disney between DTD and the Disneyland Hotel
- Between the ESPN Zone and Rainforest Cafe buildings, for those in the closest parking lots
- At the entrance to Downtown Disney from the Grand Californian Hotel
- At the entrance to Disney California Adventure from the Grand Californian Hotel
- At the parking structure before boarding the tram
Most Disney Security Checkpoints are made up of several sections. There is usually a guests without bags entry, a guests with bags entry, and behind these a metal detector area.
Smaller checkpoints with less traffic sometimes combine the guests with and without bags. And some may have unique differences, such as the Contemporary Resort which has an entry for parties with strollers or scooters, as they take a different route to the monorail loading platform than everyone else.
Guests without bags: Everyone in your party who does not have a bag, backpack, purse, clutch, etc and is not pushing a stroller should enter here and wait on the other side of the entry for those who have to use the guests with bags entry.
TIPS: Really if you don’t have a bag use this entrance. Groups should pass the bags to one person if possible and the rest (with the kids) enter here. This reduces congestion at the bag check area.
A camera on a strap with no case is not a “bag” use this entrance.
Guests with bags: Everyone who has a bag, backpack, purse, clutch, etc. or a stroller must go through the bag check!
At big checkpoints the bag check area has rows of high, narrow, and long counters or tables. The security cast member will be standing behind the far narrow side as you approach. Set your bag(s) on the table and slide it to the Security Host when it is your turn. They alternate checking bags from each side of the table.
TIPS: They will need to look into every compartment of your bag(s). Have all zippers and fasteners open when presenting the bag to the Security Host. You can do this while holding the bag or once you put it on the table when waiting your turn (depending on how long it will take you to get them all open).
When a mass of people arrive at the security check they tend to clump in front of the nearest lines. Look for shorter lines. You may have to go around the herd to see these.
Each bag check table should have 2 lines, one on each side. Sometimes people will form a single line directly in front of it. See if you can show them how it should be done by stepping up to one side or the other.
Meet up with the part of your party without bags just after the bag check area.
Do not queue up for the metal detectors. If there is obvious space to walk by, head that way. If Security wants you to go through the detector they will call you over.
Metal Detector Area
Behind the bag check area is the metal detector station. Depending on the location and volume of guests, everyone or “randomly” selected guests will need to pass through the detector(s). The volume of the checkpoint will also determine how many detectors they have, but it will always be at least 1.
TIPS: Take everything metal out of your pockets. Just like the airport, you’ll put it in a small bowl which will be passed on the outside of the detector along with any bags.
If you’ve just been through the bag check, stick your metal stuff in a bag before you zip it up. This just speeds things up. Retrieve it out of the bags after entering and out of the congestion.
Belts do not need to come off unless you have a huge buckle. Shoes stay on too.
Walk straight through the machine Don’t touch the sides. If you brush the side turning too quick to pick up your stuff being passed around it will go off even if you don’t have any metal, resulting in going back and trying again.
Once you are past the metal detectors you are good to go.
Note smaller locations funnel everyone through 1 line, bags or no bags and everyone goes through the metal detector.
Disney reserves the right not to allow any bag, parcel or other item to be brought into the Parks, and to deal with any unattended object in a manner they consider appropriate.
A Word About Firearms
Firearms are not allowed on Disney property, even if you are a legal to concealed carry. This not only includes the theme parks, but all areas on property like Disney Springs and the Resort Hotels.
In the past Disney Resort Front Desks would store firearms, but no more. This ended several years ago.
Over To You
Do you have any Security questions or tips? Let us know in the Comments Section below!
Planning a Disney Trip? Want to get the best military discounts that are available? Feeling a little confused? See our:
- Disney Veteran Discount and Disney Military Discount Eligibility Guide
Learn about the Disney Armed Forces Salute the best military discount that there is for Disney. For where to stay see our Resorts/Hotel Overview Page. Disney doesn’t discount dining for the military, but there are a few places on property that do, see the Dining Overview Page to learn where plus more dining info. You can also learn about Transportation Options. Be sure to check out our Technology Overview to learn about Magic Bands and My Disney Experience to see how they work with military tickets. Walt Disney World visitors might be interested in staying at Shades of Green, WDW’s Military Only Resort.