Disney’s theme parks 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 in California, Walt Disney World in FLorida, 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.
Updated July 2023
Upon re-opening after the 2020 shutdown Walt Disney World Security had made quite a few improvements in the name of social distancing and no-touch, which actually improve the guest experience!
The biggest of these improvements was new walk-through scanners. This is Disney’s new contactless security system. You no longer need to remove anything from your pockets (for the most part) or have your bags checked manually, you just walk through the scanner at a normal pace right behind each other no need to pause to be called!
If something sets the scanner off, you’ll be asked to step to the side for a physical bag check or wand sweep of your body.
Keep in mind that you can’t just bring anything that you want into Disney’s parks. It is private property.
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 the above 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 entering the Transportation and Ticket Center for the monorail or ferry to the Magic Kingdom
- For those walking from Bay Lake Tower, or the Contemporary – On the path prior to arriving at the Magic Kingdom
- For those walking from the Grand Floridian, or the Polynesian – At the Magic Kingdom end of the path from the Resorts
- 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 Epcot Monorail Station is inside of the security area. You will be screened at your resort or TTC checkpoint prior to boarding.
- 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
- At the West End between Cirque du Soleil and City Works Eatery and Pour House
- At the Market Place by Disney’s Days of Christmas
Other Disney Springs entrances have “other means of detection” than mentioned above.
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
Walt Disney World
In mid 2020 Disney World did away with 100% bag checks. New scanners are employed that allow guests to walk through with their bags. Bag checks are only needed if the machine detects something.
Note: A metal eyeglass case, umbrellas, metal water bottles, and baby squeeze pouches can set it off the scanner. If you have any of these Disney recommends holding them in your hand at full arms length in front of you as you walk through the scanner. That way they can see it sets off the scanned before your body goes through and what it is.
How to walk through the scanner
Just walk right through the contactless security scanner at a normal pace, single file, right behind the person in front of you. Do not slow down or wait to be called through! Keep the line moving, it’s the whole point of this new tech.
Once you are past the scanner you are good to go, unless you are directed to the side for an additional screening process.
For Those with Strollers
There is a separate entrance for strollers. In the picture above, the stroller entrance is on the right, the walkthrough scanner on the left. As you approach the checkpoint, remove all bags from the stroller, they will go with you through the walk through scanner. One and only one person should take the stroller to the stroller line! A Security cast member will take the stroller from you and direct you to go through the walk through scanner. All others in the party will go directly to the walk through scanner, they should then wait for the person with the stroller on the other side of the scanner out of everyone else’s way not in the exit path of the scanner.
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.
Disneyland still uses the old style metal detectors, which require a physical bag check and a slow one at a time processing through a vintage step through scanner.
Disneyland has lines for those with bags and those without. Only the people in the party with bags should get in the bags line! All others should go through the fast guests without bags line and wait on the other side of the checkpoint out of the way. This makes the with bags line faster! Strollers go through the with bags line.
While going through Disney’s security screening process at the Walt Disney World Resort you will see not only Disney Security Castmembers, but also local police members. K-9 units are in use by both Disney and local law enforcement.
A Word About Firearms
Firearms are not allowed on Disney property, even if you are 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.
Shades of Green will store firearms for their guests.
Over To You
Do you have any Security questions or tips? Let us know in the Comments Section below!
This MDT Post By: Steve Bell
Steve is the the Military Disney Tips Founder. He a retired U.S. Military Member who's been touring the Disney Parks since 1971! Steve's mission is to help military families with their Disney vacations in every way. Check out Steve's Bio.
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