Could guests to Walt Disney World or other Disney Parks be required to undergo a background check before visits?
One of the top priorities at Walt Disney World, or any other Disney Park for that matter, is guest safety and security. Disney often goes to great lengths to ensure their park guests, sometimes up to 35,000 a day, feel safe while visiting.
Despite exhaustive efforts, it isn’t uncommon for a few bad apples to ruin the experience of the bunch. Although the Disney bubble typically ensures guests feel removed from the dangers of the outside world, sadly, reports of fights, illegal behavior, and even suicides are prevalent at Disney’s domestic and international parks.
Current Disney Security
We’ve all heard the stories of guests killed by wildlife at Walt Disney World, suicides at Disneyland, and attempts to bring weapons to the parks.
Frightening enough, as we live in a world fraught with terrorism and extremist groups hell-bent on creating mass casualty situations, the thought of Disney being a target would understandably create great concern among guests.
Although the worry may be warranted, as Disney strives to create an immersive experience of one and all, the colossal company goes to great lengths to keep the bad guys out of their parks, meaning ultimately, the only villains you have to stress about are the underworld ruling greek gods and evil queens.
Whether you’re hanging in Asia at Shanghai Disneyland, walking down Main Street USA at Disneyland, or bounty hunting at Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge in Hollywood Studios, Disney has their eye on you.
That sounds creepy enough, but in efforts to ensure you are safe, Disney employs hundreds, if not thousands, of Cast Members who are also security. Inside the Magic points out that you’ll recognize some of these Cast Members by uniform, while others may walk around the parks in plain clothing, undercover.
Also, if you’ve entered a Disney park, you’ve probably noticed that not only do they scan your ticket, but they also ask for your fingerprint. This biometric scan acts as a ticket tag, which helps prevent fraud.
And, of course, all park guests, and sometimes resort guests, must travel through metal detectors and searches before hopping on monorails or entering places like Magic Kingdom.
All of these methods, in addition to backup from local law enforcement, specialized teams for crises, and even K9s, are designed to prevent the unthinkable from happening at what many consider to be the “most magical place on earth.”
Is It Enough?
Although situations in which someone’s safety is in danger are rare at Disney, instances do happen when the risk of harm does present itself around Walt Disney World or outside of Disneyland.
These circumstances, combined with the knowledge that both Florida and California are two of the most notable states when it comes to human trafficking, can make some guests feel uncomfortable about visiting.
As well, some LGBTQA-affiliated guests have stated that they don’t feel safe visiting Walt Disney World, which finds itself in the conservative stronghold state of Florida.
Lastly, some guests question the screening of Cast Members, as in recent years, many Disney World employees have been arrested in association with sex and human trafficking rings, while other employees have been apprehended for voyeurism and so on.
Indeed, Disney and outside law enforcement investigators can handle these situations. If not, those who’ve been noted in the media would likely still be at large, but the thought of personal safety while laying in your bed at Animal Kingdom Lodge or while in a bathing suit at a Disney water park still raises concern for some.
The same can be said for Disney’s international amusement parks, although Hong Kong, Tokyo, Shangai, and Paris are relatively safe cities. Still, the thought of traveling through busy airports and stations like Hong Kong International makes many nervous.
Could Disney Parks Initiate Guest Background Checks?
The biggest safety concern, despite everything that could go wrong with transportation, Disney’s affinity for waterways, and ride malfunctions, is typically people.
Normally, when we report sad news of fights or improper misbehavior, fault typically doesn’t fall on Disney. Instead, it lies with guests, which many of us have to deal with during our Disney vacations.
That’s the frightening thing about Disney. Whether you’re standing in line, on the monorail, grabbing food, or just walking to Adventureland, you have no idea who the people around you are and what they’re capable of.
Riding with a different family on Space Mountain or standing shoulder to shoulder in the lightning lane queue for Big Thunder Mountain is awkward because we simply don’t know the people around us.
For this reason and overall safety concerns, some Disney park guests are throwing around the idea of Disney conducting low-level background checks on all of their visitors.
In a recent Reddit post in r/DisneyParks, user u/fmlbill asked whether or not Disney should incorporate background checks. The answer from respondents has been an overwhelming “no” so far.
However, this got us to thinking about how realistic this option would be if Disney ever felt the need to incorporate such a strenuous procedure to ensure guests safety.
Are Disney Parks Backgroudn Checks Realistic?
According to Apollo Technical, background checks can costs anywhere from $30-$50 an employee. It’s safe to assume that this number doesn’t change much.
Doing a bit of math, we can deduce that it if 35,000 guests visit EPCOT each day, it would cost Disney just over a million dollars each day to vet guets at one park. Obviously, fiscally speaking, that isn’t a realistic option for the company who already spends millions a day to keep their parks running.
The frightening fact is that Disney can’t really vet their guest at this level. As well, the idea most likely presents a few ethical issues too. Although you’d expect Disney to deny entry to sex offenders and maybe even violent felons, where’s the line? As one user points out, if a guests has warrants for unpaid parking fines, does Disney then deny them theme park entry as well?
Okay, So How Do We Know We’re Safe?
If Disney can’t afford that level of background checks on visitors to their parks, then how are we supposed to accept that we’re safe? Well, the truth is that you ultimately can’t. Sometimes bad things do happen, and no one has control over that. However, when it comes to ensuring a top level of security for its guests, Disney doesn’t mess around.
In a very dangerous world, you don’t hear stories of mass shootings and other higly volatile situations at places like Walt Disney World or Disneyland. This is because Disney has pretty extreme security measures already in place that work, even if you don’t see them.
Although there is the occassional drunk guests who picks a fight over a spot at Mickey’s Philharmagic or an unforseeable accident, stastically speaking you’re pretty safe at Walt Disney World. Here’s the thing that you have to consider however, often your safety is your own responsibiliy.
Although Disney undoutabley does their part, guests should always follow rules and regulations while in the parks. As well, being considerate of others can go a long way in avoiding potentially violent confrontation. And finally, although it’s Disney, don’t forget that you are still surrounded by thousands of other people. Keep your valuables and children secure, pay attention to your surroundings, and overall, have a magical time!