Understanding Walt Disney World Security

Disney world security
Credit: Disney Dining

Some people are confused by security at Walt Disney World, but there is no reason to be perplexed. The security practices that you will encounter on your Disney vacation are pretty straightforward. Remember, the Security Cast Members are there to keep you safe, so be polite, and thank them. Here is what you need to know about security at Walt Disney World.

1. Bag Check

Bag check is required before you enter any of the theme parks. The Security Team is looking for prohibited items (and they do find them!). Have your bag open, off your body, and on the table. If you do have a prohibited item, don’t try to hide it in your bag. Tell a Cast Member. In some cases you can check the item at Guest Services, other items you might be required to return to your car. The list of prohibited items is found below. There is a line for people without bags. If your pockets are stuffed full, you might be stopped and asked what is in them. Also, your camera bag or fanny pack is considered a bag, you can’t go through the bag free line with those and other small bags.

2. Metal Detectors

Right after the bag check line there is a row of metal detectors. Sometimes everyone is required to go through, other times people will randomly be asked to go through. Usually they will count, it could be every tenth or every hundredth person will go through the metal detector. No one is being picked because of what they are wearing or because they have a “certain look”. If you’re picked to go through it is not because of anything that you did or because you looked suspicious. Empty your pockets of metal items before walking through the metal detector. Celebration pins will set it off, so you will want to take those off. Large belt buckles can also be a problem. If you pass through and the alarm does sound, you’ll be asked to check your pockets or remove your belt and try again. If it sounds again, the Cast Member will use a wand for a body scan. You will not be touched, and this will usually find the problem.

3. Magic Kingdom

Security is at the front of the parks, except at the Magic Kingdom. To enter the Magic Kingdom, you’ll pass through bag check at the Transportation & Ticket Center, when you get off the bus, or right before you get on the monorail from your resort. Bag check used to be located at the Magic Kingdom entrance, and the current configuration works much better.

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4. Parking at the Resorts

If you drive to any of the Walt Disney World resort hotels, you’ll need to pass through a security stop. Unless you’re checked into that particular resort, you will need to show a photo ID to the Cast Member in the booth. Tell him or her why you are there. It is free to park at any of the resorts during the day, but there are some limitations. You will always be allowed to park at a resort if you are staying there or if you have a dinner reservation. If parking is available, they will let you park no matter why you are there. If the parking lot is almost full, you might not be allowed to park, or you could be given a time limit. If parking is not available at the resort, you will most likely be instructed to park at Disney Springs and take a bus back. You can also use valet if parking is limited.

5. Prohibited Items

Remember to use common sense when you pack your park bag. Here is the list of prohibited items, taken directly from the Walt Disney World website: You may not bring the following types of items into the theme parks:

  • Wagons
  • Skateboards
  • Scooters
  • Drones
  • Remote control toys
  • Inline skates
  • Shoes with built-in wheels
  • Strollers larger than 36″ x 52″ (92 x 132 cm)
  • Suitcases, coolers or backpacks with or without wheels larger than 24″ (61 cm) long x 15″ (38 cm) wide x 18″ (46 cm) high. Coolers required for medication may be stored in a locker or at Guest Relations.
  • Any trailer-like object that is pushed or towed by an ECV, wheelchair or stroller
  • Wheeled mobility devices with less than 3 wheels and devices that cannot maintain stability and balance when stopped, unpowered or unoccupied. Training wheels or similar modifications are not permitted.
  • Alcoholic beverages
  • Weapons of any kind or object that appear to be weapons (toy guns, toy blasters, squirt guns, etc.)
  • Folding chairs
  • Glass containers (excluding baby food jars and perfume bottles)
  • Pets (unless they are service animals, defined as any dog or miniature horse trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of an individual with a disability)
  • Balloons and straws are not permitted in Disney’s Animal Kingdom Park for the safety of our animals
  • Tripod stands or monopod stands that cannot fit inside a standard backpack
  • Wrapped gifts (all gifts must be able to be unwrapped for inspection)
  • Selfie sticks (hand-held extension poles for cameras and mobile devices)
  • Additional items may also not be permitted inside the theme parks. Please use your best judgment and do not bring anything that may be potentially harmful or disruptive.

About PaulaK

I grew up in Western Massachusetts. When I was nine my family went to Disneyland and I was hooked. I grew up, attended New England College in Henniker, NH and eventually moved to Virginia. I worked as a disc jockey, married and became a full time mom when our daughter was born. Fast forward several years. In 2010 we moved to Central Florida and my Disney obsession grew. I now work as a freelance writer and spend my spare time in the parks. Under the name Paula Brown I penned the novels Dream Wanderers and The Coffee Cruiser. I also am a co-author of Dining at Walt Disney World: The Definitive Guide. I'm obsessed with Star Wars, so this is a good time to live in Central Florida. I've been a vegetarian for well over a decade, a choice that my daughter eventually made as well. While my husband still hasn't joined us fully he has given up most meats except for seafood. I was relieved to find that vegetarian dining is not difficult at Walt Disney World.