Stepping into the park on a busy summer day can feel completely overwhelming, but it's hard to actually comprehend the sheer amount of people inside the resort at one time. Disneyland sees upwards of 50,000 guests per day on average...and that's just in one park. For a few hours on Christmas in 2014, Disneyland hit capacity and although the official amount was never disclosed insiders say the guest count hit 80,000. With that many people in one place with minimal exits, how safe can it really be in an emergency situation?
The recent tragedies in Orlando and in France got me thinking: If you are caught on one of these heavily crowded days and an emergency evacuation does need to to take place, can the park handle it? What sort of safety procedures does the Disney Resort have for these sorts of things?
Sure, it might be a bit depressing to think about something like this happening here, but even the Happiest Place on Earth can become the target of someone's manifested anger or depression. Because we never see or hear of anything like this happening at Disneyland, we tend to not think about exactly what the company does to protect its guests every day. In reality, the company actually does quite a lot to protect us.
Do the metal detectors make us feel a bit safer? I believe so. According to the US Department of Justice, metal detectors will detect most types of firearms and knives. Although, if they are only used randomly, there is always a possibility of someone slipping through. Either way, a friend who recently visited the park confirmed with me that it did not take too much longer to enter the parks even when going through the detectors, so I say leave them in.
This is probably my favorite part about Disney's safety procedures. I think the idea of undercover officers adds to the mysteriousness of Disney magic, plus it's just bad ass. Although this does make it very hard for those wanting to sneak an occasional sip from a flask, I think the plain clothes officers do great things for the entire resort and keep everyone a lot more safe.
Anyone who is a frequent visitor of Disneyland has seen the Anaheim PD lurking around the entrance (if you're lucky you've even seen the canines) and maybe gotten a bit nervous about it. But in reality, they post up here from time to time to make sure things are running smoothly and to be of assistance if needed. The fact that Disney runs drills in order to be prepared for a major emergency is huge.
This portion doesn't have a lot to do with crowd safety, but it's one of the most intricate parts of Disney's overall safety procedure. Besides the fact that Imagineers have built mind-blowing technology into the rides (including patented seat-belts, pressure sensitive mats for those who escape the ride, and anti-rollback mechanisms) there is an entire team that inspects the rides once the park closes. This team, called Mickey After Dark, thoroughly inspects every single ride and are the only ones who can clear it for operation the next day. The MAD team also replaces parts of each ride before they even have a chance to break down.
I can rest soundly knowing my ticket money is being put to good use. Though it can definitely be frustrating when Space Mountain breaks down for the 3rd time in one day, Disney will stop the operation of their rides if even one screw is a tiny bit loose- which makes me feel very safe.
Clearly, there is a reason why we don't hear about many incidents within the Disneyland Resort. The entire team- from police officers to ride inspectors- works to keep things running safely and smoothly and they certainly do a good job of it. But next time you see a lonely tourist who's looking like they might be doing a bit of profiling, give them a friendly wave... it's probably Disney secret security.