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  • Trip Report Epcot Security

    I've just returned to the UK after spending 21 days at the Boardwalk... To get around I've walked through Epcot on a number of occasions just to get to and use the monorail at the front gate. And on 2 occasions I've been harassed by plain-clothed security...

    The first time I was stopped coming back into Epcot after returning from MK. I was asked my intentions and reason for visiting the park on that day. It was mid afternoon and the lines through the bag check area were very small. I explained my situation and was allowed to go on my way. Although, I was surprised by this I thought nothing of it and carried on as normal.

    The second occasion was much more intense. Again, I was coming back to Epcot having been in MK for the morning. The bag check lines were much bigger than before and since I didn't have a bag I walked through the appropriate line. Between this checkpoint and the 'Will Call' signs just before the main gate I was stopped again by plain-clothed security and asked what I had in my cargo shorts pockets...

    I ignored the man and continued walking, when he ran around me and stood between my direction of travel and me - blocking me from going any further and again he demanded to know what I'd got in my pockets. I refused to answer his question and asked him to step aside and stop harassing me.

    I was told that he wouldn't let me proceed until I'd answered his question. By this stage I was getting quite annoyed and was starting to feel very threatened. I admit I told him to move in colorful non Disney language and started to clench my fist but for some reason before I took physical action I asked to see some ID, which he then produced and confirmed he was Disney security. I instantly calmed down and showed him that I only had a phone and a small walkie talkie in my pockets and nothing else.

    He then walked off and said nothing else - no apology for his actions or anything.

    I entered the park and got as far as Innoventions before I thought the situation through and decided to go back to guest relations and make a complaint.

    As expected they guy on the desk was very concerned and after waiting for a few minutes introduced my to the head of security for that day. I spent a further 45mins with him explaining what has happened. Ultimately he promised to look into the incident and call me back - taking my telephone number... He never did!

    The following day I went down to the front gate at Epcot and realiszed 2 things.

    1. It looks like a prison camp down there with all the security fences

    2. Plain-clothed security are stopping a lot of people!

    Now, I', 5ft 9 with short dark hair, no tattoos or piercings and have never been stopped by the police or refused entry into anywhere in the UK but something was a problem to Disney security about me - twice!

    I wouldn't have minded if the person stopping me had identified themselves but they didn't on either occasion and this sort of security is way over the top. Beware!

  • #2
    Re: Epcot Security

    Personally I feel that this actually makes the park safer sorry that they didn't apologize but this intense scrutiny may have been due to the fact of the recent terror plot that was discovered in NYC..as a former police officer I can say that when I was working a big venue or something the best way to spot someone suspicious is to stop a "normal" looking person, it tends to make those that are persons of interest nervous and easier to spot...The lack of apology should have been addressed however, as it tends to smooth over the feeling of being harassed by the guard doing the scrutiny.

    Do you have any pictures of the outside looking as you said, "a prison camp" ?I'm going there soon with my family and would like to be aware of that change of scenery before I entered..also my personal feelings are that this makes me feel safer that they are stopping individuals and have a beefed up undercover security force to keep the parks safe..It's sad that the world we now live in warrants this kind of security now, but if it keeps my family safer because of it, I feel better..
    The test of success is not what you do when you are on top. Success is how high you bounce when you hit bottom.
    -George S. Patton

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Epcot Security

      Yeah, I agree what was stated above. It's sort of like Airport security, It's a big pain in the butt to go through but It's necessary for our safety. I think that that guy should have presented his security credentials without being asked. If I had a guy like that walk up to me and block my way, I would get ready to defend myself. He knows he's security but the guests don't.

      And it may look like a prison camp but it's called theme park security.
      DisneyTwins
      Since May 2003

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      • #4
        Re: Epcot Security

        I'm glad their attempting to be more secure I do agree that without identifying himself and without a thank you and/or apology I would be really upset. If there is a instance happening RIGHT THEN where they were on the look for someone that met your discription I may understand....

        People are human, humans are rude sometimes... Don't let that affect your opinion of the park. I'm glad you're alright.
        Last edited by 10/6; 10-01-2009, 01:06 PM.
        DJ JARVICIOUS
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        • #5
          Re: Epcot Security

          I might be wrong, but in general, private security has no power to detain. They can arrest, but that requires the arrestee to be surrendered to a peace officer or magistrate. I say detain, because this guy interfered with your right to go on your way, without probable cause.

          At the least, it's a horrid instance of bad manners. At most, it could constitute a liability for the guard and his employer.

          BTW, he also had no right to search you, or to demand you do it yourself.

          Sounds like an undertrained mall ninja to me.

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Epcot Security

            He does have the right to tell you to either show whats in your pockets or get off property and he has the right to prevent you from entering any of the parks.
            DisneyTwins
            Since May 2003

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            • #7
              Re: Epcot Security

              I'm all for security and having been in Boston over the 9/11 attacks I'm the first person to accept the need to be very, very vigilant.

              However, the front of Epcot is more guarded and 'fenced' off than most open prisons in the UK - if you take a moment to look at it, as I did (after the events) it's far from a welcoming place. I think people are overlooking this in the rush and excitement to get in.

              As for the levels of security and what they can or can't do, I'm not sure. Although, I do know this, the guy was so out of order and hostile I felt that for the first time in my life (34yrs) I was actually going to have to defend myself by taking physical action.

              Therefore, the bigger question is why are these people allowed to work in this kind of environment and what sort of training do they have? Are these guys failed police officers on a power trip?

              I can also confirm that a local sheriff is posted at the front gate throughout the day and that he did not act when I came through the gate.

              I can also confirm that the bag check and the number of uniformed security officers at the front gate were far greater than I experienced at MCO yesterday, when I flew home.

              I can only conclude that Disney must feel that the front entrance to Epcot is a huge security risk - not replicated at any of the other parks...

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Epcot Security

                I'm sorry you felt so offended, but if you post the guys name, I'll buy him a cup of coffee the next time I'm there!

                Security has the right to detain and ask you to empty your pockets. If you refuse you can turn around and leave the park. If you balled up your fist you can be detained.... and forcibly !

                You have no idea what type of alert they may be under. They may have gotten a report of a possible problem moving in and stepped up security. It's the world we live in, as well as the times. Your arrogant attitude may have been more than enough of a "flag" to have one of them to check on you.

                I myself have no problem stopping and answering a question or two upon entering any of the parks if they feel the need to ask me. After all they are looking out for my safety.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: Epcot Security

                  I don't think ignoring the person helped the situation. I would have asked for ID at the point he first talked to you, then answered his questions. I agree with the previous poster, I'm happy to see them taking security seriously.
                  sigpic

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                  • #10
                    Re: Epcot Security

                    In order to maintain a secure perimeter, they have to fence it up. It prevents people from bypassing the security checkpoints. If you put a security checkpoint at the enterence and gate the park off using a 3 foot white picket fence, nothing is going to stop people from just hopping over it. I know that many many people have the capability to scale pretty large fences.
                    DisneyTwins
                    Since May 2003

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: Epcot Security

                      Originally posted by Disneytwins View Post
                      It's sort of like Airport security, It's a big pain in the butt to go through but It's necessary for our safety.
                      Airport security and these Disney bag searches are what is called "Security Theater." They does almost nothing to prevent someone with serious hostile intent on getting something past the checkpoints. It is there simply to give people the illusion they're safer.

                      Judging by the responses, it's accomplishing that task handily.
                      .

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: Epcot Security

                        Originally posted by BoogaFrito View Post
                        Airport security and these Disney bag searches are what is called "Security Theater." They does almost nothing to prevent someone with serious hostile intent on getting something past the checkpoints. It is there simply to give people the illusion they're safer.

                        Judging by the responses, it's accomplishing that task handily.

                        Yeah but that illusion is also created for the people that they are trying to secure against...security theater is primarily there to catch the big things anyways knife, bomb, gun, etc. it's not going to completely prevent everything but it will prevent the large majority of things..

                        Pretty much everytype of public security is some type of theater your hoping that the stage will give anyone stage fright and as such will not have to resort to more extreme measures...
                        The test of success is not what you do when you are on top. Success is how high you bounce when you hit bottom.
                        -George S. Patton

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: Epcot Security

                          I think that many are missing the point.

                          If an on-duty deputy was there, and felt there was no threat, then why would a security type with lesser training and no police powers be justified in what he did?

                          Remember, visitors pay the guard's salary, but if those who agree with him feel he was 'right' because of vague and amorphous threats, then I feel pity for you. How on earth would a non-sworn security guard even be aware of a threat, much less deal with it?

                          I bet there is no Florida statute allowing security to detain or search without PC- and that, only after 'citizen's arrest.'

                          If this gets publicized, you can bet someone's in the unemployment line.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: Epcot Security

                            It's amazing how many people are ok with the security guards behavior. He might have a job to do but there is a certain way to do it and this is one of the many reasons we won't go to WDW anymore.
                            Please follow me @dreamsweetslove on twitter!
                            https://twitter.com/#!/DreamSweetsLove

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                            • #15
                              Re: Epcot Security

                              And that is the way to effect change. Notify corporate of their minion's screw-up, and get out the popcorn.

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                Re: Epcot Security

                                Originally posted by yamabushi View Post
                                I think that many are missing the point.

                                If an on-duty deputy was there, and felt there was no threat, then why would a security type with lesser training and no police powers be justified in what he did?

                                Remember, visitors pay the guard's salary, but if those who agree with him feel he was 'right' because of vague and amorphous threats, then I feel pity for you. How on earth would a non-sworn security guard even be aware of a threat, much less deal with it?

                                I bet there is no Florida statute allowing security to detain or search without PC- and that, only after 'citizen's arrest.'

                                If this gets publicized, you can bet someone's in the unemployment line.
                                Walt Disney World Belongs to the Walt Disney Company. It's Disney's property, they can protect their property and the guests within the property as long as it doesn't violate one's rights. Having a security guard (Plain clothed) block your access to the theme park till you proved what was in the pockets is perfectly legal. If you do not show whats in your pockets as requested by the security guard, you will probably be asked to leave the property. If you do not wish to comply, Florida police can be called in and possibly get you on a trespassing charge. Keep in mind, this is someone else's property, and if the company doesn't want you there, they don't want you there.

                                I do admit that this security guard should have immediately shown credentials. I think he could've handled it differently.
                                DisneyTwins
                                Since May 2003

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  Re: Epcot Security

                                  That's the whole point though. The guards are approaching and refusing entry into the park without identifying themselves. The point of being plain clothed is to catch someone in suspicious activity when they don't think anyone official is around, not just approach people at random for no reason. And while wearing plain-clothes to fit into the crowd for the purpose is fine but the moment you take action and detain someone for inspection you have to identify yourself. The original poster has every right to walk away repeatedly if the guy doesn't take the time to show it.

                                  If checking random people's pockets is an issue though, they should just have them standing at the bag check asking to see people empty their pockets every now and then, not just randomly cornering someone into doing it without suspicious reasons. That's the whole point of the bag check. If you're worried someone smuggled something through the check by having it in their pocket, station yourself there and you don't even need to be plain-clothed.

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    Re: Epcot Security

                                    Originally posted by Disneytwins View Post
                                    Walt Disney World Belongs to the Walt Disney Company. It's Disney's property, they can protect their property and the guests within the property as long as it doesn't violate one's rights. Having a security guard (Plain clothed) block your access to the theme park till you proved what was in the pockets is perfectly legal. If you do not show whats in your pockets as requested by the security guard, you will probably be asked to leave the property. If you do not wish to comply, Florida police can be called in and possibly get you on a trespassing charge. Keep in mind, this is someone else's property, and if the company doesn't want you there, they don't want you there.

                                    I do admit that this security guard should have immediately shown credentials. I think he could've handled it differently.
                                    So...you're going to protect the guests by denying another guest entry after they've paid? The guard demanded he show the contents of his pockets, and blocked access. A reasonable and prudent person might construe this as something more than a consensual contact. Like I said, guards have no legal authority to search. They can ask, but not demand. That gives the illusion that the person being searched has no say in the matter. When a guard denies physical access to someone else, or interferes with their freedom of movement, they'd better be right. Disney might be the 800- pound gorilla, but their security people are still unsworn, private employees. If it is indeed Disney policy to ignore folks' civil rights while entering or in the park, then the media should be notified.
                                    As to the earlier post concerning the guest feeling threatened, even to the point of making a fist, who initiated that contact, and made it close enough to put a person in fear for their personal safety? That's not being proactive security- it's called having penis envy.

                                    I am due to go to WDW in the next week. I really hope that this matter does not manifest itself in front of me, because I will take notes, and submit a detailed report to whatever licensing authority Florida uses for private security. Nothing like a working vacation, anyway.

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      Re: Epcot Security

                                      Originally posted by BoogaFrito View Post
                                      Airport security and these Disney bag searches are what is called "Security Theater." They does almost nothing to prevent someone with serious hostile intent on getting something past the checkpoints. It is there simply to give people the illusion they're safer.

                                      Judging by the responses, it's accomplishing that task handily.
                                      I agree. Airport Security is ridiculous. Seriously, why do I have to take my shoes off to get on an airplane? Also, why do I have to wait for the slow pokes to make it through baggage check at Disney parks when I don't have a bag? I feel very sorry for the TC.

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        Re: Epcot Security

                                        If you don't have a bag, there is a seperate entrance !
                                        Smile, you never know who's looking !

                                        Comment

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