Disneyland (CA)

Everything You Need To Know About Disneyland’s New Security Procedures

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Today Disneyland Resort rolled out their first major update to their security screening procedures since the bag check tents were first added in 2001. Additional security has been added around the resort that will change the way you start your day at the parks. Read on to see everything you need to know about Disneyland’s new security procedures.

Mickey & Friends Parking Structure

The biggest change is that guests will be screened by security after they have parked their car at Mickey & Friends. Previously, guests would park their cars, hop on one of the Disney trams, ride to Downtown Disney, and then go through a security checkpoint before entering the esplanade between Disneyland and DCA.

Bird’s eye view of the new security area at Mickey & Friends.

After taking an escalator out of Mickey & Friends, guests are funneled to one of 10 tents where their bags are inspected. All guests then must walk through a metal detector.

After going through the security process you must then wait for a tram at one of the two loading stations. After this you are done with security. There’s no need to wait in line to be inspected before entering the parks, monorail, or Downtown Disney. If you leave the secure area to visit one of the three Disney hotels, or anything on Harbor blvd, you will have to go through security again.

The former security location coming from Downtown Disney in to the esplanade.
Downtown Disney monorail station with security checkpoint removed.

Disneyland Hotel and Grand Californian Hotel

Now that Downtown Disney is a secure area, checkpoints have been set up for hotel guests. For Disneyland Hotel and Paradise Pier Hotel, guests may enter a checkpoint located near Earl of Sandwich and ESPN Zone on the far west side of Downtown Disney.

Like the security location at Mickey & Friends, after guests go through this checkpoint they will not be required to go through additional security before entering the parks or the monorail.

A couple of security checkpoints have added for guests staying at the Grand Californian. One is located between World of Disney and Starbucks, the other (which we were asked not to take a picture of) is located at the walkway between Sephora and Anna & Elsa’s Boutique. Keep in mind these are security checkpoints for entering DCA from the Grand Californian. If you are entering Grand Californian from DCA you will not be required to go through security. The security checkpoint at the Grand Californian entrance to DCA remains and is unchanged.

Walking from Mickey & Friends to Disneyland/DCA

If you opt to walk from Mickey & Friends instead of waiting to ride the trams you should know that the route has completely changed. Let’s fire up MS Paint and Google Maps: 

Instead of walking down Disneyland Drive and then along side the tram route, you’ll now walk through the Downtown Disney parking lots, and then through Downtown Disney itself. As you can see the walk is slightly longer, but it’s still not too bad. I clocked it at 15 minutes at a slow pace. Anyone walking from Mickey & Friends will have to go through the security checkpoint located between ESPN Zone and Rainforest Cafe.

Signs along the walking path show a pretty accurate walking time.
The former walking path is now blocked off and unavailable.

Those are the changes to Disneyland Resort security. The checkpoint on the east side of the esplanade (for guests entering from Harbor blvd) remains unchanged. What do you think of the new security procedures? Do you have any questions? Leave them in the comments below.


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Guy Selga Jr.

Disneyland writer for TouringPlans.com and co-author of the Unofficial Guide to Disneyland. Also a Disneyland local and appreciator of Disney theme park history. Twitter and Instagram: @guyselga

31 thoughts on “Everything You Need To Know About Disneyland’s New Security Procedures

  • Reading the article again,just wanted to pint out that the new Mickey & Friends Tram Loading area next to the structure still has 4 Load/unload station, two of which were moved to the new area close to the security checkpoints. CM’s will direct you to the current ones that are being used for loading (usually the one facing east, and sometimes the one next to it (the old ones), looks like the new ones are mainly being used for unloading, but the stations being used depends on supply and demand.

  • I spoke to Disneyland Guest Services today and they said that several parts of this plan are still in flux. Especially the parts about the GCH and how it affects guests at the Paradise Pier. As a long distance passholder I will be watching how events unfold closely.

    • Yes, but think about it, the Sephora gate is limited to just 2 stations, and adding PPH guests to the mix would make for long waits.

      The ESPN Zone area has 16 stations on the west side, and another 16 on the North Side. Also, The new head of Security for Disneyland stated at a public workshop regarding the Eastern Gateway project, that having an open area prior to the checkpoints is important, as one of the many things security does is watch how people approach the checkpoints, basically a pre-screening, looking for unusual behavior. So I am pretty sure that the GCH policy will remain the same, at least until after the Holidays, where they might make it a morning only thing, and allow more access in the afternoon and evening. Plus we have the major refurb of the GCH starting January 3rd which includes closing the entire pool area for a few months, and creating more congested pathways within the Hotel.

  • Are guests let in to the promenade from the Harbor Blvd. side as soon as the DTD checkpoints open?

  • This is foolish. All they are doing is disadming off duty law enforcement. There are all kinds of non-metallic knives and bombs that can easily get past this crap.

    Gun free zones are simply feel good zones for ignorant people. Paris, Ohio State, and so on we’re all gun free zones, yet bad people still managed to cause massive harm. The CDC and Harvard documented that when you disarm good people, it leads to an increase in other violent crime.

    • OK, I found two security issues that needed to be addressed when I did my “tour” of the new set-ups. Both have been reported to the Head of Disneyland Security, who happens to be a long term Law Enforcement officer. And I actually agree that Gun Free Zones are not the best solution. But Disneyland has been treated special for decades, with a fly over restriction. The Resort is also supported by Homeland Security, FBI, State and local law enforcement and of course, also fire personnel. As much as I don’t like it, and I think Disney will lose locals that would visit Downtown Disney by itself, it is something that has to be done on a whole lot of levels, including that the other Theme Parks in the area do it (image). So if you are going to do it, might as well do it the best you can.

    • You should book a trip to WestWorld instead. By the way, try your open carry at your boy’s Inauguration and see how far you get. Talk about a feel-good zone for the ignorant.

  • It just gets sadder and sadder. So many nails in the coffin of my (and eventually my and my partner’s) longtime Disneyland fandom and being long-distance APs for years. Ripping out most of the trees in the park–and thus most of the classic smell of Disneyland–and vandalizing the RoA for Star Wars Land, the near-doubling of AP prices, maintenance deferments that continued long past the 2013-2014 D/OSHA impacts to do Shanghai Disneyland costs and budget cuts, the ditching of the real New Technology plans ensuring long into the future the need to juggle multiple card media at DL and denying the ability to do true advance planning… They all were enough to push us into exploring WDW, and eventually at choosing not to renew our DL APs anymore, in favor of becoming APs at WDW–something we never thought we would do.

    We were just having a discussion about whether we would ever become DL APs again, and we decided, although we were DL APs for years, that no, we probably never would. Through-ticketing of bags, DME, MDE, FP+, and MBs add so, so much convenience to a WDW vacation, we can’t imagine going back to the “land” before modern technology–and we really don’t have the heart to witness the vandalized RoA. It’s just not our DL anymore. But putting DtD in jail? Forcing on-site guests to submit to bag checks and metal detectors just to walk out the front door of their hotels? Screwing over PP hotel guests entirely by adding half a mile to their walks to and from the parks?

    Maybe the One Disney initiative was a bad idea, maybe it wasn’t. But the very singular path DLR is treading lately in terms of altering the guest experience since One Disney was put on the back burner is just saddening. I get it–TDA wants to make DtD feel safer and more convenient for local guests. But speaking as a former long-distance on-site hotel guest, the last thing I want to do is be searched just for walking out the front door–every single time I walk out the front door.

    Say what you want about WDW–and I don’t think WDW or DLR are perfect places, either one. But TDO at least understands how to make long-distance guests feel at home without feeling like they’re in security jail.

    • So go to TDO already. All you ever post are complaints. Do let us know when DoyleLand will be opening.

  • If you are not a guest of the GCH, can you still enter via Downtown Disney to look around at decorations or shop and get back out of the hotel into Downtown Disney again through one of the security checkpoints (even if you decide ultimately not to buy anything)?

    • I presume the answer is yes, there is no type of check exiting DtD at the Sephora gate, and when you try and return,they will ask for the Room Key or paid receipt. Just explain all you did was look,and more than likely they will allow it. Now, if it is a group of 15 folks, you might be asked to leave the Hotel via Disneyland Drive. But the “policy” is GCH Hotel Guests, and those with a paid receipt only.

  • We often stay at the Paradise Pier when attending a convention at the Anaheim Convention center (such as WonderCon or D23). Are you saying we can’t walk down the road anymore to the convention center? Is that the sidewalk that’s blocked?

    And just to clarify…. if we’re at Paradise Pier, we can still walk through the GCH, but we’ll just have to go through security twice?

    • No change to the access to the Anaheim Convention Center, so no worries.

      But PPH guests cannot enter the GCH from Disneyland Drive. They can exit DtD and walk through the Grand Californian when they return to the Hotel. But due to the limit of just 2 stations that could be build in the Hallway next to Sephora, only GCH guests can use that entrance. You need to walk straight north to the ESPN Zone and go through Security there.

  • Staying at the DL hotel next week. How early are the security gates opened? We like to be really early to the parks, way before opening. Will we be at a disadvantage being “held up” at security compared to other sites?

  • These new procedures now make it less attractive for Disneyland Hotel and Paradise Pier guests to enter DCA through the Grand Californian entrance. You’ll have to go through security twice if you do.

    • No, once you go through the ESPN Zone Security, you are in the Secure Zone that includes Downtown Disney and the Ticket Booths/Main Entrance Plaza/Esplanade. Only if you want to access the ART buses and the Main transportation Hub will you leave the secure area. (The East side Security Checks are remaining as they were for a couple of years, until the new Disneyland Eastern Gateway project is built and completed.

    • I should add, while all three Disney Hotels still get the “Extra Magic Hour”, only GCA guests will be able to use the special DCA entrance. But this is actually a good thing, as that entrance, Security can’t start until the turnstiles are open and only 2 stations. This has created long lines, with some folks losing half of their EMH. At the Main Entrance Plaza, they can open up a lot of turnstiles for EMH, and folks can get screened prior to EMH starting, so most folks will be able to get the full hour. Disney has already updated its website to show that only GCH guests get access to the DCA Entrance.

  • How will they prevent you from walking the old route to the parks? Can you take the old route back from the parks to Mickey & friends?

    • You can only use the old walkway as an exit.

      • No, you cannot, it is an Emergency Egress pathway, blocked off with multiple gates and alarmed. You must go through Downtown Disney and head North after leaving the secure zone

  • Thanks for the info. We will be staying at the Paradise Pier, but we usually walk through the Grand and out the DTD exit by Sephora that you mentioned. Sounds like it won’t be much different, and I appreciate them making DTD a secure area since it can get super crowded and loud (although fun!).

    • Unfortunately, you can’t be able to cut thru the Grand any longer. Cast members and security are standing out in front diverting anyone other than guests of the Grand to enter the hotel from the front. Inside Paradise Pier, all guests are being directed by signs and cast members to exit the rear of the hotel and walk towards the Earl of Sandwich/ESPN Zone screening area in Downtown Disney.

    • We just left Dland Monday and these things were in effect then. Park at the lot up West Harbour, they will check car, tram you to DLand, then bag check (they no longer care about food or drink as we found, but really n
      Bad stuff, then metal detectors. Super safe and super nice staff.

      Really comfy feeling when done!!!!

      • The changeover happened yesterday, Thursday the 15th, so Monday was the old system.

    • Were just there, no probs walking street or going through Hotel, just nag search and metal detector and awesomely nice staff. They are solely looking for weapons. Downtown Disney though not screened, only the area between parks, then open access.

      • As of Thursday,all of Downtown Disney, with the exception of the Alamo Rental Office and the Foreign Currency Exchange, is now part of Secure area.

  • So…are you still able to walk through Mickey&Friends from the motels on Ball Rd? If so, are you still able to walk to the Disneyland Hotel?

    • Yes. That will remain open to guest.

      • The walk will be Ball Road to the east side of Disneyland Drive, and walk down Disneyland Drive to Magic Way, and this is the change, you will cross Disneyland Drive and walk west along Magic Way to the Downtown Disney Driveway/Traffic Light, and then head south to the ESPN Zone.

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