All Disney theme parks have a bag check station before you reach the turnstiles. Bags are checked to ensure guest safety and to prevent banned items from entering the parks.
Writing this article has been in the back of my mind for a while, but with recent security changes I decided now is the right time. On our November 2015 trip we experienced more thorough bag searches and an increased presence of patrol dogs outside the gates. As of December 2015, walk through metal detectors have been installed for additional random screening.
Example of Magic Kingdom’s bag check station. There are two stations, one or both may be open depending on crowds.
Here are some helpful hints to make the bag check process quicker for everyone-
1. Remove bags from your body and from the basket of any strollers
Security will not search bags while they are attached to your body in any way. All bags must be removed from stroller baskets or EVC baskets and searched as well.
2. Unzip all zippers
When you reach the table and can set your bag down (which happens when you’re next or almost next) unzip all zippers on your bag. Yes, that includes the tiny pocket on your backpack. Security will look through all pockets of a bag and any cases inside a bag. If you’re carrying a large backpack, this could take a while, but having your bag ready for them helps prevent delays.
3. Be ready to unpack
If your bag is only moderate full, security will most likely be able to complete a search of the bag without removing any items. If the bag is so full that they cannot see the bottom, they will ask you to remove some items. Don’t stuff a coat in the top of your bag, for example, as they will likely ask you to remove it.
4. Show your empty basket
Most of the time security will ask to see your stroller basket as you roll past them to ensure it is actually empty and no bags were overlooked.
5. Don’t bring prohibited items
It’s acceptable to bring in your soda, a granola bar, and peanut butter sandwich for your kid (or your starving husband.) It’s not acceptable to bring alcohol, glass containers, selfie sticks, wagons, coolers or suitcases of a certain size, weapons or toys that look like weapons. See here for the full list of current park rules.
Bonus tip! Each table has two lines
The tables at bag check are spaced in such a way to allow lines to form on both sides of every table. Security will alternate each side as they check bags. The same holds true at many quick service cashier stations.
If you read this and thought, “But all I carry are my wallet and phone!” then you can utilize the line for guests without bags. If you have a fanny pack, small purse, or even a camera case, don’t try to sneak through this line. You’ll be redirected to the bag check line.
Bag check is a necessary security precaution. When you’re itching to get on a ride it may feel like a burden, but these tips can help you get through smoothly and on your way to fun!