Disney, SeaWorld and Universal Studios have banned toy guns at their Florida and California theme parks. The new security measures have been introduced amid heightened fears of terror-related incidents in the US, following the San Bernardino shooting in California and the Paris attacks.
It was announced that toy guns will not be sold at any of the stores on site. In addition, anyone over the age of 14 will be prohibited from entering the attractions wearing fancy dress costumes, even for Halloween parties. Metal detectors will also be used at the entrances to the locations and guests will be randomly selected for screening before they enter the theme parks.
The new measures are in response to global terror attacks which targeted public events and large gatherings, including suicide bombings at the Stade de France and Bataclan theatre on 13 November, which left 130 people dead. The security review has also been prompted by reports that a man attempted to bring a gun into Florida's Magic Kingdom park last week, The Guardian reported.
In 2015, Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom was the most visited theme park in the world, averaging almost 53,000 guests per day. Disneyland in California had an average of 45,942 visitors per day in last year while an average 12,830 people frequented SeaWorld Orlando. With the vast daily traffic of people at the internationally renowned attractions, security is high on the agenda.
Disney spokeswoman Jaquee Wahler said: "We continually review our comprehensive approach to security and are implementing additional security measures, as appropriate," Her statement said "blasters and squirt guns" would no longer be permitted at Disney resorts.
Universal Studios said: "We want our guests to feel safe. This is being done to ensure a toy gun doesn't cause distraction or confusion for our Cast Members and security personnel in the parks."
SeaWorld spokeswoman Suzanne Pelisson-Beasley confirmed it was also introducing the extra random screenings from Thursday (17 December). "We are enhancing security measures at all of our parks for the busy holiday season, including increased security presence both inside and outside the parks," her statement said. "Guests entering SeaWorld Orlando can also expect thorough bag checks as well as metal detector checks."
Universal spokesman Tom Schroder said they had used metal detectors for specific events and were now extending the use of the security devices. "We want our guests to feel safe when they come here," he said.
According to fan site The Disney Blog, the ban on toy guns will include fantasy toys such as the Buzz Lightyear laser gun. It is not yet clear whether the measures will be permanent or temporary.