Disney is trialing a new face-based entry system at the Magic Kingdom theme park at Walt Disney World. The trial kicked off on March 23 and will conclude on April 23, though the company indicated that the length of the test could change at a later date.
The trial is intended to provide customers with a contactless entry option, and reflects the broader interest in touchless screening solutions during the COVID-19 pandemic. Those interested in participating will be directed to a facial recognition test lane when they arrive at the park, where they will be asked to submit to a facial recognition scan. Volunteers will need to remove accessories like hats and sunglasses, but are required to keep their masks on during the test and for the duration of their stay at Magic Kingdom.
Once they are in position, visitors will need to swipe a valid park admission or a MagicBand at a scanner to activate the system. That system will then convert the captured image into a unique number, and link that number to the visitor’s ticket media. Guests must have their admission and a Disney Park Pass reservation before heading to the test lane.
The trial is being offered on an opt-in basis, so other park guests will still be able to enjoy a more traditional entry procedure. Children can participate with the consent of an adult, and only if that adult is present. Disney will delete all of the images and numbers within 30 days of the end of the trial, and indicated that it will not share the information collected during the test with any other parties.
Of course, this is not the first time that Disney has experimented with biometric technology. The park started using fingerprint recognition to stop ticket fraud in 2016, and has also used facial recognition to try to gauge the audience reaction to its films.
More recently, the NBA used the Oura ring to monitor the health of its players when it resumed its 2019-2020 season at the Walt Disney World campus in Orlando.
March 25, 2021 – by Eric Weiss