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Disney tests facial recognition as new way to enter Magic Kingdom

March 24, 2021
3 min read
Disney tests facial recognition as new way to enter Magic Kingdom
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Facial recognition technology is the newest attraction at Walt Disney World in Orlando.

Disney has rolled out a limited program testing facial recognition as a method for entering its flagship Magic Kingdom theme park, which is prepping for its big 50th-anniversary celebration this fall.

It's another step the company is taking to adapt in the age of COVID-19 and shift towards a more touch-free experience. It could also help reduce the bottleneck crowds that can occur at the entrances of its theme parks.

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(Photo by GREGG NEWTON/Gregg Newton/AFP via Getty Images)

How does it work? The software technology captures an image of the park visitor's face, then converts it into a unique number linked to the guest's ticket or other form of admission used for park entry. There is a special lane designated for the program for visitors to enter the park. Guests taking part in the facial recognition trial must keep their face masks on, but will have to remove accessories such as hats, visors or sunglasses.

A Disney blogger who visited the Magic Kingdom on Tuesday, the first day of the facial recognition testing, described the process as extremely efficient. That's encouraging, since the rollout of vaccinations and the expected increase in travel is expected to slowly bring crowds back to Orlando's theme parks. In fact, many Florida parks including Universal Orlando are already at capacity at many days this month.

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On top of that, Disney has big plans to mark Disney World's 50th anniversary, including the debut of new rides such as the Ratatouille experience.

Related: What the COVID-19 vaccine might mean for your travel plans

The facial recognition program is optional. Also, the images and the unique numbers captured during the test program will be discarded within 30 days after the test concludes. Disney says it will not share the information collected during the test with any third parties. Children under the age of 18 must be with their parents or guardian and have consent before taking part in the pilot program.

There's no word yet if the facial recognition entry-point will be tested at Disneyland when the Anaheim park reopens on April 30.

On the park's official website, Disney said the company is "always looking for innovative and convenient ways to improve our guests’ experience — especially as we navigate the impact of COVID-19."

You can find more details on the various health and safety measures Disney has implemented at Walt Disney World due to the pandemic here.

Featured image by ROBERTO MACHADO NOA/LIGHTROCKET/GETTY IMAGES
Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards Rate

10XEarn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel
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  • Intro Offer
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    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

    740-850
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Why We Chose It

The Capital One Venture X card is one of the best all-round travel credit cards ever launched. Not only is it offering a tremendous welcome bonus, but cardholders can earn tons of miles on everyday spending and receive a 10,000-mile anniversary bonus to boot. Its annual fee is $395, but cardholders can count on up to $300 in statement credits toward travel booked through Capital One Travel each year and other valuable benefits like access to Priority Pass lounges and Capital One’s own growing family of airport lounges.

Pros

  • Excellent welcome offer worth 75,000 miles after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months.
  • Up to $300 in annual travel statement credits toward bookings make through Capital One Travel.
  • 10,000 bonus miles (worth $100 toward travel) each account anniversary.

Cons

  • The $395 annual fee might be expensive for some, but this card’s benefits provide much more value than that.
  • If you don’t travel frequently, this might not be the best card for you.
  • Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel
  • Receive up to $300 back annually as statement credits for bookings through Capital One Travel, where you'll get Capital One's best prices on thousands of options
  • Get 10,000 bonus miles (equal to $100 towards travel) every year, starting on your first anniversary
  • Earn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel and 5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel
  • Earn unlimited 2X miles on all other purchases
  • Unlimited complimentary access for you and two guests to 1,400+ lounges, including Capital One Lounges and our Partner Lounge Network
  • Receive up to a $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck®
  • Use your Venture X miles to easily cover travel expenses, including flights, hotels, rental cars and more—you can even transfer your miles to your choice of 15+ travel loyalty programs
  • Named editors' choice for "Best New Credit Card of 2021" by The Points Guy
  • Earn 10 miles per dollar when you book on Turo, the world's largest car sharing marketplace, through May 16, 2023