Disney tests facial recognition as new way to enter Magic Kingdom

Mar 24, 2021

This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

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.

Sign up to receive the daily TPG newsletter for more travel news!

(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.

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 photo by Roberto Machado/Getty Images

Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card

Earn 90,000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. Offer ends 8/3/2022.

With Status Boost™, earn 10,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, up to two times per year getting you closer to Medallion Status. Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels, 2X Miles at restaurants and at U.S. supermarkets and earn 1X Mile on all other eligible purchases. Terms Apply.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Limited Time Offer: Earn 90,000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. Offer ends 8/3/2022.
  • Earn up to 20,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) with Status Boost® per year. After you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, you can earn 10,000 MQMs up to two times per year, getting you closer to Medallion® Status. MQMs are used to determine Medallion® Status and are different than miles you earn toward flights.
  • Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels.
  • Earn 2X Miles at restaurants worldwide including takeout and delivery in the U.S., and at U.S. supermarkets.
  • Earn 1X Miles on all other eligible purchases.
  • Receive a Domestic Main Cabin round-trip companion certificate each year upon renewal of your Card. Payment of the government imposed taxes and fees of no more than $80 for roundtrip domestic flights (for itineraries with up to four flight segments) is required. Baggage charges and other restrictions apply. See terms and conditions for details.
  • Enjoy your first checked bag free on Delta flights.
  • Fee Credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck® after you apply through any Authorized Enrollment Provider. If approved for Global Entry, at no additional charge, you will receive access to TSA PreCheck.
  • Enjoy an exclusive rate of $39 per person per visit to enter the Delta Sky Club® for you and up to two guests when traveling on a Delta flight.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • $250 Annual Fee.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
Regular APR
17.24%-26.24% Variable
Annual Fee
Balance Transfer Fee
Recommended Credit
Terms and restrictions apply. See rates & fees.

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.