Tuesday, March 23, 2021

See our guests: Walt Disney World tests facial recognition technology at park entrances

Posted By on Tue, Mar 23, 2021 at 5:19 PM

  • Photo via Gerard McGovern/Wikimedia Commons

Walt Disney World is testing facial recognition technology that they hope will speed up the process of entering the theme park.

Disney announced the trial run on Tuesday on its website, noting the facial recognition entrance will run through April 23 (and adding that this day was subject to change). The park claims the test lane is entirely optional and well-marked.

"At Walt Disney World Resort, we're always looking for innovative and convenient ways to improve our guests' experience — especially as we navigate the impact of COVID-19," the company shared in their announcement of the trial.

The option to use the facial recognition entrance is only available to people who have already purchased a ticket. Once in the line, guests are expected to remove facial accessories (but not their masks). The camera snaps a photo of their face, associates it with a randomly generated number and then attaches that number to their pass, mobile ticket or MagicBand.

Disney added that all children who use the service must be accompanied by an adult and that the photos are only stored for 30 days before being permanently deleted.

Facial recognition technology has been a bit of a sore subject around Central Florida. The tech has baffled lawmakers and enticed police while terrifying civil rights and privacy advocates. The city of Orlando was heavily criticized for partnering with Amazon on a facial recognition pilot program. Even so, other places known for their lines, like area airports,  have gleefully adopted the technology. Whether guests at Disney parks will take to it remains to be seen. 

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