A Walt Disney and Mickey Mouse statue inside of the Magic Kingdom theme park . The Cinderella castle...
Roberto Machado Noa/LightRocket/Getty Images

Disney World Is Testing Out Facial Recognition For Entry To The Park

The Magic Kingdom hopes new entry procedures involving facial recognition technology will cut down on long lines.

by Morgan Brinlee

Visitors to the Magic Kingdom are being asked to help the park test out a new entry procedure that could create a more touchless interaction and cut down on how long guests have to stand in line to enter the theme park. Disney World unveiled facial recognition technology at the park’s entrance Tuesday, announcing it would be testing the new technology on a completely voluntary basis over the course of the next month.

“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,” a message on the Walt Disney World website reads. “With the future in mind and the shift in focus to more touchless experiences, we’re conducting a limited 30-day test using facial recognition technology.”

Guests willing to help Disney World test its newest park entry procedure will find designated facial recognition technology test lanes at the entrance to the park. Once in the specially designated lane, guests will want to remove any hats, visors, or sunglasses they may be wearing in preparation for having an image of their face captured. While hats and sunglasses must come off, Disney World is asking guests to keep their required face coverings on at all times.

When ready, the park’s facial recognition technology will take an image of a guest’s face and convert it into a unique number. That number will then become associated with whatever form of admission the guest is using for park entry. To activate the camera, a guest will simply scan their MagicBand or other form of park admission. Any guest under the age of 18 will need their parent or guardian’s consent to participate in the theme park’s facial recognition technology test.

Although tests of Disney World’s facial recognition technology have only just rolled out, a reporter for WDW News Today snagged the first look the new park entry process Tuesday, noting it was “extremely efficient” and “might go a long way to help eliminate long lines to enter the park.”

The Magic Kingdom has said it will test its facial recognition technology from March 23 to April 23 but noted the length of the test may be subject to change. Participation is completely optional and Disney has said it will not share guest images or the unique numbers those images are converted into with third parties. In fact, Disney World has said it will delete images and their associated numbers within 30 days of the test’s conclusion.

“The security, integrity, and confidentiality of your information are extremely important to us,” a message from Disney World reads. “We have implemented technical, administrative, and physical security measures that are designed to protect Guest information from unauthorized access, disclosure, use, and modification. Please be aware that, despite our best efforts, no security measures are perfect or impenetrable.”