Going to Disneyland? Smile for the Facial Recognition System

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The company says the scanners will streamline admission. Others say it will crack down on ticket sharing or reduce the workforce.

The Disneyland Resort in Anaheim, Calif., recently launched a facial recognition system at its entrances that it says will streamline admission but that some say is meant to crack down on ticket sharing.

The technology is being tested at the Disney California Adventure entrance gates, according to Inside the Magic, a website offering theme park news.

A select number of parkgoers are participating in the trial, the website reported.

This is how it works: A Disneyland employee scans a guest’s ticket to determine if they have a photo in Disneyland’s database from a previous admission or annual pass purchase. If in the system, they are admitted into the park, according to the website.

For those without, a Disney employee will take a photo of the parkgoer for its database so that future admissions can be verified.

While the new system aims to streamline the admission process, some guests have reported that it currently takes longer than the traditional entry method. Guests have also reported needing to remove hats and sunglasses for the system to work properly.

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After the practice made news on social media, some individuals voiced privacy concerns. However, the park has not yet released a statement addressing how the captured images will be stored or how long they will be retained.

Others argue that the new system is for cutting the workforce amid rising labor expenses in the state.

In October, the California Supreme Court declined to hear Disney’s appeal of a ruling in a class-action suit that the company must abide by a living-wage ordinance passed by Anaheim voters in 2018, the Los Angeles Times reported.

The theme park is also testing the technology to address ticket selling and sharing, according to media reports. While the park has historically required photos for annual pass holders and multi-day tickets, the new system is expected to strengthen these measures.

Disneyland Resort previously experimented with facial recognition technology at Florida’s Walt Disney World Resort and Shanghai Disneyland in China in 2021.

In a similar vein, Universal Orlando Resort has integrated facial recognition technology at the entrances of Universal’s Islands of Adventure and Universal Studios Florida. The resort plans to continue using the technology with the upcoming opening of its new theme park, Epic Universe, slated for 2025, Inside the Magic reported.

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