Karen Harmel, Laura Spadanuta
Wed May 16, 8:00 PM ET
Walt Disney World, which bills itself as one of the happiest and most magical places anywhere, also may be one of the most closely watched and secure.
Walt Disney World, which bills itself as one of the happiest and most magical places anywhere, also may be one of the most closely watched and secure. And control over park entrances is getting even tighter: the nation's most popular tourist attraction now is beginning to scan visitor fingerprint information.
For years, Disney has recorded onto tickets the geometry and shape of visitors’ fingers to prevent ticket fraud or resale, as an alternative to time-consuming photo identification checks.
By the end of September, all of the geometry readers at Disney’s four Orlando theme parks, which attract tens of millions of visitors each year, will be replaced with machines that scan fingerprint information, according to industry experts familiar with the technology.
“It’s essentially a technology upgrade,” said Kim Prunty, spokeswoman for Walt Disney World. The new scanner, like the old finger geometry scanner, "takes an image, identifies a series of points, measures the distance between those points, and turns it into a numerical value." She added, "To call it a fingerprint is a little bit of a stretch."
Prunty said the new system will be easier for guests to use and will reduce wait times. The old machines required visitors to insert two fingers into a reader that identified key information about the shape of the fingers. The new machines scan one fingertip for its fingerprint information. Prunty said the company does not store the entire fingerprint image, but only numerical information about certain points.
Theme park consultant Arnold Tang said parks like Disney use the technology because it is more convenient for guests than showing photo identification and more accurate for theme parks, which have a significant ticket fraud problem.
“There’s a lot of subjectivity,” Tang said about traditional identification checks. “People can look at a photo and identify it differently.”
Prunty said the technology ensures that multiday passes are not resold. A one day, one-park ticket to Walt Disney World costs $67, but the daily price falls dramatically for a 10-day pass. Prunty said multiday pricing is the reason for the scanners. “It’s very important that a guest who purchases the ticket is the guest who uses it,” she said.
Soon Homeland security will be handed over to Disney. All airports will be transformed into little wonderlands, were the armed guards are dressed as your favorite characters. Just be careful. If you get a body cavity search I heard they don't take off the big glove/hands. OUCH!!!
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