Walt Disney World requires finger scans of kids ages 3 to 9 entering its theme parks

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Walt Disney World has begun scanning the fingers of children who are entering its theme parks and water parks. Although many families had noticed the new practice and began posting about it recently on social media channels, the process was confirmed this week by the Orlando Sentinel and other news outlets.

Kids and all guests with tickets or annual passes — which is anyone age 3 or older — now must have a finger scan associated with his or her admission media. The scan is not one of a person’s fingerprint but rather photos of different points on an individual finger that is then converted into a digital code.

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The technology is used to prevent fraud. Before the new practice was put in place, tickets or annual passes for young children could be transferred to others because there was no identifying information attached to the ticket or pass. In other words, children’s tickets could be handed off to friends, or even resold, to other kids in the same age range.

With the new policy, parents have the option to associate their own finger scans — instead of their children’s — with their kids’ tickets. One complication with this, though, can occur when the parent whose finger scan is associated with the child’s ticket is not the one escorting the child into the park.

Walt Disney World officials say the “finger geometry” scans are not being saved in a company database. They are only associated with the individual tickets and annual passes as a security measure, and the visitor data is discarded within 30 days.

As a parent, I am not bothered by the expanded finger scan practice, though I know that some parents have expressed reservations about the technology. And neither is my more cynical husband, who often looks at the profit-making and marketing angles behind any such new technological advance. This technology does not uniquely identify a person; it simply reduces the chances you are using a ticket or pass that is not yours.

Walt Disney World has been collecting finger scans for more than a decade. (You can read about the history and see photos of the old machines on our AllEars.Net resource page.) And in that time, the process has become more commonplace not just among theme parks but with advanced technology, such as Apple Pay and other digital wallets.

Parents who have spoken out about the finger scans —- for anyone of any age — are, of course, concerned about their civil liberties. But does that argument really work today in the times in which we live and with the security surveillance all of have become accustomed to? Tell us what you think in the comments.


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7 Replies to “Walt Disney World requires finger scans of kids ages 3 to 9 entering its theme parks”

  1. I think it’s ridiculous that tickets that have already been paid for can’t be transferred to another person. I have 2 days left on a non expiration card from years ago when my step son was a child that is useless. They wouldn’t even let me upgrade the ticket to an adult ticket. It’s your ticket and you should be able to use the days any which way you want to. The point is, they have been paid for, what’s it to Disney which child gets to use the days? ….Money and greed.

  2. It doesn’t bother me at all. We visited last week for the first time since this change and my kids (ages 8 and 10) were both thrilled to be asked to scan their fingers. It made them feel grown-up. 🙂

  3. Our 6 year old’s finger print would not scan consistently so we had to associate it with one of ours. If the technology doesn’t work properly I’m not sure they should be using it. It didn’t matter to us as we were sticking together as a family but it could be a real hassle for others. Maybe being able to associate 2 adults finger prints to one child ticket would help.

  4. In today’s IT world we have no security, hackers can get into anything. Unfortunely due to so many dishonest people the honest have to suffer with increased precautions. I believe WDW should have all the security they can make.

  5. We were at Walt Disney World at the end of August. We do not have young children, however we saw many families with young children having issues with the finger scan, and often our entry was delayed because of issues with young children’s fingers not scanning correctly in front of us. It got to the point that we would scope out lines as we approached the park entrance and pick a line with no little children or the least amount of little children. I don’t mind the change in and of itself, but I hope it will run much more smoothly very soon.

  6. We were in Disney World last week and had no issues with this. For some it is more time consuming with little kids. Everyone wants Disney to be affordable and if this is what it takes to do it, I am all for it. We were selected to do the metal detectors a few times. It was quick and we were treated with respect. Again, I would rather be safe than sorry.

  7. I don’t mind the fact that this change has been implemented, however it is really difficult for a five year old to consistently scan their finger. Last week my son had issues almost every time we went to a park.

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