Universal Orlando Resort Implements Facial Recognition to Parks: Will Disney Follow Suit?

Universal Studios Orlando enterance
Credit: Photo by Josh Rich on Unsplash

A controversial new technology has landed at Universal Orlando Resort, and fans are unsure what to think.

Over the past few decades, both Universal Resorts and Disney Resorts have worked to implement technological advancements to improve visitor experiences in their theme parks. While many of these changes have been extraordinarily successful and embraced by fans with open arms, others have raised some eyebrows from fans concerned about their personal safety.

diagon alley in universal studios florida

Credit: Universal, Canva

Facial Recognition Debuts at Universal Orlando Resort

Just yesterday, Universal Orlando Resort began their “technical rehearsal” for their new “Photo Validation” service. This new service is being tested as a possible replacement for the current thumbprint scan that is used at the park entrance.

Guests entering Universal Orlando Resort were informed of the Photo Validation service by a sign placed near the gate. According to the sign, the service is being tested sporadically on a “limited and unscheduled basis.”

Universal Orlando Resort’s new state-of-the-art facial recognition software enhances the guest experience and streamlines park operations. This innovative technology allows for a seamless and contactless entry process, minimizing wait times and providing a high level of security for all visitors.

The facial recognition software used at Universal Orlando Resort is designed to quickly and accurately identify guests as they enter the park. This eliminates the need for physical tickets or passes, making it easier than ever to gain access to the attractions and experiences that await.

With the facial recognition software, guests simply walk up to the designated entry points where cameras capture their facial images. The software then matches the image against a database of pre-registered guests, verifying their identity within seconds. This fast and efficient process ensures that guests can make the most of their time at the resort without unnecessary delays.

As of now, guests are able to opt out of Photo Validation if they choose to. Guests who decide to do this can continue to use thumbprint scanning.

universal orlando resort

Credit: Aditya Vyas on Unsplash

Is Efficient, but Is It Safe?

While many fans agree that this new service could be incredibly efficient, many are concerned about the ethics behind it. In today’s day and age, people are growing more and more hesitant to let companies like Disney and Universal have both their fingerprints and use facial recognition.

In fact, Walt Disney World Resort already trialed some facial recognition scanners in the past, and it was pretty clear that many theme park ticket holders did not enjoy it. After testing the technology back in 2021, it was eventually removed from the Parks with no sign of returning.

It will be interesting to see how fans react to the signs and the addition of facial recognition. These discussions will greatly help influence if this kind of technology becomes more of the norm in the future.

About Eva Miller

Eva was born and raised in the beautiful state of Oregon but has since relocated and lives in New York City. Since she was young, Eva has loved to perform in musicals, especially Disney ones! Through performing, Disney’s music became the soundtrack of her childhood. Today, Eva loves to write about all the exciting happenings for the Walt Disney Company. In her free time, Eva loves to travel, spend time in nature, and go to Broadway shows. Her favorite Disney movie is 'Lilo and Stitch,' and her favorite Park is Disney's Animal Kingdom.