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Old Mar 5, 2013, 08:37 AM   #1
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Walt Disney World Emulates Apple's Use of iPod Touches for Friendlier Welcome




As part of a program to make Walt Disney World more convenient and inviting, the Central Florida theme park has removed turnstiles and issued costumed staff members iPod touches to scan the tickets of visitors as they arrive, reports AppleInsider.

The pilot scheme mirrors the decision Apple made to issue staff with iPod touches in card-reader cases in place of turnstiles. In Disney's case, the cases incorporate a scanner to read the barcodes on tickets. As with all Disney staff, ticket-readers are dressed as 'cast members' to enhance the visitor experience, and the removal of imposing turnstiles helps create a much more welcoming environment as visitors approach the park.
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Officials hope the changes at the entrance to the Magic Kingdom make it a more welcoming sight: Instead of structures that block people from entering, visitors are simply greeted by a Disney cast member as they walk into the park. Those employees and their iPod touches eliminate the need for old-fashioned checkpoints.
The scheme is currently a trial, and is part of a wider move by Disney toward a more high-tech future. A future phase is expected to introduce a MagicBand wristband that will use RFID to act as a combined hotel key, park pass, Fastpass card, and authorization to charge transactions such as food and beverages to a customer's account.

Article Link: Walt Disney World Emulates Apple's Use of iPod Touches for Friendlier Welcome
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Old Mar 5, 2013, 08:42 AM   #2
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Noooooo

Sorry, I dont care for this at all.. I feel it takes away some of the nostalgia that makes the Magic Kingdom so special.
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Old Mar 5, 2013, 08:42 AM   #3
newdeal
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they have been trialing RFID for a long time and have many of the machines already installed. If they are using ipod touches to scan tickets I can assure you it is because there is an issue with something or as a stop gap measure while they flip the switch on the magicbands since they wouldn't be able to do the biometric scan on an ipod touch so there is nothing to prevent you from using someone else's ticket. Either that or they are scanning tickets with an ipod touch for people who have tickets without RFID and will still make them scan their finger and go through the turnstile as normal
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Old Mar 5, 2013, 09:06 AM   #4
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I agree

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Originally Posted by newdeal View Post
they have been trialing RFID for a long time and have many of the machines already installed. If they are using ipod touches to scan tickets I can assure you it is because there is an issue with something or as a stop gap measure while they flip the switch on the magicbands since they wouldn't be able to do the biometric scan on an ipod touch so there is nothing to prevent you from using someone else's ticket. Either that or they are scanning tickets with an ipod touch for people who have tickets without RFID and will still make them scan their finger and go through the turnstile as normal
I agree with this comment. I was there about 2 weeks ago and they used the new ipod touch scanners. It seemed a bit more dis-organized than the usual Disney implementations. We walked right past the new RFID scanners that were obviously turned off. They looked all finished and weren't covered up. I assume they will be turned on real soon.
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Old Mar 5, 2013, 09:09 AM   #5
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Well, they say Apple devices are "magical," makes sense the "Magic" Kingdom utilizing them. <magic rainbow>
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Old Mar 5, 2013, 09:37 AM   #6
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It's to bad the Disney workers can't wear a Disney polo and instead have to wear a costume.
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Old Mar 5, 2013, 09:42 AM   #7
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I was there at New Years and our tour guides still had blackberry's and their personal iPhones. RIM is going to lose their Disney account very soon. Can't believe they lasted that long.
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Old Mar 5, 2013, 10:05 AM   #8
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Staff are dressed as 'cast members', creating a much more welcoming experience for visitors.[/url]
Uh-huh. With "appleinsider" written on their trousers. ;)
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Old Mar 5, 2013, 10:14 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by newdeal View Post
they have been trialing RFID for a long time and have many of the machines already installed. If they are using ipod touches to scan tickets I can assure you it is because there is an issue with something or as a stop gap measure while they flip the switch on the magicbands since they wouldn't be able to do the biometric scan on an ipod touch so there is nothing to prevent you from using someone else's ticket. Either that or they are scanning tickets with an ipod touch for people who have tickets without RFID and will still make them scan their finger and go through the turnstile as normal
I haven't been to Disneyland in a decade and have never been to Disney World.

Are they trying to scan people's fingerprints and track everywhere they go in the park now? What else might they be doing? And when did they start this?

Please explain this more.
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Old Mar 5, 2013, 11:37 AM   #10
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I haven't been to Disneyland in a decade and have never been to Disney World.

Are they trying to scan people's fingerprints and track everywhere they go in the park now? What else might they be doing? And when did they start this?

Please explain this more.
No, only when entering the parks and it is to prevent someone from buying a multi-day ticket, using a few days and selling it to someone else to use.
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Old Mar 5, 2013, 12:23 PM   #11
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I was at Disney World 5 years ago and I don't recall any bioscanning... When did this start?
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Old Mar 5, 2013, 01:45 PM   #12
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Staff aren't "dressed as Cast Members" , they ARE Cast members, and the costume/uniform for those manning the turnstiles may not be a poloshirt and slacks, but it isn't that far off. The photo here is a bit deceiving, but it can get chilly in the morning in Florida, hence the gloves and jacket.

I, too, was there just a few weeks ago. They were in the process of rolling RFID-enabled keys to at least the Port Orleans - Riverside resort. While the room key aspect of the RFID was in place, they hadn't gotten the full sytem integrated yet when I checked in. So I had a combination card key, ticket, and charge card that had an RFID chip to get me into my room, a magnetic stripe for the old readers, and a bar code that can be read for backup.

Also, people like me still have paper Park Hopper tickets that were bought 10 years ago. These also have barcodes as well as magnetic stripes. The iPod Touches can read those cards.

They have been using biometrics for a while now to ensure that Park Hopper passes are used by only one person per day. I remember when Florida residents used to have a full palm scan for their Annual passes.

This is the time for them to roll out new technology as it is not the busiest time of the year. That way they can smooth over the transitions.
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Old Mar 5, 2013, 03:39 PM   #13
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Sorry, I dont care for this at all.. I feel it takes away some of the nostalgia that makes the Magic Kingdom so special.
Agreed. I would like it if the Disney parks resisted change and kept things old school.

I remember going to Disneyland to the Tiki Room after they changed it to being hosted by Yago (or whatever his name is). Horrible. The Tiki Room used to be a class act and it was replaced by an obnoxious bird.
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Old Mar 5, 2013, 04:06 PM   #14
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Agreed. I would like it if the Disney parks resisted change and kept things old school.

I remember going to Disneyland to the Tiki Room after they changed it to being hosted by Yago (or whatever his name is). Horrible. The Tiki Room used to be a class act and it was replaced by an obnoxious bird.
I can understand this feeling, having grown up with Walt Disney World since its opening. However, that would go totally against what Walt Disney wanted his parks to be, which was constantly changing. Of course, I'm sure he meant changes that improved the experience. (BTW - when I was just there, the "Under new management" signs at the Tiki Room had been taken down, so I wonder if Iago has been removed.)

An example of a change that was an improvement is what they have done to the Haunted Mansion. One of the last items on the ride is the hitchiking ghosts. It used to be done with a simple reflection. They now use face recognition software to provide an interactive experience that improves - or "pluses", to use Walt's term - the whole concept. They did a similar change with the Tower of Terror, creating a ride where the show elements and drops are randomized.

I like the new RFID tech. Similar to my subway card, I was able to leave my card in my wallet most of the time, keeping it safely tucked away. This experiment with the iPod Touches is a way to help move people through the gates and into the park, rather than force them to get stuck using a faulty turnstile. In that way, it improves the overall experience.
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Old Mar 5, 2013, 04:12 PM   #15
newdeal
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Originally Posted by HMI View Post
I haven't been to Disneyland in a decade and have never been to Disney World.

Are they trying to scan people's fingerprints and track everywhere they go in the park now? What else might they be doing? And when did they start this?

Please explain this more.
Its a biometric scan, not a finger print scan. Basically the same thing but biometric scans are less precise then an actual fingerprint scan (there is a chance you could have the same biometric scan as another person, but its very rare). Regardless they use it only at the turnstiles to get into the parks and when you use your ticket the first time it links it to your biometric scan so that you can't let someone else use your ticket, if they try to it will be rejected and the cast member who is there won't let you in. Since transferring partially used themepark tickets isn't allowed (and is even against the law in Florida) they do this to make sure you can't do it which has obvious financial benefits for Disney (since buying a 10 day ticket costs like $35 per day and a 1 day ticket costs $90 a day if you could transfer the ticket you could buy a 10 day ticket and let your family of 10 all get in for far far less than 10 1 day tickets would cost)
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Old Mar 5, 2013, 04:28 PM   #16
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"The scheme is currently a trial, and is part of a wider move by Disney toward a more high-tech future."

Hopefully this will include improving wifi/cellular access throughout the parks. When I was the over the summer and then again this past January access was spotty at best to non-existent in many areas.
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Old Mar 5, 2013, 05:18 PM   #17
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For the last several years of visiting the park every time I went ahead and touched the finger scanner I managed to catch whatever virus the people in front of me had. The finger scanners have no cleaning area before them and after you get through it is tough to find a place to wash your hands before you pass that virus around to other places your can absorb it. So I wised up and refused the finger scan and presented ID instead of the finger scan. When I get to go on vacation, I've cut vacation born illness significantly.

The possibility the finger scanners are on their way out is good news indeed.

Disneyworld is going full force RFID. Nearly all the resorts have had room keys converted to RFID style room keys. I believe all the Disney boats are RFID room keys. A room key often contains your park tickets and is linked to your credit card on file so pretty much all you need is ID and room key while you are on vacation at Disneyworld.

The recent addition of Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom may be another way to queue up and entertain visitors but it is a test in progress to track where a visitor has been throughout the Magic Kingdom park.

The tags from this game and the tags from the room keys all appear to be passive because they have to be within inches of the readers. I've found some materials on passive RFID tags that can go four or five feet. Entrances to the parks and other places where crowds go through confined spaces can be lined with these sensors and your card would be tracked wherever it goes.

I don't really care about being tracked in a theme park. However my enhanced drivers license lives in its tin foil hat always and I hope that is enough. I've experienced the chip being scanned at the US/Canada I5 border. The equipment was about 4 feet away and it read it without any problem outside of its foil leisure suit.

I will welcome just about any system where I don't have to put my finger where some kid just wiped a booger just to enter a park. It's just not sanitary no matter how much they claim to clean the sensor.

SeanMcg: According to the staff(cast members) we talked to there was a fire and the new Gilbert Godfrey version of the Tiki room show was destroyed at Disneyworld. Fire or not, I personally welcomed the old version back no matter how dated it it may be.
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Old Mar 5, 2013, 07:58 PM   #18
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Glad I read this, so I now know to never go to Disneyworld.
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Old Mar 5, 2013, 08:37 PM   #19
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I am currently staying in the Port Orleans resort. They have gone full RFID from the rooms to the meal purchasing and park entry. To enter a park, you do wave your card and use a finger. I accidentally used the wrong finger one day and it denied my entry until I switched fingers. Of all the public things that I touch during a day, the fingerprint scanner is the least of my worries. The system works quite seamlessly.
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Old Mar 5, 2013, 09:09 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by Obi-Wan Kubrick View Post
It's to bad the Disney workers can't wear a Disney polo and instead have to wear a costume.
Not bad in the winter, but in the summer it must be killer!

I haven't been there in a very long time!
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Old Mar 5, 2013, 09:22 PM   #21
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A future phase is expected to introduce a MagicBand wristband that will use RFID to act as a combined hotel key, park pass, Fastpass card, and authorization to charge transactions such as food and beverages to a customer's account.
It will also deliver a small electric shock if the guest runs to the front of the line at the roller coaster instead of waiting their turn.
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Old Mar 5, 2013, 09:59 PM   #22
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For the last several years of visiting the park every time I went ahead and touched the finger scanner I managed to catch whatever virus the people in front of me had. The finger scanners have no cleaning area before them and after you get through it is tough to find a place to wash your hands before you pass that virus around to other places your can absorb it. So I wised up and refused the finger scan and presented ID instead of the finger scan. When I get to go on vacation, I've cut vacation born illness significantly.
Oh come on, unless you avoided touching ANYTHING the entire day you touched something every other person did. You aren't getting any other disease from the finger scanner than you would from using a door handle, the grab handles on the rides, any plate, drink or other item handed to you from any other human, etc. If you were really that worried about disease a $1 bottle of Purell would solve that one time finger scanner touch.
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Old Mar 6, 2013, 07:10 AM   #23
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I can understand this feeling, having grown up with Walt Disney World since its opening. However, that would go totally against what Walt Disney wanted his parks to be, which was constantly changing. Of course, I'm sure he meant changes that improved the experience. (BTW - when I was just there, the "Under new management" signs at the Tiki Room had been taken down, so I wonder if Iago has been removed.)

An example of a change that was an improvement is what they have done to the Haunted Mansion. One of the last items on the ride is the hitchiking ghosts. It used to be done with a simple reflection. They now use face recognition software to provide an interactive experience that improves - or "pluses", to use Walt's term - the whole concept. They did a similar change with the Tower of Terror, creating a ride where the show elements and drops are randomized.

I like the new RFID tech. Similar to my subway card, I was able to leave my card in my wallet most of the time, keeping it safely tucked away. This experiment with the iPod Touches is a way to help move people through the gates and into the park, rather than force them to get stuck using a faulty turnstile. In that way, it improves the overall experience.
This post and the whole article really makes me want to go back to the Magic Kingdom. I haven't been there in years and now I have to plan a trip!
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Old Mar 6, 2013, 11:46 AM   #24
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This post and the whole article really makes me want to go back to the Magic Kingdom. I haven't been there in years and now I have to plan a trip!
As a frequest Disney visitor (and stockholder), I strongly urge you to do so!
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Old Mar 6, 2013, 12:06 PM   #25
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Image


As part of a program to make Walt Disney World more convenient and inviting, the Central Florida theme park
I don't like to nitpick, but Walt Disney World is a resort, NOT A THEME PARK. 43 square miles, 20+ hotels 4 Theme Parks, 2 Water Parks. That is a resort.
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