Disney began testing a new, next generation method of speeding up theme park entry Epcot this weekend. The new entry system, featuring the increasingly pervasive RFID technology emerging throughout the parks, was intended to expedite theme park admission.
The new system is located to the left of Epcot’s monorail exit, and requires Guests to hold an RFID equipped ticket close to a scanner identified by the familiar Mickey silhouette and press their finger on the familiar biometric scanner for entry.
In order to transfer a Guest’s ticket information onto the RFID chip, a CM scans the ticket so that the information has been loaded onto their computer. The CM will then scan the RFID chip on a sensor pad next to the computer. The information has now been loaded onto the RFID chip and the Guest is ready to enter the park. The RFID stickers placed on Guest tickets, although thicker than paper, will not conflict with the current turnstile entry system.
The current system requires guests to hold their tickets very close to the scanner, perhaps as a way of limiting possible data theft or security concerns. The new system is reported to seem faster and smoother than the turnstile system, expediting Guest access to the park, the expedited access is no doubt an important part of the test.
Regardless of whether the RFID system is expanded, it certainly confirms Disney’s aggressive interest in the technology and its potential in improving guest experience. With RFID, Disney may be able to offer guests a stunning range of options from interactive gaming to a choice of ticket format – from wristband to traditional paper ticket. Only time will tell what Disney plans to do with the technology, but the possibilities are certainly exciting!