Although certain businesses in the United States are still opening slower than others during the worldwide coronavirus health pandemic, Walt Disney World re-opened its doors in July 2020, approximately four months after it closed for 116 days. In March 2021, the only amusement park attraction that’s still closed is Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon Water Park.
Since then, Florida locals and tourists immediately noticed it was a little different than what they were accustomed to. Disney World has a mandatory rule for anyone ages 2 and up to wear specific face masks in all public places. Seated dining areas and “relaxation stations” for notably hot days are the only exceptions.
Guests also must agree to have a temperature screening in order to enter. Anyone with a temperature of 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit will be directed to an alternate area for rescreening and potential admission. Those with a temperature of 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit or above will not be admitted at all, along with anyone in their party. Guests also carry their own bags and personal belongings through the metal detector to reduce hand-to-hand contact between themselves and staff.
Other touchless entry options are being tested, too, primarily optional facial recognition at Magic Kingdom, from March 23, 2021 to April 23, 2021. As with the usual entry requirements, guests would have to remove all accessories from their bags, minus face masks, and stand in front of the facial recognition software.
They will be prompted to remove all facial accessories (i.e. hats and sunglasses) except for face masks again and stand in front of the facial recognition machine. Valid park admission or a MagicBand is scanned simultaneously to connect the two. An image of the participant’s face will be captured and converted into a personal number associated with their valid form of park admission. Guests’ smartphones can also double as a MagicBand to allow them park entry.
As of now, this facial recognition option cannot be used at any other park though, but returning Magic Kingdom guests can go back through that technology testing lane again. According to Disney, the collected images and information will not be shared with third parties and will be discarded after the “experiment” concludes in mid-April.