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  • A common question asked by Disney newcomers who are visiting the parks for the first time, or maybe researching before their upcoming first trip, is:“Why does Disney scan your fingerprint?"

  • So today I'm going to talk about just that.

  • How Disney scans your fingerprint, why they do it, and what implications it might have on personal privacy.

  • So if you're looking for the really short answer, I'll say this:

  • It's not to track you or put you in some Orwellian master database.

  • It's essentially a preventative measure to combat ticket fraud, and it's due to the way Disney sells their tickets.

  • You see, Disney wants you to stay on Disney World property for as long as possible.

  • The resort is so large and all-encompassing that every extra day you spend there is another day you're paying them for the hotel, another day you're buying their food, their drinks, their snacks.

  • So in order to incentivize you to stay longer, they price their park tickets so that after the 4th day, each additional day costs less and less.

  • That means that in the end a five-day pass, at the time of this recording at least, would cost you $395, but a ten-day pass would cost $445.

  • Only $50 extra.

  • Think about that.

  • Fifty bucks for five whole extra days at the parks!

  • Of course, there are all the extra added costs, like the hotel, the food, but that's the part Disney doesn't want you to think about.

  • Now if you do think about it, there's a pretty simple scheme within that pricing system that makes it very easy to exploit.

  • Let's say I want to go on a five day vacation.

  • I could pay the $395 for a five-day pass, or I could buy a ten-day pass for $445, use five of the days, and then sell the pass at it's remaining five days to someone else at a discount.

  • Say, three hundred bucks.

  • Suddenly I've gotten my five days of Disney at a net cost of $145, and some other person is getting their five days at a discount, too.

  • Everybody wins!

  • Except for Disney, and they're not about to let themselves come out behind in this.

  • So how does Disney prevent it?

  • Your fingerprints.

  • Essentially in order to stop the fraud, Disney needs to link an individual to each ticket they sell.

  • More importantly, they need a fast way to do it.

  • Sure, they could match up names on the pass with the guest's ID, but that process is slow, especially when you consider that daily attendance to the parks numbers in the tens of thousands.

  • So fingerprint scanning acts as the biometric use to match your ticket to you, so that you can't turn around and sell it to someone else later on.

  • But how do they do the scanning, and should you be worried about your privacy?

  • Well, as expected, Disney says you should not.

  • In fact, according to them they're not actually scanning your fingerprint.

  • I mean, they are, but they also aren't.

  • It's… it's weird.

  • You see when we think about fingerprint scanning we usually think of something like this.

  • A machine that scans an image of your fingerprint and stores it or matches it to a saved fingerprint in a database.

  • What Disney's system does, however, is it scans your fingerprint and measures three points on it.

  • From that they calculate a unique number that then gets tied to your ticket.

  • What do they measure and what's the calculation?

  • Well, we don't know, and that's kind of the idea.

  • The minute that info gets out there becomes that much easier to circumvent the system.

  • Disney then dumps the scan and keeps the number.

  • Every time you use the ticket after that, it makes sure that the number still lines up.

  • That number remains tied to your ticket for up to 30 days after your ticket expires or gets used up.

  • And that's really about it.

  • It doesn't go into some database.

  • It doesn't get used to track you.

  • After all, they don't need your fingerprint for that, they've got Magic Bands.

  • In any case, if you still find yourself uncomfortable with the idea, you can choose to opt out of the fingerprint scan and instead show a picture ID to confirm that the ticket is yours.

  • Disney obviously doesn't advertise this too much because it really slows down the whole process of letting guests in, but the option is out there.

  • So should you worry?

  • Well, that's ultimately up to you to decide, but personally, I don't think so.

  • They don't have a motivation to steal your fingerprint and store it away.

  • Their motivation is to prevent people from selling tickets secondhand and cutting in on their profits.

  • Sure, a decade ago, this solution might have seemed like overkill

  • but with fingerprint scanning continuously increasing in popularity as a form of biometric ID, it just kind of seems normal now.

A common question asked by Disney newcomers who are visiting the parks for the first time, or maybe researching before their upcoming first trip, is:“Why does Disney scan your fingerprint?"

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B1 US fingerprint ticket scanning pass database day

Why Does Disney World Take Your Fingerprint?

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    Evangeline posted on 2021/01/30
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