Mickey wants your fingers: Disney World debuts new fingerprint scanners

The happiest place on Earth, Disney World, will soon be scanning the fingerprints of park-goers. Disney has installed fingerprint scanners in all four of its Lake Buena Vista parks in an effort to stop the reselling of expensive tickets. Park officials say the information will only be used to fight fraud and will not be hooked up to any law enforcement databases.

Disney World tickets are pricey with a one-day ticket ringing in at $67, a seven-day pass costs $210. The multi-day passes seem to be a problem for Disney as people like to pass them around to other family members or sell them to other tourists. The new scanners will scan the prominent ridges and convert the information into a jumble of numbers. Disney says the information will be erased after the ticket is used up.

While many think Disney World and its Southern Californian cousin Disneyland are the happiest places on Earth, they are also considered to be one of the most secure venues on the planet by security experts. The parks are covered by surveillance cameras and the grounds are patrolled by both uniformed and undercover security officers. Disneyland also pays close to $3 million a year for the Anaheim Police Department to station officers at the park.

The new fingerprint scanners will be operational late next month. Disney has used finger scanners in the past. The previous system required park goers to place two fingers into a scanner which recorded the finger shape and distance between joints.

Update Sept 1st, 2006 8:53 PDT:

One of our readers emailed us saying the fingerprint scanners are already in use. Nicolas says the scanners are installed at the Magic Kingdom gates and the front entrance to Epcot. The back entrance to the Epcot and the gates to the Animal Kingdom have yet to be updated.

Nicolas says the new scanners are about 3-4 seconds faster than the old 2 finger scanners. He adds that Universal Studios in nearby Orlando Florida is also using the scanners for multiday tickets into the Islands of Adventure park.