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End of an era: No more handstamps at Disneyland

July 11, 2017, 2:53 PM · The Disneyland Resort has stopped stamping the hands of one-day visitors to its parks, ending the long-standing way that Disney theme parks kept track of who'd already entered the park on a used ticket that day.

The Walt Disney World Resort long ago switched to a biometric finger scan system to associate tickets with individual visitors. And Disneyland has in recent years has used photos to do the same for people using multi-day tickets, including annual passes. But for one-day tickets, Walt's original park (and sibling California Adventure) kept it old-school and low tech.

Disney tried switching to photos for all ticket-holders several months ago, but ended the test after a few days when long waits backed up as cast members had to snap all those photos with their handheld devices. Fans will hope that the lines will flow more smoothly this time. The new photo requirement went into effect this week and will be put to the test as Disney fans around the world descend upon the resort for the biennial D23 Expo at the Anaheim Convention Center next door this weekend.

Couple that with the return of Fantasmic! on Monday, and this should be perhaps the busiest weekend of the summer at the Disneyland Resort.

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Replies (17)

July 11, 2017 at 3:46 PM · Why can't they take the photo on the way out like a handstamp? Not every one day ticket holder needs to have their photos taken.
July 11, 2017 at 4:34 PM · @Mr. Niles: any comment on the major news out of China that Wanda is selling its theme parks division for $4.5 billion?

It sounds like the parks that were built were underperforming massively and heavily indebted, otherwise I doubt that they sell at such a firesale price.

It sounds like a massive win for Disney Shanghai and other operators (such as the future Universal Beijing).

July 11, 2017 at 5:31 PM · Anton for the win
July 11, 2017 at 7:01 PM · Responding to Anton M = If they don't take the pictures going in, then someone in a group of four could go into the park with his three friends and then once inside the three friends could give him their tickets. Then, he could leave the park (at which point under your scenario he'd have his picture taken and linked to his ticket) with the three tickets his friends gave him. Then he could get three other people to use the tickets he just carried out with him. He could keep doing this all day and how would Disney ever get pictures of the people using those other three tickets if the pictures were not taken while entering instead of exiting?
July 11, 2017 at 8:03 PM · I'm working on a post about Wanda. I'm in Alaska this week (not by my choice), with severely limited Internet access, so it's taking me longer than normal to pull information together for an insightful post on that issue. Hope to have it up within the next couple of days!
July 11, 2017 at 10:35 PM · Man, I miss the handstamps. Just remember how fun it was showing it off and being worried about hitting the pool and it washing off but those things tougher than they seemed.
July 12, 2017 at 8:06 AM · @73: If you leave the park with a ticket without a photo, the used tickets will be invalid. They can never be reused to re-enter the park. That's why taking a photo is not necessary for one day passes. It's expired simply by not having a photo. Similarly, an used one day ticket is not valid without a handstamp.

Why would Disney allow re-entry for a guest with a photo taken with used ticket also allow re-entry for his friends who have used tickets without a photo taken? It would be an immediate Red Flag and you risk everyone getting thrown out. Making a fuss at the entrance never works. What's to stop someone from trying that right now? Pick up a stray ticket and attempt entry. Disney deals with plenty of people who already try to scam entry into the park. They don't make exceptions.

Lastly, despite all that, they opted to just take everyone's photo so theoretically none of that happens anymore. Entry takes longer so exit is faster. It's harder to scam used tickets. Entry Cast Members people can check once and done.

Hmmm.. They should build a guest exit at Critter Country to make exiting the park much faster for those parking at Mickey & Friends Parking Structure. This is especially necessary after the Fantasmic show.

July 12, 2017 at 8:27 AM · So I'm a little confused. You never explicitly said what the 1 day ticket holders do now. No stamp or photo now?
July 12, 2017 at 9:17 AM · Sounds like they've reinitiated the photo requirement after the test earlier this year.

I would agree with Anton that they should only snap photos of 1-day ticket holders on the way out. Taking pictures on the way in will bring the entry gates to a crawl, especially during the busy summer. The only issue I see with taking photos on the way out would be to properly communicate the requirement to guests. You don't want someone walking out thinking they can come back in later in the day (or hop over to the other park) without getting a photo. It needs to be clearly presented or Disney could have a lot of angry guests that leave and then find out they can't come back in.

July 12, 2017 at 9:58 AM · It's very frustrating to wait in line to enter the park while people get their photos taken. The very least they need two cast members to handle it, one scanning the tickets, and one to help take the photos. Especially in the morning, when most day visitors are entering the park and the lines are the longest. The frustration is not a good way to start your day.

On another note, they need to have a separate line at bag check for people who don't have bags. Again, it's frustrating to wait in line when you don't have a bag to check, and you're standing behind people with huge backpacks to check. Come on Disney, where's your commitment to great customer service?

July 12, 2017 at 10:07 AM · They should have separate lines for people that already have used their tickets. Annual Passholders, multi-day passes, and park hoppers are re-entry passes. But Disney was never good with signs that help guests to pre-filter into groups for faster service. Now, everyone is lumped together and every line is congested.
July 12, 2017 at 10:31 AM · They do have signs that filter, but the problem is that the signs change after guests are already waiting in line, and guests stand in front of gates with no sign posted assuming it will be opened.
July 12, 2017 at 10:57 AM · Shanghai Disneyland had this, but the photos are taken automatically with surveillance style cameras. Not sure the technique Disneyland uses. I have an AP and didn't see the test earlier this year. But if it requires the gate attendant to hold that smart device and snap the photo, that's too long of a process. It should be a fixed camera, that just snaps a quick photo. Enough to give a recognizable picture and not a head shot.
July 12, 2017 at 11:33 AM · Man, if only Disney had the resources to conduct thorough studies and tests of guest behavior before they made this decision. Oh wait...
July 12, 2017 at 12:56 PM · I hate the fingering into a theme park thing. First off, from an EV it's a pain to reach the thing to put your finger on. Then it doesn't work most of the time and I need to do it again. With arthritis that makes a painful exercise even more painful.
July 12, 2017 at 7:09 PM · I know it's time for new things, but I will miss the hand stamps. I always got one even if I didn't need it. Nothing better than riding Haunted Mansion to figure out what they stamped on your hand.
July 13, 2017 at 8:22 PM · only one commenter here, had it right. they can do recognizable photos in a split second (on rides), to sell us pics, but not at the front gate. If theft, was enough, of an issue they would spend the money on the high quality fixed cameras to get the job done quickly.

otherwise, its too small of a problem and does not justify creating the lines.

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