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We know it’s swimming! We’re sorry, Dory. But, you cannot swim into a Walt Disney World theme park. Well, if it’s July then it does feel like you’re swimming through the humidity. Anyways, we’re here today to talk about security checks at Disney World. It’s everyone’s favorite topic. (#sarcasm) While it may not be our favorite topic, it’s definitely a must for theme parks today. Some may say the less magical part of Walt Disney World is the bag check prior to entering the parks. Could that be changing? Let’s remove all metal, unzip our park bag and raise our cell phone above heads, as we’re off to investigate new security checks at Disney World!

new security check at Disney Animal Kingdom - pic from @bioreconstruct

What They’ve Done Thus far

Walking into a Disney park you’re heading one of two ways, guests with bags or guests without. While the parks up the road use x-ray machines and metal detectors for scanning, Disney World has taken a different approach since September 12, 2001. All guest’s bags are manually checked by Mouse Security and guests walk through a metal detector. The process is slower than other parks, but we have to say it’s more thorough.

Over the past 2 years, Disney has continued to improve the guest experience when entering the parks by redesigning the security checkpoints. Larger, more expansion security entrances have greatly improved guest flow into the park. All while moving the security checks at Disney World further away from the park entrance. At the moment, Hollywood Studios is the only park that has completed its design. The Magic Kingdom and Epcot are not too far behind, and the Animal Kingdom just started.

Passholder Insights: To save time when heading through security always make sure to unzip all compartments within your bag or stroller.

Potential Change

Here comes the walking reference. Thanks to BlogMickey we got an early glimpse of what we could see as the new security checks at Disney World. On Monday, June 15, 2020, Disney was testing a new technology by Evolv Technology at Disney Springs for contactless entry. Yes, contactless entry. We’re talking about no x-ray machines, no manual bag searches, and no metal detectors. You just keep walking!

So, who is Evolv Technology? We were thinking the same thing. Just like NBA or MLS referees, if you don’t know who they are that’s a good thing. Evolv Technology is a company out of Waltham, MA that specials in contactless entry systems for screening employees entering a building, students on campus, and visitors entry large venues. For example, Gillette Stadium and Oakland International Airport are a couple of places with Evolv Technology in place.

Digging a little deeper into the company we learned that they have an impressive list of advisors ranging from the CIA, FBI, and TSA. Additionally, one of the primary investors in the company is Bill Gates. He may know a thing or two about technology. It’s safe to say that Disney World would not be the company’s first major or high profile client.

Please note that Disney does not allow for any pictures of their security areas or protocols, including if they are only testing new technology.

Passholder Insights: Under Bob Iger, the focus for Disney has been technology. From Magicbands to Disney+, Disney continues to adopt technology in all aspects.

Why The Change?

It’s all about the guest experience. As we spoke about in our Disney Reopening Guide, everything is going to be a little different when the parks reopen. One of the big changes will be temperature checks. With the addition of temperature checks, the process for entering a park got a little bit longer. On average it took us about 10 to 15 minutes to get through the bag check prior to the addition of temperature checks. It’s safe to say we should expect that to double with the new process. The big concern for Disney comes with how to manage the larger security lines while maintaining social distancing.

In the DVC Duo house, we believe Disney is looking to be proactive and add the new security checks at Disney World to resolve the crowding issue. We’ve been fortunate to experience the Evolv Technology system previously at Gillette Stadium, and it worked flawlessly. No stopping or removing anything, just walk through the sensors. If Disney were able to add this system it could greatly reduce the time to enter the parks. Additionally, it would eliminate the need to manually check bags and provide a safer work environment for Disney Security.

Passholder Insights: To save time going through security checks at Disney World we recommend only sending one person with your bags through the bag check and have everyone else go through the non-bag line.

Our Thoughts

The sooner the better. With everything going on in the world today, the more Disney can do to make things “contact-less” the better. Based on the research we’ve done Evolv Technology has a fantastic track record and many other high profile clients similar to Disney World. If we had to guess we’re thinking may see new security checks at Disney World sooner than we would expect. With the lower crowd levels this summer, it is the perfect time to test/deploy a new system. Alright, we’re made it through the new security checks at Disney World, what should we ride first? Hands down, it’s Rise of the Resistance!

UPDATE: On July 7, 2020, we received confirmation the new Evolv Technology will be used at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. If testing goes well it will be rolled out to all the remaining theme parks. The new system is now in place at Disney’s Animal Kingdom as part of the cast member previews.

UPDATE: On November 12, 2020, we received confirmation that the new Evolv Technology has been successfully rolled out across all Walt Disney World parks and Disney Springs.

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