Walt Disney World is in the process of switching to a new ticket system. This affects all types of tickets including the Disney Armed Forces Salute military tickets for Disney World.
The new tickets have a small Radio-frequency identification (RFID) transmitter inside which identifies each individual ticket to the WDW ticketing system. These tickets are held up to a scanner in order to be read. The old style tickets had a strip on the back and were read just like an ATM reads a debit card.
Disney is switching to this new technology to allow a smoother guest experience. Disney has plans for these new tickets to be used for a multitude of functions such as, the previously mentioned new ticketing system for the parks, acting as your room key, making purchases, and as your token for the highly anticipated FastPass+ system. The FastPass+ system will allow guests to reserve times for popular attractions before ever leaving home.
For years guests staying in Disney resorts could have their room key and park tickets combined in one card. This continues with the RFID tickets,Disney is even testing bracelets with RFID transmitters in place of credit card type tickets. Unfortunately combining the room key and park ticket has never been available for Disney Armed Forces Salute room reservations and tickets).
No identifying information is stored on the ticket, it only transmits an ID number, the computer systems it interacts with then look up the ID to determine the ticket’s status. So any real data is stored on Disney’s regular systems, not on the ticket.
Disney Armed Forces Salute tickets can be purchased a several locations
- Base Ticket Offices
- Shades of Green, the military resort on Disney World property
- Directly from Disney ticket windows (with sales tax added)
The Salute tickets you buy from your base or Shades are not not valid tickets, they are exchange tickets and need to be activated (exchanged) upon arrival at Disney World. When you exchange yours you will be given the new RFID type tickets. The RFID tickets a have a green background to set them apart from the old style tickets, the most current of which were light blue.
Those who have previously purchased Salute tickets that were activated and still have days remaining on them have two options. They can continue to use their tickers as is in the old turnstiles or exchange them for a new RFID ticket with the same remaining number of days left on it.
[UPDATE: All WDW entries are now 100% RFID as the FY2013 Disney Armed Forces Salute Tickets were the last holdouts]
Disney World is replacing their old turnstiles which accept the old tickets with new RFID readers. The new tickets will work in the old turnstiles, but the old style tickets won’t work at the new readers, so it is important to know where each kind is located, to have a smoother park entry.
Here are the results from my recent intel trip:
Magic Kingdom – has a 50%/50% mix of the old and new ticket systems. the RFID readers are to the right side.
Epcot - has a 50%/50% mix of the old and new ticket systems. the RFID readers are to the right side at the main entrance. The International gateway entrance is also 50%/50%.
Hollywood Studios – Has 1/3 old and 2/3 new readers, the RFID readers are to the right side.
Animal Kingdom - Has 1/3 old and 2/3 new readers, the RFID readers are to the right side at the main entrance. The Rainforest Cafe entrance just has the old turnstiles.
Disney has cast members posted at each park with signs to direct people to the correct side they need to go to in order to use the type of ticket they have..
Note: as the day goes on and the volume of incoming guests reduces Disney reduces the manpower on the entrance stations and switches some of the old type turnstiles from entrance to exit locations.
I’ve queried Disney World about the future integration of the Disney Armed Forces Salute and their new technology, but they have been unable to give me answered yet.
The way the Disney Armed Forces Salute is currently implemented would exclude the military guest from many of these new emerging features. WDW has never allowed the Salute tickets to be combined with your Disney resort room key (Key to the World) necessitating having to cary and keep track of both room keys and tickets. The upcoming FastPass+ system requires the ticket number in advance to sigh up ahead of time for your FastPasses, but the current exchange ticket procedure prevents this.
Once I do hear back from WDW I’ll let you all know.
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