Universal Orlando Resort

Photo Validation System at Universal Orlando

Share This!

Universal Orlando is rolling out a new way to enter the parks called Photo Validation. Replacing the fingerprint reader, this new system scans your face for entry instead. This article covers how the photo verification system works, what data Photo Validation collects, what data it does NOT collect, and frequently asked questions.

Thank you to Alicia Stella from Orlando Park Stop for the above video showing the current process in handy video form.

The Process

The new entry process is very similar to using a fingerprint sensor:

  1. Team Member scans your admission ticket at the entry turnstile.
  2. The camera at the turnstile will turn on and display a feed to the screen.
  3. Position yourself within the blue frame on the screen.
  4. The camera will take a Photo Template.
  5. Once validated a green light will appear and the screen will show a green check mark.
  6. Enter the park.

The set-up process for Photo Validation is as long as using the fingerprint sensor, but re-entry into the park is faster using Photo Validation.

Photo Validation & Photo Templates – How it Works

The Photo Validation system uses state-of-the-art technology to verify your admission ticket. Like all new technologies, there is new vocabulary:

  • Photo Validation is Universal’s name for the facial ID system implemented by Universal Orlando for theme park entry.
  • A Photo Template is the facial measurement data collected by IR sensors to match you to your admission.
  • The array of sensors, cameras, and lights used for making the Photo Template is what we call the Photo Sensors.

Unlike the photograph forms of facial recognition, Universal does not photograph your face or store photographs. Photo Validation uses 3D measurement data from Photo Sensors located in the black bar above the screens at the turnstiles (see above). The 3D measurements taken by IR sensors and 3D camera systems form the Photo Template. This system is similar to FaceID on an iPhone or face recognition on the Microsoft Kinect. Photo Template data is unidentifiable and deleted within six months of capture. The video shown on the screens is a live feed for guest assistance with the process and is not stored.

The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man

Frequently Asked Questions

Wait, does it take my photograph? What data is collected and how long is it stored?

No, your photograph is not taken. Photo Verification takes a set of IR sensors to create a Photo Template of your face that only this system can use. The Photo Template data is stored for up to six months before deletion, similar to the fingerprint reader data.

Can I Opt Out of Participating in Photo Validation?

Opt out of Photo Validation at the entrance turnstiles or in Guest Relations, once done so you will be requested to show your Photo ID when entering the park.

What Happens if Photo Validation Is Not In Use When I Return?

You will use your fingerprint or Photo ID for entry.

Is Photo Validation Required for Children and Guests in Wheelchairs?

Yes, the Photo Sensors are set up and calibrated to work at different eye levels.

I’m Visiting on A Specific Date, How Will I Know If This Impact My Visit?

At the time of writing Photo Validation is only at Islands of Adventure. While there are no official announcements of expanding the program we expect Universal Studios Florida and Volcano Bay to receive Photo Validation soon. Follow the Touring Plans Blog for the latest information.

Is Photo Validation In Use at Hogwarts Express?


Is Photo Validation Used at Universal Studios Florida, Volcano Bay, or Halloween Horror Nights?

Not at the time of writing, but we expect Universal to fully roll out Photo Validation at these parks and events soon.

Article updated November 1, 2023

Have any additional questions about Photo Validation? Leave them in the comments below and we’ll answer them!

You May Also Like...

Joseph Matt

Joe covers theme parks through the lens of his quality engineering day job. He has over five years of writing experience at Touring Plans and has gone on dozens of trips to Orlando over his life. When not at amusement parks you can find Joe at breweries, enjoying live theater, playing video games, and cooking.

2 thoughts on “Photo Validation System at Universal Orlando

  • I just want to note my overall annoyance with the finger-scan system, which I have found to be more time consuming than the similar system used at WDW. Over years of visits to Universal Orlando, I have constantly been asked at the entrance gate which finger I used before, you’re pressing too hard, now you’re not pressing hard enough, can we see your ID, hang on while we re-set the system to remember your other finger, etc. If this is being consigned to the technology ashbin, I will not miss it.

    • I agree, and based on how they want the tech to work in the future, they eventually want to even get rid of the ticket scanning and just have guests walk in.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *