The House of Mouse in California is in the midst of a public relations conundrum.
Disneyland is now taking pictures of its guests—including children—in an effort to crack down on the illegal use of multi-day passes.
Disneyland claims that third party “scalpers” often buy the tickets, which cost $205 for three days, then rent them at elevated prices to park-goers on one-time visits. While both parties benefit from this setup, Disney, of course, is upset over the specter of lost profits.
So by taking pictures of multi-ticket holders as they enter the park and comparing those faces each time that same ticket is scanned, Disneyland aims to stop the abuse of its “park hopper” tickets by denying entry to anyone whose face doesn’t match that of the original ticket holder.
This strategy poses several PR concerns for the Disney, though. To many, the brand no longer represents a magical kingdom that brings joy and imagination to children but a capitalistic monolith that leverages its cultural influence to bring itself greater profits at the expense of cash-strapped families. And let’s face it: this crack down isn’t going to help the latter image.
Will the public simply accept this new policy? That’s doubtful because the public is hyper- protective of its privacy and children. Disney is unlikely to encounter much sympathy on this issue. Some may even argue that Disney no longer has a stake in who can use each ticket once it’s been sold.
The company unsurprisingly doesn’t see it that way. Nevertheless, the brand must decide if this battle is worth fighting. The public has already accused the policy of adding to longer wait times, which means visitors having their photos taken also have shorter tempers.
Get ready for a fight, Mickey.