Universal Introduces New Guest Tracking Measures: Privacy Laws Under Scrutiny

in Universal Orlando

A digitally altered image of the Universal Studios globe logo with a large red padlock symbol over a blue, circuit-like background, suggesting themes of security or digital lock-down.

Credit: Inside the Magic

Universal Orlando Resort has announced that it will track all guests who enter the new Epic Universe once the theme park opens in 2025. Should you be concerned about these new tracking measures and your privacy? I think we should find out.

An artists rendition of Epic Universe at Universal Orlando Resort, opening summer of 2025.
Credit: Universal

Universal Files New Patent That Will Permit Guests to Be Tracked Throughout the New Epic Universe Theme Park

Universal Destinations & Experiences has taken a significant step forward in enhancing guest experiences at their theme parks, as reported by Orlando Inno via WDWNT. The company has filed a patent for an innovative wearable device dubbed the “Interactive Way-Finder,” designed to revolutionize navigation within the parks.

Invented by Wei Yeh and Rachel Rodgers, the patent outlines a device worn on the guest’s arm. This wearable technology offers more than just directional assistance. Guests can select their desired destination or rely on the system’s recommendations.

Moreover, the device provides information about attractions, guides guests to rides with shorter queues, and offers additional functionalities. There has yet to be a word on whether or not the wearable device will be utilized at Universal CityWalk, Universal Studios Florida, Universal Islands of Adventure, or any other location within these parks outside of Epic Universe.

Technical diagram featuring a human figure holding a device connected to various components labeled as sensors, display, motor, power source, and other electronics, illustrating a control system.
Credit: Universal Orlando Resort (new patent

The “way-finder” also features an “emergency mode,” which directs users to exits or designated safety zones. Additionally, it may aid in locating children separated from their families or school groups. This cutting-edge device uses light and sound emitters strategically placed throughout the theme parks.

Because of attempts to reach Universal representatives for comment, Orlando Inno didn’t get a response. However, given the company’s history of introducing innovative patents, including the SUPER NINTENDO WORLD Power-Up Bands, it’s evident that Universal is committed to enhancing guest experiences.

Currently available at Universal Studios Hollywood and Universal Studios Japan (soon to debut at Epic Universe), these bands allow guests to interact with the land and play games using their smartphones. Universal Parks always attempts to enhance the guest experience, and guests can manage their preferences with this device. They can ride in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter or any other new land coming in 2025.

Celestial Park's Starfall Racers roller coaster inside of Universal Orlando Resort Epic Universe theme park.
Credit: Concept artwork for Starfall Racers inside Epic Universe

The introduction of Universal’s “Interactive Way-Finder” wearable device raises several implications for guests, particularly regarding their privacy concerns. While the device offers enhanced navigation and convenience within the theme parks, its reliance on light and sound emitters scattered throughout the park may raise questions about data collection and tracking.

Guests may be concerned about the extent to which their movements and interactions are being monitored and recorded by Universal. The wearable device’s ability to track guests’ locations and activities could potentially lead to privacy breaches if the data collected needs to be adequately safeguarded.

Moreover, including an “emergency mode” raises questions about handling sensitive information, such as directing users to exits or locating separated children. While these features may enhance safety and security within the park, guests may worry about potentially misusing their data in emergencies.

Concept artwork for Celestial Park at Universal Orlando Resort Epic Universe theme park.
Credit: Universal’s Celestial Park Constellation Carousel

Overall, while the “Interactive Way-Finder” offers promising advancements in guest experience and safety, Universal must prioritize transparency and data protection to effectively address guests’ valid privacy concerns. Universal employees will hopefully manage guest preference choices that apply to the correct applicable law. Florida Gov Ron DeSantis has yet to comment on this, but your ticket to this new theme park admission will surely be memorable.

Clear communication about data collection practices, user consent, and security measures will maintain trust and ensure guests feel comfortable using the wearable device. From identifiers to toggle options, this new wearable device will ensure you get a suitable attraction and maintain the universal appeal of the ultimate guest experience.

What are your thoughts on Universal and this new patent? 

in Universal Orlando

View Comments (3)