Today a finger scan facilitates your entry into one of the Disney theme parks, but in the age of tomorrow, it may help to quench your thirst. So suggests a new patent application from Disney which describes a ‘Self-Service Beverage and Snack Dispensing Using Identity-Based Access Control’ system.
Calling out shortcomings in existing systems such as customers being able to obtain unlimited refills from self-serve beverage dispensers (as Walt Disney World has introduced to a limited number of counter service dining locations) to potential concerns with the Refillable Mugs currently available for purchase at the Walt Disney World Resorts (such as losing the mug, toting the mug back and forth and cleanliness issues), the proposed system allows for either unlimited or controlled refills with any cup/vessel using token-based authentication.
For example, a guest at the Contemporary Resort may be able to purchase the unlimited refill package and simply authenticate to the refill station using their Key to the World card. Using RFID with read/write capabilities, the system could also potentially record and limit the number of times a drink is refilled by a particular guest. Of course the existing system is already open to exploitation by guests who bring back the mugs across several trips or even use their own unofficial beverage containers, so the proposed system really appears to close the existing loopholes more than serve the health needs of the Resort’s guests.
On the flip side, the patent application also calls for a snack vending machine that can use the same sort of token-based authentication to serve up its products. So for example, the vending machine down the hall from your hotel room could potentially be configured to accept the Disney Dining Plan in addition to dollar bills and coins.
You can check out the patent application here.