How many times have you heard that barked out at the entry gates?
Just about every time I enter either Disneyland or Disney California Adventure Park I see guests confused about the hand stamp and ticket re-entry process. It seems that so many are confused as to what they need, I decided to describe the process.
When you enter either park for the first time and your ticket or annual passport is scanned it makes a chime sound, this tells the Cast Member at the turn style that this is your first entry into the either of the parks for that day. If your using a paper ticket, the Cast Member welcomes you and knows that you don’t need a hand stamp because it is your first entry. If you have a annual passport, your picture shows up and the screen says “Welcome” along with your name.
When a paper ticket is scanned, there is no name or picture present on the screen. The main reason for the handstamps is so that one guest can not enter the park and then pass their ticket off to another guest for entry on the same ticket. When you exit the park, you are required to have your hand stamped with that park’s stamp for the day.
Now here is where the confusion usually begins. Most of the time, a guest tries to re-enter one of the parks with only their hand stamp. They are then informed by the Cast Member that they need their ticket as well. Now the guest must dig in a bag or try and obtain it from someone else who is holding their ticket for them. This typically creates a large backup at the entry gate. The worst situation I’ve seen is when a guest informed a Cast Member that their tickets were left in their hotel room. I have also seen the reverse situation where a guest’s ticket shows “re-entry” and the guest did not receive a hand stamp. This typically requires a Cast Member Lead to become involved. A lead will try and confirm that you are the correct guest for that ticket by scanning the bar code and seeing exactly when you last entered the parks and at what time. They may even ask you for an in-the-park purchase receipt or a FastPass. Typically this situation can be resolved, but it will inconvenience you.
When you re-enter the park with a normal printed ticket, you will need both a hand stamp and your ticket for that day. Annual Passholders, except during very busy seasons such as Christmas, are not required to have a hand stamp. On the rate occasion that Annual Passholders hand stamps are required, a sign will be present at the entry gates.