Disney Introduces MagicBands

Posted by Elizabeth Lynch on January 10, 2013 at 10:33:36 AM EST | Post a Comment
disney-wristband.jpg

Walt Disney World guests are about to make a bold new fashion statement. As Disney launches its new MyMagic+ program, guests will be able to streamline the trip planning process with a tech-savvy smart wristband called the MagicBand.

"Over the past few years, we've devoted considerable time and resources to create a more immersive, more seamless, and more personal experience for each and every guest who spends time with us," blogged Tom Staggs, Chairman of Walt Disney Parks and Resorts, on Monday. A new website—and accompanying mobile app—called My Disney Experience will allow guests to make dining reservations, secure FastPass+ tickets for popular attractions and events, and gather info about every part of the park, from resort hotels to merchandise locations. FastPass+ Plans can be changed via smart phone at any time.

The FastPass+ service—which will include options for reserving parade and firework viewing areas, shows, and Character Greetings in addition to pre-existing attraction passes—will be available to all ticket holders, though only Disney World Resort hotel guests and customers of specific products will receive the MagicBand at first. This newfangled ticket, designed as a colorful wristband to be worn throughout your stay, will include FastPass+ capability and also serve as room key, admission ticket, PhotoPass card and even credit card for food and merchandise—if you opt in.

This initiative serves as the "behind the scenes" aspect of recent Disney improvements and renovations. While interactive queues, personalized attractions, and audience-engaging shows—not to mention a whole new Fantasyland—add to the experience, according to Disney, options for easier and more efficient trip planning are just as important as the magic of the parks themselves.

But how do Disney guests, known for costume-fueled fanaticism, feel about sharing personal information at the parks? On the Fodors.com Forum, many users expressed excitement for the new system. User padams421 displays a lack of concern about the changes. "Can't Disney already tell how I use the parks based on where I'm staying, ticket purchase, dining ressies, Fastpasses, room charges/credit card receipts for restaurants and shops, photo purchases, etc.? The bands merely make it easier for Disney to consolidate the information."

However, some are uncomfortable with the all-powerful MagicBand. "Too creepy for me," writes Fodors.com user capxxx. "But I also eschew loyalty cards, online purchases, and Facebook. So maybe I'm an outlier." But in fact, guests aren't required to use the new MyMagic+ system to its full capacity. Staggs responded to a concern about personal information security with a clarification. "Everything is opt-in and guests will have the opportunity to choose what information they share with us," he writes. "Nothing is more important to us than protecting that information. Guests should also know that the band does not store personal information."

For those who choose to skip the MagicBand, Staggs writes, the improved traditional tickets will now work with "features of touch" to enter the park, redeem FastPass+, and pay.

Photos courtesy of Walt Disney World

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Posted in News, Family Tagged: Disney, News, Technology, Family Travel

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