AirTalk for January 8, 2013

New Disneyworld wristband could boost custom experience, profits and creepiness factor

Disney

Using a MagicBand wristband at Walt Disney World.

Disney theme parks have come a long way since Disneyland opened in Anaheim in 1955, and Epcot showed us a vision of the future alongside Orlando’s Disneyworld in 1982. With fans young and old hoping to get the shortest possible lines to the most popular attractions, Disney is deploying more technology to boost your experience in the Magical Kingdom.

An app called MyMagic+ is being rolled out to create a more personalized visit, the company tells The New York Times. Taking advantage of massive WiFi networks and its thousands of visitors armed with smartphones, guests can choose how much information they’d like to share with the app, and whether to wear corresponding wristbands (called “MagicBands”). If you enter your name and other details, Snow White might greet you by name, and wish you a happy birthday. Moms in strollers could speed their way through turnstiles. And the band could even be used for purchases. The company in turn gets to speed up lines and transactions, learn more about consumers, and presumably boost purchases.

So far, it’s only heading to the Florida theme parks. A spokeswoman for Disneyland and California Adventure says, “For now we’re just focused on Orlando-based Walt Disney World,” but, “we always look to enhance guest experience.”

If you’re a Disney fan, or frequent theme park-goer, would you take advantage of this technology? Or is this a step too far into visitor privacy? And would you make a different choice for yourself than for young children?

Guest:

Brooks Barnes, NY Times media reporter who covers Disney and theme parks


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