Since 2010, We’ve been writing about the promise of next-generation technology that was being woven into the fabric of a guest’s vacation. I also speculated about a similar idea back around the turn of the century when I wrote some of the stories in my book “Dispatch from Disneyland.” All that evolved into the idea now known as MyMagic+.
MyMagic+, as it currently exists at Walt Disney World, involves the use of wrist-bands with two forms of RFID technology to unlock, access to hotel rooms, theme parks, cash-less purchases, photo pass, and a few surprises and extras along they way (such as interactions that were customized to you based on preferences keyed to your magic band). It’s those last bits, the possibility to enhance the magic, that I always thought was the real promise of next-gen technology.
At the recent stockholders meeting Disney CEO Bob Iger suggested that at non-WDW Disney theme parks, magic bands might be replaced by what the corporate world calls BYOD (aka bring you own device). I think this is the wrong idea in that it will make the true promise of next-gen that much harder to deliver.
There are a couple of expected changes coming to Walt Disney World’s MyMagic+ later this spring, both of which have been long anticipated and promise to unlock the real power of the next-gen technology that had me so excited about it back at the very beginning.
The first change does require guests to BYOD; starting sometime in April you are expected to be able to make additional Fastpass+ reservations directly from the My Disney Experience app on your mobile device. This will eliminate the need to stop at an ever dwindling number of kiosks, often waiting in another queue, to make your bonus Fastpass reservations once your original three have been used or expire.
The other enhancement is the one I’ve been waiting for — it’s the rollout of what Disney calls its StoryMaker technology. Using the long range capabilities of the Magic Band, Disney will be able to provide more custom, interactive experiences for guests. For instance, characters at meet and greets may now greet the guests by names, attractions may have custom messages directed at guests (expect to see this on “it’s a small world” first as the screens were added to the end of the happiest cruise on Earth many months ago), and seemingly magical things like restaurants knowing your drink preferences before you even arrive at your table.
None of this is officially announced yet, so plans may change. But it’s widely expected to be coming soon. Are you looking forward to StoryMaker finally rolling out in the parks? or does using Disney’s app to make more Fastpass+ reservations excite you more?