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Disney Parks Magic Band Appears on FCC Site

If you visit the Magic Kingdom this weekend you’ll see a large temporary structure just on the other side of the front gates. It has some fancy sensors and a few cameras; the thought being Disney will be testing RFID enabled devices for admission soon. Not coincidentally, some attraction queues have been refurbished by Disney have new RFID scanners embedded in the ceiling. The New Little Mermaid ride queue has them too. This is all part of Disney’s Next Generation theme park experience (NGE) they’ve been spending around $2 billion on developing.

The device that will tie your whole Disney NGE vacation together has been rumored to be some sort of wrist band. A filing with the FCC by Disney has now given us our first look at that device.

Disney Parks Magic Band

There are some interesting speculations about how that band could be used by Disney. Beyond customizing the guest experience with Fastpass+, streamlining the purchasing process, or adding interactivity, the use of the device will give Disney a ton of data to mine to improve their business. They’ll get great details on shopping patterns they never had before, they’ll know in real time which sections of the park are busier than others (and perhaps respond with some on the spot entertainment or text an incentive to guests to visit another location (surprise Fastpass for Space Mountain?)). Party members will never get lost, the wrist band for all members of the group will glow on the digital park map in the mobile device.

I love this idea and don’t mind trading some privacy for the knowledge my theme park experience will improve with the Magic Band. What are your feelings on the tracking technology?

(via the Orlando Business Journal)

16 thoughts on “Disney Parks Magic Band Appears on FCC Site”

  1. Well, their goal is to have attractions also interact with guests. For example, the hitchhiking ghosts at the Haunted Mansion will one day say your name. Of the doombuggies themselves will perhaps show you all of side A on your ride now, and side B of the attraction when your return tomorrow. It’s all about proving unique experiences for guests with information they have collected. I agree…it’s worth giving up the data. Afterall…who cares where/when you spend $$ or where you go?? :)

  2. I wonder how/if this will affect annul pass holders. Would they be required to get a wristband every time they visit? There are weeks that, as an APH, I’ve been at WDW six times a week for Epcot concert series.

  3. This is a fantastic idea and I’m all for it. Sure, we are giving up a little bit of privacy, but I’m much more willing to give Disney information about my shopping habits than some shady Internet advertising or marketing firm. Disney isn’t going to sell my shopping info because it will be generally useless to any other company. And we will easily see what we are getting for the trade off — a better in-park experience. Will Disney figure out how to make more money with this technology? Sure, but its still less of an obvious money grab than Universal’s Express Pass scam. Just being able to locate a lost child on your electronic map will be incredibly beneficial. And this can be extended to include alarms at the park exits so that if a child exits the park without being accompanied by someone else in their party, security is notified.

  4. I don’t like the idea of having to wear a wrist band. I find them annoying.

    I’m also wondering how this will affect pass holders and multi-day visitors. Would you have to wear the same band for all of your visit?

  5. It will enable Disney to provide an even better (and no doubt individually customized) experience for park visitors. Plus, I’m sold on the safety benefits that would come with it.

  6. I think that the benefits of the bands far outweigh any privacy concerns. The combination of guest customization and added safety perks will make this unlike anything a theme park has been able to offer. Not surprising that Disney is leading the way in this awesome technological advance! I am wondering if they will offer an alternative option to a wristband (i.e., a card, or a pin-on button)?

  7. RE: “Party members will never get lost, the wrist band for all members of the group will glow on the digital park map in the mobile device.”
    Wow, really? Like Harry Potter’s Marauder’s Map? No more lost kids wandering off?

  8. I loved the article as I love all his articles— right up until he mentioned ‘ sacrificing a little privacy…pardon me?
    Theres nothing wrong with being a Disney fanatic but thats like saying I embrace the technology that is going to rob of us of what little PRETEND freedom we have OUTSIDE of the parks (read SPYCHIPS by Katherine Albrecht ) all because I want my couple of hours living in a world of illusion…
    Thankyou but I’ll keep my privacy if its all the same…

      1. Or so they say.

        The government is watching this closely. No doubt to learn of its benefits of spying on the American people.

  9. I don’t mind this idea at all. No one likes companies using your data to increase their revenue but I believe Disney will also use it for good and until now they haven’t let me down. It would be interesting to see how its used for people with Special Needs and how they accommodate their needs further by having additional information on how they use the parks!

    1. In addition, however, I do wonder how this will be used for people of longer visits and also those who will be unable to wear the wristband. Will there be a back up plan such as something for a lanyard. I’m not too sure my son/daughter will feel comfortable wearing something on their wrists due to sensory issues!

  10. I don’t see anything about this that would enhance a Disneyland / WDW visit at all. Hitchhiking ghosts saying my name wouldn’t be an enhancement, it would be a bizarre distraction. Getting a suggestion to go somewhere else because Disney knows where I am and doesn’t want me there? Not an enhancement.

  11. What about resort guests who now have a card that is a room key and park pass. Am I going to have to shower with my wristband all week and never take it off? It had better be removable in that case. And is it rechargeable for the “no expiry” option? If I come back, will I have to use my old wristband and a new one? As always when we get the first glimpse of something, there are more questions than answers :)

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