At the beginning of the year Disney announced a whole new way for guests to experience Disney with the invention of the “Magicbands”. These rubberized wrist bands will revolutionize the guest experience. As much as I am a foodie, I am also a tech geek so when this was first announced I was intrigued.
Disney has come under some fire from consumers and even our government for the security risks of this technology. Shortly after the announcement was made a Massachusetts Congressman blasted Disney for putting children at risk. Here is part of Bob Iger’s response to this “criticism”:
“For 90 years, Disney has been synonymous with high-quality entertainment for families and children of all ages. We use creativity, innovation and technology to create memorable moments and experiences for our hundreds of millions of customers and guests. And, as you well know, Disney’s record and commitment to children’s safety and security and the protection of their privacy is exemplary. People around the world trust Disney and its products. That trust is the cornerstone of our company, and we take it very seriously.
We are offended by the ludicrous and utterly ill-informed assertion in your letter dated January 24, 2013, that we would in any way haphazardly or recklessly introduce a program that manipulates children, or wantonly puts their safety at risk.” -Bob Iger.
The truth of the matter is the Magicband is a tool for guests to enhance their experience. You get out of it what you put in.
These wristlet wonders have RFID chips embedded in them that can hold a wealth of information. RFID is a high frequency radio wave that can be read from a receiver close by. For example, instead of fumbling for park admission keys, or room keys, you can just touch your wrist to a receiver and just like magic you can enter. You can also enter a credit card and make purchases with it as well. Don’t worry your information is encrypted and sent through Disney’s database so it is safe. Also with purchases you will have to enter a PIN number as well.
Those are the basics of what the bands can do. Although if they only did those things it would be a success.
However if Disney has proven one thing in all it’s years is they will never stop inventing and creating. The exciting part for me is how far will it go? Many things have been heard around the Camp Mickey fire about what is to come (and some from Tom Skaggs at the recent “All Things D” conference)….
For example, you will be able to personalize a “doll” from it’s a small world online. Then when your happy little boat passes a certain point in the ride…..Poof! your doll will appear.
You will be able to reserve character meet times for you and your children. Imagine how big the smile will be when the talking character greets you with “Hello Keith” (or your name of course).
As far as your dining experience goes, the bands will enable you to have a easier time at the restaurants. All of your hard fought ADR’s will be on the bands as well. But, what got me the most excited was that there have been talks that you can pre order your meals from home. When you arrive to the restaurant and touch your band to the receiver, the chefs will begin preparing your meal. What if you walked into a restaurant and heard “Good evening Keith, the chefs have began preparing your meal. Let me show you to your table”. The time spent in the restaurants will be significantly shorter. Which means more park time.
As I said before, your specific guest experience will depend on you. If all you want is your park admission on the band so be it. However, if you want to make your trip truly magical, then take advantage of this technology. I believe it will be the standard that all other theme parks will strive to beat. By that time of course Disney will have something bigger and better. They always seem to be one big yellow shoe ahead of the competition.
Keith was born and raised in Northeast Ohio.He now lives with his wife a few miles from his childhood home. His first trip to the Magic Kingdom was at the age of two and while the only memories are in pictures, the magic laid dormant within him. Until he saw the animated movie Robin Hood, and his love began to grow. He has always had an interest in food and the togetherness it brings. He became a classically trained chef and all around foodie. His last trip to Disney World was in 2011 and he has been learning, researching, and keeping up on all things Disney since. He hopes to bring you all of the food news from the parks, tips on how to save money on food, and all the tastes and smells from the House of Mouse (especially when smell o vision is invented). You can follow Keith on Twitter @DarthChef79.