Disney to start using RFID bracelets to make its theme parks more interactive

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Once upon a time, the theme parks that populated both the land of and world of Disney were the very height of technological innovation. People movers, um, moved people to and fro. Futuristic, animatronic presidents gave good speech. People hung out inside of a what resembles a gigantic golf ball. Times have changed, however, and people are more likely to gravitate toward Apple for their dreams of innovation over Mickey Mouse. Disney has not been taking this laying down, though. They are constantly innovating, especially with how customers interact with their theme parks. The company has turned to the magic of RFID to accomplish this task.

Introducing the MagicBand, the Disney-branded RFID bracelet that could turn even the staunchest cartoon cynic into a believer. This all-in-one armband can be used to open hotel room doors, pay for various food and souvenirs, and act as a ticket for the theme park’s rides and attractions. It also connects to a related smartphone app that allows users to pre-arrange visits with cartoon icons(people in suits) and to purchase other odds and ends. Ok, so it sounds mostly like a new way to get you to part with more of your money. That might be true, but hey, it’s an armband!

Don’t worry, though. If this doesn’t sound like your bag, Disney says visitors to any of its theme parks will not be forced to use the MagicBand or anything like it. If you were happier in the days of paper ticketing and quietly shuffling past ushers as they took and tore your pass, you will get by just fine in the theme park of 2013. We aren’t so sure about 2014 and beyond though.