While taking a vacation to one of the world’s premier theme parks seems like the perfect vacation to most people, especially those with younger children, one of the common complaint is the wait times, lines and the sheer difficulty of reservations and many purchases. Disney aims to change all of that though with the help of their new wearable technology; the MagicBand, a Bluetooth and radio frequency capable wristband.
How does the MagicBand work?
Over the the past six years, according to Walt Disney Theme Parks chairman Thomas Staggs, the company has been building a service they call MyMagic+, which will tie into the MagicBands. Using embedded radio frequency and Bluetooth, the colorful rubber wrist bands can be used by visitors to check in to specific attractions and spots by simply tapping a check in point in the park while wearing the band. The most important reason for creating the band, according to Staggs, is to decrease the anxiety of the patrons. â€œWhen we decrease people’s anxiety, they have more fun at the park,â€ he explained. By decreasing the amount of time the patrons spend strategizing, he continues, the MagicBand increases the amount of time they can enjoy the park.
The MagicBand can be tied to a visitors credit card or payment account, and used to make purchases in the park by tapping the band on a payment pad at the park’s various vendors. In order to help protect the guests, a random code is generated and associated with an encrypted record that Disney keeps for that specific band, which can only be used by the purchaser and cannot be transferred to anyone else. There is no need to worry about the band being lost or stolen and used to rack up a huge credit card bill, however. The band can easily be disconnected from your account remotely, and is limited to $50 in purchases unless a pin code is used. It can even be set up to not allow any purchases at all, or set with a very specific spending limit.
How the MagicBand Benefits Park Visitors
The main advantage to using the MagicBand, other than the obvious ease of purchasing, is that they can be used to pre-arrange tickets, attractions and special events, like fireworks shows, parades and meeting some of the playful Disney characters found throughout the park. The bands have not only practical uses, however. They can also be personalized so that, upon meeting one of the Disney characters, the character instantly knows a child’s name and other information associated with the band (minus financial details, of course).
Other Things the MagicBand is Used For
Technology is currently being developed by the Walt Disney Theme Parks that will incorporate the MagicBands and make them useful for personalizing rides for the visitors, and enable animatronics throughout the park to speak directly to the wearer. The bands will also serve as tracking devices for the park staff, allowing them to monitor the flow of traffic through certain parts of the park. Because of possible privacy issues, however, the band owner will be able to opt in to tracking services instead of them being turned on by default.
How to Get Your Own MagicBand
While the MagicBands are currently not in used in the theme parks, Disney expects them to be rolled out within the next year. Those interested in purchasing a reusable MagicBand will be able to do so online. The bands will also come free with the purchase of packages or tickets, and will be delivered to the purchasers home ahead of their park visit.