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Disney to roll out RFID-enabled 'MagicBand' to guests

Posted by Melanie Nayer  January 9, 2013 09:29 AM

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disney-magicband.jpgSay goodbye to paper tickets at Disney parks. An official announcement on the Disney Parks blog confirms that the park will soon replace their traditional paper tickets with a RFID-enabled bracelet for all park guests.

The bracelet, called the "MagicBand", will make tickets, hotel keys, cash and credit cards obsolete for visitors.

According to the New York Times, Disney asked for FCC approval for the digital transmitters in the fall. The “MagicBands” will roll out as part of a vacation management system called “MyMagic+.” Once loaded with your personal information and credit card numbers, you can simply swipe your band to buy just about anything, access your hotel room and even get your name on the wait-line lists for popular rides. As for the kids? The MagicBrand can keep track of them, too.

Via the NYTimes:

[P]arts of MyMagic+ will allow Disney for the first time to track guest behavior in minute detail.

Did you buy a balloon? What attractions did you ride and when? Did you shake Goofy’s hand, but snub Snow White? If you fully use MyMagic+, databases will be watching, allowing Disney to refine its offerings and customize its marketing messages.

MagicBands can also be encoded with all sorts of personal details, allowing for more personalized interaction with Disney employees. Before, the employee playing Cinderella could say hello only in a general way. Now — if parents opt in — hidden sensors will read MagicBand data, providing information needed for a personalized greeting: “Hi, Angie,” the character might say without prompting. “I understand it’s your birthday.”

Imagine the look on your little ones' faces when they're greeted by name by their favorite Disney character. I would have hit the floor if Cinderella had personally welcomed me to her castle when I was younger (ok, I'd still be pretty excited about it now, too).

The introduction of the band and MyMagic+ will coincide with the new My Disney Experience website and mobile app. You can make changes to your stay or visit any time via your smart phone through an enhanced FastPass system called FastPass+.

In case you're wary of the big-brother type technology, the NYT reports the MagicBand will be optional:

Guests will not be forced to use the MagicBand system, and people who do try it will decide how much information to share. An online options menu, for instance, will offer various controls: Do you want park employees to know your name? Do you want Disney to send you special offers when you get home? What about during your stay?

So, Readers, what do you think? Will you opt-in to Disney's MagicBand on your next park visit?

Photo credit: Disney’s MagicBand, Kent Phillips/Walt Disney World

This blog is not written or edited by or the Boston Globe.
The author is solely responsible for the content.

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About the author

Melanie Nayer is a travel writer who spent many years in the newsroom before jetting off to see the world. Her goal is to bring readers the best insider information More »

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