Walt Disney World is spending about a billion dollars “to make visiting Disney parks less daunting and more amenable to modern consumer behavior,” reports Brooks Barnes in The New York Times (1/7/13). The investment is in an initiative called MyMagic+, “a vacation management system … that will drastically change the way Disney World visitors — some 30 million people a year — do just about everything.” This starts with a website and app called “My Disney Experience” that enables visitors to plan their trip in advance, including pre-selecting line-skipping passes for rides as well as “VIP seating for parades, fireworks and character meet-and-greets.”
Visitors can also pre-register for “MagicBands,” RFID bracelets that “will function as room key, park ticket … and credit card. MagicBands can also be coded with all sorts of personal details, allowing for more personalized interaction with Disney employees … if parents opt in, hidden sensors will read MagicBand data,” enabling Snow White, for instance, to greet your daughter by name, and even wish her a happy birthday if it’s her big day. Disney further expects to introduce “collectible sets of MagicBand accessories and charms.”
Disney will also be able “for the first time to track guest behavior in minute detail,” right down to whether you shook hands with Goofy, allowing “Disney to refine its offerings and customize its marketing messages” as well as “manage its workforce more efficiently.” Disney Parks chairman Thomas O. Staggs believes MyMagic+ will pay off in ways big and small. “If we can enhance the experience, more people will spend more time with us,” he says. Steve Brown of Lo-Q, a provider of ticketing services to theme parks, thinks Magic+ is a game-changer. “When Disney makes a move, it moves the culture,” he says. The program launches this spring.