MyMagic+ – New Disney Convenience or Big Brother?

MyMagic+ Disney Wristband

Orwell was only 30 years off…

I’m a couple days behind on this, but that’s what happens when I’m driving on tour. 🙂  DisneyByMark broke this story a couple days ago and Disney fans have been following the idea for a couple years.

Essentially, MyMagic+ involves and RFID wristband that will tie together your whole Disney experience.  It’s your park ticket, room key, payment device (optional), fast pass, and will encoded with personal data for a more personalized interaction with cast members.  I assume that means you’d hear, “Please keep your hands and arms inside the vehicle at all times… Stacey.”

With the help of a new website and phone app you’ll be able to get up to 3 fast passes ahead of time, as well as make reservations for dining, fireworks, shows, etc.

Of course, there are plenty of questions to go along with these announcements.  And the program will have its growing pains.  Yes, it seems very Big Brother.  They’ll be able to track not only what you’re spending and doing, but exactly where you are in the park.  Perk?  Much easier to find your lost kid.

The good part is that if someone steals your wristband, they’ll be able to track where it is.  And probably deactivate it remotely before any damage is done anyway.

I question the fast passes a little.  Will they all be gone 60 days in advance?  They say you’ll be able to get more while you’re at the park, but not if they’re already gone.  And the annual passholders want to know how they’ll be handled.  Will they get fast pass perks or anything extra to pay them back for the hundreds they spend every year?  Growing pains.

I’ll admit, the whole thing seems a little creepy.  But then again, so do re-targeted Google ads and the fact that LinkedIn knows who’s I know before I tell them.

But, if it actually leads to a better user experience, then go man go.  As RFID becomes more prevalent, we’re going to see it in a lot of places.  Disney fast passes will seem like small time.  It actually is easier that LinkedIn remembers people that I didn’t think of.  Apparently re-targeted ads actually do work well.  Soon your favorite waitress won’t have to remember what your “regular” is.  She’ll know you’ll whole order history as you walk in the door.  Which will be awesome for my girlfriend who never remembers which dishes she didn’t like.

Ultimately, the Disney wristbands will both make the guest experience smoother and put more money in the Disney coffers.  The big perks will go to those staying at Disney hotels and vacationing on Disney packages.  Cheapos like me won’t get as much and there will be less opportunity to to experience things just by the force of will of standing in line for hours.

This is rolling out at Disney World in 2014.  Probably at the other parks soon after that.  If you want to get one of the last paper tickets, better go this year.

But hey, the future is here.  And changing all the time.  Now I’m going to go embed an RFID chip in my girlfriend so I can at least keep track of which restaurants she doesn’t like.

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