Disney Tracking Devices Are A Billion-Dollar Investment By The Corporation, And They're Creepy As Hell: Meet Big Mickey
So long are the days of turnstiles and paper tickets — there's a new mouse in town, and he goes around your wrist. Disney has officially entered the digital age by launching MyMagic+, a billion dollar theme-park tracking system that is meant to enhance the Disney experience for park-goers. It's like Big Brother, except it's Mickey. Big Mickey: cool or creepy? Only time will tell.
MyMagic+ is a hybrid of a smartphone app, a website, and bracelets, known as "MagicBands," which track every movement of each guest. The system allows mouseketeers to book attractions, rides, character meet-and-greets, restaurant reservations and hotel rooms months in advance. The MagicBands can also store tickets, credit and debit card information, and hotel keys.
Plus, the bands are equipped with radio frequency identification chips, so Big Mickey will always know where you are in the park. That may or may not sit well with guests. Sure, it'll help Disney better accommodate guests by getting to know guest habits and tracking when interest in park attractions are at its peak. But some may see it as an invasion of privacy or spying.
The bands are still in its testing phase and complimentary bands are only being given to guests who book hotel packages at Walt Disney resort hotels. But eventually, the program will be open to all and each MagicBand will cost $15.
Duncan Dickson, a professor at the University of Central Florida who teaches theme-park management, told USA TODAY that "because it is a reservation system, it is a game changer. Now you can plan your vacation and your ride sequence well ahead of your trip."
If MyMagic+ is a success, it's probably only a matter of time before theme parks, airports, zoos, malls, and museums follow suit. At which point it stops becoming cute Big Mickey, and seriously creepy Big Brother.