Brooks Barnes of the New York Times yesterday wrote of a Disney World without turnstiles, cash transactions or, in some cases, standing in line.
"Fantasyland? Hardly," he added. "It happens starting this spring."
"It" is MyMagic+, a new platform that will allow Disney to issue visitors rubber bracelets (encoded with credit card info), which would let them do virtually everything: access rides, park venues and their hotel room, even pay for food and merchandise.
This is clearly a super cool way to enhance the customer experience while also generating a ton of extremely valuable data for Disney. I want to go to DisneyWorld just to try this.
From a business perspective, MyMagic+ could be 'transformational.'
"Disney has decided that MyMagic+ is essential," Barnes wrote. "The company must aggressively weave new technology into its parks -- without damaging the sense of nostalgia on which the experience depends -- or risk becoming irrelevant to future generations, (Disney Parks and Resorts Chairman Thomas O.) Staggs said. From a business perspective, he added, MyMagic+ could be 'transformational.'"
Disney sees this as a natural evolution of designing experiences for their parks. MyMagic+ is about introducing the technological infrastructure (and apps) to make theme park visits easier, more enjoyable, as well as more personalized and real-time. They accomplish this by tracking huge amounts of personal data and reacting quickly as behavior changes.
The "+" branding is familiar to many, due to the popular Nike+/iTunes platform that tracks workouts and running progress using sensors in footwear and bracelets as well.
Disney is of course aware of the pain points of its current park experience: long lines, paper tickets, constant purchase transactions, crowded areas, etc.
Data about customer behavior is extremely valuable, especially when you can react to it quickly.
The possible transformation that stands out to me is wait times for rides. Disney has had that FastPass system for awhile now (skip the line for a specific ride), but with the bracelet, you might be able to say you wanted to ride Space Mountain around 3 p.m., and when the line tapers off at that time, the system would alert you to skip the line. Disney World could load balance the rides in real-time, which would drastically reduce wait times for everyone.
Data about customer behavior is extremely valuable, especially when you can react to it quickly. And customers are willing, even eager, to grant access to personal in exchange for a significantly better experience.