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Disney Parks Chairman Tom Staggs Talks Wearable Disney Devices

Walt Disney Parks and Resorts Chairman Tom Staggs appeared at All Things D, alongside Walt Mossberg and Kara Swisher, to discuss Disney’s new wearable devices, Magic Band. The Magic Band will a rubberized wearable device that acts as your ticket, room key, credit card, FASTPASS and more.  The ultimate goal is to make your experience much more immersive, seamless and more efficient.

The Magic Bands are mailed to you after you’ve booked a trip to Walt Disney World, where you prompted to set them up, as well as plan your vacation itinerary.  You can choose what rides you want to go on, which ones to get FASTPASSES for, and what restaurants you wish to dine at.

The devices themselves have short-range RFID and long-range bluetooth technology built in.  The RFID tech allows you access to all the features mentioned above, while the “long-range” Bluetooth technology will allow for enhanced attraction experiences or feed traffic information back to Disney’s team to help better manage crowd patterns.

So what type of enhanced experiences?  Imagine checking in to a restaurant for dinner, you would have already placed your food order (at home or on a mobile device), your food will be there for your dining time once you’ve been seated and you will have paid for it, without exchanging any information or money.  As Staggs said, it eliminates the transaction from your vacation where the Cast Member (Disney’s name for theme park employees), can instead focus on the experience. Instead of asking, “what would you like to eat?” they can rather focus on “how are you doing today?” or “What’s been your favorite part of the day?”.

Or say you are on an “It’s a Small World” there would be a portion that could say “Happy Birthday, Jon” as your boat nears a certain area.  Or when you go to meet Cinderella, she could great your child by name.

The crowd traffic information helps Disney alleviate busier areas by enticing you to follow characters to a less busy area. This information is captured when you pass by certain areas where these Bluetooth readers/towers are nearby.  While a theme park wont be blanketed by this network, it would be placed in areas known to be popular so that it can gauged from afar.

My Magic Plus and Magic Bands are in the test phase currently with plans to roll out on a larger scale in the coming months at the Walt Disney World Resort. Disney eventually plans to implement this program to some capacity across all its parks.

Check out the video below for the full interview.

All Things D

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Roy Choi

Roy Choi is a Southern California native. He has been infatuated with technology reviews ever since he bought his first crummy laptop in the summer...Roy Choi is a Southern California native. He has been infatuated with technology reviews ever since he bought his first crummy laptop in the summer...


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