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Disney World’s Magic Band review

Disney contactless

 Disney Magic Band Tech Review, by Jonathan Fox, August 2015

Across the pond at the original epicentre of imagination, Disney World Florida, we discover an added dimension to their realm of alternate reality – extreme contactless.

Look at this stuff, isn’t it neat?

How does this band, allow me to eat?

How do you improve a world, a world that has everything?

You use technology.

More specifically, apps and wristband technology.

Disney have reinvented the theme park experience by implementing MagicBands and releasing the My Disney Experience mobile app. And they’re superb.

A MagicBand is your own personal key to Walt Disney World. It does everything. It lets you access the park, pay for snacks, drinks, meals, redeem fast passes, collect ride photographs and interact with entertainment experiences. Oh, and it’s also your room key. It does it all, and it does it without a hitch. It is simply brilliant.

 The My Disney Experience Mobile App is your very own PA for Walt Disney World. It’s your gateway to everything. From this you can make your restaurant reservations, get queue-jumps for your favourite rides, as well as access up-to-the-second information on rides and shows, including wait times. It has a live map showing locations of all restrooms (toilets), amenities and attractions. You can even pin-point the exact location of your favourite Disney character in any park in order to ambush them with glee, get their autograph and have a cuddle… if you’re into that sort of thing.

I wandered around in awe. Both gadgets blend to flawlessly, connecting you and the attractions with just a tap of your band. Every interaction is simple and seamless, heightening the whole park experience.

I quite literally, pranced around Walt Disney World praying for the next Mickey-shaped terminal that I could wave my wrist at like an overzealous Tinkerbell. If the thought of this makes you chuckle, then just imagine how it must’ve looked when my family followed; a gaggle of adrenaline-rushed, sugar-filled, elastic-limbed fairies, tapping through Walt Disney’s magical wonderland. It was most enchanting.

And it’s fascinating that in true Disney form, the bands appear to delight both old and young. Kids dance around flashing their MagicBands, which they were able to pre-order in their favourite colour, with their name printed underneath and decorated with Mickey heads and Minnie bows. Parents admire the simple design, commenting on the ease of use compared to the countless tickets, cards and room keys needed for past visits.

This innovative new user-experience certainly solves the problem of carrying around a bum-bag full of multiple forms of currency and identification, access cards and vouchers, ride photographs and queue-jumps.

And from the business side the invention is genius. It’s not just a novel feature to simplify the consumer’s holiday, but it also of course provides invaluable information into the habits of visitors -a market researcher’s dream come true.

I’m off now to install my Oyster chip card into a rubber bracelet, in hopes of recreating a spark of the magic I’ve been living for two weeks. In the wise words of a 16-year-old mermaid…

“…I’ve got gadgets and gizmos a plenty

I’ve got whozits and whatzits galore

You want thingamabobs? I’ve got twenty!

But who cares? No big deal,

I want more.”

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