With sore feet, I just returned from an interesting Disney World vacation. I’m not sure I can quite constitute taking two small children to Magic Kingdom as a “vacation” but the kids thoroughly enjoyed their stay and, in the end, that’s what really matters. Before heading towards Orlando, I had brainstormed some article ideas including “Examples of Disney Using Print Marketing” or “Ways Disney Profits From Printing” but another object captured my attention instead – MagicBands.
Time.com reports that these wristband are optional, but that wasn’t the case for us, and I pretty much witnessed almost everyone using these devices. Essentially, the wrist band acts as an admission ticket, credit card (more accurately as the preferred payment method), photo pass, room key and as a fast pass. The bands are quite convenient and the park is clearly gearing towards an aggressive environment for improving visitor adoption. For instance, utilizing credit cards and cash actually seemed awkward since machines and workers are more facilitating towards band-related transactions. In fact, cash seems more awkward than ever and many cashiers experienced register malfunctions since counting and accepting green paper seemed alien.
One particular aspect of the MagicBands I personally enjoy is the ability to connect to all my pictures via the My Disney Experience website. Any photo taken from a roller coaster, attraction or character visit can be claimed by scanning the wristband which was great for me as a printer. I have access to download and print all my park photos. The only hitch to this is that this Memory Maker program costs a staggering $199 extra and seems far too expensive for most vacationers to absorb.
Most news sources criticize the billion-dollar MagicBand program for being NSA styled in a post-Snowden America that benefits Disney more than vacationers possibly infringing on privacy. I can only imagine how revealing and advantageous these bands are for company data miners, marketers and researchers who track buying behavior and internal park movement. Disney intends to harness the data for providing more personalized experiences and is planning more sophisticated sales pitches. Additionally, cost reductions just by eliminating hundreds of thousands of credit cards transactions per day must be incredible. Clearly, the band will benefit Disney stockholders (like myself) while growing as a centerpiece of convenience for park visitors. I can only hope that Disney executives remain serious about security or these wristbands may one day tarnish the brand.
Here is an interesting article about Disney’s intentions of the Magic Band and the technologies utilized for the program.
One reason the MagicBands gained my attention is my business relationship to a fellow printer who focuses on security labels, tags and wristbands. The owner (I decided to withhold his company’s name) has been experiencing modest declines in sales likely due to his clientele embracing wristband technology. I never realized how dead right he was about trying to move into that field until experiencing Disney’s solution firsthand. My trip demonstrated how much the print medium is here to stay, but also how all print materials are inevitably susceptible to innovation and technological breakthroughs – a fact all traditional printers must eventually address.
A side note: I lost my MagicBand on Day 2.