As the summer holiday rolls on and the Fourth of July approaches, you, like myself and many of my colleagues, may be planning a family vacation with the kids to the land of perpetual mayhem – theme parks. But this year could look a little different than years past.
Traditionally renowned for endless waiting lines, hordes of people, and erring on frenzied over fanciful, Disney is setting out to change how you and your family interact and experience the Magic Kingdom. On the surface, you may not think of Disney as a particularly technology-driven company, and yet, they are pioneering digital in tourism – with a wristband.
Add this to the list of real-world techie examples, the Disney MagicBand leverages Internet of Things technology via a RFID chip and radio transmitter embedded in a wearable device to drive a more streamlined, enchanting experience for park visitors, syncing with hundreds of sensors throughout the park and an online app, MyMagic+. Simply purchase your park tickets online, select your favored attractions, and Disney will create your ideal itinerary, removing the chaotic crisscross course through the park and building in opportunities to explore and immerse. Taking it one step further, the MagicBand in “Magical Express” mode eliminates the paper hassle with auto shuttling from the airport and seamless hotel check-in, complete with luggage service direct to your room. Gate entry, room access, ride booking, and dining reservations are all driven through the wearable device, customized ahead of your visit with each family member’s color preference and name.
It is the key that unlocks the true Disney experience.
The impact to both the business’ bottom-line and overall customer experience is quite substantial. By addressing the key pain points traditionally plaguing Disney World visits, they were able to digitally reimagine how guests experience the Magical Kingdom.
It was as “simple” as taking the concept of those outdated Fast Passes – issued on-site with a stamped return time, resulting in pre-open wait lines and Black Friday-esque mad dad dashes to top attractions with no guarantee of a spot – and making it digital, driven through an online pre-booking app and synced to those handy, always-on-your-wrist, key to everything MagicBands. For you, the customer, this means a scheduled meet-and-greet with Elsa and Olaf on Thursday and Space Mountain booked for Friday, opening up endless opportunities for new rides, unplanned adventures, and more (stress-free) memories.
On the back end, Disney is gaining more insights on their customers than ever before. They know where they are, what they’re doing, and predicting what they want before they even know they want it, creating meaningful experiences that keep people coming back. With the data reaped in this implementation, they have been able to optimize their employees, removing transaction-based interactions and creating true face-to-face connections. They’re able to see when a restaurant or attraction is under-performing and balance the demand for those over-performing. They have gained visibility into the flow and logistics of their park, adding more bathroom facilities in high congestion areas and additional sitting areas on long pathways.
A focus on the customer’s experience combined with IoT technology has created a true market differentiator for Disney’s parks, and it begs the question: If Disney can innovate with this technology, what can other businesses be doing?
I can’t think of a business that isn’t affected by more choice and more access to information and an increasing desire for personalization.
Tom Staggs | COO
Walt Disney Company
From personalized marketing to streamlined transactions and operational efficiency, the opportunity with connected technologies is endless if you have a little imagination.
D.C. Lucas is technology business advisor with
Eide Bailly Technology. With almost 20 years of
experience, D.C. aids organizations across
multiple industries analyze, develop, and
maintain their current and future business
decisions as it relates to technology.