Mobile technology and big data are two continuing trends to watch in 2013 and Disney is utilizing both in a bold new plan for its park guests. This year Disney will roll out the Magic Band which is a wrist band to be worn by Disney theme park guests. The band includes an RFID chip and can be encoded with the users personal information, preferences and credit card information. Starting this spring, Disney customers will be able to do all sorts of things with their Magic Bands including making purchases simply by holding the band near a reader.
The bands also track customer behavior and whereabouts. Now Disney will know what you purchased, where and when. They will know which rides you rode and at what time of day. How many times did you go back to the hotel as the Magic Band is also your hotel door key. It’s a massive amount of data that Disney hopes to use to make customers experiences better by knowing more about them. Privacy activists are sure to have a field day with this one.
With the RFID chips, Disney can do amazing things like letting park employees know who you are when you approach them. Don’t be surprised if the Disney employee wishes you a happy birthday by name or happy anniversary. Kids will also have a more personal experience with their favorite Disney characters. Imagine a Disney princess knowing your name before you can tell her. There will also be rides that may react to Magic Bands, giving customers a more personal ride experience. There is really no limit to the things Disney can do with this technology. That’s probably why they are going to be spending upwards of 1 billion dollars on it in the coming years.
As a tech geek, I love this. There is so much cool new technology meshed together. As a marketer I think it’s brilliant. The ease of purchasing will certainly boost sales and the more personal experiences and offers Disney can float will be powerful. As for the big data and privacy concerns, it just doesn’t freak me out that much. When you realize how much we are already being tracked, measured and data crunched already I don’t see how this is much different. Long ago we crossed the threshold of Big Data in our lives. You have a supermarket discount card, right? How many other “club” cards do you have? Disney is the pioneer on this right now, but with their success expect to see more of this technology at other vacation destinations.