Big Brother in a Small World

Last night I was out walking the dogs around the neighborhood listening to Marketplace  on WYSO when I heard a fascinating story about Disney and their plan to implement some innovative new technology into their themeparks.  Like any good geek would, I made a quick note to myself in Evernote to check this out, and lo and behold I did and decided to blog about it.

Disney is introducing a bracelet called the MagicBand.  Visitors to Disney World or other parks can use these bracelets as a sort of digital “Swiss Army Knife” of theme park tools.  The band can hold your credit card information, your room key, and even your fast pass information.  This will save visitors from having to tote all of this stuff around the park, and even better will eliminate the potential of losing them.  With kids wearing these bracelets, lost kids can also be quickly found.  Because the wristband is so much more passive than paying with cash or a credit card, this will likely increase spending by guests too, as they are less conscious of just how much cheddar they are handing over to the big mouse all day.

The bracelet is designed to work with a dedicated website and a mobile phone application, which all combined allow you to customize your park experience to meet your personal needs.   You can have greater control over booking ride times and attractions and buying fast passes before you even enter the park.

Making all of this even cooler is that the MagicBand will make it possible for the people who work in the park, those tasked with making it the happiest place on Earth, to make the experience personal.  Disney prides itself on trying to make each and every guest, and there are a lot of them, happy.  To provide this level of personal service on a regular basis is nothing short of miraculous, and also explains what you are actually paying for when you buy a soda or dinner.  With this technology, it is even easier for every employee to know who you are, who you are with, why you are there, and what you want and like to do.  This will make it possible for Mickey to come up, wish you happy birthday, and know your name if he sings the song.

Yes there is an element of creepy big brother to this that I have to reconcile in my brain.  However, Disney has proven to be a customer focused organization that focuses on using customer experience as its best marketing tool.  Knowing that, I can only imagine that people will be more willing to trade data for service, convenience, and the experience of feeling like they are ruler of the Magic Kingdom.

Disney is attempting to use data and technology to make a big theme park into a small world that is run by the customer.  I can’t wait to see this in person.

David E. Bowman

As Chief Mar­ket­ing Strate­gist for The Ohlmann Group, my job is to use my knowl­edge of busi­ness strat­egy, my pas­sion for cre­ative expres­sion, and my skills of com­mu­ni­ca­tion to help peo­ple achieve the remark­able. I believe that Mar­ket­ing is both art and sci­ence - using the uniquely human gifts of cre­ativ­ity and ana­lyt­i­cal think­ing to deliver some­thing of value to our world

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