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Disney Does Data! With Magic Bands park visitors get a better experience (and Disney knows more about you than you would ever believe)

By Kimberly Kelly



When I first heard about the new MagicBands Disney started using about a month ago I was pretty skeptical. I did not understand what purpose these bands would serve other than proving that Disney is getting even more creepy. But when you think about it, Disney is very driven to achieve optimal performance with everything they do. If you have ever been to Disney World or Disney Land, you know that the entire facility is run like a well oiled machine. Lets take Disney World for example. Disney World has 5 parks and 25 hotels on their property, not including the countless restaurants and other amenities. As a company as large as Disney, I would want to know what each of my guests likes, how often they go on rides, when they like to eat, what they like to eat, and where they like to go, among other things. By having this information Disney will be able to make sure each of it’s many facilities and amenities are up to the expected standard and under what conditions people spend more money.

These MagicBands come customized for every user, with a specific color and name printed on the inside of the band. This has been done so that members of a party do not mix up their bands. By placing the user’s name on the band, Disney has been able to specifically track each person thus collecting a specific user’s data information. For each band Disney takes down the user’s name and birthday, creating a user profile. These RFID bands communicate with long-range RFID scanners that are scattered throughout the park. With a simple scan of their band users will be able to purchase food and beverage, check into FastPass, and even use it as a hotel room key. By using the MagicBands, Disney will be able to know what you do, where you do it, and when you do it. The questions that could be answered with this type of tracking device could be endless.

Well isn’t this a breach of our privacy? Of course not! With Disney you are entering into a contract with a company and that contract holds them to very little when it comes to your privacy. There are analogies to the way you agree to let some sites track your browsing by use of cookies on your computer. Companies have been deploying cookies to track people’s browsing habits and likes for years, allowing for a customized internet experience in order to cater to each user’s likes and needs. To me, what Disney is doing is not as bad as tracking your Internet use. By deploying these MagicBands, Disney is able to give you a better experience. It is true they will know quite a bit about you, but if you want privacy you should not be going to Disney in the first place. Though you are giving up a considerable amount of your privacy while at the park, it does come with the benefits of a more enjoyable experience.

Check out this cool video about MagicBands.

To read more about these bands, click here.

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More Stories By Bob Gourley

Bob Gourley, former CTO of the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), is Founder and CTO of Crucial Point LLC, a technology research and advisory firm providing fact based technology reviews in support of venture capital, private equity and emerging technology firms. He has extensive industry experience in intelligence and security and was awarded an intelligence community meritorious achievement award by AFCEA in 2008, and has also been recognized as an Infoworld Top 25 CTO and as one of the most fascinating communicators in Government IT by GovFresh.