Disney Will Gather Private Information on Theme Park Visitors with New “Magic” Bracelets
Visitors to Disney World in Orlando, Florida, will be revealing virtually everything they do at the park to company officials, if they participate in its new magic bracelet program.
This spring, Disney plans to offer MyMagic+, a special rubber bracelet encoded with customers’ credit card information. By using the bracelets, visitors will be able to enter the park and purchase food or souvenirs without pulling out their wallets.
But this also means that visitors’ actions, behavior and whereabouts will be carefully tracked within the park. Disney will collect this information, from what rides people go on and all purchases they make, to which costumed characters they choose to interact with. It will all be stored in a Disney data base, conceivably for marketing purposes.
Indeed, Disney’s decision to move forward with the wrist band technology was contingent on determining that it would increase its corporate profits, according to its Parks and Resorts chairman, Thomas O. Staggs. “If we can enhance the experience, more people will spend more of their leisure time with us,” he told The New York Times.
With parents’ consent, personal information about children will transmit from their wrist bands to on-site Disney employees, who will be privy to the young visitors’ names, birthdays, and other data, in order to personalize their interaction.
“We want to take experiences that are more passive and make them as interactive as possible — moving from, ‘Cool, look at that talking bird,’ to ‘Wow, amazing, that bird is talking directly to me,’ ” Bruce Vaughn, chief creative executive for Walt Disney Imagineering, told the newspaper.
Some parents say they’re fine with Disney collecting personal data about them, but not their kids. Others are bothered by it altogether.
“Although I know this type of technology is making its way into every facet of life, it still makes me feel a bit creeped out,” wrote Jayne Townsley on StitchKingdom.com, according to the newspaper.
A Disney Tourist blogger, Ray, wrote: “The ‘ankle bracelet’ aspect is troubling at best. Even I don’t want to plan to that degree and have my movements tracked… I don’t see these ‘guest enhancements’ being something that many guests have been demanding. So the big question is…why?”
The Disney World plan is part of a wider operation, costing Disney upward of a billion dollars, designed to implement the wrist-band technology in all of its theme parks.
-Noel Brinkerhoff, Danny Biederman
To Learn More:
At Disney Parks, a Bracelet Meant to Build Loyalty (and Sales) (by Brooks Barnes, New York Times)
Will Disney Visitors Feel Magic in New Bracelet Payment Method? (by Greg Beaubien, Public Relations Society of America)
Disney’s MyMagic+ FAQ (Disney TouristBlog.com)
Feds Want to Know What Data Brokers Who Market Data on Consumers Know (by Ken Broder, AllGov)
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