Disney Admission Wristbands Could Revamp Theme Park

ORLANDO, Florida. Orlando Business Journal. October 8, 2012. (English) by Richard Bilbao-If there was a way to track your business’ customer traffic, simplify sales to the wave of a hand, enhance safety and make the overall customer experience better, would you do it?

That may be the case for Walt Disney Parks and Resorts, which has filed an application with the Federal Communications Commission for a radio-frequency identification wrist band for potential Disney theme park pass holders.

Details on the devices — dubbed Magic Bands — are still a secret, but the wristbands could act as a park admission pass for tourists where they would merely have to wave their wrist at parks’ admission gates to be allowed in. Currently, the parks work off of tickets that have to be inserted into a scanner.

The devices are being designed by Synapse Product Development LLC, a Seattle-based product engineering firm.

On a customer level, the wrist band would work perfectly to minimize the risk of a customer losing their ticket, as well as a permanent device they can keep and use should they renew their passes to Disney parks. It would be as simple as renewing a pass online and the device would be ready to be used again once the tourist revisits the park.

But the benefits for Disney could be far greater if the device is adopted.

For example, Disney could easily track the flow of customer traffic through each park to nearly an exact number for any given day. With that type of information, the parks could precisely place vendors and merchandise at certain points that are receiving the most traffic.

In addition, Disney could simplify the point of sale process by allowing the customer to tie the wrist band to their personal bill. For example, a Disney hotel guest could use the wrist band not only as a hotel room key, but as a point-of-sale device that they can just wave to purchase items and pay for the products once their bill comes in at the end of their vacation.

Also, the wristbands could be used to track traffic through attractions and help the park understand what are peak times for the attraction. Most of that information is already tracked, but the devices could help give a more precise reading.

If you think that isn’t a boon for Disney, think about what would happen if you were at a theme park on a hot summer day and there’s an ice cream stand in front of you and all that you need to do is wave a “magical” device to get frozen delicious goodness in your belly.

But the device could have additional benefits for safety assistance as well, should guests suffer an allergic reaction or a child is lost. A paramedic could scan the device to see allergy information or theme park police can scan the park to find the location of a lost child.

There are no details of when — and if — Disney will ever implement the wristbands, but the idea seems to make complete sense as it would create a better guest experience while giving the theme park more information on the demographics of its customers.

Now, some people may say this is kind of “Big Brother” of Disney to want to track their guests, but in a world where phones, tablets, watches and other devices have GPS and allow us to “check in” at locations via social media sites, this wouldn’t be too far from what we’re used to.

Should be fun to see …

— Rich out.

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