When the new Walt Disney World opened in Florida in the 1970’s, it offered a new and creative way to make waiting in line a better and more tolerable experience for visitors. The once familiar long lines that ran for hundreds of feet around the corner and away from the attraction were replaced by lines that moved back and forth, under protective cover from the elements and never extending out of sight of the popular attraction.
Carefully channeled visitors were able to visit and converse with other “waiters” as they meandered towards their turn to have fun. Strategically placed, “Time Remaining” signs kept line pedestrians apprised of the amount of wait estimated to be left, before their “turn” to participate in the fun, appeared to appease the usual impatience commonly witnessed in more traditional waits; it was so successful that waiting in line nearly became fashionable. For decades little has changed and Disney visitors were left to create their own strategies and tactics to shorten the misery of waiting in line to their favorite attractions.
Now Disney is envisioning a theme park where lines for rides and cash for treats are unnecessary things of the past. The new technology of smart phones and more options for paying for purchases is providing an revolutionary way of shortening waiting times and paying for “on the run” amenities and purchases. Worn on park visitor’s wrist, the envisioned, “MyMagic +, bracelet will change the way park enthusiast experience the world’s busiest theme park.
The device will keep track of itinerary, alert guests when their favorite rides are ready, without standing in line, and allow them to pay for Mouse Ears and other merchandise without their wallets. The band keeps credit card information using NextGen technology and the bands will also serve as the guest’s admission ticket. Photo identification cards will double as room keys for those staying in Disney hotels and resorts and all the data will be secured with full encryption. A new innovation, dubbed “My Disney Experience,” will allow guests to plan and keep track of their entire stay at the parks. The family orientated theme parks have long been recognized for their creative leadership in developing imagination into reality entertainment.
The Disney’s Imagineers, famous for using the latest technology to give life and motion to still animation and robotics, are now poised to apply the latest advances in communication and mobile technology to enhance the motions of real life. Disney is expected to roll out the new wristbands sometime this year, first to guests staying at the parks and then to everyone. What’s next for Disney…Will Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck send personalized message through the wristband? It really has become the Magic Kingdom.