Tuesday, October 21, 2014

The Magic of the Band

Magic Bands when they arrive
By Kevin Hunsperger
@kevinhunsperger & @my123cents on Twitter

I wrote in a previous blog about my recent family vacation to Walt Disney World.  The experience was magical, and part of that comes in the form of the Magic Band.  Again, I know it all comes at a cost, but there's something to be said about the packaging and hospitality that Disney delivers.

Getting into the park
The Magic Band replaces your room key, credit card, and park tickets.  When planning our trip, each member of my family got to pick the color bracelet they wanted.  I chose yellow.  More personalized options are available for a fee, but ours were included in our package deal. Each band is coded with your information.   You can add your credit card details and charge things at the parks and resorts that way.  You chose your own pin so there's no need to worry about being hacked (at least not at this point)

Green means go!
The band has a Mickey Mouse icon on it, and you touch your Mouse to the Mouse at the park or store and when the green light comes on, you're good to go.  We used them to make various purchases and track our FastPasses.  You have to scan it before getting in the FastPass line and then again before getting on the ride.  The bands are water proof, so you can shower in them or hit the pool or water parks.  

The concept is really convenient as you don't ever have to worry about bringing your wallet and losing it on a ride or dropping your room key or park passes.  If you do the Memory Maker photo package, the pictures are wirelessly transmitted to your band and available online for downloading.  I would suspect that eventually theme parks around the country will pick up and develop this concept in some form.

Band bling
I know there will be cynical thoughts about the company tracking your every move, but honestly, I'm fine with that.  For I have tasted the Disney Koolaid, and I do enjoy it.  There were a couple of small quirks, but they were quickly resolved and the company even credited us for the inconvenience.  Oh, and there are different things you can add to the bands to personalize them as well, although we did not go that route.

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