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Report: Disney boosts sales with high-tech wristband

Disney wrist band
Posted at 10:38 AM, Jul 15, 2013
and last updated 2014-07-14 12:14:46-04

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. (WTXL) -- You could soon have a whole lot less to carry on your next trip to Walt Disney World in Orlando.

Disney has been testing what they call MyMagic+. It's an all-in-one wristband with an RFID chip that would serve as admission tickets, hotel room keys and credit cards.

Bloomberg Business News reports that Disney parks division Chairman Thomas Staggs said in an interview, without offering details, at Allen & Co.'s annual conference in Sun Valley, Idaho that testing of the wristbands by 1,000 people at Walt Disney World in Florida has provided positive responses.

BBN reports that Staggs said testing of the wristbands did succeed in boosting spending by guests during the testing phase.

In addition to being a combined ticket, room key, and charge card, Bloomberg reports the wristband is also expected to allow Disney to collect information about guests and their habits.

It's also expected to help with crowd control, reduce wait times, and will allow guests to use the MyMagic+ wristband with the current Fast Pass program, which allows guests to schedule attractions during one-hour windows, once they are already in the park. Disney leaders say users of the MagicBands will also be able to reserve firework and parade viewing areas, Disney Character Greetings and other attractions.

The wristbands link to a customer database, allowing guests to purchase items in Disney World's hotels, four theme parks and water parks by waving the devices past a sensor. The radio technology speeds transactions, helping customers make their trips more efficient, Bloomberg reports.

The wristbands have been criticized in the past, some concerned about whether Disney would be able to get too much information about a guest.

In reports released by Disney about the wristband, company leaders say "Extensive measures are in place to protect the privacy of Guests and the security of the personal information they choose to share." Disney representatives say guests' personal information is not stored on the magic band and the "RF cards contain only a randomly assigned code that securely links to an encrypted database and associates the guest's MagicBand or ticket with the experiences they've selected."

Guests are also allowed to choose to not participate in the program, and elect for the traditional paper tickets and card hotel room keys.

But, don't expect to see the wristbands in the parks any time soon. More testing is scheduled for the technology and the wristbands before it would be expanded into Disney's hotels and theme parks around the world.

"We're still in test mode," Staggs said. "It takes some time to get it all rolled out."