It seemed like only yesterday that Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando introduced its electronic MagicBand bracelets to facilitate customer access to its parks and purchase ride tickets, food and souvenirs, among other things.
Disney is now set to take another technological leap by opting to not use the bracelets and instead enable mobile devices to perform the same functions at its $5.5 billion Shanghai Disney Resort, slated to open in the spring.
The company’s MagicBand initiative began around the time the iPhone debuted in 2007, and six years later, the bracelets were unveiled at Disney World’s four theme parks and 26,000 hotel rooms. Disney claims that the bracelets have expedited the admissions process and merchandise sales. This in turn, has substantially contributed to the resort’s high scores on customer satisfaction surveys and boosted attendance, thereby contributing to the Orlando resort’s 7 percent revenue rise, to $16.2 billion, in 2015.
Disney views its switch to smartphones at its Shanghai property as a more seamless technological advancement that will eliminate the expenses of making the bracelet and sending them to season-pass buyers and guests at the company’s 18 Orlando hotels.
“What you’ll see in Shanghai is a park that from a technological perspective is more advanced than anything we’ve ever built,” said Robert A. Iger, chairman and CEO of Walt Disney Company, in an interview on Bloomberg TV. He added that consumers will be able to “use their mobile devices in far more advanced, compelling ways than in any other places, from a theme park perspective,” than they are today.