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What's more magical than being at a Disney theme park? How about being at one where everything from tickets to park itinerary, fast passes, and even dinner reservations, is taken care of before you even enter the park. Sounds too good to be true? Then you have not met Disney's incredible MagicBands!
Currently available only for visitors at the Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, the simple albeit stylish wristbands are designed to make visitors lives easier the minute they book their tickets online. Those that decide to buy the $12.95 USD MagicBands can instantly select their favorite rides. Their request is quickly analyzed by the company's smart servers to create a custom itinerary, complete with a map that can be viewed on a smartphone. MagicBands also enables them to reserve their fast passes electronically.
But we get ahead of ourselves. For visitors that choose the "Magic Express" option, the royal treatment begins the minute they land in Orlando. That's because they are instantly whisked away in a waiting shuttle so they can start their park experience immediately. Mundane stuff like waiting for luggage is done by members of the Disney World Resort staff, who also ensure it is safely delivered to their rooms.
And it gets better. Visitors can link a valid credit card to the MagicBand and free themselves of the burden of looking after their wallets whilst at the park. All they have to do to make any purchase is scan the wristbands at stations that are available at every park store, kiosk, and restaurant.
While the power of the MagicBand is demonstrated throughout the park, nowhere is its impact felt as dramatically as at the "Be Our Guest" restaurant. Visitors can not only use it to make reservations but also place their food order. Hence as soon as they enter the restaurant they are ushered to their tables and served almost immediately. This means that patrons don't waste precious park time waiting around for a table or food.
So how does Disney make this magic happen? The answer lies in the RFID (radio frequency identification) chip embedded inside each MagicBand. Capable of transmitting more than 40-feet in every direction, it can be used for both short and long-range communication. The former comes in handy when guests scan the MagicBands to enter their hotel room or pay for purchases at the park.
Long-range communication allows Disney cast members to enhance visitor experience. For example, in the case of the "Be Our Guest" restaurant, the hostess, and the kitchen receives a signal whenever guests with reservations are on their way. This allows the hostess to greet them by their name and the kitchen staff to get working on their food order. Once they get seated, a radio receiver in the table picks up the signal from their MagicBands and triangulates their location using another receiver in the ceiling. This allows the waitstaff to know exactly what to deliver at each table.
For parents, MagicBands is like having a superpower. For kids, it's just the kind of magic they expect from the "happiest place on earth." And in case you're wondering, Disney does plan to make MagicBands available at other parks as soon as all the minor technology kinks have been ironed out.
Resources: wired.com, ocregister.com,slashgear.com