Disney Shows Off MagicBand Park Bracelet

2:54 PM PST 05/29/2013 by Paul Bond
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File photo of Walt Disney Parks and Resorts chairman Tom Staggs at Disney World.

The wristband can replace tickets, hotel access, credit cards and more, Walt Disney Parks and Resorts chairman Tom Staggs says.

Wealthy technology executives got an early look at Disney’s MagicBand, a bracelet that eventually could replace tickets, access to hotel rooms, credit cards and more for those who visit Disney theme parks.

“All the entitlements that you have at the parks this will enable,” Walt Disney Parks and Resorts chairman Tom Staggs said Wednesday at the D: All Things Digital conference in Rancho Palos Verdes, Calif.

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“Now, when I put this on, does money immediately begin flowing out of my checking account?” asked Wall Street Journal technology writer Walt Mossberg. “If it’s working correctly, yes,” Staggs joked.

The MagicBand is coming in the next several months to Walt Disney World in Orlando, the conglomerate’s flagship park that is so huge – 28,000 acres – that it can be “intimidating,” Staggs said. MagicBand can help lessen the anxiety, he said, and different versions of it will probably roll out later to Disney parks worldwide.

The bracelets can be ordered in advance and mailed to homes, and it can be used to make reservations for rides, parades and other events. Parents also can designate whether the bands their children wear can be used to buy items at the parks and hotels, with purchases over a predetermined price requiring a password. Losing the MagicBand isn’t a big deal because they can be canceled and a new one issued, Staggs said.

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The MagicBand also can be used to inform Disney personnel of a child’s name and birthdate, so that speaking walk-around characters can use the information to personalize their interaction with kids. Staggs said that, eventually, the technology will be used in rides, so that Captain Jack Sparrow might give a happy birthday greeting to child as he or she floats by in a boat while on the Pirates of the Caribbean ride.

The technology in MagicBand, while not a GPS system, can be used to inform employees of congestion in one area of the park so that they can quickly schedule something exciting in another area and inform guests via Twitter or other new media.

Staggs, being careful not to divulge too much, also said the MagicBand can be used to unleash extra elements in the upcoming Disney Infinity video game.

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