Sun Valley: Disney Theme Parks Boss Says Electronic Wristbands Boost Spending

4:12 AM PST 07/12/2013 by George Szalai
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Tom Staggs at Disney World

A trial of the so-called "MyMagic+" bands at Walt Disney World in Florida showed increased guest spending, says Tom Staggs.

Electronic wristbands tested at the Walt Disney World theme park in Florida have proven to lead to spending increases by visitors, Walt Disney parks unit chairman Thomas Staggs said Thursday.

Average guest spending rose partly because people had fun with the technology, dubbed MyMagic+, he told Bloomberg News on the sidelines of the annual Allen & Co. media mogul gathering in Sun Valley, Idaho. 

He didn't specify how much of a boost to spending they provided.

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Staggs added that Disney plans to run additional trials of the bands before rolling them out throughout Walt Disney World by year-end, Bloomberg said. “We’re still in test mode,” he said. “It takes some time to get it all rolled out.”

The wristbands, tested by 1,000 people so far, function as theme park admission tickets and hotel room keys, as well as credit cards, as users can pay by waving them in front of sensors. They also help reduce the time visitors spend in lines by allowing them to book rides and restaurant seats in advance. Plus, they allow guests to book meet-and-greets with such Disney characters as Goofy.

The MyMagic+ trial is the company's next step after its Fast Pass program, which already allows guests to book visits to attractions during one-hour windows.

Staggs is one of the two internal contenders to become CEO of Disney when current boss Robert Iger steps down. The other is CFO Jay Rasulo.

Iger was scheduled to step down as CEO in March 2015 and serve as executive chairman until June 30, 2016. But the entertainment conglomerate recently said that Iger's contract has been extended, keeping him in the CEO post until 2016.

E-mail: Georg.Szalai@THR.com
Twitter: @georgszalai
 

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