Disney is watching you

PSA: Right now you’re reading from the biggest Disney kid out there. I grew up going to Disney World every year with my family, constantly watching all the latest movies and collecting too many stuffed animals. Ask me any trivia question about Disney…I dare you.

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This past summer I continued my trend, going down to Orlando again with a few of my friends. The most notable experience throughout our trip was on the ride called, “It’s A Small World.” This attraction revolves around the idea of bringing people from various cultures together, uniting as one. As the ride was approaching the end, the walls were surrounded by the word “goodbye” in multiple languages. We began to exit the ride, and noticed that the last screen specifically said “Goodbye Danielle.” Freaked out, I walked away very confused.

HOW DID THIS HAPPEN??

Please welcome the MyMagic+ System, a new technologically-advanced, digital business system that completely revamped the Disney World theme park experience. MyMagic+ is a four-component data system that interacts amongst itself to give the customers a completely personalized and seamless theme park experience while also improving the way Disney operates.plus.png

MyMagic+ gives the park visitors so many great benefits, as outlined below:

  • My Disney Experience
    • This is the app that visitors can download on their mobile devices while traveling throughout the park. It allows the customers to view park maps, showtimes, and descriptions of all the attractions. In addition, customers can make and change their dining reservations all with the click of a button. Another big benefit is the feature that allows people to see where the characters such as Mickey Mouse and Buzz Lightyear are currently located in the park, so that the children can get their autographs and pictures taken.
  • FastPass+
    • This system allows users to maximize their Disney experience by displaying the current wait times for all of the attractions and shows in the park. In doing so, visitors can pre-book some of the higher profile rides during pre-designated times so that they can skip the long wait times. This is all managed on the Disney app, and allows customers to strategically plan out their day in the park to get the most out of their visit.
  • PhotoPass
    • Throughout your visit in the park, there are many Disney photographers that will capture the magical moments throughout your day. All pictures taken at any point will get streamed to your Disney app and show up right on your phone, available for purchase.
  • MagicBands
    • This is a thick, rubberband-like bracelet that basically allows you to leave your wallet at home. It serves as your credit card in which you just tap the kiosks at the various souvenir shops and dining locations, and the purchase is automatically made. It can also be your room key if you are staying at a Disney resort, as well as the park ticket for entering and exiting the Disney kingdoms.

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MyMagic+ has greatly impacted the Disney theme parks, completely upgrading the entire system. For Disney, data is KING! Through the activity done on the mobile app, along with the interactions through the MagicBands, Disney is given access to a boat load of information. This creates two main advantages for the Walt Disney Company.

  1. Personalized Experience:
  • MyMagic+ has really allowed Disney to get to know their customers based on their preferences, whereabouts, and actions. Learning the customer is one of the most important things a company can do because it leads to a better experience, leading to higher retention rates and more recommendations to others. This is all done through the personalized experience. For example: being that Disney knows your purchase history from the MagicBand, they can make personalized recommendations for you based on your past interactions with the company.
  • Imagine a little kid walking up to Mickey Mouse to get his autograph, and Mickey greets him by first name, and potentially saying “happy birthday,” if that is the case. This is a very frequent, awesome result from MyMagic+.
  • If you waited too long on a line, Disney will know about it. This will most likely result in you receiving an email from the company, apologizing to you for the inconvenience, and probably offering you a coupon or small gift. Now that’s customer service.
  • Probably the most visible technological advancement resulting from this system is the “Be Our Guest” restaurant in the Magic Kingdom park. This works by the customer making a reservation on their Disney mobile app, ordering their food from a kiosk, then choosing their own table once they get to the restaurant. Without interacting with any worker, their food can magically find them.

2. Improved Operations:

  • This system allows for Disney to gather a lot more of information, allowing a more efficient and advanced way of operating the theme parks. This all revolves around the real-time location data that is collected from the MagicBands. These bands tracks each visitor throughout their visit in the park which allows Disney to better manage park traffic.
  • If there are too many people in one area of the park, say, Fantasyland, they can spark up a parade in Tomorrowland, attracting people towards the other end of the park. A more even “scatter” of customers allows for better use of the overall Disney property.
  • This also lets Disney to manage wait times better, tracking how large the clusters of people are at each attraction of the park. This information gets reported back to the app that all users can see, allowing the “wait time” functionality to assist the visitors in navigating throughout the park.

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Disney has seen a great amount of success from the implementation of MyMagic+ in Disney World. Since its launch in 2013, the company has seen the following improvements in just two years:

  • Park attendance increased by 7%
  • Resort occupancy rose from a mere 8% to almost full capacity at 89%
  • Parks & Resorts division has increased income by 20%
  • Turnstile transaction time, which is how long it takes to enter and exit the park, has went down by 30%
  • Magic Kingdom visitors has increased its number of visitors by 5,000 people a day, while still giving the same great experience

This entire technological reformation that is seen from the minute you book your Disney trip, continued to even after you return back home, is a great example of how Disney remains innovative and competitive in the market. They are constantly keeping up with key consumer trends in favor of technological advancements, as seen in various other brands. The company has really been able to capitalize on this new digital business practice, highlighting on the Disney magic and making everyone feel like a kid again.

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6 comments

  1. Really enjoyed both your blog post and your presentation on this topic! I was previously unaware that Disney had taken on such digital business initiatives and am very impressed that a company I associate with being rooted in American history has adapted so readily to modern technology trends. The statistics you have included concretely show how beneficial doing so has been to the company. I wonder if attendance in the parks and revenue have increased due to customer curiosity about this new technology or if the Disney experience has improved so much that many more customers are now willing to spend the money on a trip?

  2. Nice post and thanks for elaborating further on your presentation. My first time at the Disney Park was 17 years ago, and I had resumed just a couple of years ago and was completely surprised when seeing all the digital transformations they had implemented! I saw people wearing the Magic Band and having a Fast Pass, which I was really jealous of taking into account that the lines were so long and people could just skip the line. Another thing I was really impressed from, is that I had a photo taken of me on a ride that was in complete darkness (which was available for purchase later), and was amazed by the fact that they had installed these cameras there, which also delivered great quality and a great experience to their customers, and they are able to do so in so many different ways.

  3. Great post to follow up a super interesting presentation! It’s crazy to think about how much data Disney is collecting on you while you’re in the park–right down to your exact location. It’s a great idea and definitely benefits the consumer, but it’s still a little creepy that the corporation can store so much data on an individual. I wonder if they plan on storing individualized data to use for re-marketing purposes or to tailor the experience to a returning customer, the way a hotel would. I’m really impressed with how they’ve used the data so far to decrease wait times and re-channel park traffic so far, and I’m sure they’ll continue to find new ways to use the data to increase efficiency and personalization.

  4. Great blog! I think it worked really well as a follow-up to your presentation. I am from Florida and have been to Disney too many times.. I think they have done a great job evolving with technology as times have changed. I think the MyMagic+Syestem adds to the magical environment that Disney has already created. It gives users a personalized experience, and although I haven’t had the chance to go to the park since they implemented this technology, I am sure that customers feel more important and special while enjoying the park. However, I am sure there are a handful of users that find this technology slightly creepy. There are certainly a ton of questions about the data Disney is collecting and what they plan on using it for.

  5. Nice post as a follow up to a great presentation. Maybe a bit too much overlap with information in the presentation, though. Like the darker “Disney is watching you” angle, though.

  6. Really enjoyed your presentation and this follow-up post. You’re totally right about the enhanced personalized experience for anybody that goes into the park as well as the improvements in efficiency for day to day operations. Sadly, I haven’t gone to Disney in probably over 10 years but I still remember how awful it was waiting in line for hours at a time to go on the big name rides. Next time I go, I’ll definitely take advantage of everything they have to offer. One thing that really stood out to me in your presentation was how you took it a step further than Disney just enhancing your experience – you said that it made it magical. I remember my little cousins meeting Minnie Mouse for the first time and they were ecstatic. Now all I can think about is how magical the moment would’ve been if Minnie referred to them by name – at such a young age, my cousins would’ve cherished that moment forever because it would’ve been absolute magic. I think Disney really hit a home run here with how well they’ve enhanced experiences for all ages.

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