Privacy Concerns Over Disney MagicBand
Some visitors have expressed concern over privacy while wearing a MagicBand around the Walt Disney World Resort.
MagicBands are the RFID-enabled bracelets that Disney's issuing to selected hotel guests as part of its new MyMagic+ system for managing Walt Disney World vacations. Visitors can use the MyMagic+ section of Disney's website or apps to make advance reservations for attractions, shows, and restaurants during their stay at Disney World, then use the MagicBands Disney supplies to access their hotel room, enter the theme parks or be admitted to their reserved ride, show, and meal times. MyMagic+ was launched in January 2013, after more than five years of development using an initial group of 1,000 testers.
According to Travel Weekly, MagicBands are available to guests at all 23 Walt Disney World resort hotels, plus Fort Wilderness Resort and six vacation clubs in Orlando, totaling nearly 25,000 on-property guestrooms.
Visitors tap their MagicBands on their hotel room door or at checkpoints at park and attraction entrances. But the RFID chips in each MagicBand can be read from up to 30 feet away as well.
According to Douglas Quinby, a senior analyst with PhoCusWright, speaking about security and privacy issues, “There are substantial risks And Disney will need to make sure adequate security is in place to secure credit cards and other personal information. Disney understands it is a matter of personal choice to opt in to this program and will let people do what they are comfortable doing.”
"Analysts see MyMagic+ as a game changer not just for theme parks but for many other aspects of the travel industry," said Travel Weekly. "While Disney’s immediate goal is to revolutionize the way guests spend their vacations at the company’s theme parks, analysts predict it will also mold expectations of consumers about the level of customized experiences and interactions with other travelers they will get from other suppliers," it said.
Henry Harteveldt, travel industry analyst with Hudson Crossing, called MyMagic+ “an initiative that travel sellers and organizations and entertainment venues should study, said Travel Weekly. It is only a matter of time before other theme parks, resorts, cruise ships and casinos implement their own version. Any venue that attracts or is home to large volumes of people can [use the technology to] improve efficiency and ensure an enjoyable experience for the traveler, and make sure they come back.”