Households, companies, and cities are embracing physical minimalism through the internet of things. Whether it be using a tablet with a stylus instead of a notebook to avoid paper clutter or a smart speaker to add items to your calendar without even picking up a pen, combining the power of combining multiple devices into one is a positive feature of the internet of things. In 2013 Walt Disney World made a 1 billion dollar gambit on Internet of Things technology with the aforementioned premises in mind. They streamlined all of their processes such as booking, hotels, ticketing, FastPasses, and merchandise into one colorful wristband called a Magic Band and a companion app titled “My Disney Experience.”
Through the “My Disney Experience” app, the user sets up their Disney World vacation entirely from their phone, including guests attending, hotel choice, duration of stay, and FastPass planning. As the trip approaches, Disney takes this data and compiles it into a database with a unique identifier for each guest. This aforementioned unique identifier is placed onto a colorful Magic Band bracelet. The bracelet has an HF radio frequency device built in it that allows it to send and receive radio frequency (RF) signals. Multiple RF points exist throughout the Walt Disney World complex including hotels, FastPass queues for attractions, and shops/restaurants. These points use the unique guest ID stored on the Magic Band to access the database containing relevant park information to verify a requested action. These actions could range from entry to your hotel room, buying Mickey Ears and dinner, or entering the FastPass line at your assigned time slot. Upon this verification, the device allows or denies the requested action depending on the information stored in the database.
This technology allows for one device to cover the actions of multiple, and reduces the amount of items needed to be brought into the park during the guest’s stay. The Magic Band effectively acts as a room key, a park ticket, a FastPass, and a debit card all at the same time, and allows these separate items to be securely fastened to a wrist (which is valuable in a crowded theme park). In 2017, I got to utilize this technology on a trip with my high school’s marching band. Through the capabilities of the Magic Band, I could leave my valuables in the hotel safe and didn’t have to worry about my debit card or park ticket being stolen. It also made queuing for attractions and hotel entry more streamlined. This allowed me to immerse myself into the incredible theming of the Disney parks and truly enjoy the happiest place on Earth.