Disney rolls out mobile technology at more parks

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By Larry Banks

The mobile technology that Disney [NYSE:DIS] uses at its theme parks to help customers beat the queues and pay for souvenirs at the company’s main resort in Florida will be expanded to other Disney resorts, Chief Operating Officer Tom Staggs said.

The $1 billion MyMagic+ program includes various wristbands and a mobile app so that Walt Disney World customers can unlock their hotel room doors, pay for merchandise, and book ride times.

Disney extends wristbands, mobile apps, and MyMagic+

The technology used by Disney helps people plan their visit in advance, and to move more easily through the park as well as personalisation aspects of their stay. More than 11 million wristbands, know as MagicBands, have been used to date.

“The folks who are saying the MyMagic+ experience is excellent is the vast, vast majority of folks who are using it, and that, we know, is good for our business”, Staggs said this week.

Staggs ran the Disney parks and resorts division from 2010 until he was promoted in February to chief operating officer, which means he is likely to succeed Chief Executive Bob Iger in 2018.

Disney MagicBand

The parks unit’s revenue has shot up over the last few years as Disney invested billions to add “Cars Land” at the Anaheim resort, and also expanded Fantasyland at Walt Disney World, as well as a new cruise ship and other improvements.

For the six months ending March 28, operating income rose 22% to $1.4 billion, making it Disney’s second largest division. And using new technology is one of the ways that Disney can help its business to keep growing.

“We will bring variations on MyMagic+ to our parks and other businesses around the world”, Staggs said. He also said it was possible that MagicBands may be rolled out at parks outside Walt Disney World, and that the company is exploring ways that other wearable technology could offer similar functions, such as the Apple Watch for example.

“We are really open to doing that”, said Staggs, although he said there were no plans specifically for Apple Watch.

For its 60th anniversary, Disneyland is unveiling new evening entertainment such as a fireworks show with added projections inside the park. Classic characters like Mickey Mouse will also appear with newer ones like Anna and Elsa from the movie “Frozen”, part of the company’s strategy of bringing its popular franchises into the parks.

SOURCE: Reuters

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