The NY Times has an interesting article on a new system Disney is implementing in Disney World (“At Disney Parks, a Bracelet Meant to Build Loyalty (and Sales)“). As part of this system, visitors would wear rubber bracelets encoded with credit card information. The system will track every interaction in the park including every ride, every product purchased, and every picture you take with a mouse. The system will connect with your smartphone and would signal when it is time to use a specific ride without standing in line.
There are clearly privacy issues with the new system, and the marketing side this system deserves a discussion of its own. Yet, there are clear opportunities to improve both vistor’s experience and ability to plan from the operational point of view, which should improve the experience even further.
MyMagic+ will allow users of a new Web site and app — called My Disney Experience — to preselect three FastPasses before they leave home for rides or V.I.P. seating for parades, fireworks and character meet-and-greets.
We have discussed the merits of the Fast Pass in the past. Allowing visitors to book these passes in advance is another benefit in the right direction. As more customers use this functionality, Disney can improve its planning:
Prodding guests to do more advance planning, combined with the tracking of guests as they roam the parks, will help Disney manage its work force more efficiently. More advance planning will also help lock visitors into Disney once they arrive in Orlando, discouraging people, for instance, from making impromptu visits to Universal’s Wizarding World of Harry Potter.
Of course, even in the operational sense, of improving the waiting time experience, one can cross the “creepiness” boundary.
The data will also be used to make waiting areas for rides (“scene ones” in Disney parlance) less of a drag. A new Magic Kingdom ride called Under the Sea, for instance, features a robotic version of Scuttle the sea gull from “The Little Mermaid” that will be able to chitchat with MagicBand wearers.
In our operations management course, when we discuss service operations, we say that one can improve the service experience in congested systems by shifting demand (by diverting Fast Pass users to less congested times), adding capacity (by shifting workforce using the advance demand information), or managing the experience (by tailoring the waiting experience to the person and his or her experience). Ski resorts have been using identify cards to track usage of lifts, and skiing patterns for several years. Furthermore, you can get photos of your kids skiing directly to your mailbox. Somehow the thought of Mickey Mouse having chitchat with the kids, using the information on their bracelets makes me a little less comfortable, if privacy issues are not resolved.