Disney World is now Digi World, as this New York Times piece reports:
ORLANDO, Fla. — Imagine Walt Disney World with no entry turnstiles. Cash? Passé: Visitors would wear rubber bracelets encoded with credit card information, snapping up corn dogs and Mickey Mouse ears with a tap of the wrist. Smartphone alerts would signal when it is time to ride Space Mountain without standing in line.
Fantasyland? Hardly. It happens starting this spring.
Disney in the coming months plans to begin introducing a vacation management system called MyMagic+ that will drastically change the way Disney World visitors — some 30 million people a year — do just about everything.
The initiative is part of a broader effort, estimated by analysts to cost between $800 million and $1 billion, to make visiting Disney parks less daunting and more amenable to modern consumer behavior. Disney is betting that happier guests will spend more money . . .
Did you buy a balloon? What attractions did you ride and when? Did you shake Goofy’s hand, but snub Snow White? If you fully use MyMagic+, databases will be watching, allowing Disney to refine its offerings and customize its marketing messages.
As always with these cyberstalking innovations, Disney executives frame this as a consumer benefit:
“If we can enhance the experience, more people will spend more of their leisure time with us,” said Thomas O. Staggs, chairman of Disney Parks and Resorts.
For a more radical take, check out this AlterNet piece.
However you hold it up to the light, this is Goofy.
John Carroll, who also writes at Campaign Outsider and It's Good to Live in a Two-Daily Town, is a media analyst and mass communication professor at Boston University.
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