Disney Innovation – RFID Bracelets Are Your NEW “Key to the World”

At the latest D-23 Conference and Expo, there were a lot of new things unveiled, but none quite took the crowd like the newest innovation coming soon by Disney that will hold your “Key to the World” as many WDW fans like to call it. A new wristband embedded with an RFID chip could be the key to a future full of customized experiences and overall convenience!

Currently, Disney vacationers use a hotel like card as: a room key, park ticket, credit card, dining plan, fast pass on rides, photo pass, and many other integral parts of a typical Disney experience. Disney has always done an excellent job of putting everything in one easy convenient accessible place for people to enjoy; but they have just taken it to a whole new level (at least conceptually at this point).

The newest buzz around Disney is an “RFID Wristband” to replace the current plastic card. For those of you who aren’t familiar with RFID (who is really..) it’s a Radio Frequency Identification Technology that allows a unique code to be wirelessly transmitted if under a close range. You don’t typically come in contact with this technology on a day to day basis …unless you work in supply chain management 🙂 Let me take you through some of the many uses that Disney plans to leverage with this technology!

The Basics

Before I get into all the fun, I want to preface that this is almost definitely going to be an optional opt-in accessory. If you are the type that doesn’t like to wear a wristband or simply not comfortable with the security, you’ll be able to use the same old card.

Disney Dining Plan Lovers: Imagine not having to carry a card or even a wallet at all. Simply hold the wristband up to the kiosk at the counter or snack vendor payment station and your dining plan will be credited for your purchase.

– Drink Mug integration, like the current ability to add a set amount of money to your card, this wristband is now your credit card.

Hotel Room Key: Simply hold your wristband up to the door and you’re in! Gosh, I am usually carrying 10 things and a sleeping daughter in my hand so to get in my back pocket, open my wallet and dig out the card is.. well, not exactly convenient. I’m going to love this!

Park Passes: Instead of breaking out that card again, just hold your wrist up to the turnstile.

Current “PhotoPass” Integration: Now that you’re into the park, you see a ton of photographers ready to take your pictures in front of iconic backgrounds like the Castle in Magic Kingdom. The photographer will scan your wrist and magically all of your photos will be placed on your “PhotoPass”! Everyone is in the picture and you have a professional photograph for you to view online and purchase if you’d like.

Fast Passes: Oh yes, the fast pass just got easier. Simply scan your wrist up to the kiosk for the fast pass distribution and your reservation is held in the palm of your hand.. almost.

Customize Your Wristband!

There are going to be a number of colors that you can choose from for your wristband prior to your trip. Want to customize it with a Buzz Lightyear or Ariel? You can do that too (for an extra charge I’m sure..) Dozens of designs, characters, colors, and more to choose from when customizing your new Disney wristband!

Lets get really up close and personal with some cool new features!

Disney intends to integrate the RFID functionality into rides, character experiences and more by personalizing everything! These bracelets can hold information like your name, age, birthday, if you’ve been to Disney before, etc… So why not integrate that information into a ride and share it with a character that you’re about to meet.

Meeting the Characters: Well, you know their name so they should know yours right? The next time my daughter, Adalynn, (who loves Ariel and has “met” her before) goes to give her a big hug; Ariel’s going to say, “Hi Adalynn, it’s so nice to see you again!” How cool is that! All of the characters could know your name, your age, your birthday, if you’ve been to Disney before and a ton of other information!

Ride Integration and Birthday Surprises: Digital screens will be integrated into more of the rides and as you get to an exciting part, up on the screen comes a “Happy Birthday {your name}” sign.

Integrating Photos and Videos INTO the Rides: The next time you ride the Tower of Terror and a few tears drop, surprise; it’s going to show up on your PhotoPass for your spouse to purchase! Every moment, every piece of excitement can be caught on camera for you to cherish forever.

Let your mind wonder a bit about what information these wristbands could possibly hold and how they could be used in the Disney experience.

– Maybe a Google Earth integration on a ride like Soarin’ to show your house… OK, that’s a bit creepy!

The Online Portal

A piece of the equation here is that you can further customize your entire Disney experience right from home. My wife is the super planner of all planners. We have every sit down dinner planned about 9 months before we go and we are actually planning our next trip on the drive home! In this portal they plan to release, you could customize a gift for your favorite character to deliver to your birthday son/daughter. I can’t image the look on my daughter’s face when Ariel comes up to her with a special locket to give her!

– Right off the bat, I think this online portal should tell you every piece of information that plans to be held on the device and allow you to remove every one of them if you want. Personally, I probably wouldn’t remove a thing; but I’d like to know what’s on there and I’d like to have the option to be honest..

Of course, everything comes with a price so I’m curious to see what this will be. Nothing has been released at this point however, they are doing some field testing and market research at the parks now to launch this product in the near future. When? We also don’t know but I image it won’t be too long..

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