Disney is trying its hand at wearable technology with the Magic Band, a wristband which allows users to bypass tasks like showing their annual pass upon entering the park or relying on a printed “FastPass” in order to gain quick access to rides. Magic Bands have been in limited use dating back to last year, issued initially as a beta test to those staying at Disney resorts. But now the bands are going public, and have hit some snags which have caused those using the technology to cry foul – even as Disney works to generate revenue from the Magic Band accessories.
Visitors to Magic Kingdom last week complained that the Magic Bands were requiring them to criss cross back and forth across the park throughout the day, first visiting an attraction for register for a FastPass Plus time, then venturing to other parts of the park, only to have to come back later. The proposed solution: allowing users to choose their FastPass Plus options directly from the Disney mobile app, without having to walk all the way to the attraction. Other complaints were in the form of the physical comfort of the Magic Band, which has a flat rectangular sensor embedded in its center. The size and position of the sensor prevent the band from flowing around the wearer’s wrist in a natural fashion, with some users visibly fidgeting with their bands at the park in an attempt to mold them into a more comfortable shape.
But despite the scattered complaints being overheard regarding Magic Bands, the wristbands could be seen in use in large numbers throughout the park. Even as Disney works on streamlining the features of the new technology, it appears to have already successfully figured out how to cash in on them. In numerous gift shops throughout the park, Magic Band accessories were available for sale ranging from color bands to snap-on Disney character faces.