The Magic of RFID Technology

The introduction of MyMagic+, during the height of the December holiday period, has led to more than 3,000 additional visitors per day to the Magic Kingdom, Disney’s most popular theme park.

MyMagic+ combines almost every aspect of your visit into a Magic Band that contains an RFID chip which will act as your park ticket, room key, PhotoPass, FastPass and dining reservations. It will also act as your resort charge card. Each guest receives a Magic Band, which can be customized even before you leave your home. The long-term goal is for guest to reuse the Magic Bands on every future visit they make to the theme park.

Even before they leave their house, guests download the free My Disney Experience app to their smartphone and set up an account at the Disney website. Once logged in guests need to enter their hotel and ticket reservation information. MyMagic+ can’t be used without existing tickets, after choosing a band color for each member of their group, the bands will then either be shipped to their home or be available for pick up at the hotel.

The RFID chip-equipped MyMagic+ will give you the ability to use FastPass+, an advanced reservation system that allows you to bypass lines at popular Disney attractions. In addition to the regular FastPass privileges, you can reserve advanced times to experience three attractions or events of your choice. The band can also be swiped to make purchases anywhere in the park, acting as a debit card.

“Because it is a reservation system, it is a game changer”, says Duncan Dickson, who teaches theme-park management at the University of Central Florida. “Now you can plan your vacation and your ride sequence well ahead of your trip.”

“Disney could theoretically tailor the visitor’s experience more effectively,” says James Crompton, industry analyst at IBISWorld. “MyMagic+ is not solely for the benefit of Disney. It’s intention is to simplify and enhance the visitor’s experience. So while technology of this sort certainly benefits the business side, ultimately the consumer is the intended beneficiary.”

Disney CEO Bob Iger was particularly upbeat about MyMagic+ during the company’s recent fiscal first quarter earnings call, stating the implementation of the Magic Band has the ability to be beneficial for a better guest experience at the parks, making guests more likely to spend more money and come back for future visits.

Iger also stated, that a new FastPass+ service, included in MyMagic+, will lead to more guest use than FastPass. FastPass+ enables visitors to skip the lines at an expanded number of attractions, including certain character greetings and other events.

The RFID enabled technology in MyMagic+ could be a nice addition to the increase in revenue that Disney’s Parks and Resorts segment, of 6 percent to $3.6 million already achieved this quarter. The operating income for this segment of Disney’s business jumped 16 percent to $671 million. Per capita guest spending was up 8 percent because of higher ticket prices, and spending on food and beverages.

Disney’s MyMagic+ is just one more example of the limitless possibilities for the use of RFID technology.


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