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When it comes to customer experience, numerous big brands come to mind, but one could argue that Disney leads the pack and has always been a leader in this area due to its exemplary customer service and personalized experiences at their parks and resorts.

With that said, I visited the Magic Kingdom in late 2012, and I was somewhat underwhelmed by the lack of technology reflected in their customer experience. While entering the park via turnstile, 99 percent of the guests required manual assistance putting their admission ticket (a plastic card) into the turnstiles. The same plastic card was used to manage our FastPasses, which allowed us to queue a line in advance and return to the ride later at a designated time. Outside of those two functions, the plastic card did not further impact our experience at Disney.

I noticed that some guests at Disney World wore badges or pins on their shirts to reflect “First Visit” or “It’s my Birthday,” which would then activate a somewhat more personalized customer experience. There were also many guests with special needs who required a customized park experience — this too was a manual process for the most part.

Wouldn’t it be ideal if all of this important data could be made available in a convenient form factor, traveling with each guest throughout the parks and resorts? It seems that Disney is headed in just that direction with the roll-out of their new MagicBands, which will allow guests to store admission and FastPass data, as well as interact with park features and link to a broader Disney experience. I am a huge fan of Wearable Computing (as I shared in a recent blog) and the MagicBand will be a huge improvement over the plastic cards that I repeatedly misplaced.

In addition to an enhanced customer experience, a secondary but equally important outcome will be the huge influx of Big Data that Disney will have with regards to their guests’ experience and activities while in their parks, retail outlets and resorts. I look forward to learning more about how Disney will leverage this data and feed it back into their business.

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  1. Mohamed Amer

    The key is to make technology unobtrusive in elevating the customer experience.  Opt-in features of these new class of “wearables” can close that gap and give Disney the information they need to enhance the guests’ (experience. 

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  2. Caroline Lewis

    It’s interesting that Disney is further behind in this area as they have done a great job harnessing data in other areas such as employee impact.  In looking at the strategic impact of their workforce, Disney was able to determine that cast members who are responsible for sweeping and keeping everything at Disney neat and tidy adds strategic value t(Beyond HR – Boudreau and Ramstead) because without them the park is an entirely different (and lackluster) experience.  I’m excited to see what the MagicBand and Big Data does for the Disney customer experience – maybe in time for my family’s first trip to the Magic Kingdom!

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