Are Disney’s MagicBands A Flop?

Now that Disney is phasing out MagicBands, it begs the question: was it considered a flop? That’s an interesting question. Just because something gets phased out, does that mean it’s a failure? Will history look back on these as a novelty like Pal Mickey?

For many, the answer is in the eye of the beholder. Just like anything related to theme parks, people are extremely passionate about what they hold dear. Let’s start here: what is a flop? Was the horse and buggy a flop? You certainly don’t see many of them anymore in modern cities aside from them being a novelty move of transportation. However, one can say that without it we wouldn’t be where we are today. Just because a steam or gas powered engine came along and made the horse and buggy obsolete, does that mean it was a flop as well?

The reality is, there have been many different ways tickets have been used at Walt Disney World. Anything from having your picture put on the pass for park hoppers to biometric fingerprint scans. Currently, they are even testing facial scanning and I expect that to be rolled out in the near future as well.

Unfortunately, the technology behind MagicBands were pretty much outdated by the time they rolled out at Walt Disney World. Keep in mind, it takes years to roll out an initiative like this on a property as big as Disney. You’ve got to modify all your guest rooms, park entry points, FastPass return kiosks, point-of-sale registers. Not only is it expensive, it’s time consuming. You have to partner with vendors, “Disneyize” (Mickey bubble) them and then have them installed. Then you’ve got training to do. Plus, theres always that delightful corporate red tape.

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In reality, ApplePay was already a thing by the time MagicBands rolled out. That technology that was inside a MagicBand was already inside most people’s pocket. Unfortunately, not everyone had a smartphone at the time of initial rollout. Still, the writing has been on the wall from day one that MagicBands wouldn’t last forever.

To be fair, they aren’t exactly going anywhere now. You can still buy a MagicBand at Walt Disney World or use the one you’ve had for years. Considering they are no longer free with a stay on property and you can now use your mobile device for entry, we can expect to be seeing fewer MagicBands as more people start using their mobile device or opt in to use facial recognition.

Come to think of it, you don’t see many cassette tapes or eight tracks either. Are they also a flop? Your thoughts?

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