Saturday, January 10, 2015

#52 - Magic Bands

Category: Interactives/Memorabilia
Category Rank: 5

Park: N/A

As we discussed earlier, there is a variety of things that Disney has added throughout the years to make the experience in the park more interactive.  That is, instead of simply going, standing in line for the show/ride/attraction, seeing said show/ride/attraction, repeating, and sprinkling in some occasional food and bathroom stops, that there is a different way to interact with the park.  Consider these a bit like a scavenger hunt throughout the parks.

The Park Maps (#58 on our list) might not have been the greatest example of these, since they don't do very much to change the Disney experience (outside of making it more organized and raising your awareness of some hidden features).  In this respect, the WDW app would be much better, since it gives you up-to-date information and can customize maps based on your location (fancy words for allowing you to "zoom in").  That app is the very definition of interactive, when you think about it.

So, why did we pick the maps instead of the app, which (spoiler) doesn't make our list?  And furthermore, what good is it to say "spoiler" if I don't give you a chance to shield your eyes and skip the spoiled information?  The answers are 1) Nostalgia = tradition, and 2) None... none at all.  Yes, the maps have that timeless quality to them that reek of nostalgic yearnings.  The maps remind you of your childhood experience at WDW.  The app will never remind you of that, since it will become obsolete with 2.0 of the app, whatever form that takes.

It is with great irony that we embrace the technology-du-jour with our next interactive.  Disney has really been pushing the Magic Bands (I think there is a TM in there somewhere).  In an effort to make the park more interactive, these bands now can serve as your room key, your credit card, and your FastPass device.  It also connects you things like PhotoPass, where the pictures those "supposed" photographers from Disney (yeah, right!) take get linked to your personal account (oh, I guess they were really photographers from Disney).  And, we are just scratching the surface for how they will be used in the future.

I mean, Disney has REALLY been pushing these things.  You can go purchase all kinds of bling for your band.  They have t-shirts promoting the bands.  I'll bet Disney will monetize giving your Magic Band a name and a backstory, too (Mom!  Sprinkles, my Magic Band, was once worn by Rapunzel when she visited Epcot during her 7th birthday too!).  This kinda screams rapid mania marketing, which again, does not scream Nostalgia.  Why would this find its way on our list?

Band as seen on Zach here.  See if you can spot
the band in other pictures on our blog.  Wow, an
interactive of an interactive... meta!
Two reasons.  One, they are pretty cool, and they are quite fun to use (can't remember having to fish out all my cards for the different functions in the past).  And two, and much more important, these are the things that really get you psyched for your trip.  When these bad boys come in the mail, you know you are getting close.  It's like the first snow or the first time you hear Christmas music in the season.  Either you are a Scrooge and are immediately turned off by the prospect of spending the next two months in anticipation for the magic of Christmas, or you are all abuzz.  Well, with a WDW trip, the Scrooges have self-selected themselves out... the last place someone who hates magic would go to is WDW.  So, essentially everyone starts feeling the buzz when those come in.

And, there you have it.  That's why they make the improbable jump and make it on the list.

We are almost done with our first 10 items and a ways still from the big ones.  Our next stop is our last Snack Restaurant (if you've been reading carefully, you should know what park it is from).

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