Disney says MyMagic+ lifts per cap spending

Posted Monday, July 15, 2013 8:49 PM | Contributed by Jeff

Electronic wristbands tested at Walt Disney Co. (DIS)’s Florida resort succeeded in boosting spending by guests, parks division Chairman Thomas Staggs said. The bands were tested by 1,000 people at Walt Disney World in Florida, Staggs said in an interview at Allen & Co.’s annual conference in Sun Valley, Idaho, without offering details. Guests spent more on average in part because they had fun with the technology, he said.

Read more from Bloomberg.

Monday, July 15, 2013 9:11 PM
rollergator's avatar

...and in part because they found "value" in the new technology...

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Monday, July 15, 2013 10:13 PM
Jeff's avatar

I still don't buy the reports that the company spent something like a billion dollars on the system. If they did, that's the most massive IT overspend in history.


Jeff - Webmaster/Editor - CoasterBuzz.com - My Blog - Twitter - Video

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Saturday, July 20, 2013 10:11 AM

Jeff said:

I still don't buy the reports that the company spent something like a billion dollars on the system. If they did, that's the most massive IT overspend in history.

They didn't...they're close to double that. Of course, that's for the entire NextGen system including infrastructure upgrades (like running fiber upgrades all around the parks and resorts, adding hundreds or thousands of WAPs to the resorts and parks, etc.), and its looking like they'll blow through $2 billion as well.

Also, this was a small test where participants were actively encouraged to buy and told they should as part of the testing aspect. We'll see how that holds up when everyone is using them and they're no longer being told "Buy stuff often to help us make sure it works." That and its the new shiny. The new toy effect will wear off.


Original BlueStreak64

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Saturday, July 20, 2013 9:16 PM
Jeff's avatar

That's still too much. The hardware upgrades around the parks aren't going to cost that much. If they're spending that kind of cash, they're doing it wrong. I can say from experience that's too much.


Jeff - Webmaster/Editor - CoasterBuzz.com - My Blog - Twitter - Video

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Saturday, July 20, 2013 10:16 PM

NextGen may have required a complete rewrite/replacement of the existing IT systems for tickets and hotel reservations.

Disney has had a severe system limitation in the way tickets are tracked that prevented them from connecting annual passes to hotel stays. So you fumbled with 2 cards per person, a paper annual pass, and the hard room key. Need a fastpass, find those annual passes. Oh, wait, room charge, dining, or proof for extra magic hours, fish out the room key.

Disney told Annual Passholders and DVC members they would get MyMagic+ including having a single wristband or RFID card for everything.

There have been a number of scheduled outages where they were unable to take reservations from late 2010 thru 2012, including a gaff that gave people on the dining plan extra days worth of meals during our trip in November 2010, and a botched upgrade in early 2012 that left a bunch of people sitting in the lobby of the Contemporary for 4-5 hours unable to check-in.

Not sure it is $2B worth, but Disney had a lot of technical debt to pay.

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Monday, July 22, 2013 10:04 AM
Jeff's avatar

I saw the new ticketing stuff in progress at the Epcot and MK gates this weekend. They're really awesome and non-cluttered compared to the turnstiles. You put your card up to the sphere, finger on the scanner, and the sphere has pretty swirling lights and then turns green.

What's surprising is the massive upheaval of the entrance plazas for rewiring.


Jeff - Webmaster/Editor - CoasterBuzz.com - My Blog - Twitter - Video

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Monday, July 22, 2013 5:41 PM

Oh, yeah.... I like what we've seen of the new system. We had an RFID room key for Old Key West in January, and Beach back in May. We also had our annual passes converted to the RFID hard cards during the May trip.

I wonder how long the room keys will keep the magnetic stripe on the back. In January, while it was just a tap to get in our room, most other things we did required a swipe.

I imagine it won't last much longer, but in May it didn't seem there were many people with the newer tickets, so the entrance gate lines were always shorter for the newer gates.

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Monday, July 22, 2013 9:03 PM

Unless the wristband system was just the first technology that required the complete overhaul of all the parks data infrastructure....so the complete overhaul now allows the wristband, and will support all current and future park data infrastructure - cost 2 billion. Pure speculation, but it would make more sense then to me.

Or maybe they can burn money like that!

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Monday, July 22, 2013 9:23 PM
Jeff's avatar

I've actually learned some other things that add context (from people who probably wouldn't want me to repeat it), but even with that context, it still seems like an overspend to me to an extent. I suppose some of it you can chalk up to a lot of custom hardware. Those custom reader half-spheres with the Mickey ears on them I assume were not cheap.


Jeff - Webmaster/Editor - CoasterBuzz.com - My Blog - Twitter - Video

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Wednesday, August 21, 2013 9:12 AM
Jeff's avatar

Not to bring back the dead, but I've been networking with a lot of contractors lately who absolutely insist that this was the worst IT overspend ever. Enormous waste spiraling out of control. Sounds like a poorly managed project from start to finish. What could have been done with logical, small teams was spread across a ton of external consultants and what not. A lot of people made a lot of money from this, it would seem.


Jeff - Webmaster/Editor - CoasterBuzz.com - My Blog - Twitter - Video

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Thursday, August 22, 2013 6:52 PM
slithernoggin's avatar

From what I know of WDW, both from various things read online and from knowing people who did or do work there, a poorly managed project involving far too many consultants with costs out of control would be very consistent with how WDW tends to operate.


Time flies like an arrow. Fruit flies like a banana.
-- Groucho Marx

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