Guests at Shanghai Disney will use phones, not Magic Bands

Posted Monday, January 11, 2016 9:58 AM | Contributed by Jeff

MagicBands, the colorful electronic bracelets used by millions of customers at Walt Disney Co. resorts in Orlando, Florida, won’t be making it to the company’s newest theme park in China. Guests at the $5.5 billion Shanghai Disney Resort, scheduled to open this spring, will be able to use their mobile devices to enter the park, purchase merchandise and likely access rides and attractions. Visitors in Orlando already do those things with the wristbands, which rolled out in Florida with great fanfare in 2013.

Read more from Bloomberg.

Monday, January 11, 2016 10:02 AM
Jeff's avatar

No shocker there. I was working at SeaWorld Parks when paying with your phone was in development (you can set it up now from your phone), and I remember thinking at the time, as MyMagic was rolling out, "Gosh, why not just use the phones people have?" Mind you, I still wonder what the actual cost of the bands is, and how much they make on the retail variation.

Jeff - Editor - - My Blog - Phrazy

Monday, January 11, 2016 2:09 PM

If they are going to force people to use their phone, then they better set up copious amounts of charging stations. My phone nearly went dead everyday I was at Disney World, and I did not do much surfing or playing games, I pretty much only did pictures, using the Disney app, etc. The current app they have for Disney World is a huge battery hog, would hate for my only way to pay be that phone and then have the battery run out at the end of the night.

2022 Trips: WDW, Sea World San Diego & Orlando, CP, KI, BGW, Bay Beach, Canobie Lake, Universal Orlando

Monday, January 11, 2016 3:08 PM
Jeff's avatar

Do you have iOS or Android? I use the Android problem without issue. What I do think is an issue is the bandwidth available via WiFi when it's busy. It's not good. I think everything on the phone that's chatty, starting with email, struggles to connect. I wouldn't blame the Disney app, in that case. If I find that connectivity is slow at the parks, I turn off WiFi and use cellular. AT&T has micro-cells all over the property, and they're almost always faster than WiFi.

Jeff - Editor - - My Blog - Phrazy

Monday, January 11, 2016 4:10 PM

They don't need charging stations. If you can afford the Disney trip, you can afford a $10 pocket charger if you're worried about your battery draining. And I didn't find the Disney app to be any more of a battery drainer than any other app, especially when the wifi was hitting on all cylinders.

Monday, January 11, 2016 8:25 PM
LostKause's avatar

If I recall correctly, RFID chips are pretty inexpensive nowadays; about ten for a dollar. Add that to the price of manufacturing the actual bands they go in, and I wouldn't be surprised if Magicbands were't less than a dollar each, wholesale price.

But if 50,000 (a totally made up number out of the blue) people per day are using their phones instead of a Magicband, that park saves $50,000 a day.

My numbers are hypothetical and only used for illustration, of course.

Monday, January 11, 2016 8:42 PM
OhioStater's avatar

Out of curiosity, would it matter what type of phone one has? As a Windows phone (Nokia) owner I'm used to getting left out of the party.

And (gasp) what about people without smartphones? They do exist.

Monday, January 11, 2016 8:58 PM
Jeff's avatar

Yeah, I got into WP for free because I worked at the mother ship, got a 920 a little over three years ago, and finally gave up last October. Bought a Nexus 5X because it's "pure" Android that Google updates quickly, and it doesn't have the variations that the manufacturers and carriers add. Super happy with it, even if the OS isn't as nice. I got over it pretty quickly.

Jeff - Editor - - My Blog - Phrazy

Monday, January 11, 2016 10:16 PM

The Shanghai resort is for the chinese domestic market and their cell phones are usually more advanced than ours. So, battery life should not be an issue! Huawei just unveiled a new phone at the CES show for the western market and it has two DAYS of active use battery life and most phones there are that good.

I also figure that you will be able to use WeChat to pay for things as it is the most widely used messaging system in China at the time and it has some interesting options there, like using it like Uber here. When I was in Guangzhou last october, my friend used WeChat to chat with me (Facebook is blocked in China) and to order a driver to take us to Chimelong Paradise. My other friend use it to deliver her Roller Coaster magazine electronically.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016 9:08 PM
ApolloAndy's avatar

When we were in China last summer (Guangzhou as well) we used WeChat a lot. I didn't know it had pay features.

Hobbes: "What's the point of attaching a number to everything you do?"
Calvin: "If your numbers go up, it means you're having more fun."


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