With all of the talk about Disney’s “MyMagic+“ and the upcoming roll out of the “Magicbands” one device has been quietly helping Disney with a trial at the entrances to it’s theme parks – the iPod touch.
Walt Disney World has started to eliminate their turnstiles at the entrances to their theme parks and guests are now greeted with cast members holding iPod touches. It’s a move to make it a more welcoming and seamless experience when entering the parks. For the trial cast members are using Apple’s IOS iPod touch with a special accessory case and software that allows tickets and passes to be scanned. In addition to preparing for the eventual changeover from tickets to the “Magicband” and “MyMagic+” system, Disney hopes it makes for a more welcoming way to get into the parks.
For the time being half of the turnstiles at the Walt Disney World theme parks remain in place, while the other half have been converted to accept RFID sensors – the technology that allows the “Magicband” to work. “Magicbands” will eventually contain everything a guest will need on their Disney vacation; their room key, park pass, fastpass card and even a way to make purchases on site.
Disney’s collaboration with Apple technology is not new. Last year Disney starting using iPads as part of a test pilot for their Fastpass system at the Magic Kingdom. Disney has also launched the “My Disney Experience” apps for both the iPhone and iPad, which offers interactive Walt Disney World maps, wait times, and the ability to view, make and change your reservations.
The Walt Disney Company and Apple have had a close relationship for years. Apple co-founder Steve Jobs helped start up the movie studio Pixar prior to the Disney buyout. In 2011 Disney CEO Bob Iger joined the Apple Board of Directors and worked closely with Steve Jobs to bring Disney media content to iTunes.