Disney unveils new MagicBand details

Bracelets make Mickey, attractions address specific guests

ORLANDO, Fla. - Mickey Mouse will soon be able to talk to guests and know their names, and attractions will also be able to acknowledge specific guests, according to the chairman for Disney Parks and Resorts.

Tom Staggs unveiled new details about the "MagicBand" project while speaking Wednesday at the All Things D conference.

Local 6 has previously reported the Bluetooth and RF wristbands will primarily be used to store important guest information and allow guests to open hotel rooms, use FastPass and make purchases by scanning the bracelet.

On Wednesday, Staggs revealed that the MagicBand will allow the park to cater rides to specific guests.

"You're there and it's your son's birthday," Staggs said. "We have a way through some of the attractions to acknowledge that it is your son's birthday."

Through the bracelet's Bluetooth connection, an attraction will know a certain guest has boarded and can tap into the information stored in the bracelet -- like a child's birthday. Staggs says park workers will eventually install "moveable pieces" on rides -- like "It's a Small World" and "Pirates of the Caribbean" -- that will allow the ride to interact and acknowledge specific guests or events.

Staggs also revealed that park workers are creating technology to allow Mickey Mouse to do something he has never done at Disney's parks.

"(The technology) allows Mickey, whose mouth in the park has been static forever, to now speak," Staggs said.

Through the information stored in the wristband, Mickey would not only be able to talk to guests, but he would address each guest by his or her name. However, guests would have to "opt in" and allow the park to access their names.

Staggs also told the audience that parents will be able to give their children an "allowance" to spend at the park that can be stored in the MagicBand. Parents can also elect to stop the wristband from making any purchases.

When asked about the potential for using MagicBands outside Disney parks, Staggs hinted the bracelet could be used when seeing Disney movies or playing Disney games. However, he would not go into further detail about those projects.

The new system comes with some privacy concerns.

"Anything that is going to make the experience more fun for the kids, I'd be all about that, but like anything else you have to draw the line, says Gene Hall.

Hall and his wife, Christy, say they would use the new bands, with there three young kids the next time they visit Disney from Indiana. However, the Halls say they are leery about just how much of that personal information Disney will keep.

 The Halls also say they would be reluctant to use the feature allowing park guest to put money on the bands, for their children to make purchases without adult supervision.

 "That's kind of scary if kids can spend without us being there," said Christy Hall.

 "When we travel around the parks, I carry all the tickets and Fast Passes. I'm the gate keeper so no one can loose those things," said Gene Hall.

Disney says they can quickly deactivate the codes inside the bands if they are lost, to avoid fradulant charges.

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