Augmented reality solutions are becoming more of a household name, and numerous businesses are using the technology to enhance customer experience by making normal mundane activities more interactive. For example, augmented reality in museums is bringing the oldest of artifacts to life. In this SmartReality Tech Find, we’ll take a look at how Disney World is using augmented reality to make the “Disney experience” even more magical for millions of visitors.
Disney Imagineers have outdone themselves by developing “MagicBands”, which connect visitors to technology all over the park. Some of the features include allowing the guest to “simply set an agenda and let everything else flow around what you’ve selected” and quickly pay for souvenirs or meals by swiping their wristbands in front of check out sensors. Which of course is adorned with a Mickey Mouse symbol. They can even load their fast passes, a way to reserve a time to board an attraction, on the band and allow Disney to pinpoint their location to see how close they are to the ride. “It lets people’s vacations unfold naturally”, according to Tom Staggs, chief operating officer of the Walt Disney Company.
For example, If you go to the Be Our Guest Restaurant while visiting the Magic Kingdom amusement park, the Disney World app allows you to reserve a table and pre-order your food. The restaurant is set up to cooperate with your wristband, using GPS technology along with radios in the tables and ceilings, to inform the waitstaff of your arrival. They automatically know who you are, where you are sitting and what you ordered before you set foot in the restaurant. This is all able to happen because the MagicBand “communicates” to the technology in the restaurant, informing the staff (also called “cast members”) through ipads and iphones.
“For Disney, the MagicBands, the thousands of sensors they talk with, and the 100 systems linked together to create MyMagicPlus turn the park into a giant computer—streaming real-time data about where guests are, what they’re doing, and what they want. It’s designed to anticipate your desires.”
Disney has kept the design and innovation behind the new technology underwraps to exhibit more secrecy and magic. The project began back in 2008, started test runs in 2013, and is in full blown implementation today. Apparently, sports leagues and airlines have already contacted Disney World about its augmented reality technology. It’s hard to imagine a world where everything we want to experience is stored in a wristband that communicates with our surrounding environment, but that’s the magic of Walt Disney World.