I absolutely agree with you about preferring advertisements in my emails that are geared to my interests. Having said that, there has to be a line drawn somewhere, and I personally am not sure where that "somewhere" is. Some people argue that you have nothing to worry about if you're not doing anything you shouldn't be doing. Ah, but at that point, it becomes a very politically charged issue, doesn't it?
Bottom line, it will be interesting to see where Disney goes with their information gathering. As long as TPI and the rest of us keep an eye on things, we certainly have the power to protest with our dollars if it seems like it is starting to infringe on our privacy.
To truly stay out of the grid, don't access the Internet. Use cash. Stay out of trouble. Don't get photographed. Don't walk outside. Don't have friendships, relationship, or get married. Good luck with that.
If privacy is important, you can't take the advantages that are offered in automation. MyMagic offers a easy way to have quick and easy transactions. Of course these tranactions can be tracked and you can be marketed. It is best for the customer to take advantage of such marketing with the discounts being offered. It does "pay to play" in some incidences.
The fact is, there isn't a single entertainment company that hasn't been tracking it's guests in the past 20 years. The difference is, the magic band allows connections and context. Now, instead of just knowing that most people move counterclockwise around a park, they can see what time those guests get to the park, which order they visit attractions and how long it takes to get through a series of attractions. It can also help take the guess work out of food service. Disney already knows what types of food guests want (unfortunately bland and fried) but maybe now they see how different types of guests are purchasing food and better meet the unique needs of solo guests, couples, families, and large groups rather than just shoveling fries and burgers down our gullets.
All in all I think the hype about the dangers to guest privacy are ridiculous. After all, you are on Disney property, buying Disney merchandise, riding Disney rides, and sleeping in Disney beds. If you don't want to be tracked just don't go. It's not really public in the same way as if the government tracked your behaviors on the street or in your home.
I Respond: And why wouldn't Disney already be able to achieve this via someone's credit card swipes?
I Respond: I'm sorry but your proposing a hypothetical situation where Disney would refuse to take money from someone?
Um ... (chuckle) ... okay.
So yeah, there are situations where the big bad capitalists do turn down taking money.
Okay, there is ONE situation. Fine :p.
Can anyone say how long USO keeps your fingerprint on file?
I Respond: Dude, I know a guy who got so hammered at EPCOT that we took him out of the park in a wheelchair.
Personally, I went to the Blue Lagoon Spa in Iceland about ten years or so ago when a group of friends and I went to a wedding in England, and flew Iceland Air because it was cheapest and offered us a layover in Rekyjavik where we could go to this spa for a few hours.
The spa had something like "Magic Bands". We got there, checked in, and each of us got a rubber wrist band (exactly the way Magic Bands work) to wear for the duration of our stay at Blue Lagoo spa. The band was used to open doors (instead of any keys) and I could order food and drink or anything I wanted by pressing my wrist band to a sensor at the register. When I got to the locker room, I touched the band to a locker, opened it, stored my things...and the locker would not open until I touched by band to it again! Only my band would open the locker I chose.
There were several areas of the spa that you had to pay extra for. I can't remember what they were, but they had like three packages available and we did not choose the most expensive one. So, some doors to special areas would open with our bands and some would not (the ones we did not pay for). It was a wonderful system. I didn't have to carry my purse with me all day...and I could just enjoy going into the Blue Lagoon water, relaxing a bit, then coming out and heading over to get a snack or go to my massage appointment (which I also checked in for and paid for with my band).
That was ten years ago. I've been waiting to see something like this in the US since then. It took Disney to bring it here...but I bet everyone else will follow since the system was so easy to use.
I never once thought about anyone trying to steal my identity with my band in Iceland...though I was just so in awe of the technology and magic of it all that I just couldn't stop smiling from how cool it was to use the thing.
AND, yes, it did make me spend more than I probably would have if I had to take my card out of my pocketbook to pay for things. I indulged in a few drinks and treats I probably would not have gotten...and I bought a few more souvenirs than I would have if it had not been so easy to use the band. Mentally, I am thriftiest when using cash because I can see the cash being depleted in my pocket. I can go a little nuts with my credit card, but physically taking it out and handing it to the cashier makes me think about how close I am to my limit and how long it will take to pay it off. But using those bands I just felt like I was using magic to pay for things...and I splurged.
I bet people are going to find them amazing and fun to use in Florida, too. Not sure how long before the novelty wears off. But, they really were super cool.
One portion that seems to have gone away (and I thought was the most valid question) is the child privacy question. Granted, I am not worried about that aspect, but I felt at least that concern had some legs.
I really don't care if theme parks know my habits. I would think they were fools if they don't already :)
I like my privacy, but if I choose to go to Disney, and they want to track my riding and buying habits, that's ok with me as long as it improves my experience in the parks.
Really, if you think about it, the data gleaned from the system is not much different from the posts you make on this site. Disney is listening. It may not be the message that you want to send to them, since you can't filter it, but it is still usable data.
There has been much said about Disney's NextGen/MagicBands, by myself as well as many others like Robert, and it will probably continue for at least another six months or so as they roll out the program at WDW.
I like the idea of them offering tailored ads before and after my trip to entice me to spend more, or even come back. Although, they've already had the information to do this in the past, and they seem to be using it more frequently over the last few years as I've begun getting emails announcing special offers, which I'm really okay with. I can't say any of them have enticed us to return prior to our planned next trip, but it's still enjoyable seeing them.
I think the tactic of using the data to stop a guest from buying too many drinks is probably a bit far-fetched, and I can't really see them using it, although they could as pointed out. I would imagine seeing them using data like that to get a better picture of which guests are drinking which beverages, and maybe tailor the offerings depending on groups that might be visiting.
One of the things I wrote on my blog was their ability to determine exactly how many guests from a specific resort or from all resorts were in the parks at a given time. With this data, they could many things. Most notably, at closing time, they could stage the exact number of busses needed to get those guests back to their resort. They could also use this data to provide guests with feedback who were maybe late leaving their resort and wanted to know which park was least crowded. That's kind of wishful thinking, but, I think it would be great to see, particularly, if you took a mid-day break, then planned to return to a park for the evening. I say it's wishful because, technically, they already have this information, but don't give it out.
Something else they could do with guest information, particularly if you've been many times, or offered them a full profile of your party, would be customized touring plans. For example, if you have small children, they could theoretically provide you with a pre-planned day with FastPasses to attractions based on your groups preferences and/or favorite attractions from past visits and advanced seating for shows and times tailored to your party and touring style. This is where I think the program has the potential to shine in that it can actually help them better manage crowd flow, if used in a smart way using advanced planning methods.
Those are just a few of my thoughts on it. Overall, I don't have any issue whatsoever with them using my data or even tracking me, so long as it makes for a better experience while I'm there, which I think they have the capability to do.
While the article worries about the possibility of this data tracking being used to deny a guest a drink because of what they've already purchased, the recent incident of a drunk guest assaulting multiple CMs at Epcot leads me to think additional measures to prevent people from being overserved would be in Disney's best interest. They are well within their rights to limit how much alcohol they will sell to an individual guest.