Park of the Week: Islands of Adventure

Disney World Takes Another Step toward Interactivity with StoryMaker

March 10, 2016, 12:22 PM · Walt Disney World has rolled out its latest installation of its "StoryMaker" interactive system. This time, it's a personalized farewell on It's a Small World.

Think of StoryMaker as the content part of Disney's MyMagic+ system. When you're wearing a MagicBand in the park, StoryMaker interactive elements can "read" your MagicBand as you pass a trigger point, then look up whatever information associated with your MagicBand that it is programmed to access (such as your name). Then the interactive element can react, based on that information about you.

The Small World installation is the simplest type of response, displaying riders' names on a screen as they float past. While MagicBands eliminate the need for riders to do anything other than be present to trigger the reaction, other parks have used this type of interactivity in their rides before... with rider input. Think of the way that Spaceship Earth takes your photo, the incorporates it into an animated display at the end of the ride, based upon your answers to various questions on its touch screen, for an example.

More than a quarter-century ago, Universal programmed its E.T. animatronic to say goodbye to visitors on E.T. Adventure, though riders had to give their name to a team member in the queue, then carry a "passport card" and give it over to be scanned by the team member at load, for that effect to work. And allowing people to tell team members their name, as opposed to pulling it from a hotel registration record, has led to all sorts of fun mischief over the years...

Insiders expect Disney's StoryMaker system to play a much more elaborate and prominent role in major upcoming Disney developments, such as Pandora: The World of Avatar and Star Wars Land.

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Replies (19)

March 10, 2016 at 5:26 PM · So happy that Disney decided to spend $1.5 billion on mymagic+, instead of using that $1.5 billion to build U.S. versions of Mystic Manor, Journey to the Center of the Earth, Ratatouille, etc, etc, etc.
March 10, 2016 at 5:31 PM · That only took 3 years.
March 10, 2016 at 6:41 PM · I'm sure the digital TV blends in great with a ride made in the 60s and is great for the theme. I would rather have a cell phone game where you get points for shooting the dolls
March 10, 2016 at 7:17 PM · And lame...
March 10, 2016 at 7:45 PM · "Say my name, say my name" as the song says. Boring. They need to do something different. Privacy concerns means they shouldn't say your name. Instead, they should know what you want.
March 11, 2016 at 3:41 AM · If you think that displaying someone's first name to 16-20 strangers on a theme park ride is a privacy violation, real life on the outside must be terrifying. Unless you're a cash-only person, every single retail cashier is going to know your full name every time you buy something.

This certainly wouldn't bother me. Of course, I also post on here using my real name.

March 11, 2016 at 5:21 AM · You know what bothers me? This.
I don't know... its just, if it ain't broke why fix it?
Fix the broken stuff!!Remember that really cool INTERACTIVE element on ToT that took your picture and showed you in the eye in the Fifth Dimension room? Is it too much to ask that that works once in a while?

(I did type my mini-rant while cracking up at 'Bye Felicia')

March 11, 2016 at 6:52 AM · @Alex: I gather you're not terrified and since a cashier knows your full name, everyone in the store should know it too. That's the faulty logic you bring. I never thought that having a MagicBand means I share my personal information with everyone around me. This isn't about being scared. What's so scary about people taking that information and doing nefarious things with it. Maybe a lot, but I would be concerned just the same. A stranger knowing my kid's name is terrifying BTW.
March 11, 2016 at 9:05 AM · I have yet to experience Magicbands but isn't it true you can opt out of information sharing? Not that it's probably easy to figure out.
March 11, 2016 at 11:25 AM · Eisner made a mistake overspending in Disneyland Paris, where Disney is not appreciated, and underspending in California Adventure, where Disney IS appreciated.

Iger made a mistake overspending on My Magic Plus, as most people don't think it was necessary, and overspending on Shanghai, when the Chinese economy is falling, but we'll see when it opens in June. I hope Staggs or whoever is Iger's successor can learn from both his predecessors.

March 11, 2016 at 1:53 PM · Not faulty logic. It really wouldn't bother me even a tiny bit if everyone in a retail store or even a theme park knew my first name. As far as I'm concerned, there is literally nothing nefarious that can be done with someone's first name.

I don't see an issue with children's first names, either. The only way a problem would arise is if you haven't taught them "not to talk to strangers" and/or you let them out of your site.

March 11, 2016 at 2:11 PM · By the way, it took me about 3 minutes on the WDW website to figure out how to effectively "opt-out" of these enhancements. Visit the "Help" tab and click on "Privacy & Legal" under "MyMagic+".

If you don't want anyone knowing who you are, simply don't use a MagicBand. You can still get Fast Passes using a standard card. It's the MagicBand that connects to long-range readers to customize the ride or automatically save on-ride photos.

March 11, 2016 at 2:58 PM · @Alex: In your first post, you said the retail store would know your full name. Yes, they would know your full name, first and last.

Disney could just use your first name on a ride, but they obviously have the technology to use your full name or any other personal data that's in their database.

Of course, you can opt out of using MagicBands, but why can't they just respect the wishes of their customers. The default should be personal data should not be used until you opt in.

It's nice to say you can avoid using the MagicBand. That's beside the point since you must create an account to use the services to reserve Fastpass+ and Photopass. They know who you are. Nice, you recommend using standard cards that are clearly "radio frequency technology-enabled cards". They know where you are and who you are to "and deliver personalized moments". You can't opt out of receiving these messages.

You said "Guests participating in MyMagic+ always have the option to use a card instead of a MagicBand."

You see the card is the opt out. You have to trust the card is just a card, but it is RF enabled. Maybe you should buy a shielded wallet as the only protection.

From My Disney Experience FAQ, "Guests can keep their MagicBand or RF Card after their vacation and may use it on a return visit to the Resort." These are the only options.

As for protection for kids in the FAQ, "We will not use information collected in connection with MyMagic+ to personalize or target advertising to children under age 13."

Minors between 14 and 17 have no protections. How comforting.

March 12, 2016 at 11:45 AM · Sounds like you are worried about a lot of "what ifs" here. Unless you're Madonna or Cher, Disney isn't going to display anyone's full name on a ride. It's never going to happen.

You're conveniently ignoring the fact that a MagicBand is powered by a battery and the card is not. Only MagicBand's connect to the long-range devices used in attractions. A card in a pocket isn't going to work unless you climb out of the ride vehicle and physically touch it to the RFID device. No need to purchase any special wallet.

Millions of guests don't have a problem with giving Disney this information. What you see as an invasion of privacy others see as a fun enhancement. If this makes you uncomfortable, perhaps you need to stop visiting WDW.

March 12, 2016 at 5:03 PM · @Alex. The what ifs are coming from you. I said for privacy reasons, permission to so such things should come from you and the degree that it happens. It is boring and it has no impact on my visit. You have no idea about the extent of the reach of RF cards. That's a shame. Disney hasn't really discussed it because its a trade secret. Your assurances mean nothing. You already said I can opt out, which is clearly false. There's no opt out. At minimum, kids should be protected, but Disney doesn't protect them either.

You say millions don't have a problem giving out information. That's a different argument. Just grin and bear it, right? Stop visiting? You're telling me that's my option? Disney should not give out personal information regardless.

March 12, 2016 at 9:07 PM · This is getting tiresome. Disney is not giving out personal information. It's just a first name displayed on a screen.

Personally, I don't patronize businesses that I don't trust. As a current Annual Passholder and a former WDW Cast Member (who actually worked on the first phase of MyMagic+), I trust Disney.

It seems as if you don't trust Disney. If that's the case, I reiterate my recommendation: stop patronizing Disney.

I'm done. There's no need to continue as I feel like I'm repeating myself.

March 13, 2016 at 3:02 PM · First name IS personal information. You've been consistently misleading and patronizing. Your advice is unsolicited so you're wasting your time offering it twice. Your recommendation is nonsense coming from a former CM, which makes it worse.
March 13, 2016 at 4:14 PM · FACT: Customer feedback on the My Magic+ system has been very positive.

As someone who used it, it really makes your day better in every way. While some may not like their name 'first name' begin displayed they have can opt out of the feature with simple taps. For those that want to experience 'waiting in line' they can bypass the utilizing the app.

Research has shown that the personalized aspects must offer more than first name greetings. And those updates to the software are in various stages of development.

Technology carries a significant cost and almost always comes with delays, obstacles, etc. Just look at the annual issues Apple has with its smart products. No one chronically complains because they know, within a few months, updates will be issued. The same has been occurring with Disney's My Magic + System.

March 14, 2016 at 4:56 AM · One step away from walking past a digital billboard in Fantasyland and seeing it change to: "Hey [INSERT FIRST NAME ONLY HERE]! It's been four hours since you last ate, why not pop in to Be Our Guest Counter service? We have a table ready for you!!"

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