How will Universal's TapuTapu compare with Disney's MagicBand? Which one offers the more useful and convenient accessory for your Orlando theme park vacation? Let's break this down!
Uses: While Disney's MagicBands can be used throughout the Walt Disney World Resort, Universal Orlando's TapuTapu works only within the resort's Volcano Bay park. Disney created the MagicBand to free guests from having to carry wallets or pursues around the resort. With the MagicBand, people staying at a Walt Disney World resort hotel can use the wristband to get into the parks, access Fastpass return queues, pay for meals and souvenirs, and get into their hotel room. With a PhotoPass package, the MagicBand even frees you from the need to carry a cell phone or other camera, as you can have Disney's photographers take your pictures in the park and the MagicBand will ensure those photos end up in your account.
The only major thing that a MagicBand can't do is handle annual passholder discounts. You still need to carry and show your AP card for that.
The TapuTapu, on the other hand, functions mostly as a virtual queueing device. It will tell you when you can return to an attraction, but won't get you into the park or your hotel room. And it's not associated with any credit card or room account, so it can't be used for payment or AP discounts in the park. You'll still need a wallet for that.
Functionality: The MagicBand is essentially an RFID chip that you wear on your wrist. It doesn't broadcast or receive information like a cell phone. It just tells a receiver a unique ID number when it gets close enough for that receiver to detect it. (For example, when you tap it at the front gate or a Fastpass entrance.) Disney's computer systems presumably then look up that number and check it against its ticketing, Fastpass, or PhotoPass systems to see who you are and if you are eligible to do whatever you're trying to do with your MagicBand.
Universal's TapuTapu might have some transmission reception capability, since Universal is saying that the TapuTapu will alert you, wherever you are in the park, when it's your time to return to an attraction. The alternate way the TapuTapu could do this is with an internal timer that just counts off the time the attraction tells the device to wait when you tap in to claim your space in the virtual queue. We don't know which method Universal is using at this point. The TapuTapu also will have the ability to trigger animations and water cannons in the park, so we presume there is some RFID functionality that would trigger those receivers, too.
In order to tell you it's time to return to an attraction, the TapuTapu will have a display screen, unlike the MagicBand. If you want to see your attraction return times while using a MagicBand, you'll need to use the My Disney Experience app, which manages all that account information associated with your Disney vacation. There's no app to use with the TapuTapu.
Cost: Disney's MagicBand is folded into the cost of a Disney hotel stay, so there's no extra charge for on-site hotel guests. It's also provided free of charge to annual passholders. Day guests have to pay to get a MagicBand if they want one, though they can use their admission card to get into the park and Fastpass queues if they don't want to pay for the wearable device. The TapuTapu is folded into the price of Volcano Bay admission, so there's no extra charge to anyone for using it and it appears that it will be a requirement for anyone visiting the park.
Aesthetics: Now we enter the realm of personal taste. The original MagicBand was simply a colored plastic-looking wristband, though the next-generation MagicBand 2.0 modifies the design with an embedded "icon" that gives the wristband a bulge on the top, making it look a bit more watch-like. That functional icon can be removed and placed into a bracelet or other item, giving you a bit more fashion flexibility with the device. The TapuTapu, on the other hand (pun intended — I can't wait to count how many Orlando visitors walk around with a MagicBand and a TapuTapu on either wrist), looks more like a tropical-themed, plastic Apple Watch.
So, again, Disney did not spend $1.5 billion on MagicBands.
The nextgen initiative had to connect 30000 hotel rooms, hundreds of eateries and shops and dozens of attractions onto a new infrastructure and it wasn't going to be cheap.
Not only Steve Jobs thought this was a good idea but so did John Lasseter.
To anonymous posters get your facts and figures straight before sounding off online here or elsewhere.
Now at a water park, a smartphone app is not going to cut it wet-wise, but water parks have been using bands with money storage for years. It was never rocket science, though Tapu obviously does something different. Sounds interesting, we'll see how it works in practice.
I'm not so sure how that will go over though as you know people are going to want to keep them and not pay for the privilege.
Thats SOP wherever I've picked up a Q-Bot device. Don't know why that would be a suprise.
Not sure we're comparing Apples to Apples - Tapu Tapu is an off the shelf solution from Accesso with a few bells added on. Not a unifying solution like a Magic Band.
Information technology is not a core competency of Disney. Other companies do it cheaper, faster and better. Disney should have stuck to its core competencies of entertainment and marketing. Iger himself now admits that in the future, Disney parks will use cell phones instead of Magic Bands: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MyMagic%2B.
Two simple questions: Was Nextgen/MyMagic+/Magic Bands the highest and best use of $1.5 billion? Would Fastpass+ really be necessary, if Disney had spent that $1.5 billion on 15 new E-ticket attractions instead?
You can compare The TapuTapu with the Thamagotchi at 6F Parks, that shorten or eliminate your wait time. Cool Difference: Univeresals Version is FREE and hopely the Future of Theme Parks!
Daniel: What is the 3rd Gate in Anaheim?
This just seems like yet another delay in actually getting to the fun part of your day. Fight I-4/local road trafic to the parking hub, wait in line to pay to park, unload and queue for the tram over to Volcano Bay, go through security check, queue at the turnstiles to scan tickets ... and now potentially having to deal with a guest from each visiting group leaving a deposit for EVERY SINGLE TapuTapu. The lines will be WAY worse than any locker rental line at a water park. Not to mention the bottleneck when having to return them at the end of the day to retrieve your deposit, load back up and queue in what is sure to be a massive line to catch the tram back to the garage ... and for the grand finale, fight traffic to get out of Universal (which is already gridlock at IOA/USF closing without a 3rd park) and battle I-4's and local road's nearly round-the-clock congestion to get back home or to your hotel.
If you go during the summer water park season, what's left of your day when thunderstorms start rolling in at 1 or 2pm???
Any system will allow some people to get good at it and some to not use it. Certainly, people continue to show up at the gates, and that is good for them. Not all guests care to ride as many attractions as my family does, but I think WDW is letting things get out of hand. Another solution along with a revamp is a fifth gate. Really, the perfect world for them would be like Universal but make it free if you stay on site, but that will never happen due to scale. They need to do something, though. Those eight hour waits just to get into Hogsmeade? That will be nothing compared to Star Wars. And imagine how upset people will be when they spend thousands to go to Orlando just to experience Star Wars, have a tiered FP+ system, and fly the Han Solo's spaceship once. By the way, I really should register for this site. I think I'll do that now.
Universal is not selling individual tickets just for Volcano Bay just yet.
Due to the limited capacity of Volcano Bay compared to IoA and USF in order to experience VB, currently one must buy a multi day ticket for Universal Orlando.
Honestly I would not be surprised if they never sell single tickets for VB or worst yet, make it exclusive for on site hotel guests and pass holders should ever hotel occupancy rates or passholder sales drops.
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