Families planning trips to one of Disney’s theme parks can now get waterproof rubber wristbands embedded with computer chips in lieu of paper tickets. When scanned, the bands can act as a park entry ticket, a FastPass, a hotel room key and a credit card. The “Magic Bands” — which are currently optional — are part of a new MyMagic+ “vacation management system” that can track guests as they move throughout the park.
Efficient? Perhaps. But post-Snowden, some worry that Magic Bands are nothing more than NSA-esque tracking devices. The MyMagic+ system is designed to track users’ purchasing habits, and if parents agree to certain settings, employees playing characters in the park can use hidden sensors to track children and their information; so Goofy can walk up to a child and say something like, “Hi Bobby. Happy birthday.” Pretty creepy. Plus, others worry that someone might be able to hack your band and thus access your hotel room and credit card.
Massachusetts Rep Ed Markey publicly criticized the bands after they were announced last year, saying that he worried that the new tickets invade the privacy of millions of children. Disney’s CEO, Bob Iger, responded by calling Markey’s statements “ludicrous” and “ill-informed.”
Disney fanatics, for their part, can’t wait to get their hands on the devices.