Now Disney Can Track Your Every Move with NSA-Style Wristbands

Big Brother's got mouse ears

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Yoshikazu Tsuno / AFP / Getty Images

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.

158 comments
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ScottShaw
ScottShaw

I know this is old information, but I would expect more from TIME! You people are complete morons, and you did absolutely no research into what these bands actually do!

CharlotteBirch
CharlotteBirch

I have no doubt that Disney supplies the fingerprints to the government in exchange for trade-offs -- for instance, cell phones mysteriously don't ring in WDW.  It's actually an ingenious ploy:  Where's the one place in the world visited by most people? And the fingerprints are collected voluntarily. What's frightening is how many people are willing to undergo the same process to enter an amusement park as they would to be socked into a Turkish prison -- and to put their innocent children's fingerprints on file in perpetuity.  Americans are so pathetic.....

CheyenneRose
CheyenneRose

I am excited about using the magic bands for my trip in May.I could care less if Disney wants to track me or not.Its not like I am doing anything I don't want them to see.Who cares if they know what rides I went on or where I had lunch.Any where you go now days has cameras they are watching you evan if they don't give you a magic band.If you pass out cold on the ground a least they will know who and where you are.I say who cares I have nothing to hide and could less.

mtoy024
mtoy024

Some of the information on here isn't even accurate! There is no option for characters to use children's name. Goofy doesn't event talk! If you can't see the person's face, they can't talk. Nice job fact checking!

MarkBroadworth
MarkBroadworth

The idea of a middle-aged pedophile dressed up as a mouse knowing the whereabouts and all personal information of my children is more than slightly disturbing to me...

teedo757
teedo757

I love the Magic Bands. I used them at Disney 2 months ago and enjoyed not needing to carry a keycard in my wallet, especially down to the pool. They work at all the stores and snack shops and were great to use since we had a meal plan. They appear to be RFID as you need to hold them directly to the receivers in order for them to operate....not that a more powerful receiver couldn't track you as you walk by certain areas of the parks. Overall it made my experience better and no creepy characters came up and said happy bday to me when I was there so I'm sure your safe. If you are worried about tracking then you better dump your smartphone and go off the grid.

hooverbagel
hooverbagel

Post NSA, everything is so much more scary!


How is this any more creepy than being watched on CCTV the entire time you're at Disney, or having your purchasing habits with a credit card being analyzed? Disney has always been creepy, but you'd expect that a company trying to sell you an experience would track your every move and try to figure you out.


This story has nothing to do with the NSA revelations, and your idiotic fear mongering and click-baiting actually takes attention away from what is actually scary about the NSA--dragnet surveillance of Americans who are going about their lives while NOT at a corporate controlled, walled citystate. 



JoshuaGlowzinski
JoshuaGlowzinski

What is with people having such a problem with the NSA thing?  haha I mean, it is not like they stop you from doing anything.  They do not care if a guy and lady go and buy two scooby doo outfits and then go to a sex shop.  They are interested in the guy buying a thousand pounds of C4.  Disney will use those bands to help improve your visit.  Imagine, they get the age and sex of one visitor.  They see what they like the most and visit the most.  Then, when someone of the same age, sex and likeness come to the park, they can give them a detailed list of the things they think they will like, based off of the information they get from a like visitor.  How is that a bad thing?  I mean, you don't think they have cameras at every single inch of that place, that can track you anyway?  Eagle Eye anyone?  I am 28 and no nothing about the government.  I do not watch the news or care about people smoking crack and doing whatever.  If I did, I guess I would have more of an opinion about the entire thing.  But coming form an average 28 year old guy, just relax.  It is not like you are required to use the thing.  It simple helps the company better YOUR time at the resort.  I would love to have one.  I have been wanting to take a trip to Disney since I watched the Christmas day parade.  haha

JaniceSmith
JaniceSmith

The magic bands do change how many Disney fans will approach using the parks.  For one thing you will not be able to get on as many rides as you did in the pre-magic bands days(unless there in a slow season).  The bands only allow 3 fast passes per day and at most parks, only one premium ride. It is an anti-park hopper system since you can only get the 3 fast passes for one park per day. Disney now has a reason to track the guests -- more time for guest to visit the monotonous shops.



I used to visit WDW a lot, but I may change my travel plans in the future.  Magic bands were okay but limiting on my last trip.

eaglejuan07
eaglejuan07

@JaniceSmith The magic bands have the extra option called Fast Pass + in addition to the traditional Fast Pass services. Disney is trying this new option and I guess that is why it is limited to 3 FastPass+ per day.


What  I noticed on several online videos is that when entering a park you scan the bands and then place your fingerprint for verification.  Maybe next year they will come up with a blood identification system, lol.  

d.mackay1
d.mackay1

Can only pre-book 3 FASTPASS+ attractions per day but once all three are used you can book more, one at a time (just like old system) , assuming there are slots still available (just like old system).

metalijojo
metalijojo

I think the fuss about being "tracked" at Disney is nothing but nonsense. You tell me, what is wrong with Disney trying to find out what makes their customers tick? Isn't that the cornerstone of any customer based industry? What's wrong with Disney using the technology to track crowds in the park and realloate staff and resourses to the busier areas? Isnt't that what a good resort should do for their customers to be happy and satisfied? If you don't like, stay home; this solves a few problems:

1) Those of us who aren't so paranoid don't have to listen to you

2) The fewer people in the parks, the shorter the lines

I would, however, be winning to bet that at least 85% of those who are paranoid about Walt's kin spying on them, have the GPS on their phones turned on right now...just saying!

solon.benjamin1959
solon.benjamin1959

" so Goofy can walk up to a child and say something like, “Hi Bobby. Happy birthday.” Pretty creepy.  "

Tell a little child it's creepy, or the parent that loves him, it's creepy. Many take their children to Disney World, as a lifelong remembrance of family fun. To a criminal or someone that fears life, I guess it's creepy... to a sane person, it's a wristband which adds more sparkle to a little child's eye while they visit Disney World

DonMcCoy
DonMcCoy

I've actually always felt like Disney is a little creepy with the enforced happiness of employees, etc. However, these bands are used IN the park. It helps keep kids from getting lost and molested and murdered. It will probably help them with marketing and future attraction design as well...to make more money, yes, but also to make your visit better. This is a tool. When you leave...throw it away if you're that paranoid. I just don't see the problem.

If you're worried about being tracked, and your movements being followed...you should be more worried about whatever Obama has cooking in the wings...I'm SURE he's looking for more ways to keep an eye on each of us. THATS the tracking that should scare us.