Disney's Magic Band is a good example of where the future of smartphones is headed. The unassuming-looking wristband appears to be just a fancy way to select your rides, but the reality is that the device — coupled with computers and sensors scattered throughout the park — ensure visitors have a smooth, enjoyable experience, free of unnecessary delays. In a way, everything appears to works "just like magic."
Part of the trick lies in the clever way Disney teaches you to use them—and, by extension, how to use the park. It begins when you book your ticket online and pick your favorite rides. Disney’s servers crunch your preferences, then neatly package them into an itinerary calculated to keep the route between stops from being a slog—or a frustrating zig-zag back and forth across the park. Then, in the weeks before your trip, the wristband arrives in the mail, etched with your name—I’m yours, try me on. For kids, the MagicBand is akin to a Christmas present tucked under the tree, perfumed with the spice of anticipation. For parents, it’s a modest kind of superpower that wields access to the park.
Every new experience with technology gently nudges our notions of what we’re comfortable with.
If you sign up in advance for the so-called “Magical Express,” the MagicBand replaces all of the details and hassles of paper once you touch-down in Orlando. Express users can board a park-bound shuttle, and check into the hotel. They don’t have to mind their luggage, because each piece gets tagged at your home airport, so that it can follow you to your hotel, then your room. Once you arrive at the park, there are no tickets to hand over. Just tap your MagicBand at the gate and swipe onto the rides you’ve already reserved. If you’ve opted in on the web, the MagicBand is the only thing you need.
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