When you last visited Disney World, did you use a MagicBand as you traveled throughout the parks? Disney hotel guests are automatically given a MagicBand for their visit, but the “old-fashioned” hotel key card is always still an option. MagicBands are marketed as helping visitors have a more magical vacation — from FastPass ride access to facilitating purchases (you can tie your credit card to it) and collecting photos taken by Disney’s photography team. You can even access your hotel room using the bands. As an extra security measure, Disney requires the use of fingerprint or pin code to verify your identity.
We frequently hear of new instances where companies are found to be using personal data in ways individuals never anticipated or didn’t know was happening. Disney’s MagicBands are governed by six policies on the MagicBand’s Privacy + Legal page.
The six FAQ pages explain the different features these bands integrate with, and provide a different lens to view the FAQ pages through. In an era of privacy where consent and notice is at the forefront (GDPR anyone?), a tangleweb of legal jargon for visitors to navigate does not line up with the visitor-first, “Happiest Place on Earth” mentality that Disney seeks to project.
I know companies frequently try to brush past certain types of data collection or tracking in the hopes that their consumers or visitors never notice, and it’s absolutely true that these MagicBands provide visitors with convenience and ease. However, Disney needs to be upfront about how they’re using their guests data or they run the risk of tarnishing their perfect reputation.