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Saturday, January 26, 2013

Uh-Oh! Disney's MyMagic+? Congress Has Questions

It's not often that Bob Iger, CEO of the Walt Disney Company, makes it twice into this blog within a week but somehow the man has done it. Now he may need to put in a little bit of work to justify that $40 million dollar annual compensation package we reported on a few days ago.

With a lot of fanfare (and press) Disney is rolling out their MyMagic+ (also known as NextGen) initiatives into Walt Disney World this year. It's complicated but beneath it all is the ability for Disney to track almost every movement of one of their resort guests from the time they set foot on the property till the time they leave. Through the use of RFID chips coded in bracelets that get scanned throughout the resort, Disney can slip on hotel room access, credit card information, what you are purchasing, what rides and attractions you are going on, what characters you want to see, what and where you are eating. It's called data mining. This information is then stored and reused as a marketing tool where Disney has the ability to target you based on the accumulated data through mailings, email, and various social media outlets. And this includes the targeting of children. Disney has invested a huge amount of money in the potential of this technology that will better allow them to program resort experiences catered to individual and family preferences.

Disney likes to say that this will allow guests to pre-plan trips through advanced reservations leading to shorter waits in line for rides and attractions, character meet and greets, and the ability to better get you into that restaurant you are dying to try. Congress has a different take. Is this an invasion of privacy? Sure Disney should be allowed to streamline the in park experience of guests but what is the real purpose of this data. If it is used to continually target you in the marketing for all things Disney, then there could be some problems, especially if you are target marketing kids and teenagers.

Below is a link to a pdf of a letter a Massachusetts sent to Disney CEO Walt Disney asking some very blunt and serious question regarding Disney's end game with MyMagic+. It's worth the read.

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