A Wired article back in 2015 states that the Disney Magic Band was created to relieve the stress of luggage logistics, ride efficiencies for guests at the park, room access, and incidentals at the resort and parks. The overall goal to create an easier experience for the visitor and increase capacity. Unfortunately, like many others, my experience with the Bands was not entirely helpful.
Step 1: Monitor Social Media channels for mention of your brand, competitors, products, and keywords related to your business
From Hootsuite’s recommended two-step process Twitter #disneyfail issues can be summed up:
- Planning issues – people don’t know where to start and the website crashes with ensuing chaos trying to book Fastpass rides
- Issues with Magic Band + and logistics while at the park
- The Park lines are still terrible even with the fast pass and limited rides available when FastPass rides are completed
Step 2: Analyze the information that you learn to put into action:
The roll-out of the magic band is an example of prioritizing the “Digital” aspect of Digital Transformation. Without having a comprehensive strategic plan behind the technology (Magic Band) the project is unable to reach its full potential.
Social conversations surrounding website crashes and general confusion of how the planning process comes together highlights the issue. In my experience, if I did not have a friend to explain the fast pass I would have been in trouble. What good are the bands if you are not able to register for fast pass rides?
Don’t Push the Envelope Too Far Too Fast
To make the whole process even more confusing, as of 2021 Magic Bands are not going to be distributed to Resort visitors anymore. “Instead, Disney plans to launch new offerings as part of the My Disney Experience app that will bring features of a MagicBand to smart devices like the Digital Key Feature” (which allows guests to unlock their rooms using their smartphones) (Sheetz, Disney World to Discontinue Magic Bands). With so many issues evident with the Magic Band already, perhaps it’s best to take a step back and focus on the strategy instead of the technology (Westerman, Your Company Doesn’t Need a Digital Strategy). Getting into rooms is not the most pressing issue. Instead of focusing on a business transformation to address the issues with the Magic Band, Disney is focused on using technology without a strategic plan. This will result in similar criticisms and little traction forward.
Thoughts From a Disney Vacationer VIP
Seasoned Disney Vacationers Amy and Kristin agree on the issues. The tier 1 and tier 2 rides for the fast passes and not being able to book more than three at a time provides limited help in the increasingly crowded parks. Both have seen a lot of negative chatter on Social Media correlating the experience at the park as related to one’s ability, knowledge, and time to plan extensively in advance.
Best Practices/Proposed Action
- Use social media monitoring to gather anecdotes and testimonials
- Respond to #disneyfail posts with prompts to help immediate solutions and invite feedback.
- Map the customer experience to get a sense where issues are
- Strategize a solution.
- Digital innovation to alleviate pain points and upsell in the process
The customer journey begins after booking the resort. An ideal plan includes push notifications alerting the user to act and plan at different intervals before the vacation. Providing FAQs and specific times with customer service via video on the app can take the pressure off site crashes. Increasing personalization features can also help to funnel their choices. A personalized excel spreadsheet calendar that the visitor can choose to make as detailed per hour in the day but also lets them see the big picture of the vacation would be a helpful solution.
2020. [online] Available at: <https://blog.hootsuite.com/social-listening-business/> [Accessed 20 September 2020].
Disneyworld.disney.go.com. 2020. What Is A Magicband? | Walt Disney World Resort. [online] Available at: <https://disneyworld.disney.go.com/faq/bands-cards/understanding-magic-band/> [Accessed 20 September 2020].
Hbsp.harvard.edu. 2020. Harvard Business Publishing Education. [online] Available at: <https://hbsp.harvard.edu/download?url=%2Fcourses%2F739334%2Fitems%2FSMR662-PDF-ENG%2Fcontent&metadata=e30%3D> [Accessed 20 September 2020].
Kuang, C., Grey, J., Khanna, P., Ferrari, M., Wood, C., Nield, D., Giordano, M. and Knight, W., 2020. Disney’s $1 Billion Bet On A Magical Wristband. [online] WIRED. Available at: <https://www.wired.com/2015/03/disney-magicband/> [Accessed 20 September 2020].
Morgan, B., 2020. Companies That Failed At Digital Transformation And What We Can Learn From Them. [online] Forbes. Available at: <https://www.forbes.com/sites/blakemorgan/2019/09/30/companies-that-failed-at-digital-transformation-and-what-we-can-learn-from-them/#17011554603c> [Accessed 20 September 2020].
Nytimes.com. 2020. At Disney Parks, A Bracelet Meant To Build Loyalty (And Sales). [online] Available at: <https://www.nytimes.com/2013/01/07/business/media/at-disney-parks-a-bracelet-meant-to-build-loyalty-and-sales.html> [Accessed 20 September 2020].
Sheetz, J., 2020. BREAKING NEWS: Disney World To Discontinue Free Magicbands And Add Functionality To Smartphone App | The Disney Food Blog. [online] the disney food blog. Available at: <https://www.disneyfoodblog.com/2020/06/19/breaking-news-disney-world-to-discontinue-free-magicbands-and-add-functionality-to-smartphone-app/> [Accessed 20 September 2020].
Twitter.com. 2020. Disney Nerd Tips (@Disneynerdtips) On Twitter. [online] Available at: <https://twitter.com/disneynerdtips> [Accessed 20 September 2020].