Electronic wristbands tested at Walt Disney Co. (DIS:US)’s Florida resort succeeded in boosting spending by guests, parks division Chairman Thomas Staggs said.
The bands serve as admission tickets, hotel room keys and credit cards. They were tested by 1,000 people at Walt Disney World in Florida, Staggs said in an interview at Allen & Co.’s annual conference in Sun Valley, Idaho, without offering details. Guests spent more on average in part because they had fun with the technology, he said.
Disney, the world’s largest (DIS:US) theme-park operator, plans additional trials of the technology, called MyMagic+, before expanding throughout Walt Disney World by year-end, Staggs said. The wristbands help with crowd control, reducing the time guests spend in lines by allowing them to book rides and restaurants in advance. They can also schedule special meet-and-greets with characters like Goofy.
“We’re still in test mode,” Staggs said. “It takes some time to get it all rolled out.”
The wristbands link to a customer database, allowing guests to purchase items in Disney World’s hotels, four theme parks and water parks by waving the devices past a sensor. The radio technology speeds transactions, helping customers make their trips more efficient.
Disney will also use MyMagic+ to offer special promotions and activities that may interest customers.
MyMagic+ builds on Disney’s current Fast Pass program, which allows guests to schedule attractions during one-hour windows, once they are already in the park.
“It allows them to have a prearranged schedule before they start their day so it’s actually an enhanced Fast Pass,” Staggs said. “Fast Pass is getting better.”
Disney, based in Burbank, California, added 2.6 percent to $66.58 yesterday in New York. The shares have advanced 34 percent this year, double (DIS:US) the 17 percent gain for the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index.
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