Disney’s New Guest Bands Are Either Crazy Awesome Or Super Creepy

On the one hand, if you love large, furry, costumed characters, you’ll probably be tickled pink if Goofy waltzed up to you at Disneyland with your name on his lip’s as a greeting. But if you’re terrified of talking animals well then a Goofy who says “Hello, [Your Name]!” is the epitome of all your worst nightmares combined. Thus is the reality of Disney’s new trackable guest bands.

Here’s how the “Magic Bands” work: Guests who opt to use the waterproof wristbands, which are embedded with computer chips, then use those as their park entry tickets, FastPass, hotel room keys and a credit card as well, according to Disney. Photographers can also use the system to link photos with the family account in order to buy and print out any photos the group, should they choose to do so.

Sounds efficient, eh? It would seem so, but one travel writer over on HuffPo says there is a bit of a downside to using the bands on hotel room doors and as credit cards: The way the bands must align with each system results in the user doing a twisty-turny dance to get it juuust so.

“When you use the Magic Bands with the contactless key doors, you have to contort your arm to make them work,” he writes. “The placement (just above the door handle) works fine when you use contactless key cards, but when you’re trying to align the top of your wrist with it, it’s not that comfortable.”

As for the payment systems:

“The various Magic Band payment systems look similar to credit card readers only they have a subtle mouse icon on the front,” he explains. “In order to make the Mickey icon on your Magic Band line up just right with that machine, you have to maneuver your arm into an unnatural position. Often the sales person has to hold your arm and help you line everything up.”

Sounds awkward.

Then there’s that personalized greeting from park characters: Parents can opt in to a special setting in the bands’ “vacation management system” that lets park characters can tap into where your family is located in the park and come over to give a personal hello. Again, either awesome or creepy. Goofy as the new National Security Association, perhaps?

Another potential worry critics have? That the bands could be hacked and thus allow evildoers to gain access to your credit card and hotel room, notes Time.com.

Let us know if you’ve tried the Magic Bands and had any issues with them. And in the meantime, let us know what you think in the poll below.

What Disney Got Wrong With Its Magic Bands [Huffington Post]
Now Disney Can Track Your Every Move with NSA-Style Wristbands [Time.com]

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  1. theoriginalcatastrophegirl says:

    fortunately, goofy wouldn’t be saying your name anyway. characters with heads on don’t talk* face-characters might though. like peter pan or cinderella.
    source: 7 years of work at walt disney world

    *the gender of the character only matches the gender of the performer about half the time anyway

  2. Saelia says:

    We are going to Disney in the spring and my family is super excited about the armbands and the features that are available. The last time we went, the room key doubled as your park pass and credit card, etc. This will be nice since I won’t have to dig it out of my bag all the time.

    My kid is a little old to care about the characters, but I’m looking forward to using the mobile app to schedule fast passes.