Disney’s theme parks have always been out in front in terms of technical innovation (not so much in the TV arena where I worked many moons ago). Now they’re reaching another milestone. In the coming months, Disney is introducing a system in which visitors will pay for their purchases with rubber bracelets encoded with RFID chips. The goal of the system, called MyMagic+, estimated to cost between $800 million and $1 billion is to make the Disney properties more user friendly… and to encourage them to part more easily from their hard earned dollars.

Disney executives anticipate that visitors who are not fishing out credit cards or cash will not hesitate to spend more (though purchases over $50 will require a pin number). The bands will also function as room keys and will enable visitors to have a more personalized Disney experience. Imagine, Mickey Mouse will be able to greet you by name and extend birthday wishes. That would blow away most of the six year olds I have every know.

Of course there is a flip side. The bands will enable Disney to collect extensive information on every visitor. They’ll know what rides you like, what food you eat, what gifts you buy and just about any behavior you demonstrate in any of their properties. That’s 121.4 million people a year, and $12.9 billion in revenue. These days personal data collection is the name of the game, and it raises all sorts of concerns about privacy concerns.

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