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Emerging Payments

Disney World to Soon Use Contactless Payment Wristbands

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Walt Disney Co. plans to use “MagicBands,” wristbands with built-in contactless payment technology, at its Disney World theme park in the next few months.

The MagicBands are part of a broader initiative called MyMagic+, which lets the company track customer spending and other behavior, The New York Times reported Jan. 7. The wristbands also tie into the company’s FastPass system, allowing park patrons to schedule in advance their preference for FastPass tickets. These tickets let customers wait on shorter lines for rides if they agree to come at a preselected time.

Wristbands are increasingly popular as a payment option in theme parks, particularly those that offer water rides that would require park patrons to leave their wallets in a locker or at home. Hersheypark, for example, last year began using contactless wristbands for payments at more than 200 terminals. This was an extension of a system it installed four years earlier to control access to lockers.

Disney already uses several high-tech systems that replace credit cards and paper tickets. It uses biometric scanners at its turnstiles to track park admissions. The company also ties payment data to hotel key cards, allowing guests to charge purchases to their key cards and have larger items delivered to their rooms.

The new MagicBands can also store personal information for non-payment purposes. For example, a wristband can alert a Disney character of an approaching child, so that the character can greet the child by name without having to ask first, the Times article says.

The wristbands, if lost, can be deactivated by park staff or by a mobile app, the article says. Purchases of more than $50 would require a PIN, it says.

The MagicBand system is optional, and park patrons can choose the level of detail they wish to share with Disney, the article says.

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