(NEW YORK) — Months of speculation surrounding a wrist band replacing paper tickets at Disney parks is over. An official announcement confirming the band was made Monday on the Disney Parks blog.
A Disney spokesperson told ABC News the bands would be rolling out this year over the next several months.
Worn on the wrist, the “MagicBand” will serve as a guest’s room key, theme park ticket, access to FastPass+ selections, PhotoPass card and optional payment account all rolled into one.
“At Walt Disney Parks and Resorts, we continually push the boundaries of creativity and innovation to deliver the best possible experience for our guests,” Tom Staggs, chairman of Walt Disney Parks and Resorts wrote. “We’re always looking for ways to take what we do and do it even better. Over the past few years, we’ve devoted considerable time and resources to create a more immersive, more seamless and more personal experience for each and every guest who spends time with us.”
The introduction of the band is part of a larger effort named MyMagic+ and includes a new My Disney Experience website and mobile app.
Guests can plan dining and reserve times for their favorite attractions, shows and more in advance through an enhanced FastPass system called FastPass+. Once they arrive, they can use their smart phones to change their plans.
Of course, the gathering of data on guests makes sense from a business standpoint for Disney, the parent company of ABC News. The more it knows about guest preferences, the more it can tailor the guest experience. But some skeptics worry about just how much information might be stored on those MagicBands.
“Ensuring the security of our guest’s information is obviously very important to us, and no one is more focused on this than we are,” a Disney spokesperson told ABC News. “Everything is opt in and guests will have the opportunity to choose what information they share with us. Nothing is more important to us than protecting that information. Guests should also know that the band does not store personal information.”
Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio
Madison Park, Keith Allen and Andreas Preuss, CNN