In 2008, Disney set off on its Next Generation Experience project with the intent to remove all friction from the Walt Disney World experience. The problem, on the whole, was that families spent more time planning and coordinating their trip and less time enjoying it. Less time making memories means less mindshare for Disney and a lesser chance of a return visitor.
WIRED published a lengthy overview of the project in its March 2015 edition and while we can’t go into every detail here, the result of the project was Disney’s Magic Band. The futuristic wristband, a quintessential example of form and function, allows short and long-range sensors around the park to identify you.
The result? Magic.
Planning and Preparation Are Key in Business
Disney-MagicBandWith the introduction of Disney’s Magic Band, Disney has eliminated a handful of other items to carry and handle. Park tickets? Ready on the Magic Band. Photo Passes? Tagged to your account automatically. Room keys? Replaced by the band. Fast Passes? Schedule them online and check in with your Magic Band. Cash? Just swipe your Magic Band to bill a credit card on file.
With everything coordinated and synchronized with your Disney account and its smartphone app, you’re able to experience the park in a whole new way. Planning Fast Passes in advance allows you to schedule your must-do attractions and allow spontaneity to guide the rest of your trip.
Beyond the surface, Disney can use the bands and sensors to create magical experiences. The signature restaurant Be Our Guest allows you to order in advance and sit down at any table. Magically your food is delivered, without your server even asking your name. It’s all powered by the Magic Band and a series of sensors.
The Magic Band is truly a platform project with many future implications from enabling characters to know your name without asking or detecting a long wait and rewarding you with another FastPass or a free ice cream coupon. The possibilities are simply endless.
Your lesson here is one of planning and preparation. Creating magic requires an invisible effort of planning and design. When Disney set out on this project, they weren’t responding to problems one-by-one, rather they set out to build a system that removed friction from the Disney experience. This advance planning to eliminate issues and friction for customers is what we can readiness.
We’ve said countless times before that expectations are increasing, and you need to get (and stay) ahead of the curve. Readiness is all about putting systems and processes in place now, so you’ll be in a position to surprise and delight when the opportunity arises. It’s exactly what Disney has done, and you have the opportunity to do so as well.

Ready to Move Your Business Forward?

A great first step is downloading a sample chapter from Blue Goldfish. Based on over 300 examples, Blue Goldfish explains how successful companies use technology, data, and analytics to drive customer loyalty and advocacy.

Sign up for a account today and receive a Free Sample Chapter of Blue Goldfish.