Thursday, April 29, 2021

Disney Continues to Embrace the Magic of Mobile

Quiz time! What do you get when you combine Disney with the power of mobile? If you said “something truly magical”, give yourself a pat on the back. With guests starting to make the return to theme parks, making guests feel safe during their visit is on top of the priority list for Disney.

If you’ve been on a Disney vacation in the last eight years, you’ve likely sported a Disney MagicBand during your stay. If you haven’t stayed at the happiest place on Earth, think of the MagicBands like an all-access pass. They act as a form of payment when purchasing food at the resort and provide guests with entrance to the parks. I wish I had one for my everyday life (my mobile wallet will have to do for now).

Joining the countless other brands going contactless in the past year, Disney has made a major update to their MagicBand system. In fact, they’re not even bands anymore. The magic lies within your phone.

The Magic of Mobile  

Mobile is the key to any memorable guest experience, and Disney is no exception. It’s no secret that going contactless is constantly on consumers’ minds. If you’ve ever been to a Disney theme park, you know first-hand just how many people walk through their gates. While the parks are continuing to operate under a limited capacity, 35 percent still means thousands of people. Many would make the argument having their MagicBands come in contact with the same surface as thousands of others is anything but ideal.

Disney recently announced the release of MagicMobile, a version of the MagicBands on a mobile app. For the most part, I think it’s great. However, I do wish Disney had created the experience using a Progressive Web App (PWA) instead of a native mobile app. Let’s say I attend Disney only once a year, I don’t want to have a native mobile app taking up space on my phone for one-time use. Plus, if the area you’re in has a history of low connectivity, a PWA can still work its magic.

Oh, and another big disadvantage to Disney MagicMobile? The mobile app is only available to iPhone and Apple Watch users at the moment.😡  Sorry Android users, first Clubhouse and now this. I think this is further proof PWAs are the future of mobile.

That being said, MagicMobile does have a ton of cool features. Guests have the ability to pick out their preferred card design through the My Disney Experience app. Once you eventually decide on a design, guests can then easily add their card to their iPhone’s mobile wallet. Using Near-field Communication (NFC), guests can safely enter the parks without needing to physically tap their mobile devices to a surface.

And don’t fret if you prefer the MagicBands; visitors will have the ability to choose either the mobile experience of the bracelets. Plus, I hear they’re coming out with more colors in the near future. 👀

Speaking of Mobile Apps…

Disney’s mobile marketing team has been quite busy it seems. Not only are they rolling out the MagicMobile program, but they also introduced a new mobile experience for their Aulani Resort located in Hawaii.

To me, this could have been another perfect example of hospitality and mobile, but I’ll stay off my soapbox (for now). The Aulani Resort mobile app has everything guests need to have a magical vacation; guests can access reservation details, resort information, manage activities throughout the day, and so much more. It’s truly the ideal hotel mobile experience.

Disney’s Long History with Mobile 

This isn’t the first time Disney has developed an innovative way of reaching consumers on mobile.  In 2017, Disney introduced mobile ordering at their parks through the My Disney Experience app. Guests could spend less time waiting in line for lunch and perhaps get an extra ride in at The World of Avatar. As someone who has waited for over 90-minutes to ride the Avatar Flight of Passage, that’s huge.

Disney was also one of the first brands to incorporate augmented reality (AR) into its Snapchat experience. Guests can turn themselves into Mickey and Minnie to create the perfect Disney-themed selfie while inevitably waiting in line. 📸

Disney knows just how crucial mobile is to the guest experience. Our reliance on our phones isn’t going anywhere. In fact, it seems to grow stronger by the. If your brand doesn’t have a mobile strategy, consider this your sign to create one. Don’t be afraid to use Disney as inspiration!