Walt Disney’s MyMagic+ Signals Change for BI

Walt Disney’s MyMagic+ Signals Change for BI

July 09, 2013

Authored by Michael Guerin, TeamCain

I’ve had the pleasure of visiting Walt Disney World in Florida on numerous occasions and Disneyland in California once. All visits were memorable trips with lots of fond memories. The fireworks show on the lake in EPCOT is fabulous!! Walt Disney World’s slogan is “Where Dreams Come True,” and if you have big data dreams, it really is the place to go.

Earlier this year it was announced that a new change was coming to the resort – the MyMagic+ system, which will give guests of the park a more customized and personalized experience while at the same time feeding Disney’s databases. This new system allows Walt Disney to collect data such as real-time location, purchase history, information about the visitors themselves, riding patterns and more.

The MagicBand is a RFID-enabled bracelet that users wear around the park and scan at stylized golden orbs with the iconic Mickey Mouse symbol (aka a RFID reader). With this bracelet (that comes in seven colours) users can purchase things at various kiosks, jump ahead in attraction lines, and have access to content that non-bracelet wearers wouldn’t get, like enhanced audio and visual at various attractions. If parents opt in (as everything is optional), the hidden sensors in the bracelet will read MagicBand data and provide that information to Cinderella so that she can greet your daughter with a “Hello Jane! I heard it’s your birthday today!” – imagine how your kid would react to that!

Tom Staggs, the Chairman of Walt Disney Parks and Resorts noted that Disney has “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.

What does this system mean for business intelligence? While most business intelligence is delivered through information, data, facts and content, this new system will require the extra additive of human intelligence and the interpretation of the data from multiple sources will differentiate how successful this BI tool will be.

To give you an idea of the numbers that Disney’s data analysts will be working with, more than 17 million people visit The Magic Kingdom in Florida each year. That is a lot of MagicBands and A LOT of data! Disney’s analysts will be tracking the flow throughout the park and recording the data trail. The data that will be analysed can help Disney make better business decisions, improve its offerings and tailor its marketing efforts.

But again, all this data will require human intelligence to sort it all out. For example, let’s say that more people are scanning in at Space Mountain in the mornings. The data will show an influx in attendee numbers but the data analysts will know that Disney needs to add more staff to make that ride run more efficiently and smoothly during that time of day.

The collaborative business intelligence projects in Disney’s future will start with the data put together by IT, statisticians, database analysts, and various data entry methods like the MyMagic+ system. Next, those who have the knowledge of Disney’s business as a whole – the long time employees and subject matter experts – will look at “why” something is happening and they’ll make decisions on how to change things for the better. On top of this, the knowledge conversion from the CEOs, corporate strategists and senior managers will add in their wisdom of where they want the company to go and they can use the collaborative business intelligence to formulate decisions on how the company will move forward.

Human intelligence is an untapped competitive advantage and in the case of Walt Disney World, it will help change the way that business intelligence develops in the world of family vacations and consumerism. 

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