Magic From MyMagic+ Now Finally Arriving

It’s been a while since I reported on an important part of the MyMagic+ program–the magic itself! Most people think this program is completely rolled out, with its ability to do FastPass+, make purchases and so forth. In truth, the fun part of MyMagic+ has yet to show up. There was an investment around $45 million in creating experiences that would happen as you passed by a particular prop or display out in the parks. That would trigger an interactive experience–one that in many cases could be a keepsake of sorts. A few of these could be re-captured in Memory Maker.

One such effort was done with The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror. The cameras would detect your presence from the MyMagic+ bands, would record video of your ride experience, then infuse it with other video material to create an entire video sequence you would want to share with friends and families. In truth, the parks are littered with experiences like these waiting to be implemented. Some are designed to capture the moment and bring it back to you in Memory Maker, and others that are simply “in the moment” for you to enjoy while you’re on the attraction or out in the resort. The problem was that while the front side of all this was done–the props and the interactive elements that detected it was you from the MyMagic+ band–the backside of this was not completed in the craziness of putting together the entire MyMagic+ system. And so it didn’t get announced with everything else.

My Magic+
The new Bark-O-Lator at Disney’s Animal Kingdom allowed random messages to come up when you barked into it. When it is re-released, it will have messages tailored to your profile. Photo by J. Jeff Kober.

That said, an additional $4-5 million have been allocated into finishing out the software on the backside to make all of this happen. And now this year, it’s going to be slowly introduced. This month, the first of these is going to be showcased to guests. Those who have ridden on “it’s a small world” over the last year know that there were monitors added to the final farewell scene in the ride. These will soon be activated. They are a fairly simple experience. Reading the MyMagic+ bands, they will identify the state or perhaps the country where someone is visiting from, and offer some farewell expression that addresses the specific location where people are from. It won’t record anything, but it will individualize the farewell to those riding in the boat. If there are no bands detected, it will simply display more generic messages wishing riders a fond farewell.

My Magic+
Those square-looking signs among the farewell messages are in reality monitors that have temporarily been covered up, but will soon be revealed. Photo by J. Jeff Kober.

Again, it’s one of the more simple elements that have been created with this program. And some elements of the program–like giving tablets to the jungle cruise skippers–have been taken out of the budget. But at least the devices that were installed are finally going to be activated this year in the park.

Head to the Brown Derby right now and you won’t see these three framed magazine covers. They’ve been covered up with different photos until this system is released to Guests. But in the coming months, they will be re-revealed as part of the MyMagic+ program. Photo by J. Jeff Kober.

There are many things happening in terms of construction in all four parks this year. Most of those, such as Avatar, and the new Star Wars area, we won’t see for quite a while. But this is one thing you can be on the look out for as you go throughout the parks to visit your favorite attractions. It’s a great approach to providing a high-tech, high-touch experience that you can’t quite get on a smart phone. It’s part of what will set Disney apart moving forward, and I believe it may become the favorite part of the entire MyMagic+ program as it finishes rolling out.

J. Jeff Kober

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