Monday Mouse Watch : Get ready to make the "Disney Magic Connection" Jim Hill talks about the field tests that are being held at WDW's Magic Kingdom this week. Which involve a new hand-held device that could potentially revolutionize the Disney theme park going experience
Imagine that -- as you walked through a Disney theme park -- you could carry with you a wireless device that would:
- Tell you in real time what the current wait time at your favorite attraction was
- Also let you know whether there were any FastPasses left for that particular attraction
- And when these FastPasses were available for
Better yet, what if you could in-put a "wish list" of your favorite rides & shows into this hand-held unit, and it could then tell you the most time-efficient way to experience all of those attractions? Wouldn't that be amazing?
You wanna hear something that's even more
amazing? Starting today and the next 10 days, the Imagineers will actually be field testing a device like the one I just described at Walt Disney World
. Known as the "Disney Magic Connection," WDI R & D hopes that this hand-held, wireless unit (which runs on a Nintendo DS
) will be the next big technological breakthrough at the Disney theme parks.
As to how these field tests will be conducted ... As I understand it, each day, 60 families who are visiting the Magic Kingdom
will be recruited to take part in this pilot program. Those who accept WDI's invitation will be then be able to use the "Disney Magic Connection" unit during the entire time that they're in that theme park (Provided -- of course -- that they're willing to put a credit card deposit down on this device. Which would then result in a $300 charge should they not return this hand-held unit before exiting that theme park).
As to what else the "Disney Magic Connection" can do, I'm told that this wireless device (Which -- according to the literature that I've been shown -- is designed to help " ... Guests make the most of their visit to the Park") will feature:
- Show schedules
- Parade routes
- Interactive maps which reveal the location of rides, shows and attractions, restaurants, restrooms, etc.
This "Disney Magic Connection" unit will also reportedly have a feature that will tell guests where their favorite characters are in the park in real time. In addition, this wireless, hand-held device will be able to tell which queue you're standing in at that precise moment. So that it can then offer you the opportunity to play a game that's themed to that particular ride, show or attraction. Or just offer you some ride-specific trivia to read while you wait in that line.
If some of the features included on this Nintendo DS are starting to sound familiar ... Well, there's a reason for that. "Disney Magic Connection" actually builds on a lot of the lessons that WDI learned when they sent "My Pal Mickey
" into the parks back in May of 2003.
Speaking of lessons ... The Imagineers hope to learn an awful lot from the over 600 families that they plan on recruiting for this "Disney Magic Connection" field test. Which is why -- as they return these hand-held, wireless units to Town Square Exposition Hall each night -- these WDW guests will be asked to take part in a brief survey which will discuss what they liked (More importantly, what they didn't
like) about this device.
Should this test go well ... Well, from what my sources in Glendale tell me, a full-blown version of "Disney Magic Connection" could be up and running at the WDW Resort by the Spring of 2009. And then things get really
interesting, as the guests visiting the Florida parks effectively get divided into two classes: The haves (i.e. Those who are armed with up-to-the-minute info thanks to this amazing wireless device) and the have-nots (i.e. Those who couldn't afford "Disney Magic Connection" and thus have to rely on old fashioned information sources like guidemaps and tip boards).
So what do you folks think? Are you aching to head out to the Magic Kingdom right now with the hope that you and your family will then be recruited for the "Disney Magic Connection" field test? Or are you one of those types who actually goes to the theme parks because you want to get away from Crackberry
-like hand-held devices?