The last time I went to Disney it was the mid-to-late 1990s — I don’t remember much of the logistics from back then, but I knew things would be different on this visit. I had heard about the ‘Magic Bands’ that you wear at Disney, but I still didn’t know the full scope of that magic. As it turns out, the Disney Magic Band really is quite magic.
The band itself is shitty, mind you, but the things it enables are amazing.
It felt like the future everywhere we went at Disney, and I really want that future to happen now everywhere else. If you have an Apple Watch, you have no doubt been able to glimpse this future as well. But let me give you a little taste of what I mean.
It was a particularly hot day, one of those days where waiting for the shuttle bus would cause sweat to come out of every pore in your body. The kids were running around, I was in my swim trunks, and we were headed to a water park. Wallet, iPhone, Apple Watch, Magic Band that’s what I had in my pockets and on my wrist. My legs were sweating from my phone and wallet, so I pulled them out and stashed them in the backpack I was carrying. Apple Watch and Magic Band on my wrist only, pockets much cooler.
I walked over to the vending machine and used my Apple Watch to buy a cold soda (I would have loved water, but they were sold out), nothing revolutionary, but a simple and convenient thing. We finally got to the water park and our passes weren’t upgraded for access — a quick stop at the ticket booth fixed that. Again, I used my Magic Band to pay, then to enter the park.
We stashed our stuff in a locker and proceeded to spend the day at the park, buying food, water, and goodies for the kids. We returned to the hotel and never once did I pull back out my iPhone or Wallet. If I had to pay for something I used my Watch or Magic Band (the band is also the room key) almost the entire trip.
And it was like this the entire week we were in Disney. There was never a reason to have cash, or an ID, so there was never a reason to have a wallet. I could pay for many things with my watch, and practically everything with the Magic Band.
Like I said, a glimpse into the future.
The biggest missing piece right now is lack of digital identification. It’s absurd to assume that is not coming, and rather crazy it is not hear yet if I am honest. I know a lot of people don’t have an Apple Watch, or an NFC enabled smart phone, but again — that’s coming.
It won’t be long until wallets are a thing that only old people carry. I certainly hate carrying them already. And despite the security concerns surrounding them — this has me seriously considering installing some smart locks on our doors. Because keys are terrible to carry. And unlocking and paying for everything with your wrist is awesome.