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Aidan Hiljeh

Upgrading with the Times, Disney Uses iPads to Improve FastPass

May 22 2012, 04:58 PM by

New technology comes in many variations these days. But for a company operating in the digital age, the influx of new smartphones, tablets and apps makes staying on top of these innovations a rather daunting task. Challenges aside, we are constantly presented with examples to remind us why adopting new technology is a powerful way to grow and improve business performance.
Enhancing Magical Experiences in the Theme Park
Inside the Magic, an unofficial blog that covers all things Disney, recently published an article describing how the celebrated entertainment company is currently using new technology to enhance one of its older services. According to the post, Disney World is using a combination of iPads and radio-frequency identification technology to quickly and accurately identify FastPass members.

For those who are not aware, FastPass is the program Disney offers to patrons who want to pay to move ahead of the often long lines for the rides and attractions in the theme park. Under the new system, the customer would be required to book their spot in advance, and wear an RFID-enabled band, which is scanned at a designated area in the park. From there, their information is sent to an employee, who has the iPad that contains the reservation data needed to prove the patron’s identity and get them to the front of the line.

Disney aims to meet two important objectives with the new system. The first goal is replacing its existing system, which despite already using RFID technology, has been described as “clunky,” essentially another line for patrons to stand in to receive their FastPass tickets. With the new system, Disney is switching over to a digital-based format that is both faster and more reliable.

The second objective involves getting its “Nex Gen” initiative off the ground. Announced last year, Next Gen aims to deliver a better experience by allowing patrons to make their reservations from outside the theme parks.

Disney is currently testing its new iPad-based FastPass system on The Haunted Mansion in the Magic Kingdom, which offers what is typically a shorter waiting time than other rides in the park. If all patrons have a predetermined time for when they are scheduled to board a particular ride, the system could very well eliminate lines altogether. People would just sign up and enjoy other attractions in the park until it is their time to hop aboard the ride they want to experience. For now, there is no signup process, as the test has been limited to a small group of guests.
Embracing Technology Is a Must
Being the powerhouse of an entertainment company that it is, Disney’s theme parks would likely remain just as popular and profitable as they are already by leaving the existing FastPass system in place. But understanding the importance of evolving and adapting with the changing times, it is making the commitment to adopt the new technologies that will improve the user experience, which is ultimately what all businesses should strive for regardless of their industry, size or budget.

When incorporated with a sound strategy in mind, technology can be the answer to reinvigorating the entire business. Workers have something new to learn, which could add an element of excitement to their bland daily routines. Leaders have new goals to strive for, and the company as a whole has an edge that makes it a force to be reckoned with on the competition front.

Is your company embracing new technology? If so, what technologies have you embraced? We’d love to hear about them in the comments.

Posted in Tech Editorial

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