There’s been an odd fashion trend cropping up lately at theme parks across Orlando. When you visit, you’ll notice that many of the park’s guests are wearing brightly colored wrist bands. Would it surprise you to know that this isn’t a fashion statement? It’s actually a device that can do all sorts of things around the parks.
Disney started the trend with their Magic Bands. For guests visiting Walt Disney World, they work as park ticket, fastpass, and credit card (and room key if you stay at a Disney hotel). Basically, the bands are linked to your Disney account online. Whatever you have in there, be it your park passes, fast passes, meal plans, etc. will be available on your Magic Band.
So, when you get to the park gates, you just tap the face of the band to the tapstile (Disney-speak for their new turnstiles) and when the Mickey turns green and chimes, the attendant lets you in. When it’s time to head to your next fastpass ride, get in the appropriate line, tap the face to the tapstile, Mickey turns green, and the attendant lets you on the ride. If you have a credit card or a meal plan associated with it, tap the face of the band to the little terminal on the counter, Mickey will turn green, and you get your food or merchandise. It eliminates the fumbling for a wallet or the pouch of the lanyard where people used to keep their passes.
And as a quick nugget of trivia, Disney sells limited edition Magic Bands with characters from their movies painted on them. If you buy a Star Wars Magic Band, whenever you tap it to a tapstile, it will turn a different color than green and the chime will be a song from the movie. Neat, huh?
The whole thing was such a neat idea, in fact, Universal has decided it’s the perfect solution for their new water park opening this year, Volcano Bay. Seeing as it’s a water park, and guests will be in bathing suits, carrying ID and wallets on their person will be difficult. So, every guest will be given a TapuTapu to use in the park.
It’ll function in much the same way as Disney’s Magic Bands. Guests will buy food, rent and access lockers, and use it for the park’s return ride system. Instead of standing in lines to their slides, you can get a return time that allows you to come back later and skip the line. That means you’ll be able to lounge in a pool, sunbathe, or grab a snack.
It shouldn’t be too long until most theme parks adopt wrist bands as the technology of the future because their convenience factor for guests is through the roof.
Pro-tip: learn to rotate your band from wrist to wrist every hour to avoid unsightly tan lines.