In a letter to Walt Disney Company Chairman and CEO Bob Iger dated last Thursday, Rep. Edward Markey (D-MA) cited a January 7 New York Times article about MyMagic+ and MagicBands in requesting details about the data collection, storage, and usage from the new program. Markey is the co-chairman of the Congressional Bi-Partisan Privacy Caucus.
1. Will Disney guests be required to use MagicBand? Please explain.
a. For guests that use MagicBand, will those guests be given an option to decide whether to share personal information with your company? If no, why not?
i. If yes, will consumers be given a choice to opt-in to information sharing or opt-out from information sharing? Please explain how and when guests will be given this choice.
ii. If yes, will you give consumers a choice about what types of information guests will share with your company (the Times article describes MagicBand users as selecting certain "settings")? If yes, please list those types of information (e.g., geolocation, items purchased, attractions visited, etc.).
iii. Are there any types of information that consumers must share with your company if they use MagicBand?
b. If a guest chooses not to use MagicBand, what disadvantages, if any, will that guest experience while visiting a Disney park (i.e., longer waits for attractions, etc.)
Since the MagicBand will not be issued automatically to all guests, but only those staying at Disney resorts, Annual Passholders, and those purchasing PhotoPass packages, it is certainly reasonable that those staying on property that do not want to use a MagicBand could be issued a standard RFID-enabled key card. In a reply to a question in the comments of Stagg's Disney Parks Blog post, Staggs writes:
"Ensuring the security of our guest’s information is obviously very important to us and no one is more focused on this than we are. Everything is opt in and guests will have the opportunity to choose what information they share with us. Nothing is more important to us than protecting that information. Guests should also know that the band does not store personal information."
If guests are to use their MagicBand for room charges and/or room key, the card would need to be linked to information on file at their Disney resort.
2. What information do you plan to collect from Disney guests who wear MagicBands, including but not limited to geolocation, items purchased, and attractions visited?
a. Does the information you collect depend on the age of the guest? If no, why not? If yes, please explain what policies will apply to specific age groups.
It is likely that Disney will consider this a trade secret and attempt to limiting their answer due to a desire to keep their strategy from being studied by competitors.
3. Will Disney analyze this data using predictive analytics and other measures to help create profiles of guests? If yes, what other data variables of guests may be included in profiles are created? If yes, will Disney create profiles for all guests, including kids and teens? Please explain.
It's a good bet that Disney will analyze the data, but less likely that it will analyze individual information instead of looking at the aggregate information. With millions of data points each day, it would become a logistical nightmare to analyze all of the data to come up with individual profiles.
4. Does your company plan to use the information collected from MagicBands to target advertisements and marketing at guests? If yes, please explain the ways in which you plan to target advertisements and marketing, including but not limited to geolocation targeting on mobile devices.
a. If yes, do you plan to target advertisements at kids 12 and under? If yes, please explain the ways in which you plan to target advertisements at children.
b. If yes, do you plan to target advertisements at teens? If yes, please explain the ways in which you plan to target advertisements at teens.
c. If yes, do you plen to target advertisements or marketing at guests only when they are inside of Disney parks? If no, please list the other places where your company plans to target advertisements or marketing at guests. If no, what kinds of products may be promoted if such marketing occurs?
In addition, a prepared comment shared with news media notes:
"MyMagic+ is a completely optional program. Disney’s privacy policies and practices are fully transparent, and guests can choose whether or not to participate in MyMagic+. In addition, guests control whether their personal information is used for promotional purposes and no data collected is ever used to market to children. MyMagic+ is designed to make their visit to Walt Disney World more personalized, seamless and customized than ever before."
5. Does your company plan to market, sell, or otherwise disclose personal information or profiles about its guests to other companies? If yes, please explain.
6. Does your company plan to share the information it collects about its visitors with Disney affiliates, such as the Disney Channel or Disney Family.com? If yes, for what purposes do you plan to share that information (e.g., for targeted advertising puposes or marketing)? If yes, please list the affiliates with which you plan to share this information.
7. How long does your company plan to use or store information collected about its guests from MagicBands?
a. Does your company have procedures in place to minimize the information it stores about guests?
b. What procedures does your company employ to ensure deletion of information?
c. Are consumers given reasonable access to review and delete this data?
So it appears that, while the Senator's concerns are certainly reasonable and relevant, Disney has already put restrictions in place to keep the system safe and secure.
A couple of weeks ago, we reported that the No Expiration Option was no longer available for online ticket purchases. It appears that the option is still available, but only when purchasing in person. It's likely the first step toward discontinuing entirely, as the option will create difficulties when implementing the new MyMagic+ system.
Just like "Limited Time Magic," Disney's system works best with limited-time passes. Once the lifespan of a pass is over, the data can be purged from the active system to provide faster response for currently active passes. In addition, with Disney's emphasis on guests staying on-site using all-inclusive or admission-included packages to gain maximum efficiency, having a single MagicBand wristband able to be used for hotel room access, all park admission, and resort-wide payments and then deactivating it once the guest leaves would be the most effective way to use the system. Even if the guest didn't use all of their entitlements, the pass would no longer be valid 15 days after first use. With a No Expiration pass, if a guest did not use every entitlement and then never used the pass again, Disney would need to keep that pass' information in the system indefinitely. Even annual passes have an expiration date and can be archived.
We'll have to wait and see whether the No Expiration Option eventually disappears or if it will remain available for those who know that it's out there.
Despite the fact that Mandy Moore provided the character's voice in "Tangled," Taylor Swift appears as Rapunzel in the latest Disney Parks character image from Annie Leibovitz, with the tagline "Where a world of adventure awaits." Image © Disney.
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Click on the "Dining" section from our Walt Disney World Guide to see our complete list of of the park restaurant menus from Walt Disney World. Please help us keep the menus up to date! Send photos or scans of park menus to email@example.com to help us keep our listings updated.
Had enough of interactive adventures in the parks? No? Then you're in luck. On the heels of the Agent P World Showcase Adventure (formerly the Kim Possible World Showcase Adventure) at Epcot, Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom, and the recently announced Wilderness Explorers game at Disney's Animal Kingdom, Disney has announced a second game for the Magic Kingdom park.
Starting this spring, guests can experience A Pirate's Adventure: Treasures of the Seven Seas in the park's Adventureland. Guests will use a pirate map and "magic talisman" (likely a MagicBand from the MyMagic+ initiative) to help Captain Jack Sparrow complete five tasks around the land. Each "pirate raid" locates the Treasures of the Seven Seas and fight off attacks by foes such as Captain Barbossa and the Royal Navy. Those who complete all five "raids" will be welcomed into Captain Jack's crew. Concept artwork (below) appears to show guests using wristbands to interact with pirate skulls throughout the land to activate various effects.
What's your opinion on all of the interactive adventures around the parks? Are you excited by all of the new technology to make the park itself more interactive? Are you saddened by the disruption of once-serene views? Do you not care about it as long as it keeps lots of people out of the lines for attractions? Let us know in the comments below!
Kiosks featuring special culinary creations from around the world at Epcot in the spring? Has the Festival schedule swapped Flower & Garden and Food & Wine? Nope. It's sort of a blending of the two as a dozen Garden Marketplace kiosks will feature specialty items during the 20th Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival, March 6 through May 19.
Marketplaces will include Smokehouse Barbecue and Brew at the American Adventure courtyard, Florida Fresh, Primavera Kitchen (Italy), Hanami (Japan), Fruits by the Glass, Pineapple Promenade, and more. There will be various alcoholic and non-alcoholic specialty beverages, including the intriguing Dole Whip with Spiced Rum. Food selections include shrimp with grits and Zellwood corn and "frushi" made of fresh fruits and coconut rice.
With Oz: The Great and Powerful being released two days after the start of the festival, on March 8, it's not a surprise that the movie will be featured at the interactive children's play zone along the Rose Walk (between the Imagination pavilion and World Showcase)? The circus-like play area will feature midway-style games, red-and-white circus-themed tents, an "Oz Movie Garden" of interesting plants, and Oz's crashed hot air balloon, as well as a special photo opportunity.
Also new this year are illuminated gardens in Future World and World Showcase, which will twinkle and glow each evening.
The main entrance topiary will feature the "Fab Six" having a cookout. Mickey Mouse is cooking at the barbecue while Pluto snatches a hot dog. Minnie Mouse relaxes on a a blanket while Donald Duck and Daisy Duck play badminton. A 14-foot-tall Goofy topiary completes the scene, trying to balance an anniversary cake for the Festival's 20th.
Other featured topiaries include a new display featuring Monsters University along the main causeway between Future World and World Showcase, new locations for two previously-seen displays: Phineas and Ferb will be behind Spaceship Earth this year, and Lightning McQueen and Mater will be located on the walkway to Test Track.
The butterfly house will be themed to Pixie Hollow this year and called Tinker Bell's Butterfly House. Tink, Fawn, Vidia, Terrence and four other fairies will be represented in topiary form, located along the Rose Walk.
Of course, the festival will also feature daily gardening seminars, and other sessions at the Festival Center. And what Flower & Garden Festival would be complete without appearances by HGTV and DIY Network stars and the Flower Power concert series? Here are this year's lineups:
The Designers' Stage Presented by HGTV at the Festival Center will feature TV stars each Friday through Sunday of the festival and noon and 3 p.m.:
The Flower Power features three performances nightly at the America Gardens Theater every Friday through Sunday of the festival:
All activities are included with park admission. For more information, check out the festival website.
When Disney Parks first announced the Limited Time Magic promotion, we speculated that it could serve as a "giant market research experiment." Apparently, it will also give guests a chance to provide market research data on merchandise as well as promotions. This week's Limited Time Magic "experience" is the opportunity to vote on which graphic design Disney should use for its 2014 dated merchandise campaign. The winning design will be announced later this year and used on all sorts of merchandise next year. You can access the poll on the Disney Parks Blog through this Thursday.
As always, you can find out the latest Limited Time Magic promotions on the Disney Parks Blog, at the Limited Time Magic website, via Twitter hashtag #LimitedTimeMagic, or here in the weekly Update.
As part of Limited Time Magic, seldom seen Disney characters appeared in Town Square at the Magic Kingdom last week. Pictured are (l. to r.) two of the Three Little Pigs, Jiminy Cricket, Pinocchio, Gepetto and Horace Horsecollar. Others in these units included The Big Bad Wolf and Clarabelle Cow. Photo by J. Jeff Kober.
Here Robin Hood, Friar Tuck, the Sheriff of Nottingham, and Prince John meet with guests. The Sheriff has replaced Little John from this unit's original appearance, probably due to Little John's resemblance to Baloo. Photo by J. Jeff Kober.
Ludwig von Drake and Scrooge McDuck greet guests. In speaking with a close friend who was with Disney entertainment for some 27 years, neither of us can remember when Ludwig ever made an appearance, or when we have ever seen a costume. Photo by J. Jeff Kober.
There is nothing more heartbreaking than a baby who is born too soon having medical complications that leave them with medical difficulties for life, or worse, that never let them leave the hospital alive. On April 28, I will once again walk to raise money for the March of Dimes. The March of Dimes mission is to improve the health of babies by preventing birth defects, premature birth, and infant mortality.
MousePlanet readers and MouseStation listeners have helped me to raise nearly $25,000 for the worthy charity over the last seven years. This year, my goal is to raise another $4,000. This year, I am again issuing a special challenge: I will match, dollar-for-dollar, every donation that comes in by the end of February from any MouseStation listener or MousePlanet reader. If it's in by February 28, I'll match it.
You can also walk with me, either in person or virtually, by joining Team MousePlanet and getting your friends and family to contribute! You can go to my fundraising page to sponsor me, or the Team MousePlanet page to join in and walk yourself! Help us to provide a better chance to prevent prematurity and to help those babies that are born prematurely!
The following is a listing of interesting items from paperwork filed with Orange County in the last week:
A connecting point in the two queues at Pirates of the Caribbean was created earlier in the refurbishment cycle. Now, while the right queue is down for the addition of interactive props and theming, the left queue can now divide at the end and handle both boat docks. Photo by J. Jeff Kober.
…Will you be at Walt Disney World for Princess Half Marathon weekend, February 22–24? If so, please join us for a Team MousePlanet meet-up on Saturday Feb 23 at 6 p.m. in the outside seating area of Pollo Campero. Grab some food then eat with us, or just come to say hi. We'll have some MousePlanet goodies to give out, too. The meet is open to Princess Half and 5K participants as well as supporters! Attendees are expected to include Stephanie Wien, Adrienne Vincent-Phoenix, and Lani Teshima.
…The 2013 Moms Panel kicked off with 19 new members and a new name: The Disney Parks Moms Panel. With the expansion of the panel to cover Disneyland, Disney Cruise Line, Disney Vacation Club, and Adventures by Disney, it was only a matter of time before the name changed. This year's new members include two Team Sports Moms for the first time, to address youth sports-related travel, which apparently has been an unfilled void for questions recently. The new panel members come from all over America, as well as panelists representing Mexico and Canada.
…World Drive between Seven Seas Drive (the turn-off for the Polynesian and Grand Floridian Resorts) and the Contemporary Resort will be closed for paving overnights tonight through this Thursday night between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m. Please be careful and follow posted detours.
…"LIVE with Kelly and Michael" will tape four shows from Town Square at the Magic Kingdom on February 18 and 19. Tickets for the tapings are available from the Live with Kelly and Michael website. And please, no comments about how a show called "Live" is taping their shows. It's not our show.
…The Disney Cruise Line outclassed the field in this year's Conde Nast Readers Poll for the Top 100 Cruise Ships, with DCL ships taking the top three spots and four of the top eight positions in the Large Ships competition. The Disney Magic took the top spot, with its sister ship the Disney Wonder coming in a close second. Right behind was the Disney Dream, and the Disney Fantasy came in at the number eight spot.
…Registration for the featured events of the February 22–24, fifth annual Princess Half Marathon Weekend are full, including the individual and team Half Marathons, the Race Retreat, the Pasta in the Park Party and the ChEAR Squad Platinum Package. The Royal Family 5K is 81 percent full, the post-5K breakfast is 84 percent full, and the runDisney Kids Races are 82 percent full (dashes sold out, Mickey Mile 51 percent full). ChEAR Squad is 76 percent full overall, with ChEAR Squad Gold 75 percent full and Silver less than 50 percent full.
…Registration is now open for the 2013 Expedition Everest Challenge. The Challenge is now 58 percent full. Individual registration starts at $105 per person and team registration start at $210 per two-person team. On January 30, those prices go up to $115 and $225 respectively, and they go up again on March 21 to $125 and $240, respectively. The related runDisney Kids Races for kids ages 4 to 10 has a $20 registration cost. Post-race party tickets start at $49 for adults (ages 10 and up) and $25 for kids (ages 3-9). Those prices go up to $59 and $30 on March 21.
…Registration opens for the 2013 Twilight Zone Tower of Terror 10-Miler Weekend on February 12.
…Registration opens for the 2013 Wine & Dine Half Marathon Weekend on March 12.
…Registration opens for the 2014 Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend on April 9.
…The MousePlanet Newsletter is here! The newsletter contains a recap of the week's articles (in case you miss a day), news that may have developed since the weekly Updates were published, and tips about what's happening at the Disney theme parks for the coming weekend. We'll also include a fun MouseAdventure bonus, such as an Eye Spy or a trivia question. To subscribe to our free newsletter, go to the MousePlanet main page and enter your email address in the top right box labeled "Join the MousePlanet Newsletter." Click Join, then fill out the fields in the registration page, including your first and last name. The Newsletter is free, but you must complete this registration to receive it, even if you may have signed up for one with us in the past.
Crowd information and forecasts are provided by TouringPlans.com, the website of the Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World, to help you better plan your trip to the Walt Disney World Resort. TouringPlans.com gathers wait time data from a team of in-park researchers and users of their Lines mobile phone application, and then predicts crowd levels for the next 365 days. Using a scale from 1 to 10, TouringPlans.com has a 90 percent accuracy of predicting the crowds to within 1 point, helping visitors prepare for their trips so they can "Do more. Wait less."
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A Passholder discount is available for most dates through March 22, except January 18-20. Passholders can book this discount through the day of arrival if rooms are still available.
Guests will receive 35 percent off at select Deluxe and Deluxe Villas Resorts, 30 percent off at select Moderate Resorts, and 25 percent off at select Value resorts. Moderate and Value Resorts have additional blackout dates.
As with all discounts, rooms available at these rates is limited, and minimum length-of-stay requirements may apply for Friday or Saturday arrivals. No group rates or other discounts apply. Suites, 3-bedroom Grand Villas, and standard rooms at Disney's Art of Animation Resort are not included. Discounts range from 20 to 35 percent and availability varies by date.
You can make your reservation through the Walt Disney World Passholder website or by calling (407) 939-1895 or your favorite travel agent and mentioning discount code S6Z. MousePlanet's preferred Disney travel providers are MouseEarVacations.com (link), Small World Vacations (link) and Get Away Today (link).
You can now can book room-only and Magic Your Way package reservations at select Walt Disney World resorts for 15 to 30 percent off of standard rates most nights from February 18 through June 14, except March 24 through April 1. You must book your reservations by March 7 for nights through March 23 and March 31 for nights through June 14.
Guests can receive 30 percent off at all Deluxe and Deluxe Villas Resorts, except for all Magic Kingdom resorts (Disney's Polynesian Resort, Disney's Contemporary Resort, Disney's Grand Floridian Resort & Spa, Disney's Wilderness Lodge and the Villas at Disney's Wilderness Lodge), which offer 20 percent off, and Disney's Animal Kingdom Villas, which is not available at a discount. Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge only offers the discount for Standard-view rooms.
Discounts of 25 percent are available at all Moderate Resorts, including Disney's Coronado Springs Resort, Disney's Caribbean Beach Resort, Disney's Port Orleans Riverside Resort, and Disney's Fort Wilderness Resort Cabins.
Guests can also get a 20 percent discount at Disney's All-Star Sports Resort, Disney's All-Star Movies Resort, and Disney's Pop Century Resort
Fifteen percent discounts can be had for family suites at Disney's Art of Animation Resort. Standard rooms in the Little Mermaid-themed section are excluded. Also excluded are Port Orleans French Quarter Resort, All-Star Music Resort, 3-bedroom Grand Villas, and Fort Wilderness campsites.
If you add minimum 4-day Magic Your Way tickets to your room to make it a package, you will receive discounts on both your room and tickets.
The number of rooms available at these rates is limited. Minimum length-of-stay requirements may apply for Friday or Saturday arrivals.
You can make your reservation through the Walt Disney World website, or call (407) 939-1283 or your favorite travel agent. MousePlanet's preferred Disney travel providers are MouseEarVacations.com (link), Small World Vacations (link) and Get Away Today (link).
Disney's PhotoPass service provides a discount on Disney PhotoPass+ pre-arrival packages. For $149.95 plus tax, Walt Disney World guests receive a voucher to exchange for a PhotoPass+ card upon arrival at the resort, a Photo Gallery CD with over 400 stock photos ($39.95 value), a unique code to create and order a photo CD upon return from their trip ($169.95 value), print packages at select dining locations ($29.95 value each), and digital photos from select attractions ($14.95 value each). Applicable taxes are charged to all orders.
This special offer is only available from this link or by calling the Guest Support line at (407) 560-4300 before you arrive at Walt Disney World Resort. All sales are final, and not eligible for an exchange or refund.
The package may take as long as 14 days to arrive, and you must bring your voucher from the package to redeem it, so make sure that you order far enough in advance to allow your materials to arrive.
Attractions currently participating in the program are Space Mountain, Splash Mountain, Buzz Lightyear Space Ranger Spin, Twilight Zone Tower of Terror, Rock 'n' Roller Coaster, Expedition Everest, and Dinosaur. Current participating restaurants are 1900 Park Fare, 'Ohana, Spirit of Aloha Dinner Show, Chef Mickey's, Cinderella's Royal Table, Tusker House Restaurant, Hoop Dee Doo Musical Revue, and Princess Storybook Dining at Akershus Royal Banquet Hall.
From now through September 28, 2013, active and retired U.S. military personnel can purchase 4-Day Military Promotional Tickets with either the Park Hopper or Water Parks Fun and More option for $156 per ticket, plus tax (up from $138 last year), or with both the Park Hopper and Water Parks Fun and More options for $184 per ticket, plus tax (up from $165). No Base ticket is available with this offer.
These tickets expire after September 28. Blockout dates are March 24 through April 4 at all ticketed locations, and July 4 at Magic Kingdom park only.
Eligible service members include active or retired members of the U.S. military including the U.S. Coast Guard, National Guard, and Reservists. Disney Military Promotional Tickets can be purchased at Shades of Green or at a participating military base (MWR/ITT) office. There is no tax charged for these tickets but they must be activated at a theme park ticket window. Tickets may also be purchased at Walt Disney World Park Ticket Offices and Guest Relations Offices where tax will be charged. Tickets may be purchased by active and retired military personnel for themselves and up to five additional family members or friends. One of the Disney 4-Day Military Promotional Tickets purchased on each occasion must be for use by the Eligible Service Member or spouse. This offer is for active or retired members of the U.S. military, including the National Guard, Reservists and the U.S. Coast Guard. Valid military identification is required. The tickets are non-transferable and may not be resold.
You may upgrade the tickets to Seasonal Passes or Florida Resident Weekday Select Passes (for Florida Residents), or Annual Passes, Premium Annual Passes, or Disney Premier Pass with credit toward the upgrade based on the actual price paid. The no-expiration option and other upgrades, such as additional days, are not available.
In addition, specially priced rooms are available to active and retired U.S. military personnel at select Walt Disney World resorts for stays most nights through September 28, except for March 25 through April 4, 2013.
For complete information regarding Disney 4-Day Military Promotional Tickets and discounted resort rates, military personnel may call (407) 939-7830, visit the Walt Disney World website, or participating U.S. military base ticket offices.
(Send an email to Mark Goldhaber)
Mark (@MPMark) is a veteran of dozens of trips to Walt Disney World starting in 1972, with a few Disneyland trips thrown in for good measure. As a Disney stockholder and a Disney Vacation Club member, Mark is always in touch with what's going on with The Mouse. Mark serves as MousePlanet's Walt Disney World content coordinator. Mark is a senior information technology manager working for the State of New York. He lives in the suburbs outside Albany, New York, with his wife and son.