My Data Holiday

Disney World's clever use of data got me thinking


Over the last few weeks, I have been out of the office. The first two weeks I holidayed in Orlando and in the final week, I attended a large conference. Both had me thinking about the effects of data.

Orlando and Walt Disney World

Though there are many other attractions in Orlando (Universal Studios being a favourite of mine), I want to talk about Walt Disney World, and what really struck me was how they use data.

The first question you will most likely be thinking is, what am I doing thinking about data whilst I am on holiday? You’d be right to ask… I am a self-confessed data geek without any discernible technical or coding talents.

However, once was given my Magic Band and I used it to get into the park, it all fell into place; I felt like the cop in The Usual Suspects when he realizes Kevin spacey is Keyser Soze. For those who are unaware, a Magic Band is wearable tech used by Disney in place of your tickets, your Fast Passes for rides, hotel keys, wallet to buy merchandise, and dining plan, and can add photos to your memory maker - it’s pretty much all you need in a Disney park. Disney is taking away the need for awkward rucksacks and bags. But that is really only surface deep in terms of what this does. In reality, it gives Disney the data to understand:

- Customer buying habits

- The length of people's stays within park

- Which park you most attend

- What you want to ride in the theme park and when you check in 

Fast Pass plus has made micro managements for Mums, Dads, & Disney so much easier! But why collect all this data? Surely there are cost benefits such as staffing and logistics, but that’s not it. 

Any guesses? No? Okay…


Disney is using data like never before to enhance your user experience and make it a magical event that will make you want to go back again and again (that’s if the rides and the general atmosphere don’t do that anyway.)

I can honestly say I have been going to Walt Disney World since I was a child and will carry on going when I have kids. Year on year they offer innovation to improve the customers’ experience, but this is truly a game changer. Not just in their theme parks, but in every industry, as it sets out a clear message: better data means better customer experience.

However this, of course, is a two-way street. The consumer needs to know that companies storing their data isn’t always a scary thing. Companies like Disney knowing what drink you like, or what your favourite ride was isn’t to keep tabs on you; it just offers a brighter, more customer-centric future.


Original article: 

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