Disney’s Bet on a Magical Wristband

It may look unpretentious, but the band connects you to a vast and powerful system of sensors within the park. And yet, when you visit Disney World, the most remarkable thing about the MagicBands is that they don’t feel remarkable at all. They’re as ubiquitous as sunburns and giant frozen lemonades. 

This article is a master piece that draws exceptional lessons on how technology, business and design merge to create an unprecedented user experience.

It’s amazing how much friction Disney has engineered away: There’s no need to rent a car or waste time at the baggage carousel. You don’t need to carry cash, because the MagicBand is linked to your credit card. You don’t need to wait in long lines. You don’t even have to go to the trouble of taking out your wallet.

Disney has managed to build a marvel of engineering and make it feel transparent for the user. It's an amazing example of applied technology with a clear purpose. It aims to remove friction, it looks for the pain points and intelligently addresses them with a clear goal in mind: providing an amazing experience.

Disney is thus granted permission to explore services that might seem invasive anywhere else. But then, that’s the trick: Every new experience with technology tends to gently nudge our notions of what we’re comfortable with.

This is really interesting. Google, Facebook, Apple are also pushing to make it happen, but some technology like this sponsored by them would look like as an intolerable thread to privacy. But here, at Disney, they have much more freedom to experiment and to push these kind of experiences forward without having to worry about such things.

In fact, it’s called the paradox of choice: You make people happier not by giving them more options but by stripping away as many as you can. The redesigned Disney World experience constrains choices by dispersing them, beginning long before the trip is under way.

Long story short, a fantastic lesson on product management and user experience. It's absolutely worth reading.