Sometime soon, you’ll be able to go to Disney theme parks and pay for stuff using nothing but wireless bracelets. It’s magic! Or, uh, is it laid-bare commercialism desensitising visiting families from the wads of cash they’re spending?
Obviously, there’s something in it for Disney. Its theme parks produce massive revenue, and with parents already knee-deep in the monetary bear trap, the RFID bands are basically a lock to increase that. But there’s also an inarguable charm to taking the purchasing mechanisms out of giving a gift at a theme park. “You want this toy princess? IT’S YOURS. Go ahead, walk away with it.”
That’s not all the MagicBands do. In addition to being your credit card, you can use them to remotely sign up for FastPass — Disney’s line-speeding feature at parks that lets you schedule when you’ll show up to ride — as your room key, park ticket, and to give personal information to the park’s employees (if you opt in). For example, it can tell Cinderella that it’s your birthday without anyone telling her.