Blog Archives

Disney on the cutting edge again (or is that “still”?)

My last blog discussed how smartphones will soon suprass PCs as the main way we surf the ‘net.   In turn this access gives vendors a whole new way to personalize service to us as consumers.   Using GPS, CRM and unified communications we’ll be able to shop smarter and vendors will be able to pinpoint personalized offers to us based not just on our past buying history or our demographics (where we live, our age, etc.) but actually by knowing where we are and what we are doing.

Big brother is watching!

So how does Disney tie into this?   Disney is working on new technology for its theme parks (Walt Disney World, Disneyland, Disneyland Paris, Tokyo Disney Resort and  Disney Hong Kong) .  Disney has not announced this, but a former executive is on record as stating that Disney is working on wireless-communication technology to tailor theme park offerings to the likes of individual visitors.  This same source claims that Disney is spending $1 billion to $1.5 billion on this project, so it is considered a “game changer” by them.

What types of things does Disney plan to do with wireless technology?   CRM of course!  They will offer Disney visitors all kinds of enhanced services that will shorten waits on line, customize the “experience” of a Disney vacation all the while they are compiling information on you and your family. . .what rides you went on, what restaurants you visited, where you stayed. . .  this information is then used to offer you knew vacation offers tailored to your likes.

Nick Franklin Executive Vice President, New Business Development

The person in charge of this herculean effort is Nick Franklin, head of global business and real-estate development for Disney’s theme park division.    Franklin has had an exciting career with Disney Franklin as well as serveing as a member of the Executive Committee for the Parks & Resorts segment overall. “This is not the typical opportunity that gets described in business school,” he said. “My job is to help envision the next generation of Disney experiences around the world, which is pretty cool.”

I’d say so!

I’ll bet back in his days at the investment banking at Goldman, Sachs & Co.  Franklin could never have dreamed he’d be working in the “House of the Mouse” working on new generation entertainment venues!

But I digress.   The rumors (and that is all we have at this time, rumors) say that Disney’s NextGen (code name) CRM technology push will include keyless hotel-room doors to rides and shows in which the experience varies based on an individual guest’s preferences.

The main source of information on this oh so secret development project is Michael Crawford, publisher of Progress City USA. Crawford writes that Imagineers (Disney’s name for engineers)  hope to use RFID technology in concert with their new Fantasyland attractions.  RFID stands for Radio frequency identification.  RFID tags can be incorporated as a chip in a Disney park pass (for example).  RFID can track your ID on your Disney “passport”, it can be your room key to your hotel room and even be used to enter mass transit like the monorail or be used as an in park credit card.    All the while Disney knows where you’ve been, what you’ve done, and where you are now.

Pretty slick!

Disney could even use the personalized card to allow attractions to access personalized information about each guest, thus personalizing your “experience.”  This was somewhat tested out last year with Disney’s  Kim Possible World Showcase Adventure at EPCOT in Walt Disney World Resorts.   This features an interactive experience where guests are given a “Kimmunicator” (Kim Possible is a Disney cartoon about a girl who is a spy) found at kiosks in Epcot. These interactive devices use  technology which gives clues from the Kim Possible characters to find “villains” they cna track as they wander around the theme park.

Each adventure is unique, personalized.  CRM, right?  Right!

RFID should be used to make each vacation to a Disney theme park totally random and new — thus removing the “we’ve already been to Disney and it’s boring, can’t we go somewhere ELSE this year?” argument moot.  At least that is the hope of Disney.

It just struck me as interesting that this news hit the Orlando Sentinel today, the very week I blogged about Smartphones and CRM.   As I mentioned in that blog — the world is moving at a very fast clip these days!

%d bloggers like this: