The Messy Business Of Reinventing Happiness


The Messy Business Of Reinventing Happiness is a behind-the-scenes look at Disney’s MagicBand rollout, wherein they endeavored (and, in large part, succeeded) to replace tickets, hotel room keys, credit cards—even airport x-ray machines—for the 17 million people that visit the park every year.

Iger planned to pump nearly $1 billion into this venture, called MyMagic+, a sweeping plan to overhaul the digital infrastructure of Disney’s theme parks, which would upend how they operated and connected with consumers. At the core of the project was the MagicBand, an electronic wristband that Iger envisioned guests would use to gain entry to Disney World and access attractions; make purchases at restaurants; and unlock their hotel room doors. It would push the boundaries of experience design and wearable computing, and impact everything from Disney’s retail operations and data-mining capabilities to its hospitality and transportation services.

We just spent a week at Disney World with the kids, and I was really impressed with the MagicBand experience. Everything just works—sometimes too well: frictionless payments-on-your-wrist paired with Disney’s infamous merchandizing prowess ($12 balloons!)…my bank account never stood a chance.