We first visited DisneyWorld 5 years ago. If I remember correctly, we used a physical map to find our way around the parks and carried around little pieces of paper with essential information to get through the day. They now have an app that you can use to set up your schedule for the day. It’s incredible. It shows you when you have fast passes for rides, your restaurant reservations, wait times for every ride in every Disney Park, it has maps you can use to navigate around just like you do in your car. It shows all the restrooms. This feature came in really handy because my son Nicky never met a bathroom he didn’t like to use. The Disney app tells you the precise time and place that a character
is going be available to hug. You also wear bands around your wrist called Magicbands that resemble a Fit Bit band.
When you use a Fastpass to go on a ride you hold the band up to the detector and it lights up green. When you’re on a ride and your photo is taken (see post below) the MagicBand is detected and the photo is placed in your family’s Disney PhotoPass album. The band can be used to make all your purchases in the park also. You buy a water or a pack of gum – just put the band up to the detector until it lights up green. The kids like the bands so much they’re still wearing them now that we are home.
1. The Disney app is amazing , except when it’s not. You’ve got all your information in there so when the app goes down, you’re helpless. What time is our Fastpass? When’s our dinner reservation? How do we get to Tomorrowland? aaarrggh! But…BUT… everyone at Disney is extremely helpful. If you stop to ask a question of a “Cast Member”, they couldn’t be more accommodating. Takeaway: Tech is awesome: humans are still pretty cool too.
2. It’d be amazing if we had an App and MagicBand for our school. We’d call ours the Personal Best Band! Teachers wouldn’t have to waste time taking attendance or checking who did homework, the band would automatically synch this info with the Teacher App (if we had them when I went to high school my buddy Chris would’ve had me take his band in my pocket to “Mechanical Drawing”, the only course in which he ever got a “B”). If this post reaches enough readers, I’m certain that one of my colleagues in Wisconsin is going to write that they’ve had MagicBands for three years, they’re awesome, and they’d love to do a Google Hangout with me to teach me how to do it at my school. The potential of MagicBands in our classrooms and schools blows my mind.
3. Make things easy. Disney makes it easy to find your way around the parks, buy things, and keep track of your schedule so you will focus on their core product: the Magic. In the same way, we need to make things easy, and even fun, so our students will focus on our core product: LEARNING!