Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Not everyone is a fan of the new interactive Haunted Mansion ghosts

Posted By on Tue, Apr 26, 2016 at 9:24 AM

click to enlarge PHOTO VIA DISNEY
  • Photo via Disney
StoryMaker, the interactive element part of MyMagic+ at Walt Disney World, has been rolling out at different attractions across the resort.

It’s a small world was one of the first to see the new elements. The new digital screens at the end of the ride shows riders first names as they pass by. Custom digital posters showing guests names on themed posters have also been added to the queue of Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster in DHS.

Now, the latest place to feature the tech in the finale of Haunted Mansion. A few years ago the ride added new interactive hitchhiking ghosts that switched guest’s faces in the ‘mirrors.’ The ghosts have long promised to follow you home but now they actually know where you live. As your ‘doombug’ passes the hitchhiking ghost mirrors toward the end of the ride ghosts hold up signs with your name and home state.

All of this is thanks to the MagicBand tech. Guests register a profile before visiting WDW, then Disney mails them the MagicBands. The RFID bands are able to be used at a hotel key, can link to a credit card info and can be used to check into FastPass+ at attractions (which, is how the attractions are able to know things about the guests).

Only guests with MyMagic+ profiles linked to a RFID-enabled bands get the upgraded experience. RFID passes, included Day Passes, are able to be linked the MyMagic+ profiles as well, but the push is the MagicBands.

The customized experiences haven’t been without its critics. When the new elements were posted on various social media accounts some expressed concern about the tech being used while others pointed out the fact that being reminded that Disney is tracking them. Most major retailers track customers these days but few have been as upfront with reminding guests of this tracking as Disney has been. These reminders can make the attraction experience more personalized, but can also pull guests out of the ‘magic.’

RFID readers have been on Disney rides for years. Pal Mickey dolls took advantage of these RFID readers as back as 2003. When the dolls were discounted in 2008, most of the readers were left unused. Many of the readers have been updated now to better read the MagicBands. But this is the first time the tech has been used to personalize the ride experience.

The Haunted Mansion guest experience is one of the first to use anything beyond the guest’s name. The Aladdin meet-&-greet in Epcot has been sporadically testing the tech, as well. There, guests can rub the magic lamp and the genie will ‘guess’ the guest’s name and home state.

None of the new StoryMaker elements give much detail. No last names or full addresses are posted on the rides, even in Haunted Mansion where guests outside of your doombug could see what you’re seeing.

Disney has confirmed they are adding more interactive elements to various attractions but no official list of where or when has been posted.

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