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  • Subscriber Dante Rodriguez asks, "As the boat my father and I were riding in approached the end scene of it's a small world, the screen changed from goodbye in a foreign language to saying goodbye to my father and I.

  • What struck me as strange was that we went through the normal queue.

  • We never actually scanned our Fastpass at any point while getting on the ride.

  • So I was hoping you could shed some light as to how it knew our names.”

  • That's a great question Dante!

  • To anyone who doesn't know what Dante is referring to, the introduction of Magic Bands in 2013 changed the way guests visited Walt Disney World.

  • Today with a trip to the resort, guests are given wristbands, called MagicBands, that they can use in multiple ways.

  • They act as tickets to the parks, keys to your hotel room, and a way to pay for food and merchandise.

  • Perhaps most relevant to this question however, the MagicBands are also used when getting onto rides with a FastPass+ reservation.

  • Guests scan their band at a small stand at the entrance of the attraction to confirm their reservation and then walk onto the queue.

  • However if you're just getting on the normal standby queue, you never have to scan anything.

  • So to Dante's question, if he and his father didn't scan their bands at any point in getting on the ride, how did the ride know their names at the end?

  • Well the answer to your question Dante, is that while you may have not scanned your MagicBand on it's a small world, the ride scanned you.

  • You see, MagicBands actually comes with two antennas built into it, a close range RFID and a longer range ultra-high frequency radio.

  • The RFID, which stands for radio frequency identification, is the one we think about when we think of the MagicBand.

  • It's the technology that allows us to tap our MagicBand to a FastPass kiosk or at a cash register when paying for our lunch.

  • While the tech behind RFID would allow it to work at longer distances, it wouldn't make much sense in this case.

  • After all, we don't want to accidentally pay for another person's meal or check-into our Tower of Terror fastpass reservation before we mean do.

  • We definitely don't want to unlock our hotel room door without actually being at the door itself.

  • The whole Mickey to Mickey design ensures that when we take these actions, it's because we purposefully mean to.

  • That second half of the MagicBand technology, the ultra-high frequency radio, that's where the Disney "magic" happens.

  • That's the part of the band that can be used from afar, meaning that a sensor you don't see or even know about can read it and use the data to enhance your ride experience.

  • It's a number of hidden sensors in Be Our Guest that are used to triangulate your position and let servers know what table you're sitting at so they can bring you the food you pre-ordered online.

  • It's a sensor in the queue of Rock n Roller Coaster that allows the digital concert posters to update with guests' names and hometowns.

  • It's a hidden sensor in Frozen Ever After that scans your band to ensure that your ride photo is linked to your PhotoPass account since there isn't a kiosk at the end of the ride.

  • And yes, it's a hidden sensor at the end of it's a small world that allows the ride to customize those goodbye signs with the names of guests.

  • All in all the technology has some exciting possibilities.

  • We've already begun to see it used more and more in attractions as a way of adding a personal touch.

  • We're also going to see a whole new use for it with the opening of Star Wars: Galaxies Edge, as decisions made in attractions will carry over into how you're seen throughout the rest of the land.

  • So like most other instances, the next time you're at Disney and feel wow'ed by that Disney magic, keep in mind that there's some pretty clever technology at work.

Subscriber Dante Rodriguez asks, "As the boat my father and I were riding in approached the end scene of it's a small world, the screen changed from goodbye in a foreign language to saying goodbye to my father and I.

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How Disney Rides Know Our Names

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    Evangeline posted on 2021/04/13
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