MagicBand Mentality – The Ease of Spending at Disney

by Ryan Yates

After reading about how the one-percenters from New York “do” Disney (by hiring disabled people to get them to the front of the lines at Disneyland), I’ve been tuned into Disney news for the past week or so. This morning, I was reading an interesting article about a new piece of technology that plans to debut at Disney’s Orlando theme park.

The latest gadget to make your life easier while strolling around the Magic Kingdom is the MagicBand. In short, the MagicBang is an electronic bracelet that contains all of your Disney Park tickets and information, and uses radio frequency to transmit that information around the park.

Got a Disney Park quickpass? Swipe your MagicBand alongside the receiver and you’re passed through. Bought the all-inclusive food ticket? Swipe your MagicBand. Want to pick up your family photo with Mickey or Goofy. Swipe your MagicBand.

Get the idea?

For the moment, let’s push aside the privacy issues and focus on the trap of overspending at a theme park.

Although this technology is quite interesting and will probably save a few people from losing their tickets, there is one rather large danger. Buried deep within the article is one small sentence that should strike fear in the hearts of every family budgeter – you can buy just about anything at Disney with your MagicBand.

Need I go into the countless stories about kids charging hundreds of dollars to their parent’s credit cards while playing seemingly innocent tablet games or smart phone games. Curse you in-game purchase power!

Again, paying for stuff at Disneyland with a MagicBand sounds like an easier alternative to carrying around pocket-fulls of cash. And I’m sure the teenager selling you a churro hates handling my sweaty bills and would gladly accept my MagicBand swipe for a $9 fried dough treat.

But this technology makes it easier to spend and forget about your money.

Marketing companies will always to find ways to influence consumers to spend without thinking about it – and that’s dangerous. Spending without a conscience will always lead you down the cycle of debt.

Just think about how expensive things are at any Disney theme park. It’s worse than the movies and sporting events combined. And now you can spend your money without being able to keep track of it. Great . . . for Disney.

My first question to Disney would be – At what age is a MagicBand user restricted from making purchases without a parent present? Ten years old? Eight? Five?

I don’t want to take a bathroom break after the Teacups only to return to my toddler holding $400 worth of tshirts, mugs, and stuffed Disney characters.

However, if Disney’s retort to their new MagicBand technology sounded something like, “Our park visitors will have to be responsible for themselves when spending money with the MagicBand,” they’d be absolutely right.

When it comes down to it, each of us are responsible for our own spending habits. There’s no one else to blame but us. Instead of succumbing to the ease of spending, let’s take back control and become more financially aware. See the tricks for what they are. Use your x-ray financial vision when it comes to marketers and businesses trying to find ways to make is simpler for you to part with your money.

Don’t get swept up in the MagicBand mentality.

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