We’re in the heat of the summer blockbuster season, when Walt Disney Co. is taking over theaters with releases like Toy Story 4 and live-action versions of Aladdin and Lion King. There’s another aspect of the season Disney is effectively capturing: summer vacations—and reams of data on the things you do inside its amusement parks.
With the recent opening of the Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge theme park at California’s Disneyland, the company continues to mine its portfolio of franchises and boost its $20 billion resorts business. Last week, Disney announced the opening of another Star Wars extension at Disney World in Orlando, Florida, a follow up to its massive Avatar annex. And next on the schedule is a slate of Marvel comics-themed attractions from Hong Kong to Paris.
As families float through It’s a Small World, run from Stormtroopers or snap a picture with Buzz Lightyear, Disney is watching their every move. At a time when Facebook Inc., Google and myriad other technology companies are getting hammered over consumer privacy issues, Disney is running the happiest police state on earth.
To keep the parks running with extreme efficiency and learn ever-more about guests, Disney monitors usage of its smartphone apps and electronic wrist-worn MagicBand. The resulting data could include the rides families frequent, the characters kids and parents are most drawn to and the television and film merchandise into which their dollars are funneled.
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