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Disney's MagicBand vs. Universal's TapuTapu

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The Motley Fool asks, "Is Disney World's Top Rival About to Make MagicBands Obsolete?"

 

http://www.fool.com/investing/2016/11/05/is-disney-worlds-top-rival-about-to-make-magicband.aspx

 

Universals-Volcano-Bay-Krakatau-1170x731

 

Universal released more details about the upcoming Universal's Volcano Bay "water theme park" opening in Orlando next summer. Along with details about the dark ride / water coaster, the big takeaway is a new wearable technology the park will utilize called TapuTapu. This waterproof wristband will be the cornerstone of the park's claims that it'll be the first water park ever with no waiting in lines.

 

Guests will simply tap their TapuTapu (get it?) against a tiki idol at a ride's entrance to reserve a place in a virtual queue. Then they can explore the action river, lazy river, wave pools, etc. while they wait for their reservation time to arrive.

 

But here's the difference. Disney's RFID-enabled MagicBands are not powered devices. They work via radio frequency, connecting to receivers throughout Disney's parks. BUT they rely on smartphones for information input and feedback - making reservations, checking your reservation time, receiving reminders about dining reservations and Fastpass reservations... 

 

Universals-Volcano-Bay-Runamukka-Reef-11

 

Universal's TapuTapu is a powered, two-way communication device. So when your time nears, your wristband will vibrate and display "15 minutes!" to tell you to head to the attraction. Think about how this technology could (and indeed, will if all goes as planned!) be used inside the theme parks... vibrating when a favorite character is near, signaling when a queue is shortest, activated at key points during attractions, or working in conjunction with the Wizarding World's wands for sensory feedback. 

 

Universals-Volcano-Bay-Star-Gazers-1170x

 

Already, one of Volcano Bay's most striking features will be interactive "tap-to-play" idols around the park. Just touch TapuTapu and water cannons will blast action river riders, geysers and stone whales will spout in the kid's area, and (coolest of all) you can illuminate hidden cave paintings in caverns within the park's iconic volcano.

 

We have yet to see whether these devices are yours to keep, how they charge, etc. but we do know they'll be free (read, included with park admission) and given to each guest upon arrival...

 

See the TapuTapu in action here:

 

 

 

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I wonder if there is a capacity limit to the park in order to maintain reasonable line reservation management? Nice concept but I'm unsure of how this will work. Based on the crowds at Universal week before last, I can't see this working on the dry park sides.

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Isn't this what everyone complained that Disney would do? The article reads that this is a positive but I remember right after Magic Bands came out everyone derided them.

So no "stand by" line. I'm guessing you won't be able to swipe more tHan 1 ride at a time.

I love this concept and I'm sure this will go well but unsure of how this will work in practice. No one in line means more people in other areas?

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I suspect the daily capacity of the park will be set pretty low. 

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I've talked about this before, and I'm sure there are those that don't agree with me, but when it comes to FastPasses and such, I'm old school.  I still prefer the first come, first served approach that was originally in the Disney theme parks.  I liked how everyone on the day of their visit, regardless of who they were or where they were staying, could walk into the park, swipe their ticket and get a pass.  Everyone was on an equal playing field.  This whole idea now where people staying on Disney property can reserve FastPasses 90 days in advance, while people staying off property only get 30 days, well, that's just junk.  And I know why Disney does it, so I don't need an explanation.  It's just my opinion.

 

Now in regards to Universal's new technology.  It seems as if, at least within their water park, that there is no reserving before you get to the park.  It sounds like, once you're there, you walk up to the ride you want to ride, tap your band, and then get a reserve time.  Sounds very similar to Disney's older technology, just updated a bit to coincide with this electronic band. If so, then I do like this concept a little better. 

 

However, I'm wondering too if there will be stand-by lines?  It'll be interesting to see if theme parks will ever do away with stand-by lines as technology such as FastPass and now this TapuTapu becomes more refined.  I'm wondering if it's at all possible for parks to orchestrate reserved ride times to the point that stand-by lines don't to exist anymore.  Would that allow everyone a ride on a ride? What about riding a ride more than once?  My opinion is that stand-by lines will always be needed, but I'm not saying that that'll be the case in the future.  It'll be interesting to learn what this new technology is all about once we can see it in action.

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I never used Disneys old system but to say it was fair seems a bit of a stretch. You have many on here that they would run around collecting times for their group. If you couldn't run around or were new to the whole process it seems a bit unfair. At least with new FP you can book online or when in the park you can do it via mobile.

The Universal system looks to be very fair though.

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Just to be clear, I used Disney's old system multiple times.  I've heard ridiculous stories of people arriving before the gates open with strollers in hand and as soon as the ropes drop making a mad dash around the park marathon style swiping at every FastPass they could get before they magically disappeared. It really makes it sound like it was the most exhausting and difficult thing to do and that if you didn't arrive at park open and run around frantically, then you didn't one.  That's BS.  My friends/family and I never ran around from FP station to FP station collection passes in order to secure them.  We'd walk casually around the park enjoying the attractions.  When we came to one we wanted to ride but didn't want to wait for, we'd grab a FP.  We never ran into any situation where they were out of passes.  Since the new system was put in place, I've had more instances of FastPasses being sold out than before on their old system where it was never an issue.

 

And yes, I agree, Universal's new system does look to be fair.  I'll be interested to learn more.

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The article mentioned Uni's band will be powered.  Powered by what? Will they be given to park guests with the expectation they be returned upon exiting?  As mentioned above, it would take a whole lot of testing before Universal deploys this resort-wide.  Disney basically unleashed the Magicbands and let the process sort itself out over time.  

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I suspect the daily capacity of the park will be set pretty low. 

 

I have read rumors that this will only be open to guests staying onsite at Universal. While I doubt that, I do agree that they will limit the capacity similar to Discovery Cove. 

 

 As mentioned above, it would take a whole lot of testing before Universal deploys this resort-wide.  Disney basically unleashed the Magicbands and let the process sort itself out over time.  

 

They already tested this at Wet and Wild before it closed earlier this year. 

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Just to be clear, I used Disney's old system multiple times.  I've heard ridiculous stories of people arriving before the gates open with strollers in hand and as soon as the ropes drop making a mad dash around the park marathon style swiping at every FastPass they could get before they magically disappeared. It really makes it sound like it was the most exhausting and difficult thing to do and that if you didn't arrive at park open and run around frantically, then you didn't one.  That's BS.  My friends/family and I never ran around from FP station to FP station collection passes in order to secure them.  We'd walk casually around the park enjoying the attractions.  When we came to one we wanted to ride but didn't want to wait for, we'd grab a FP.  We never ran into any situation where they were out of passes.  Since the new system was put in place, I've had more instances of FastPasses being sold out than before on their old system where it was never an issue.

 

And yes, I agree, Universal's new system does look to be fair.  I'll be interested to learn more.

Also to add to this you couldn't run around collecting a bunch of FPs at park opening either. When you got a FP you had to wait a predetermined time, usually until around the time your initial FP was for, before you could get another one.

 

I think this system with TapuTapu is going to be good. I can easily see no true standby lines as they aren't really needed with this system. But I do worry how crowded the wave pool and lazy rivers will get.  Does make me wonder if they will have a smaller cap on the park like bkroz said, but think the addition of two rivers plus sounds like the wave pool should be pretty big too. 

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The wait between fast passes at Disney is two hours or when the window for your fast pass opens, whichever comes first. You cannot just run around the park and collect a pile of passes. Typically late night shows for example World of Color which offer a fastpass are not tied to the rest of the system so getting a fastpass to the show does not prevent someone from getting passes for rides.

The fastpass system with paper passes is still in place at all Disney parks except Shanghai and Orlando. Only Orlando moved to the Magic bands and reservation system. If you like the old system just go to California, Disneyland has stated they do not plan to switch largely because they have such a large percentage of locals visiting the park. If you like the new system with magic bands just go to Orlando.

Personally I am fine either way. I still prefer Disneyland in general, the compact nature of the park, plus the two parks in California have almost as many rides as all four parks in Florida.

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I haven`t been down to Disney World since they started implementing Magic Bands.  But it seems like you now have to plan out your visit to the park more than what you used to.  Having visited Disneyland each of the last two years, I like the way the paper Fast Pass system works. However, not as many rides at Disneyland have Fast Pass.  For example, I believe one attraction that did not have a Fast Pass line at Disneyland/California Adventure is Midway Mania.

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I haven`t been down to Disney World since they started implementing Magic Bands. But it seems like you now have to plan out your visit to the park more than what you used to. Having visited Disneyland each of the last two years, I like the way the paper Fast Pass system works. However, not as many rides at Disneyland have Fast Pass. For example, I believe one attraction that did not have a Fast Pass line at Disneyland/California Adventure is Midway Mania.

If you plan on using them, sort of. We went 2 summers and again this spring. You have to plan which park you want to go to (I usually go to the one with extended hours) and then pick 3 rides you want to ride and get times for them. Also since I know which park I'll be at then I'll make dining reservations as well.

Some people don't like knowing which park till they get here.

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I was one that took advantage of the Legacy Fast Pass system.  One of the big secrets with the old system is there were rides not connected to the system so you could double up, plus you could ride standby all morning while continuously collecting paper tickets when your window opened again.  Even though these tickets had printed return times, you could return at any point throughout the day.  Basically the morning was used for standby rides and then you would use all of your paper tickets in the afternoon for much more popular rides.  

 

The new Magic Band system is awesome!  Have used it multiple times and it is fantastic.  I love going in to my Disney trip and already having multiple ride reservations.  For example our last trip we went having 2 FP+ for the new Frozen Ride, when standby lines were around 2 hours.  

 

This new system sounds interesting and I hope it works, but the powered part is interesting.  This sounds more like the Q-bot system to me.  Also I doubt the device will have much of a screen to help navigate the system, rides, and such.  Will you need to use their app on your phone to see whats going on in the park then make separate changes on your band?  Where the Magic Band system integrates the two.  Shall be interesting to see.

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I was one that took advantage of the Legacy Fast Pass system.  One of the big secrets with the old system is there were rides not connected to the system so you could double up, plus you could ride standby all morning while continuously collecting paper tickets when your window opened again.  Even though these tickets had printed return times, you could return at any point throughout the day.  Basically the morning was used for standby rides and then you would use all of your paper tickets in the afternoon for much more popular rides.  

 

The new Magic Band system is awesome!  Have used it multiple times and it is fantastic.  I love going in to my Disney trip and already having multiple ride reservations.  For example our last trip we went having 2 FP+ for the new Frozen Ride, when standby lines were around 2 hours.  

 

This new system sounds interesting and I hope it works, but the powered part is interesting.  This sounds more like the Q-bot system to me.  Also I doubt the device will have much of a screen to help navigate the system, rides, and such.  Will you need to use their app on your phone to see whats going on in the park then make separate changes on your band?  Where the Magic Band system integrates the two.  Shall be interesting to see.

Not sure there will be too much changing needed to be made with it. Sounds like it's going to be a pretty basic reservation system. So while it will interact with other things around the park, as for the FP-esque system, it sounds like it will be a case of pcking a slide, it alerts you when it's time to get in line then you go on it, then tap at the next slide you want to go on.

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I was one that took advantage of the Legacy Fast Pass system.  One of the big secrets with the old system is there were rides not connected to the system so you could double up, plus you could ride standby all morning while continuously collecting paper tickets when your window opened again.  Even though these tickets had printed return times, you could return at any point throughout the day.  Basically the morning was used for standby rides and then you would use all of your paper tickets in the afternoon for much more popular rides.  

 

The new Magic Band system is awesome!  Have used it multiple times and it is fantastic.  I love going in to my Disney trip and already having multiple ride reservations.  For example our last trip we went having 2 FP+ for the new Frozen Ride, when standby lines were around 2 hours.  

 

This new system sounds interesting and I hope it works, but the powered part is interesting.  This sounds more like the Q-bot system to me.  Also I doubt the device will have much of a screen to help navigate the system, rides, and such.  Will you need to use their app on your phone to see whats going on in the park then make separate changes on your band?  Where the Magic Band system integrates the two.  Shall be interesting to see.

for those savvy enough to know, a lot of the fp dispensers were often unmanned and if you knew where to look on the machine, you could simply press a button, which would dispense the FP ticket without inserting your park ticket.  It was used for malfunctions.  There were also bonus FP available for the Frontierland mountains every morning by going to Tom Sawyer island and collecting a white paintbrush by following the clues (there were about 10 or so hidden somewhat conspicuously every morning).  Once turned in, you were awarded 2 anytime Fastpasses for Splash and Thunder mountains.  Once the Magicbands came online, this was discontinued. I was a big fan of the legacy system, but it did reward seasoned parkgoers.  I also have enjoyed the Magicbands as well, since the system has much more versatility.

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I like the concept of the Magic Bands as a whole, with being able to have FPs, Photo Pass, room charges, room key, park ticket, etc. all on the band. Makes it very easy so don't have to carry stuff around, just wear a bracelet. However, I do feel that stuff is planned out a bit too much now. You always had to make dinner and character breakfast reservations far in advance, but now you pretty much have ot have you whole day planned out months in advance. Wish they brought the magic bands but kept the old FP style system, just no more paper tickets.

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