Case Study: Disney World – A pioneer in seamless travel

Daniel Batchelor

Global Head of Corporate Communications, Amadeus IT Group

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We’ve written extensively about creating a more seamless and connected travel experience – but what exactly are the real world examples of this? Have a look below at a case study detailing Disney’s move towards a seamless travel experience compiled by Oxford Economics for our report Shaping the Future of Travel.



Walt Disney World, in late 2013, took a bold step in the direction of seamless travel. Before this move, Disney, by virtue of its multiple offerings across the entertainment, accommodation, and dining spheres in one area, was already able to offer a somewhat seamless travel experience.

Disney has now taken this concept a step further with the introduction of MyMagic+. MyMagic+, via the provision of special wrist bands and a specialised mobile app, allows travellers to plan and execute their Disney vacation in a seamless way. Travel between Disney hotels, attractions, and the airport had already been made seamless by the provision of a transportation network combining monorails, trams, buses, and boats to take travellers between different Disney destinations and the airport. In addition, travellers at Disney hotels can check in for their flights at the hotel, get a boarding pass, and drop off their luggage before hopping on Disney-provided transport to the airport.

Personalising your journey

MagicBands and Disney’s mobile app, however, give travellers an extra degree of personalisation and convenience for their journeys. MagicBands, specialised wristbands for each traveller, have multiple functions in the provision of a seamless travel experience. They allow travellers to gain access to the theme parks they have booked tickets for; they serve as a room key for Disney hotels; they store any dining reservations scheduled at Disney properties during the stay; they store the traveller’s credit or debit card details so that purchases can be made using the band, essentially serving as a virtual wallet; they store FastPasses for certain theme park attractions, allowing travellers to skip the queues for attractions they pre-book; and they store any photos taken by Disney at attractions can be stored on the band, allowing the traveller to later access their holiday photos.

The My Disney Experience mobile app is used to tie the entire experience together, giving travellers the ability to pre-plan their vacations by exploring travel options and booking them via the app. Then, during their travels, they can use the geo-linked app to pinpoint their location, along with schedules and times of nearby attractions in the parks, access dining reservations and FastPass tickets, and share travel plans with family and friends.

How do Disney make it so efficient?

This is an example of economies of scope, where the average cost for a firm of producing two or more products is lower, making product diversification economically efficient. Disney is able to offer this seamless travel experience because it provides a wide array of travel products in the same geographical space, which means it does not experience the same coordination problems that multiple travel providers would experience in organising themselves to provide a joint seamless experience.

Together, the mobile app and the MagicBands allow travellers an unparalleled degree of customisation for their holidays. In addition, they combine that with the convenience of a wristband that holds all travel bookings, payment card details to make purchases, and collects personal mementos from the trip for later access; and a mobile app that provides up to the minute information on all attractions and geo-enabled services to navigate between attractions.

What do you think? How could travel players implement some of Disney’s practices to make travel more seamless and connected? Let us know!


Traveler Experience, Connected travel, Multimodal Travel, Research