Disney Innovation Stories

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Disney Innovation Stories

Key Takeaways
  • Within the past 6-12 months, Disney has gained a lot of media attention and praise for its animatronics innovations, especially the newly launched version of Project Kiwi. Kiwi is a bipedal robotics project that brings Disney's characters to life in authentic ways and at their actual scale.
  • Disney Plus has received praise for its innovative streaming strategy that is outmaneuvering competitors like Netflix, HBO Max, and Amazon. This story was featured in numerous media outlets, including Fast Company, Forbes, Digital TV, Bundl, and CNBC.
  • The MagicBand+ is the latest iteration of Disney's MagicBand, a wearable RFID bracelet that was first released in 2013. This bracelet is the most innovative payment solution that the company has launched so far. It provides access to Disney's theme parks, serves as a hotel room key, and enables "guests to make convenient payments (charged back to their hotel room)."
Introduction
This research summarizes some of the top stories that have been published in earned media business publications in the past 6-12 months, describing Disney’s innovation. Also, contained in this research, are articles from business publications that describe how Disney has been innovating in the payments space in the last five years.
Our search has identified only three of Disney's innovations in the payments space within the past five years. Details on our methodology can be found in the Research Strategy section of this report.

TOP STORIES
Disney Wants to Build a Metaverse
  • Disney's intention to build its own metaverse has received widespread media attention. Business Insider titles this story: "After Facebook, Disney wants to build its own metaverse." It can be found here.
  • The innovation is expected to be a theme park metaverse that would enable people to experience the digital world via wearables, digital access points, and smartphones. The metaverse blends the real world together with augmented reality and virtual reality, "giving people a kaleidoscopic surrealistic experience." It offers endless possibilities, including allowing people to have immersive experiences, socialize, shop, and collaborate on projects.
  • This top story has been featured on numerous media outlets, including Business Insider, Reuters, TechRadar, the Guardian, and VRScout.
Disney is Winning the Streaming Wars
  • Disney Plus has received praise for its innovative streaming strategy that is outmaneuvering competitors like Netflix, HBO Max, and Amazon. Fast Company titles it: "How Disney Plus is winning by ripping up the streaming playbook." This top story can be found here.
  • Rather than follow the strategy being used by established streaming brands, Disney merges the modern streaming world with old-school marketing. This has enabled it to achieve remarkable results, with some publications describing it as "the most successful corporate startup ever."
  • This story was featured in numerous media outlets, including Fast Company, Forbes, Digital TV, Bundl, and CNBC.

Animatronics Innovation: Project Kiwi
  • Within the past 6-12 months, Disney has gained a lot of media attention and praise for its animatronics innovations, especially the newly launched version of Project Kiwi. On TechCrunch, the story is titled: "Disney Imagineering’s Project Kiwi is a free-walking robot that will make you believe in Groot." It can be found here.
  • Kiwi is a bipedal robotics project that brings Disney's characters to life in authentic ways and at their actual scale. Disney recently brought one of its characters, Groot, to life through this project. The innovation has surpassed the expectations of many.
  • This story has been featured in numerous media outlets, including TechCrunch+, the New York Times, Healthy Simulation, and SlashGear.

INNOVATION IN PAYMENTS
Disneyland Paris Rolls Out Wireless Payment System
  • In early 2019, a Forbes article revealed that Disneyland Paris had launched a wireless payment system, known as MagicPass.
  • The wireless system allowed guests to open their hotel doors and make payments within the resort. This was a breakthrough for the resort which had been using meal vouchers and paper park tickets since it opened in 1992. The plan was to phase out the previous means of payment in preparation for a 2021 expansion valued at $2.3 billion.
  • Described as smart media," the blue charge card had the Disney castle symbol on it and was linked with guests' credit cards.
Disney Tests Merchandise Mobile Checkout System
  • In December 2020, Blooloop published an article titled: "Disney is testing a new merchandise mobile checkout system at Disneyland and Walt Disney World."
  • Blooloop revealed that the new system allowed guests to use either the Walt Disney World or Disneyland mobile app to scan merchandise items while they shopped. After scanning their items, the system enabled guests to make payments online via the app.
  • As of December 2020, The OCR revealed that the system was being trialed at the World of Disney Store in Downtown Disney. Also, the Disney Food Blog reported that the new process was being offered at Mouse Gear in Epcot, Walt Disney World.
MagicBand+ Debuts in 2022
  • In October 2021, Forbes published an article titled: "Disney Unveils The New MagicBand+ Which Will Bring More Interactivity Into The Parks."
  • The MagicBand+ is the latest iteration of Disney's MagicBand, a wearable RFID bracelet that was first released in 2013. While it serves various purposes for Disney customers, the MagicBand is the most innovative payment solution that the company has launched so far.
  • Disney reportedly spent over $1 billion to develop and implement this bracelet technology. It provides access to Disney's theme parks, serves as a hotel room key, and enables "guests to make convenient payments (charged back to their hotel room)."
Research Strategy
For this research on "Disney Innovation Stories," we leveraged the most reputable sources of information available in the public domain, including Business Insider, Forbes, and Fast Company. Our search has identified three of Disney's innovations in the payments space within the past five years.

To confirm that these were the only innovations, we conducted an exhaustive search on business publications and news outlets, excluding articles that were directly published by Disney. However, we also went further to scour Disney's press releases to ensure that we had not omitted any launches/announcements in this regard. While there are numerous articles covering Disney's payment innovations within this time, they all contain the same stories identified in this report.

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