Word has come our way that Disney is looking to track guests at Disney Springs. The only difference this time around is that it’s not only for those with Magicbands.
The technology will use Wi-Fi hotspots positioned throughout Disney Springs to track guest’s location using their personal phone. This gives much more detail and makes a lot more sense for Disney Springs. Why? Because a large percentage of people visiting the Springs are locals who don’t wear a Magicband.
How does it work?
Most people’s phones are set to scan for Wi-Fi networks automatically. This is what helps you automatically connect to your Wi-Fi when you come home after a day at work. Your phone sends out a probe request to see what networks are available. If you’re already connected this usually doesn’t happen in the background and only is triggered when you ask for a list of available networks.
Your phone also has a unique identifier called a MAC address. This is a string of characters that is unique to all internet connected devices. This is also how Disney will most likely be tracking guests. Usually it’s anonymous, but what if you volunteered information when connecting to the Disney-Guest Wi-Fi in your resort earlier in the day? They could connect your room number to a MAC address and roughly know who you are as you’re browsing around Disney Springs.
What Disney will be doing is tracking people based on the signal strength and how they connect and disconnect to the Wi-Fi beacons throughout Disney Springs. They’ll know if someone came in the Lime Garage, walked by STK, and then went to World of Disney and stayed in there for 40 minutes. When they no longer see the MAC address connected anywhere in Disney Springs they will probably assume the guest left.
Once again, you don’t have to have connected to Disney’s Wi-Fi at any point. Your phone gives away the unique MAC address identifier as it scans for networks automatically. The only way to opt out once they implement this would be to disable Wi-Fi and Bluetooth completely.
On an individual basis the information is helpful, but imagine how many guests have phones in Disney Springs. Add all that data together and there’s a goldmine of information that they can use to help sell more Mickey dolls.