Disney and the Internet: Theme Parks and Wi-Fi

Disney and the Internet: Theme Parks and Wi-Fi

Disney’s Wifi Internet was innovative and game-changing, with its roll-out back in 2012. I wanted to highlight a timestamp/time frame where Disney utilized the technology and demonstrated something big. Today, we’re going to focus on a certain article, “Walt Disney World rolls out free Wi-Fi Internet at Magic Kingdom theme park, enabling further NextGen Fastpass testing” (Brigante, 2012). Even though this reading was written a few years ago, I feel as if it is still relevant today, and sheds a light on how much influence Disney brought to theme parks in respect to Wi-fi and the Internet. 

“Guests visiting the Magic Kingdom can currently connect to a Wi-Fi network called “Disney-Guest” and, after agreeing to Disney’s terms of usage, are able to tweet, post to Facebook, browse the web, and freely use the Internet.” I have used this Wi-fi network before, first when I went to Disney World in 2013, and again when I went in 2015 (last year). Disney kept up with the times, providing every park goer Internet access, knowing full well that people nowadays “can’t survive” without their phones and the web. At the time the article was written, Disney planned “to provide free Wi-Fi in all four theme parks (Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Disney’s Hollywood Studios, and Disney’s Animal Kingdom) as well as Downtown Disney by early 2013.” They certainly did so. Nowadays, everything at Disney is Internet and Wi-fi based. With apps like “My Disney Experience” (which I used), and the new NextGen FastPass which uses Wi-Fi (which I also used), everything is usually much more convenient and expedited.

When they made free Wi-fi for the theme-park goers a thing, it was massive and brought awe. However, there were also negative points in this change as well; for example, there was a picture of the theme park’s Mbps at the time, which was very very slow. Don’t always expect blazing speeds while surfing the ‘net in the parks. “While at the Magic KIngdom, local guest Johnny Norris (@NorrisJohnyWG) sent over one surprising result of a Wi-Fi speed test.” In the picture, it shows a “download speed” of 0.2 Mbps, and an “upload speed” of 1 Mbps. This is pretty slow to say the least, but I believe that it is much faster nowadays, after these couple years. Another problem was, “the unreliable availability of Internet access over cellular connections, necessary for receiving park information.” For example, the “My Disney Experience” app provides ride/show wait times,  people’s Fastpasses, and other info. Having no connection during those times and bringing down the app was indeed a predicament. Disney fixed this problem by making free Wi-Fi available to park guests, also allowing future integration with Internet-enabled mobile apps. It is interesting to see how it all started, and how the Wifi/technology has changed throughout the years for Disney and its parks

 

If you want to read more about it here is the link for the article down below:

http://www.insidethemagic.net/2012/08/walt-disney-world-rolls-out-free-wi-fi-internet-at-magic-kingdom-theme-park-enabling-further-nextgen-fastpass-testing/

 

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Disney and the Internet: Theme Parks + Gender/Race

Disney and the Internet: Theme Parks + Gender/Race

The article I want to focus on this time is “The Internet Marketing of Disney Theme Parks: An Analysis of Gender and Race,” by Auster, C. & Michaud, M. (2013). This reading is a little different from what you would expect, because it chooses to look at how Disney was affected by the Internet in terms of diversity. In particular it analyzes “the portrayal of gender and race in the images on the official Disney websites used to market five theme parks: the Disneyland Parks in California, Paris, Tokyo, and Hong Kong, and the Magic Kingdom in Florida.”

What we see is a deeper look into the use of the Internet in Disney theme parks and a study done to gage the use the Internet and online marketing; however, the part that is different is how they go from a different point of view. To reiterate, the study is done on the basis of diversity of Disney websites. For example, the company markets itself online using different images of diverse genders and races. We learn how Disney transitioned from eventually being diverse in films (like the Princess and the Frog), to being diverse in its advertising and Internet marketing usage. We are given an in-depth look at the Disney websites (in particular the different Disney World and Disneyland pages), and how they present themselves to different cultures to bring people of all kind to their parks.

Furthermore, the findings reveal that females have been underrepresented throughout Disney’s history and animated films (as a whole); this is contrary to popular belief since many Disney movies are about princesses. Similar findings were discovered with non-white races in Disney’s movies. One particular part I want to highlight is that the authors conducted a study of the images of attractions, entertainment, and dining establishments that appeared on the official websites of five Disney resorts to examine human characters, human-like characters, animals, and cast members in terms of gender, as well as guests in terms of both gender and race. Because of the fame of Disney, and the influence of the Internet today, Auster and Michaud sincerely believe that “powerful, multinational corporation, The Disney Company is in the position to potentially influence how individuals viewing their websites see gender and race.” If done and used correctly (which they are making notable progress), Disney can use their Internet marketing and present their sites in ways to better represent all people.

 

disneyimage

Feel free to read more about the study and findings in the link down below:

http://sgo.sagepub.com/content/3/1/2158244013476052