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Live Active Cultures

The similarities between Orlando's themed resorts and the cruise industry grow ever closer

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Disney aims to amplify that a hundredfold with their new MagicBand, a key component of MyMagic+. The Livestrong-like rubber bracelets embedded with an RFID computer chip will serve as a guest's hotel key, park ticket and charge card. More eerily, it will enable interactive attraction elements to personally identify and track you, remembering your name, birthday and anniversary, and favorite characters to enhance the illusion of immersion. If the "It's a Small World" dolls are going to start singing my Social Security number when I float by, I pray they pronounce my name better than E.T. at Universal can.

Faux free will

Cruise marketing makes much of the alleged "freedom" to do anything or nothing while aboard, from mini-golf to massages. But when you eliminate eating (which will fill approximately 30 percent of your waking hours) and extra-cost excursions, your ticket basically only entitles you to fight over deck chairs or attend a regimented schedule of prefab performances and party games.

Similarly, MyMagic+'s FastPass+ component, an "upgrade" to their current ride reservation system, will replace the ritual morning race to snag Soarin' passes at Epcot with touring schedules secured online months in advance. Those without FastPass+ (or deviating from their prearranged path) will wait longer for fewer standby seats, since Disney has barely added any hourly rider capacity in a decade, and none of MyMagic+'s blockbuster budget went toward much-needed new E-Ticket attractions. Hope you know what day and time you want to ride Space Mountain six weeks from now, because I sure don't. Spontaneity, we hardly knew ye …

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