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Disney Magic Bands fail

I was in the grocery store reaching for a package of fresh linguine, whispering under my breath “Please. Please. Please. Please.” It was a prayer that the fresh pasta I needed to buy would not be made with soy.

No such luck. I stifled a growl of frustration as I roughly put the package back and picked up my phone and called Autism Dad. “Do we still have that pasta machine we got as a wedding gift?”

I needed fresh pasta for a Blue Apron recipe we were trying out again and if my local gourmet grocery would not provide, I would try making it myself. He confirmed that it was still tucked in the back of a cupboard, never used.

That is what soy sensitivity has reduced me to: making my own pasta.

After I got home, intuitively sensing my crankiness at the American food machine’s ridiculous over-reliance on soy, Autism Dad poured me a glass of wine. We shared a lovely Italian-style dry cheddar I had bought and enjoyed a casual conversation, long-delayed by life’s demands.

“I was talking to some dads the other day,” he said, starting a new discussion. “They were talking about this new technology Disney World has implemented called Magic Bands. They essentially track where you are in the park, you input what you like to eat and do, and they make your visit as seamless as possible.”

Intrigued, I went online I started reading more about it out loud for both of us.

As a former Disney employee (don’t get excited, there are thousands of us), I could immediately see the benefit in making the guest experience as pleasant as possible, as well as the enormous value of simple crowd management and the easy of selling souvenirs (because, of course, your credit card is connected to the band and you can just waive the band and buy that Elsa doll for your kid that easily).

As an Autism parent, the possibilities went much deeper. I experienced a frisson of emotion when I realized that I could input information ahead of time that my son was on the Autism spectrum, and they could tailor our visit around that without us having to explain it during our visit.

One swipe of the band and cast members would know.

I could tell them of my soy issues, and they would tailor my meals without me having to explain that no, it is not the same as gluten-free; yes, soy is in commercially-made bread, chocolate, and mayonnaise.

The profound potential of not having to explain over and over again the Navigator’s Autism, or about my soy sensitivity – was a little overwhelming.

We could enjoy a Disney visit like any other family.

However, everything I read indicated the Magic Bands were only available at Disney World in Orlando, Florida.

Seeing as my parents live 20 minutes away from Disneyland and provide us with quiet (and free) accommodations, the chances of us going to Disney World were remote.

So I called Disneyland to find out when the Magic Bands would be available on the west coast.

“Never,” said the nice lady who took my call. “Disney made a decision not the implement the Magic Bands in Disneyland to keep it as close to Walt’s vision as possible.”

Having lived through the rise and fall of Videopolis in the 80’s (Disney folks, you really think that neon monstrosity was consistent with Walt’s vision?) somehow, I don’t think Walt would mind making us feel as at home as possible through using the Magic Bands.

Bad call Disney folks. Bad call.

Originally published on Autism Mom


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