Earlier this year, during Amazon’s big September hardware announcement event, it was revealed that Amazon and Disney are working together to release a custom voice assistant called Hey Disney that piggybacks on Alexa and Echo Show devices. Given that there were so many more interesting announcements that day, I didn’t even cover the news since it seemed like the partnership was nothing more than a custom Echo wake word, a Mickey Mouse stand for the Echo Show 5, and a Disney-specific Alexa Skill. It turns out that the partnership goes much deeper as new regulator filings have revealed that Amazon is actually making Disney’s upcoming MagicBand+ wearable.
The MagicBand+ is the next iteration of Disney’s wearable companion for Disneyworld and Disney Resorts. The existing MagicBand 2 is nothing more than an RFID chip you wear on your wrist that serves as your park ticket, room key, and a few other functions to authenticate who you are on Disney properties. The MagicBand+, however, does all of that and is also an interactive wearable with color-changing lights, haptic vibrations, and gesture recognition. When it is released next year, it will interact with character statues at the park, allow for a Star Wars bounty hunting game, and react to nighttime events.
A recent Bluetooth regulatory filing has revealed Amazon as the manufacturer of the Disney MagicBand+ wearable. The FCC filing for the device also has all the usual Amazon hallmarks, down to the vague device description and use of a shell company. Amazon’s involvement in the MagicBand+ was not mentioned during Amazon’s September hardware event, nor when Disney revealed more details about the MagicBand+ last month.
As far as I’m aware, this is the first time Amazon hardware is being white-labeled in this fashion. Amazon announced its first wearable, the Amazon Halo fitness band, last year and followed it up with the new Amazon Halo View fitness tracker this year. Both devices are far more complex than the Disney MagicBand+, but it makes me wonder if a new Amazon wearable inspired by the simplicity of the MagicBand+ is in the works.
12/21/21: The Bluetooth regularoty filing page has now been removed. It clearly listed “Amazon.com Services LLC” as the company and the device was clearly listed as the MagicBand+.
Spent a week at Disney with my Family, September 2019 (a few months BEFORE Covid Thank God!). I don’t know who was making the Magic Bands then, but they were anything but magic. We had lots of problems using them the first few days before it got sorted out. Hopefully Amazon’s version is an improvement.