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DIY RFID-Blocking Duct Tape Wallet

10 Nov

I’m going to Walt Disney World in just 24 days, for WDW Today Reunion 2013! But I have some concerns about the use of active and passive RFIDs in the new MagicBands, and of passive RFIDs in the resort hotel room keys. So, I’m planning to skip the MagicBand and just stick with the room key, which I can store in this nifty RFID-blocking wallet I just made with a little help from Instructables, a few things I had around the house, and some cute Hello Kitty duct tape my sister-in-law gave me. The RFID-blocking component is aluminum foil, sandwiched between two sheets of duct tape to make the main body of the wallet.

Note the fancy-schmancy Monorail Pilot license in the ID holder!

Note the fancy-schmancy Monorail Pilot license in the ID holder!

Lining of the money pocket and the change pocket (not shown) is Hello Kitty.

Lining of the money pocket and the change pocket (not shown) is Hello Kitty.

It took about 90 minutes to make the wallet. I think it would go faster next time, since I had a little trouble at first working with the duct tape. The Hello Kitty duct tape was more forgiving than the standard silver duct tape when it came to accidentally sticking things together and having to pull them apart, perhaps because the cutesy patterned duct tapes seem to have been designed primarily for crafting, not taping ducts (which actually turns out to not be a good use of duct tape, nominative determinism notwithstanding.

I might just make a little pouch for Magic Bands, too, but I haven’t been about to find good sources on whether active RFIDs are blocked by aluminum foil; I’m trusting Consumer Reports that the foil blocks passive RFIDs.

And yes, a tinfoil hat will be necessary, strictly for fashion purposes. A project for another day.

Opting Out of RFIDs at Walt Disney World

14 Jun

I don’t even register on the scale of privacy nuts and conspiracy theorists. I use credit cards, carry a GPS-enabled cell phone, have an EasyPass transponder on my car . . . the list goes on.

But something about the RFID implementation that’s gradually being rolled out at Walt Disney World just rubs me the wrong way. It’s not like I think Disney’s up to something nefarious; they’re just trying to improve Guest experience by personalizing a variety of experiences, and probably build up their data warehouse to improve their marketing. I’m just increasingly uncomfortable with the amount of data that’s being collected by our various industries and government agencies, and the related increase in data mining capabilities.

I plan to opt out of RFIDs as much as practically possible on my next trip to Disney World, so I did a little research this week to see what that looks like. The tl;dr: I’m gonna make myself an RFID-blocking wallet. The long form: This week’s Jentasmic! column at StudiosCentral.

Unauthorized Movie Shot at Disney Parks; What Should Disney Do?

25 Jan

This week at StudiosCentral, my Jentasmic! column addresses a movie that’s getting a lot of internet buzz and prompting discussions of intellectual property rights:

There’s been a lot of buzz on the internet about Escape from Tomorrow, a film which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival earlier this week. The film was shot primarily at Walt Disney World and Disneyland, without permission from Disney; cast and crew filmed surreptitiously, mostly with handheld cameras. It tells the story of a man slowly losing his mind during the course of a day at Walt Disney World, after receiving bad news by phone in the early part of the day. It’s certainly not anything that a reasonable person would confuse for an actual Disney product. (Of course, like most people who aren’t at Sundance, I haven’t seen the film.)

Head over to StudiosCentral to read the rest. (tl;dr: I don’t think Disney should do a thing.

RFIDs and MyMagic+ and Privacy, Oh My!

11 Jan

Over at StudiosCentral, my recent Jentasmic! columns have focused on the NextGen, newly-announced MyMagic+ initiative at Walt Disney World.

It’s interesting to watch the response to MyMagic+, both from the Disney fandom and from the press. Business writers generally zoom right into the moneymaker: Disney building an unprecedented database of Guest information, with implications for both privacy concerns and outstanding marketing opportunities. The fandom is mostly giddy for the new technologies, the new customization of Guest experience, and the convenience of wearing a MagicBand instead of carrying a card or two.

As a dues-paying member of the ACLU, which chimed in on tracking people with RFIDs years ago, I’m concerned about the privacy implications, primarily related to the inferences which can be drawn through data-mining (remember when a couple MIT students figured out how to mine Facebook data to determine whether a man was gay?).

And at the same time, I’m deep enough into Disney fanaticism that I’m likely to give the system a spin next time I travel to Walt Disney World. I’ll be interested to see how things go as MyMagic+ is gradually rolled out, and how much it changes from this point in response to Guest feedback and operational experience.

Sad Tea Party, WDW Today Reunion 2012

8 Dec

From WDW Today Reunion 2012:

Earlier this year, my friend and I were waiting in line to ride the Mad Tea Party at Magic Kingdom. We watched a group of guests riding it. There was one young girl who was with there with her mother and maybe her aunt? But her family had sat in one teacup and she had chosen to sit in another. Her mother and aunt were having a blast, spinning the cup, smiling and waving to the girl… who was just sitting still, looking so indifferent, not even spinning her tea cup at all.

This inspired me to create this Reuinion 2012 event. Here’s what we do. We fill up all the tea cups on the Mad Tea Party and just sit there, looking sooooo over it. Do not spin the tea cups at all. Don’t look like you’re having any fun.

It will be the Saddest Tea Party ever.

Submitted by: Mark Diba

Jentasmic! Have You Thanked a Cast Member Lately?

24 Aug
Towel animal

Towel animals don’t just make themselves, y’know. And yeah I have no idea what animal this is. Sloth? Puppy? Reindeer?

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: Cast Members need love too. This week I’m saying it at Studios Central in my Jentasmic! column.

If you’ve ever had a great, magical time at Walt Disney World, there have been Cast Members to thank for it. Perhaps it was a cheerful face as you boarded an attraction, or a Princess lavishing attention on your child, or a friendly bus driver welcoming you aboard. Or maybe it was something truly exceptional, such as the time a kind Guest Services Cast Member gave my son a new Buzz Lightyear mug to replace one he’d lost in the mens’ room, or the manager at Le Cellier who replaced my entire outfit after an unfortunate experience with a tray of drinks. Or maybe it was people you never saw: The Imagineers who designed an attraction, the housekeepers who left towel animals on your bed, or the people who prepared your meals.

Head on over to StudiosCentral for the full article.

Hidden Mary Blair in Walt Disney World’s “it’s a small world”

2 Aug

I’ve always been terrible at spotting hidden Mickeys. I’ve got the guide and all, but even with incredibly explicit directions, I still can’t see half the things I go looking for, unless I’ve got a personal guide.

One of my favorite Easter Eggs at Walt Disney World is the hidden Mary Blair in “it’s a small world.” She’s hidden in plain sight, and large enough that I can find her just fine. But she’s in such an odd spot that I never noticed until my friend Trace showed her to me. So on my trip to Walt Disney World last month, I captured this video.

Trace tells me that there are hidden Mary Blairs in every “it’s a small world,” but the only other one I could find info on is the one at Disneyland, which interestingly enough is also located with the Eiffel Tower. Anybody out there got the scoop on Paris, Tokyo, or Hong Kong?

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