Wireless software promises to help mobile phone users navigate the parks and make the most of their visits. But there are privacy implications
By Dawn C. Chmielewski
The Happiest Place on Earth will soon know where in the world you are.
Walt Disney Co. has struck a deal with Verizon Wireless that will allow it to remain in wireless contact with its theme park visitors -- even when they step outside the turnstiles in Anaheim and Orlando, Fla.
Disney and Verizon bill it as a way to enhance the "theme park experience," enabling parkgoers to use their mobile phones for tasks such as saving a spot in line at a popular ride and zeroing in on where Cinderella can be found signing autographs.
But the service has broad -- and potentially controversial -- implications for marketers and consumers as each attempts to balance the need for information with privacy. The new service has echoes of the futuristic film "Minority Report," in which Tom Cruise's character is inundated with personalized ad messages as he passes interactive billboards in a mall.