You may recall that several months ago, I had a microchip implanted in my hand with an eye towards seeing if I could get that chip to duplicate the functionality of my MagicBand as kind of a Disney biohacking experiment. You may also recall that back in early March, I went on a fact-finding mission to Walt Disney World to see if I could get it to work. And you may recall as well that at the time, the answer was a resounding “no.”
Well, in the last installment, I had indicated that part of the problem was getting around the security features baked into Disney’s MagicBands, and that a big part of the challenge was trying to make it appear that the chip in my hand was Disney’s own device, rather than a third-party RFID tag. One suggestion for how to get around that was to literally use Disney’s own media by taking an existing MagicBand, removing the RFID components, and having THAT implanted into your hand. I had indicated at the time that someone had indeed had the tags put into a custom chip, but that they had not yet had the opportunity to have it implanted or try it out, which was the best information I had to me at the time.
Short story short, that was apparently incorrect. Someone HAS had that custom chip implanted, she DID have the opportunity to test it out before everything shut down, and…
I want to introduce you to Jen a/k/a Mrs. Fett, the world’s first legit Disney cyborg, who succeeded where I could not. She had a custom chip manufactured by Dangerous Things from an existing MagicBand, and had that chip surgically implanted in her right wrist. She’s confirmed that it works, and I was excited to have the opportunity to sit down with her recently to talk to her about the experience on her nightly stream. You can see the whole exchange here, but I’ve excerpted some of the highlights below:
How did you decide to do this?
About two years ago, I was introduced to biohacking, and I got my first little NFC sticker that went underneath my nail. And that was how I was opening up my hotel rooms. And that’s snowballed into “okay, well, I wonder if there’s a better way to do this” and that led me to Amal [from Dangerous Things]. I live in Celebration, which is five minutes from Disney World, and I always had my MagicBand on. And it wasn’t until one day that I was on my motorcycle with my boyfriend going to Disney World, and the magic band popped off as soon as they hit throttle. And I had to go in the highway to go get it. I was like, hey, this isn’t convenient. This is super inconvenient. Can we do this?
Now, the problem was, the chip that is inside of a MagicBand is not RFID. It is actually a MIFARE DESFire-3 [which is a particular type of NFC chip manufactured by NXP], but it’s not as simple as I’m just gonna write to this. And that was where you ran into your problem because it doesn’t actually read RFID whatsoever. RFID can’t hold that much data. After trying to clone it to just a regular MIFARE, it didn’t work, so Amal and I decided okay let’s see what happens when we actually open this thing. Maybe you can actually figure out what that means and we can go from there.
So I sent him two MagicBands. He finally got them out, got them encased in the bio protein casing so it can go inside without freaking out my body and he sent them back. We ended up going to Disney Springs with these, and at the [World of] Disney store. I went and bought something and when I would go pay, I said I was gonna use my MagicBand to pay and I had it in my hand. I was super sneaky. They didn’t even know what they’re looking at, because I didn’t want anyone to know. It was still super confidential, so I had the empty MagicBand [and the implant held] in my hand. I just tapped and it pulled up.
So when was this that you went to Disney Springs and tested it out?
I tested it back in December. . . . It was sent to me at the end of December and that is when we finally actually got them encased and they held their structure. So when the new ones came in December, we went down to Disney Springs and tried it. It was right before everything started, so they just went back in their Rick and Morty case and just stayed there till everything was ready to actually be executed.
When did you actually get it implanted?
I actually got implanted four days ago.
Tell me what the implant procedure was like.
There is a tiny teeny itty bitty baby incision here that is about half an inch long, and the implant sits actually through here. So what they had to do was numb it, and we did everything you possibly think of to numb it–obviously it’s not a painless procedure. None of these are, but it’s kind of like your stepping stone. That’s how you earn it.
So, we made the incision. And then he used this super awesome splitter that it looks like a rounded screwdriver. It goes under the skin and it makes a 40 millimeter pocket. He just had to keep poking in there to remove the skin from the muscle tissue underneath to make a pocket. After we made the pocket, it was as simple as sliding it in, a butterfly stitch shut, and done. We did it really relaxed and it took us 45 minutes. If I wanted to go in there and just do straight business we could have gotten it done about 20 minutes.
From the time of the first incision until you had it stitched up and done, how long was that?
From the time that the incision happened to him butterfly stitching it was probably no longer than 10 minutes. It’s a simple process, but it is definitely not a 100% pain-free process.
How’s recovery coming along?
Oh, recovery is great. I had minimal swelling, but as you can see I can completely move my wrist. I don’t feel it at all. This implant is a lot like this one has the finger, but the one that is in here is actually the VivoSpark, and the only time I ever feel these two is if either my Husky jumps on me or I knock it on something, but if I’m just chillin’, I don’t feel any of my implants whatsoever–none of that.
Can you feel it under your wrist at all?
It lays completely flat and, you know, the placement is perfect. The only time I can feel it is if I actually intentionally try to feel it. But it’s like the rest of them where it’s so well hidden and just deep enough that, like, you can’t actually see the indentation in my hand.
Before you had it implanted, did you have a chance to try it at the parks at all?
When we first got them, besides doing just what I did at Disney Springs to make sure it worked, no. Everything was completely low key and that was right at the beginning COVID, so I actually never really got the chance to go over there to actually use it at the parks. I am 99.9% positive it is going to work without a hitch. It picked up perfectly on my app, it’s completely bound, and at Disney Springs they were able to get off my information from it effortlessly, so I don’t see any reason why it would not work.
Now, obviously there’s no battery in your arm. So do you miss out on any of that functionality with the long-range stuff?
The only thing that I’ve been told that the long range is for is for the PhotoPass when they actually use long range to scan your MagicBand while you’re on rides to send you your PhotoPass photos. That being said, I mean if that’s all I’m losing out on, it’s not really that big of a deal. Everyone that I’m with usually has their MagicBands on, so I’m not really missing out on anything.
And this does not stop me from buying MagicBands. My boyfriend likes them. We’ve got over $1,000 in MagicBands we love them to death. This wasn’t really a replacement. This was just a closer way to further my experience at Disney World. It’s definitely more of an immersive experience when you use these for anything, and [all of my implants] were done for selfish reasons because they make me happy. They were done because I wanted to further my human experience in the biohacking world and be closer to Disney.
I really appreciate you taking the time to have me on and talk about this. It’s super cool, and congratulations on succeeding where I failed. It’s really, really neat and I thank you for having me on.
Note: Excerpts have been edited for length and clarity.
I want to offer a HUGE thank you to Mrs. Fett for taking the time to talk with me about her experience, and I also wanted to throw a shout out to Leo at Dungeon Tattoo & Body Piercing there in Orlando in case any of you locals are interested in any biohacking (or even just tattoos or piercings) yourselves. You can follow Jen on Twitter or catch her streams on Twitch.
So, now that you know that it actually works, would you get a MagicBand implanted in your arm? What if it was just a simple injectable chip like mine? Let us know in the comments!