Disney Park and Resort Photo Updates
We had the opportunity to test the new MyMagic+ MagicBands, thanks to our Cast Member friend Derek! The MagicBands are testing currently for some resort guests in addition to Cast Members.
8/18: We will be updating this article with more information tomorrow, and later this week as well! Keep checking back!
Our Mousesteps Weekly Show #64 is near the end of the article, we talk about the experience in detail
The test included one night at Disney's All Star Music Resort. We didn't stay there with Derek, but did test the MagicBand on the door. The MagicBand itself is very lightweight - I don't really like having anything around my wrist, so I'm not sure I'll wear it often, and definitely not for resort doors. Unlike getting into the parks or using for the Fastpass+ attractions, it was a little awkward getting into the room with it. I would have liked to see the RFID chip placed on the side of the band instead of on top, so not to have to twist the arm/wrist.
It will be interesting to see what the average length of resort check-in will be once MagicBands are fully introduced, since I expect guests will have quite a few questions about the MagicBands and MyMagic+. The box we received it in was HUGE - very nicely presented with our names in the box and on the back of our MagicBands. We were told that personalization can be done with bookings up to 3 or 4 days in advance.
We did not go to the regular Check-In, but the Hospitality Desk
Using the MagicBand to get into the park is easy - we tapped it and put our finger in the reader, just like we do with our Annual Passes.
One of the best parts about MyMagic+ is setting the ride reservations times. I don't think it will be nearly as easy to change attractions and times once all guests are onboard, and I am concerned about not being able to get any type of Fastpass eventually for attractions like Toy Story Midway Mania once guests are booking 60 days in advance. It's like the Disney Dining Plan - many restaurants are unavailable to us at the last minute because we live here and rarely plan ahead for dining. Jeff was told today that there would be some same-day reservations held for popular attractions, so I hope that is the case!
Our Magic Bands
Our MagicBand unboxing video:
Each is personalized with our names (also on the back, with the band number).
The large Incredibles box that the MagicBands came in
Here is our video of MagicBand testing at the door, at Epcot and for a meal:
Opening the resort door
We used the MagicBands in Epcot yesterday, and Disney's Hollywood Studios today. Each guest is able to book 3 experiences each day. When choosing, guests are asked if they want to associate with friends and family - definitely do this, it's much easier! We ended up having issues because the three of us weren't fully associated to one another before we arrived.
Hmmm...not sure what the number is! This is how we chose our attractions. Each guest gets recommendations - it's best to have 3 chosen, and then each can be modified if needed (within availability).
Our Epcot day was very easy, we went through three attractions in one hour. We originally had three Fastpass+ attractions set up over several hours, but we modified our reservation times after each attraction. For example, we rode Spaceship Earth at about 1pm, with the next reservation time being after 2pm. Once we were done with Spaceship Earth, we moved our Character Spot reservation to about 1:30pm. We did the same with The Seas with Nemo and Friends, and we were done at 2pm. It wouldn't have taken us much longer yesterday without the MagicBands, but we were on a deadline and didn't have time to wait for a busier attraction. Also, Epcot wasn't being tested much by guests yesterday, and none of these attractions had Fastpass otherwise - so it was still a good test for us.
Today at Disney's Hollywood Studios, there were quite a few guests testing MagicBands, and we mixed with regular Fastpass on Toy Story Midway Mania and Rockn'Roller Coaster. Our other attraction was The Great Movie Ride. All of the attractions were much busier than what we experienced at Epcot, but the system worked smoothly for us.
Fastpass+ at Spaceship Earth
The Seas with Nemo and Friends
Touching the MagicBand to the Mickey
One of the things I like best about using Fastpass+ is the personalization. If you've ever been to Disneyland (and if you haven't then you are missing an amazing experience!), guests are greeted upon entrance by a Cast Member, usually by name. I don't remember the last time that might have happened here at Walt Disney World, though I'm sure it must have. We have been greeted at each attraction by name during the MagicBand testing, which I like.
Toy Story Midway Mania
Some resort guests are receiving MagicBands as testing rolls out to more resorts. From what I understand, all resort guests will receive MagicBands once it is in full swing, as well as Walt Disney World Annual Passholders, but MagicBands will also be available to purchase for day guests (and anyone who wants another one) in the gift shops.
Back when I worked at the Disney Reservation Center in 2000, this level of personalization with NextGen was mentioned to us fairly frequently. I'm not sure that they ever thought it'd be rolling out in 2013, it took a long time to implement!
Working with the kiosk
Our attractions - guests can make changes here, which is useful when the app isn't working fast enough (or if WiFi/internet is inaccessible)
With Fastpass times being so strictly enforced now, I think it's a bonus for guests that they essentially have a "moving Fastpass". There is an opportunity to change to another attraction or time, depending on availability. And the MagicBand really just acts like a Key to the World card and then some - so the biggest differences are personalization, as well as speed. Guests staying at the Walt Disney World Resort won't have to dig a credit card out of their purse or wallet if they want to pay for something and are wearing the MagicBand - they will just touch it to the card reader, and put in their pin.
Great Movie Ride Fastpass+ Entrance
American Idol Fastpass+ entrance
Here is our Mousesteps Weekly Show #64, where we talk about the experience:
I am adding some new details here on August 19th, 2013. We went to California for nearly 2 weeks, but our MagicBands still work for day-of reservations. We can't use them with the app right now, nor online - but at the kiosks inside the park, we can still make reservations. At 2pm, Jeff made us these reservations. I am sure that once everyone is in the system, there won't be last-minute Toy Story Midway Mania passes (though there was only maybe a 20 minute standby line yesterday, though it said 100 minutes - the Fastpass line was longer!)
We don't usually spend much time on rides - but having the MagicBands, it's been fun to enjoy attractions we'd usually never wait for (nor arrive early enough for Fastpass). When we were in California, we missed having the MyMagic+, it really is convenient to be able to make Fastpass reservations from the phone - and to change them, if we can't make a certain time or attraction. So far, we've heard nothing but rave reviews - but it is still being tested pretty lightly, so we'll see how everything works once everyone is on board.
We've been asked quite a few questions about the MagicBands, and I found with my newest "My Disney Experience" update, there were now answers I'd not seen before.
There is a MagicBand FAQ, and a few items noted are:
What is the deadline for customizing a MagicBand? "If you are eligible (for MagicBand), you have until 10 days before your arrival if you wish to have your MagicBand shipped to you. Otherwise, you receive a standard MagicBand when you arrive at Walt Disney World Resort".
Who is eligible for a MagicBand? "You may become eligible for MagicBands by booking a package at select Walt Disney World Resort hotels". It also states that you can keep and use the MagicBand on future visits.
Am I the only one who can use my MagicBand? "Yes. Your MagicBand is unique to you and only you can access the benefits associated with it."
There is more to the FAQ, and it can be found on the "My Disney Experience" app.
It should take guests 10 days to receive MagicBands in the mail (give or take), but if they don't arrive, you can pick up a replacement set of standard MagicBands at the resort upon arrival. Guests can also manage their MagicBands in "My Profile" online, and guests with multipile MagicBands (or if they lose one) can manage them there. Guests can have more than one active MagicBand at a time, but it doesn't add new entitlements - i.e. - having 2 MagicBands does not allow for 6 Fastpasses.
I've had a number of comments that some people are wary of having their credit card attached to it. The MagicBands are really no different than a Key to the World card in that aspect - the main difference is that there is much more that guests can do with the MagicBand (or card, if you choose not to use the band). We also have been told several times that the Magic Kingdom has been adding a 4th Fastpass at times, we likely test that tomorrow and add that to our story.
As we get used to how Fastpass+ works, we really like it. The one big complaint about the standard Fastpass is that Disney now enforces the time. With the ability to change times, that isn't as big an issue anymore. Of course, some attractions won't be easily changeable if it's very busy in the parks, or if the attraction is tremendously popular. But in many cases, it should work - and that is my favorite part of the system.
We get asked about Annual Passholder MagicBands - we actually have our Annual Passes on our bands now. I don't know when that will happen for everyone, or how many Fastpasses will be available on any given day (or in a quarter, however it will work). I mentioned that we don't tend to spend a lot of time on rides in the parks, but having a time alloted to us in advance (even if the reservations are made that morning) will make it more likely for us to enjoy a favorite attraction occasionally.
We will post more information as we get it! I don't know the schedule for each resort, nor the full rollout date.
Thank you to Derek for inviting us! I am not someone who would prefer to book rides 2 months out - maybe a Fantasmic or parade seating, but even though I'm a planner, I'm not THAT big a planner. It will be interesting to see how it works once tens of thousands of guests across property have full access to Fastpass+. There are some guests who may not have computers, smart phones or really understand how the kiosks work - so that may be another challenge. We were told that regular Fastpasses were supposed to be phased out. If you have any questions about our test, please let me know!
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