Denise's Corner

My Thoughts on MyMagic+ Testing with MagicBands for Fastpass+ at Walt Disney World

This is a follow-up to my first article from 3 weeks ago on MyMagic+. When we tested MagicBands in the 2 days before we left for our trip to California, I did not realize how popular the first article would be. The most popular keywords coming into Mousesteps have to do with MagicBands and MyMagic+, and I wanted to give more of my thoughts now that we’ve tested it on several days.

I was skeptical about MyMagic+ with the accompanying MagicBands when I first heard about the program. Actually, Disney had NextGen in mind when I was working at the Disney Reservation Center in 2000. Back then, we were told that eventually, guests would someday arrive at their resort and be called by name without having to say it themselves. I couldn’t even imagine how that would work.

Magic Band Box – Like a Key to the World Card Around the Wrist (With Fastpass!)

Now 13 years later, Walt Disney World is rolling out MyMagic+, with MagicBands being tested by Cast Members and a small sampling of resort guests. We first tested the MagicBands a few weeks ago (thanks to our Cast Member friend Derek), and have an article with photos and videos about that here. Our Premier Annual Pass ticket media is part of our MagicBands now. We were told that the Fastpass+ part of our MagicBands might stop working, but after 12 days in California, we arrived back to Florida and we are still able to use them.

Our Personalized MagicBands

When I first learned of the MyMagic+ program, I had a few concerns. One was privacy, but who has that anymore? And guests can opt-out if they choose. The second was that ride reservations might book up a month or two ahead, and be completely unavailable on the day of (just like dining reservations often are). From what we’ve been told on numerous occasions, there should be same-day reservations available for larger rides like Space Mountain and Toy Story Midway Mania. We don’t usually spend much time on park rides because the larger ones often sell out with Fastpass early, but with MyMagic+, we should be able to attempt to book a ride or attraction before we leave the house. Living locally, we just have no need to reserve anything earlier than that. I don’t know if parade, Fantasmic, and fireworks viewing will be available same-day or not. We didn’t have any nighttime viewing options available to us yesterday upon arrival to the park.

Fastpass+ on Iphone (For Our First Test)

So far, we really like MyMagic+. While I don’t care much for the MagicBand itself – I don’t tend to like anything on my wrist, and I think the RFID should have been installed on the side of the bracelet for more ease with resort room doors – I do enjoy the freedom that Fastpass+ offers. When we were in California, we actually wished it was already there! I’d never be one to plan out a ton of dining and ride reservations ahead of time, but it would have been nice to get a couple more Radiator Springs Racers rides together. We only arrived early enough to Disney California Adventure for Fastpass once, at 9:00 a.m. to secure a 7:30 p.m. reservation.

Our Reservations on a Fastpass+ Kiosk at the Magic Kingdom

My favorite part about Fastpass+ is that we can make changes during the day with it. I know it won’t be as easy when thousands of more guests are on the system, but I do really like being able to change an attraction or a time while in the park. With the “Legacy” Fastpass (a term I only started hearing recently about the paper Fastpass system that will be phased out), the times are now set in stone.

Line For “It’s a Small World”, We Had Fastpass+

Walt Disney World does need many, many more kiosks before it rolls Fastpass+ out to all. Not everyone has a smartphone – Jeff still doesn’t, and we know quite a few others who only have phones for talking. Because we have a Premier Annual Pass, we can currently only book on the same day, at a kiosk. Even with very short lines, the wait can take a while – we waited upwards of 10 minutes yesterday in Fantasyland after walking from Big Thunder Mountain to change a time. Because of the distance and wait, we only saved 10 minutes moving our Haunted Mansion Fastpass ahead, but at least it was still something! And I think the resort front desk waits will also increase, as guests try to understand how their MagicBands will work. Hopefully there will be many additional Cast Members on hand at each resort.

Line for Fastpass+ Kiosk

We have been asked quite a few questions about the MagicBands, including when Annual Passholders and certain resort guests will receive them. We don’t know! It seems like most guests will be added in the next few months.

Using Our MagicBands at Kiosk

We have aso been asked about how many Fastpasses Annual Passholders will get, and we don’t know that either. I would be happy with one per day, with x amount per quarter bonus. Or 3 per day, which is what we are getting now – though we personally wouldn’t use them that often. The Magic Kingdom currently is testing 4 per day for guests instead of 3 – we rode Big Thunder Mountain, Haunted Mansion, it’s a small world and Peter Pan yesterday, on a fairly busy day.

Haunted Mansion

Another question was…Do you have to wear a MagicBand anytime on property, including in the shower? No, you don’t even have to wear it at all. I expect mine will be resting at the bottom of my camera case on most days once the newness wears off. There have been jokes online about tan lines – but I wear long sleeves most days, so that wouldn’t even be a thought. It does get sweaty, however, under the band on hot days – and I just don’t like bracelets and wrist bands that much.

One search to Mousesteps today asked how to get into MagicBand testing. Unfortunately, that isn’t something you can ask for.

Storybook Circus Kiosks

There are times I do miss the days before Fastpass and before most guests made long-term reservations for meals. As a kid in the 70’s and young adult in the 80’s and 90’s, if I wanted to ride something, I just stood in line. And if I wanted to eat, I just went to the restaurant. Now everything takes more long-term planning to get the most out of a vacation (or even just a day at the park).

Here is our first video featuring Fastpass+. We show it in use for the resort door, for attractions and paying for a meal.

Most of the comments we’ve heard from guests have been overwhelmingly positive about Fastpass+. That said, currently guests can use their room keys for additional Fastpasses, so what isn’t to love? I rarely have time for message boards, but I know that there is talk about how much MyMagic+ costs. I don’t know if it will be worth the billion+ spent or not, but I definitely encourage everyone to have an open mind until they use it. We have enjoyed the test way more than we ever expected. And I’m hoping that the next billion+ will go for some incredible rides and attractions at Walt Disney World!

Mousesteps Weekly #64 talks about our first Fastpass+ experience:

And our newest Mousesteps Weekly (#66) is about our Magic Kingdom Fastpass+ experience:

Remember to download the My Disney Experience app, which includes information on MagicBands, online dining reservations, current ride wait times and much more. And follow Mousesteps on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram!