This new system taps into everything from room keys to FastPass. It’s not just an app. It’s not just an all encompassing band or key card. It’s a whole system.
All of it begins when you book the trip. From there, you can opt to have the Magic Bands be sent and used. These bands act as room keys and tickets. The other way to have an all-in-one item is with key cards. But, I’ll say that the cards are a lot less fun. At quite a few stores there is “bling” to outfit the bands. Magic Bandits fit the unused holes and covers fit over parts or wholes of the band. A Mickey icon is what gets lined up with devices that register the bands and their info. This works for getting into the parks, accessing FastPass, paying for things, and getting into your room.
I stayed at Port Orleans: Riverside when they were testing a new way to check-in, which was all online. I activated it days before the trip, and my room number was sent via email and text when it was ready the day I arrived. Instead of going through the lobby, I went straight to my room, dropped my stuff off there, and proceeded to the parks. It was very easy and quick!
I loved the experience! It took maybe a couple tries to get it down, but everything was so smooth once you know what to do. Having everything on your wrist, easy to carry and easy to use, makes things go fast. Having multiple FastPass+ times linked makes it even better.
What is FastPass+? Well, I know it’s getting a bit of a bad rap, even while I was there, but it really is a not bad system. All FastPass times are chosen before going to a park. You get to initially choose one park with 3 ride times at first. Once those are finished, you can pick more from what’s available via kiosks in each park. It doesn’t have to be the park you start off with, if you have the park hopper option on your ticket. But, if you have scheduled times for later in the day for one park, and start off in another, there’s no way to get times for that
first park. However, you’re guaranteed to hit what you want, especially if you’re at the resort multiple days. Though almost every attraction has FastPass+, not every one is needed. Philharmagic has one, but I found that it didn’t get a line longer than 10 minutes while I was at the resort. How did I know? Well, it’s connected to a handy dandy app called My Disney Experience. It has park wait times, and the schedule of FastPass+ times. You can also plan all of that from there. That’s handy because FastPass times aren’t quite locked in stone. I set my times when I booked my vacation, but while I was there I realized I wanted to switch which days I was at a couple of parks. So, I was able to switch up my FastPasses and according to when I thought I’d be there.
The only glitches I experienced with the new way of FastPasses is that there’s no apparent rhyme or reason to what FastPasses are available later at night. Also, there’s not as much spontaneity. The one big thing that made up for it was what happens if the ride that I scheduled goes down during my FastPass time. After that time has passed, if the park is still open, the FastPass becomes a “wild card” that I can use anywhere in the park on any of the FastPass+ rides. If the park closes before I can use it, it’s now a “wild card” pass for any park! For example, I had one for Dinosaur at Animal Kingdom, with the time right before the park closes. It went down, and the next day I was able to use the pass at Magic Kingdom on Seven Dwarves Mine Train….when all the passes were booked before the day began!
A lot of other parts of the resort are connected to these bands/cards and the Disney Experience stuff. Test Track utilized the RFID interface in the bands and cards in customizing cars for the ride. Tapping it to the system means the car is registered to you. Purchasing merchandise can be done through the tapping system. If it doesn’t seem safe, a pin number you set up is used to confirm purchases. I had the Quick Service Dining Plan, and this was connected to my band as well. All I had to do was hold it up to the device at the register, input my pin, and the system took care of the rest.
After the trip, when I went to the airport, I was so used to MyMagic+ that I wanted to hold up my band to the TSA agent’s boarding pass reader. There was even part of me that wanted a FastPass+ line for security. That all means this vacation system is effective and easy! I greatly liked it, and wish they had it at all other Disney parks around the world. MyMagic+, alone, makes me want to go back. There are glitches. It can be a little intimidating. There’s more planning involved. But, all of that is minor compared to the ease of use and experience. I highly recommend going all out with it next time you are at the Disney World resort!