MyMagic+ Review: MagicBands & FastPass+

| August 3, 2013 | 141 Replies

DIS Unplugged Podcast: Full Review of MyMagic+, FastPass+, & MagicBands

The DIS Unplugged team discusses their recent testing of Disney’s new MyMagic+ system, including FastPass+ and MagicBands.

www.disunplugged.com

A few of us from The DIS team had the opportunity to test out Walt Disney World’s new MyMagic+ system, including MagicBands and FastPass+ this week during the first rollout of guest testing. Starting on August 2nd, certain resorts including Pop Century, Animal Kingdom Lodge, Yacht Club, and The Contemporary were chosen to offer the MyMagic+ experience to guests. With our reservation at Pop Century for the first day of the test, we were selected to take part.

To learn more about the MyMagic+ program, be sure to check out our previous posts about MagicBands, the accessories available for them, and FastPass+. We will have full coverage and review of our experience here on The DIS Blog and The DIS Unplugged podcast. We’ll also have continuous updates as the program moves beyond testing and will be available to all guests.

Pre-Planning

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We learned that to fully take advantage of the MyMagic+ system, some pre-trip planning is definitely encouraged. First of all, it’s very important to have your Disney online account up-to-date and accessible on My Disney Experience, either through their website www.mydisneyexperience.com or one of their apps on mobile devices. My Disney Experience is really the central hub for guests to keep track of all of their vacation plans – resort reservations, park admission, dining reservations, FastPass+ reservations, payment options, and even PhotoPass information.

Before our stay, we tried to make sure that our accounts were up-to-date by by linking our resort stay to our accounts, adding our park admission to our accounts, and ensuring that everyone on the reservation were listed as a Friend or Family on our accounts. This allowed us to make plans together, which is critical in utilizing the FastPass+ system. In order to use FastPass+, your My Disney Experience account must have both a resort reservation and valid park admission linked to it. Because a couple of us had done the work beforehand, it really helped the set-up process and allowed for us to get going more quickly. On the other hand, a couple guests on our reservation weren’t able to do this ahead of time so we also were able to see the process of getting it set up on the spot at check-in.

Check-In

The check-in process at Pop Century went smoothly, however since we did have a few changes to make to the reservation we ended up spending a while at the desk to get squared away. Pete, who was the original guest on the reservation, had a MagicBand waiting for him at the desk that had his name printed on it. Then there were two of us that were added to the reservation the day before check-in and then one of us that was added to the reservation on the spot. The Cast Member checking us in encoded MagicBands for the three of us at the desk and connected them to our My Disney Experience accounts. If all four of us were on the reservation in the beginning, we would have each had a MagicBand waiting for us at check-in with our names on them.

Like I said earlier, two of us were able to have the reservation and park admission connected to our My Disney Experience accounts before check-in. We had to spend a pretty long time at the resort’s MyMagic+ help desk getting the others’ accounts all synced up so we could participate in FastPass+. If the park admission was accepted on the account, it seemed like the reservation was not, and the other way around. However, the Cast Members were able to fix the issues and finally got both the tickets and room reservation on the accounts. After this we were all set! Everything was linked on our MagicBands and we could use it in place of our room keys to open the door to our room, as well as our admission, payment in the park.

MagicBands

While this was our first time actually using the MagicBands in the parks and at the resort, we’ve reported on them before and described them in detail in a previous post.

Important:
The biggest misconception with the MagicBands is that guests are required to wear and use them. It’s extremely important for people to understand that this is only an optional perk for guests to use while on vacation. You will not miss out on any of the perks if you choose to use your Key To The World card instead of the band. The MagicBands are just a very simple way to access your account with less hassle than pulling out your room key each time.

We were able to purchase some of the accessories for the bands at the gift shop at Pop Century and then actually pay for them using our MagicBand since we had it linked to our credit card on our room reservation. We went with a few of the MagicBandits and the MagicCovers. You can read more about the accessories available in our previous post.

After check-in, we headed straight to Epcot and used our MagicBands to enter the park at the turnstiles just like you would with a current RFID-enabled ticket or Annual Pass.

FastPass+

I think that the new FastPass+ system is arguably the biggest advantage of the MyMagic+ program. Like I mentioned, currently a guest must have a resort reservation and valid park admission linked to their My Disney Experience account to participate in the FastPass+. Once a guest has that information linked, the website or app allows you to schedule three FastPass+ selections for one park per day. This might change in the future, but at least for the testing phase and early stages of MyMagic+, this is how it will work.

DSC_6677

Since we chose to go to Epcot, I scheduled FastPass+ reservations for Soarin’, Test Track, and then Illuminations. The app allowed me to choose those three attractions/shows, then list them in the priority I wanted. After continuing, My Disney Experience gives you four time options titled A,B,C, and D, which are typically morning, afternoon, evening, and night, although they can vary. I chose afternoon/evening and then was given the option to adjust times if I needed to. I decided to adjust the time of our Test Track reservation by moving it up an hour to make room for a dinner reservation.

My Disney Experience App

My Disney Experience App

When it came time to use our FastPass+ reservations, the process could not have been smoother. We proceeded to the designated FastPass/FastPass+ line for Soarin and held up each of our MagicBands to the scanners at the entrance. The Mickey icon on the scanner glowed a bright green just like the park turnstile and the Cast Member looked at a monitor close by and thanked us by our first names. I have a feeling that that small customized detail is just a taste of what’s to come as far as the MyMagic+ technology.

We then proceeded through the FastPass queue and when we reached the Cast Member that collects the paper FastPasses, we simply showed him our MagicBands and he let us continue. There are a second set of scanners that can be used for confirmation, but for some reason these were not being used at Soarin’. We did have to scan our bands a second time for our reservation at Test Track.

Our experience at Test Track was a little different in the fact that we were able to use our MagicBands for more than just redeeming our FastPass+ reservation. With the new car design interactivity, we were able to build our car and store it with our MagicBands rather than use the plain white cards typically given out. This made the experience just a little more simpler and was a pretty cool way to use the technology.

When it came time to use our FastPass+ reservation for Illuminations, we had to ask a Cast Member where exactly to go because the app did not specifically say. We found the area near the Port of Entry shop at the beginning of World Showcase. There were two Cast Members that had an iPod equipped with a scanner on the back of it to read the MagicBands. This was one of just a couple places that there was an issue reading our bands. The Cast Member asked if we had reservations for this location or the one over in Germany. The app did not specify so we just showed him our app and he added us to his iPod and let us through to the viewing area. He explained that in the future there will be two different viewing locations and guests can specify where they want to go when making the FastPass+ reservation.

Dining

MagicBand Restaurant

During our day we had experience with both quick service and table service dining and paying with the MagicBands. The quick service location at Pop Century had no problem at all accepting the band – most quick service locations though have been equipped with the touch-to-pay scanners for several months. The meal was charged right to the room. This would work similarly if a guest had the Dining Plan. You could scan your MagicBand to redeem any of your existing plan credits.

While in Epcot we had a really interesting experience at Tutto Italia, one of the table service restaurants in the Italy Pavilion. When we asked to pay with our MagicBand, the server brought over the same type of iPod that the Cast Member at the Illuminations viewing location had. Unfortunately the scanner on the back of her device did not pick up the band so we were not able to use it. However, the iPod also had a credit card/room card slider on it so we were able to pay with our Key To The World Card and get the same result as paying with the band. I really liked this change for paying at table service restaurants and I hope it’s something they adopt property-wide, especially if they accept credit cards.

Overall, our experience testing out MyMagic+, MagicBands, and FastPass+ went amazingly well, especially as this was the first day of guest testing. I can only imagine that as testing continues and the full program rolls out for everyone, MyMagic+ will continue to improve and run even smoother. As more information is released and more people experience the system, we will be sure to bring you the latest. Make sure to follow us on Twitter at www.twitter.com/TheDIS and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/the.dis! We will also be giving our full review and thoughts on The DIS Unplugged so make sure to check that out at www.disunplugged.com and subscribe to our YouTube channel at www.youtube.com/wdwinfo!

Photos by Dustin West and Shaun Thompson. Video by Craig Williams.



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Category: Disney World, News, Photos, Photos / Video, Rumor Mill, Videos

  • Julie Reid

    The biggest question I have is: WHAT are the bands made out of? It looks like the soft silicone because if it IS I can’t wear it because I have a skin reaction to it! I really want to use this system though….do they have ways to deal with us allergic folk?

    • papamouse1

      You can use an rfid card instead if you rather. I do believe the material of our MB is soft silicone.

    • Laurence Banks

      You might be able to use it if you buy one of the sleeve accessories.

    • darnheather

      The idea is that they will come out with other things besides the band also like key fobs.

    • Tina McNeil

      Would the cloth sleeve be enough to prevent you from getting a reaction? I was thinking I’d want one because the plastic would probably make my wrist sweat.

      • Julie Reid

        Just saw this! Yes, I believe that a sleeve might help. Good point

  • Paul Gibson

    So if I buy a voucher for a DVC AP, will I be able to schedule fast passes at 60 days out?
    Like if I’m planning a December/September trip it’s cheaper to go the AP route, but in Septemberhave valid admission but technically notfor the December trip till we get there.

    • Chuck Denyer

      Im wondering the same thing. We have DVC AP vouchers. We are about 70 days out so we may miss the window but it would be nice to know anyway

    • Mari Beth Smith-Smith

      I have a similar concern….New to DVC, will purchase AP upon our arrival. Wondering about making our FP+ reservations without an AP. Our trip is set for Thanksgiving. :/

    • Tina McNeil

      Yes, me too. I’m brand new to DVC, like March will be our first trip as members, and I was wondering how the MB’s would work with DVC, AP’s, ToW, etc.

  • James Galliford

    Sounds really great when you are staying in a Disney Hotel but I wonder how disadvantaged everyone else is going to feel that is just visiting a park for the day. I love the technology of it and I think it definitely makes things go so much smoother from what you said. I know I would like to try them.

  • Diane

    my question is if there are 3 of us travelling together (myself and 2 teen sons) do all 3 of us have to use magic bands or could 2 of us use them and one use Key to the World card? (I have one son with issues and doesn’t want to wear it) If I have 3 of us on my account and we went through a Fast Pass+ line, would they let him in if he didn’t have the band?

    • papamouse1

      My understanding when talking to the CM, was you could choose independent of each other. So some could and some cols just use a card

    • http://shaunthompson.net/ Shaun Thompson

      Diane, the MagicBands and KTTW cards both have an RFID chip inside which then accesses your account, including tickets, FastPass+ reservations, etc. This means that both can be used in the exact same way so some family members can use the MagicBands and some can just use the card.

  • papamouse1

    hmm… very strange. We are blessed to be a part of the MB test on Aug12-13, but when I went to set them up right after we got the e-mail, there were no parade/night show offerings at any of the parks, just rides and meet & greets. I called the help line, and they said the test was limited and wasn’t offering the parades/nights shows. It’s all good, we are going to LOVE using our MB’s in just a few days :)

    • Chris

      Right now, parade and fireworks reservations are on weekend nights only.

  • littledemone

    Does somebody know if in test phase…if you chose the KTW Rfid cards…can you still get “normal” FP added to your 3 FP+?

    • Chris

      During testing you receive both the band and ktwc and you will still be able to use traditional FP. Note this is only during testing as traditional FP will be removed completely upon full rollout of FP+

      • Autumn Wagner-Bernard

        so.. when FP+ goes live , we’ll be limited to 3 FP per park /per day?

        • Chris

          From what is being said by Disney, you will be limited to 3 per day total and can be used in only one park

  • Scott Adams

    Great article shaun, with the band not working properly at tutto, do you know how you leave a tip if you want to charge it to your room with the band?

    • http://shaunthompson.net/ Shaun Thompson

      Thanks Scott! The tip would be added to the bill just like normal. The MagicBand is just used for final payment, the same way using your Key To The World card or any credit card is.

  • Angela Krosnick

    Thanks Shaun so much for all the info and the video! I can’t wait to try it myself one day :)

    • http://shaunthompson.net/ Shaun Thompson

      Thanks Angela!

  • Nora Martinez

    I’m still feeling pretty ambivalent about the band. While I really like the technological aspect of it, I know that I don’t like wearing anything on my wrists, especially on a trip where I’ll come home with this weird white area where the band sits. I might always opt for the RFID card instead. It worked really well for me on my April trip, though FP+ was not part of it yet.

    • http://shaunthompson.net/ Shaun Thompson

      I think that a lot of guests feel the same way, Nora. I’m really glad that there is an option that allows everyone to utilize the new technology, just without the MagicBands.

    • Lorizh

      I don’t believe you have to wear the band, you can just use your card. You still get all the benefits from it, just not wear it. My son forgot his one night when we went to Epcot and used his card all night for FP and Park entry, etc.

  • abismommy

    Thank you so much! I am leaving to WDW-Pop Century Saturday and we were picked for Magic bands, and made our FP+ reservations already. I look forward to the podcast this week. Been watching the podcast faithfully the past few months. Love you guys and gals!

    • Chuck Denyer

      After watching Shaun’s video, I had a question and since you are in the test group, maybe you can answer. Were you allowed to select what time you wanted to visit your Fastpass+ attractions?
      In the video, it seemed like Disney chose those times for you.

      • Tara Lane

        Disney chooses the initial times, but after the fact, you can go in and change each FP+to a different available time – it will give you all the available time slots to choose from. It is a time-consuming process to get exactly what you want.

      • http://shaunthompson.net/ Shaun Thompson

        Tara’s right – My Disney Experience offers you initial time slots for you to choose from, and you should choose what is closest to what you are looking for. Once booked, you can then go in and adjust individual FastPass+ reservations to more specific times. It was surprisingly customizable.

  • Linda Tompkins

    So even with the band you still needed a card to be able to pay for your meal. I thought the idea of the band was to replace it. And the gimmick of selling accessories to go on the band is crazy Disney is expensive enough and I do not want to be electronically tracked on my vacation

    • darnheather

      They were able to pay at Pop but it wasn’t working at Tutto. Obviously there are still hiccups but I think Disney is working it out.

    • http://shaunthompson.net/ Shaun Thompson

      The iPod scanner was just not functioning during our meal. It’s important to remember that this is all voluntary – guests are not required to participate in the MyMagic+ program and are certainly not required to purchase any accessories if they choose to use the MagicBands.

    • Sarah Blake

      I think it’s important to remember that this is just a testing phase. There ARE going to be kinks; they expect that (which is why it’s a test). When things DON’T work right, it tells Disney what they need to fix :) As for the accessories… I don’t personally mind as I know there are people who go to Disney every single year, and if this becomes a thing Disney for sure picks up and keeps, they may like having their own special bands.

    • Lorizh

      I didn’t. I used my band for the following, resort room entry, park entry, purchases, room charges, dining plan, food charges, DTD charges including Bowling. Very few of the restaurants aren’t up and running on them yet. For the record, if you have stayed at any Disney Resort in the past, you’ve been electronically tracked for years.

  • Rick Killingsworth

    This is an amazing overview Shaun!

    • http://shaunthompson.net/ Shaun Thompson

      Thanks Rick!

  • CarrieB

    So happy to see glimpses of Pete (well, Pete’s arm) in the video. Looking very forward to the full review on Tuesday :)

  • Jodi Chambers

    Shaun – Great report on Magic Bands! We love technology in our family and can’t wait to try these when we go in March 2014!

    • http://shaunthompson.net/ Shaun Thompson

      Thank you Jodi!

  • Megan Sheloski

    My family has magic bands and set up FP+ with our room only stay at Yacht Club. Then we switch to POR with a ticket/dining package. Any idea how that will work? Will we be able to have our tickets/dining put onto the Magic Bands? I’m assuming our room key will have to stay on our KTTW cards?

    • http://shaunthompson.net/ Shaun Thompson

      I can’t say for sure, however I have a feeling that Port Orleans will be able your dining plan and new room keys onto your MagicBands because they are already on your account. I would make sure to link both the Yacht Club and Port Orleans reservations to your My Disney Experience account.

  • Tilly Cooper

    How far in advance of your reservation did you find out that you were selected to participate in magic bands?

    • http://shaunthompson.net/ Shaun Thompson

      Because we booked our reservation fairly close to the check-in date, we didn’t officially find out until we checked in. However, I’m hearing that most guests are being informed about a few weeks out from their reservation date – allowing them time to customize bands and make FastPass+ plans.

    • Darla

      My vacation is in about 2.5 weeks and I found out yesterday that we were selected. You will receive an email with instructions to personalize band colors and set everything up if you are selected

  • James Sanford

    We are staying at POP 16th thru 23. We received our test selection letter this past Tuesday and I updated and linked all reservations that night as well as customized the bands(choosing colors). The bands showed up Thursday morning via UPS. Now we have been online selecting all of our FastPass+ selections. The bands are light weight and pretty durable. We can’t wait to use them in 2 weeks. I did have a little issue getting reservations linked but the people at Disney where all over it and a 15 minute phone call was all it took.

    • Tina McNeil

      So it only took two days for them to be delivered?

    • http://shaunthompson.net/ Shaun Thompson

      Thanks James for sharing your experience. I can’t believe the MagicBands got to you so quickly. Hope you enjoy using them!

  • Rena Thompson

    Great photos, video and info! Thanks!

  • Linda Walker

    Great article – thanks for sharing

  • Jody Lukac

    I’m a band teacher in NC. I’ve brought students to perform in WDW for years. We are coming again in April 2014. To save money, we stay off property. How would FP+ work for us? If FP+ is not available to off property guests, what kind of options would we still have?

    • http://shaunthompson.net/ Shaun Thompson

      As of right now, FastPass+ is only available to guests with a resort reservations. The traditional FastPass system is still up and running so you will still be able to get paper FastPasses with your park ticket like in the past.

  • Tina McNeil

    We’re DVC members. Will my husband and I be able to use them for room keys, as well as charging and the My Disney Experience app?

    • http://shaunthompson.net/ Shaun Thompson

      As long as you have a Disney resort reservation (DVC or otherwise) and valid park admission, you should be able to use all of the features of MyMagic+.

      • Paul Gibson

        Shaun, Thaknks for all of this, do you know does a voucher soon to be activated count as park tickets.

  • Luke Henderson

    I am staying at POP at the end of september, but i know for a fact that i wont get in the testing as i live in australia and Disney have this issue with sending anything outside of usa.. a D23 sub with the mag costs me an extra 70 a year than it does if i lived in america..

  • make_me_a_stone

    Regarding fastpasses, can you get any more at the normal machines once in the park as you would normally? If so, can you do that by scanning your band? Or are you not allowed any further fastpasses if you have pre-booked 3? Thanks!

    • http://shaunthompson.net/ Shaun Thompson

      The traditional FastPass machines are not connected to MyMagic+ system in any way. I believe the official word from Disney is that if you choose to participate in the FastPass+ program, you will not be able to receive traditional paper FastPasses. I have not tested this out yet.

      • abismommy

        I will report back on Saturday on that! #5days

      • Paul Gibson

        There is so much confusion on Disney’s side of this however, I have had many Member Services CM tell me that the current program is not going away, that you will still be able to pull tickets at them???

      • Misti C

        My Family and I were a part of the Fast Pass test in September 2012. , We were able to schedule our Fast Passes in advance, 3 per day, and we were able to get the paper Fast Passes in the park. The same rules applied about only having 2 fast passes at a time. Once we had used the first 2 we were able to get 1 additional. Of course, they could have changed the rules at this point. It worked really well. It was nice to have a general outline of what our day would be, but we didn’t feel like we had an itinerary that we were stuck with. We were very excited when we heard about the bands as we are coming to Disney for Christmas this year. Fingers crossed the MyMagic + will be in full force by the end of the year.

  • Sally Levy

    Will the band be avaliable for people staying at the swan and dolphin hotels ?

    • http://shaunthompson.net/ Shaun Thompson

      No. When the MyMagic+ program rolls out fully, MagicBands will only be available to guests staying at Disney’s resorts on Walt Disney World property.

      • Barb

        I wonder how this will work with annual pass holders who might not stay at the resort. I am thinking about those people that live in Florida.

      • Tina McNeil

        lol. It always amazes me how the Swan and Dolphins aren’t Disney Resorts, even though they’re called “Disney’s Swan and Dolphin” and are right next door to The Boardwalk and the Yacht Club and Beach Club Resorts. I keep asking my friends “What, do they float in the air Above Disney Property?”

        • Catztradamus

          The swan and Dophin were the original disney Epcot resorts. When they sold them to the Sheraton, part of the agreement included the resorts still being able to use the disney name ahead of the resorts, along with having access to the in park transportation/

          • Tina McNeil

            Wasn’t ownership of the Swan and Dolphin supposed to revert to Disney ownership at some point?

  • Jenna Sander

    What about people who don’t have smart phones and therefore don’t have access to the app for on-the-go changes? I know that there are supposed to be kiosks available but I haven’t heard anything about it. I know it’s crazy but I don’t want to pay so much for those darn phones!

    • http://shaunthompson.net/ Shaun Thompson

      You will be able to make changes to your My Disney Experience account on their website from any computer, at the MyMagic+ help desks set up in supporting resorts, guest services, and also at the kiosks being set up around the park.

  • Sarah Posey Vargo

    If I’m reading this correctly, you were able to schedule FP+s for everyone in your group? Was there anyone that you were able to add after check in? If so, how did that work? I have FP+s for my family, but I can’t do mine until I pick up my ticket.

  • Kevin Yensch

    We are stay at pop in late September. I hope my wife and i get a chance to use the bands. That would be real cool.

  • richh19191

    we are leaving in a few days for a two week vacation, staying at the yacht club villa, have not recieved any information concerning the magicband, looks like we will just have to rough it…………..

    • Tina McNeil

      Not necessarily, you could walk in the door of your resort that day and be handed your MB.

      • richh19191

        exactly what happened, we all thought it was fantastic………going back in Oct will be able to take advantage in all it has to offer this time, fast pass etc…………….

  • http://www.actionvendco.com/ Alfonso Sanbe

    So, I was up in the air about this new MyMagic+ system when I first heard about it with out any details. But this review has completely changed my mind. I cannot wait for our December trip and really hope that it is rolled out by then for all Disney property guests to use. Love the fact that parades, character greats and shows are all options for the 3 FP’s per day. And as for the “Accessories” we could care less if Disney wants to sell items for the bands.
    Fingers crossed…..

  • mrsbert

    You should be proud of yourselves. I have at least 6 or 7 different Disney World related feeds on my Facebook and all of them are referencing this unplugged video edition. Great job! Being able to see what has been written/discussed for the past few months is greatly appreciated. Thanks!

  • kathleen

    do you know if the magic bands will be available to all resort guest by October?

  • Pingback: MyMagic+ Review: MagicBands & FastPass+ |()

  • Kim Armour

    Just wanted to say thanks for this very informative show regarding the MagicBands. My family has a trip scheduled in December, and I want to learn everything I can so we can be prepared in case this is in full force by then. Thanks!

  • Monica Swaney

    My husband and I along with our children have been staying at POP Century this week so we were included in the MagicBand test. We made this trip last minute and then added on a dining plan five days before arriving (this causes the resort to cancel the first reservation and make a new one which apparently is typical). These last minute changes caused huge problems with our two rooms, accessing our dining plan, making any FastPass reservations, being able to access one of our two rooms, etc, etc, etc. My husband and I talked on the phone for 2 hours48min as well as in person with Guest Relations for 4 hours 17 min to resolve the issues. We do still have one small issue with our teens’ MBands but they are working on resolving that as well. Having said all that, I have to say everyone we have come in contact with, even those that to be called off duty at 1:00 AM early this morning, have been insanely helpful and gone out of their way to make sure our family is happy and our bands are working! While the bands are in the test phase and there are definitely kinks to work out, I think it will be worth it when everything runs smoothly. Most of today our MBands worked well with the exception of being able to schedule our teens separately, but tomorrow that should be resolved!

  • Allison

    My family received a mailing inviting us to participate in the magic bands trial during our trip in a couple of weeks. My concern is that we are traveling with another family (DVC members, some of which have 10 day non-expiring tickets) who has not been invited to participate. I would love to try out the bands/fast pass+ but I’m worried that things will get complicated (in terms of fast pass times especially) if only some of us have the bracelets and some don’t. Any thoughts on this? I was considering calling Disney to see if the other family could also participate to make things go more smoothly…What do you think?

    • Mary Badami

      Have you linked your friends to your My Disney Experience? We are traveiling with another couple. We are all linked on My Disney Experience. And we all got the option to customize My Magic Bands.

  • Sue Mills

    Using them right now and I love them. The POP ha been helpful. We checked in on Saturday, got our bands and it has been awesome.

  • Disgusted

    The downside is that now you can only utilize the FastPass system for three attractions in the entire day. Before you may have been able to utilize many more than that if you did it correctly. That hardly seems like a benefit to me.

    • yankeesusa

      Although 3 seems like a little especially if its between all the parks I myself and my family usually only use 2 paper passes. And with being able to change the times once you set them that is definitely a plus. I’m looking forward to trying it out if I’m picked for labor weekend.

    • ThunderRoadJoe

      This was a drawback for me too. I thought once the three Fastpass+ passes were used I could use the band or our paper annual pass to get more the regular way. I was informed by a cast member that no, because the average guest uses only 1.5 Fastpasses per day, the Disney folks decided to set the limit to three. Really, 1.5 at the Magic Kingdom? I’ll have to rethink my Fastpass strategy for the next a visit.

    • Scout Kent

      Do keep in mind that this is still in the testing phase, and it appears that you can also use your card to get regular fast passes (again, at this time). We don’t know how it’s going to work when it truly launches.

      • Sarah F

        You can no longer get paper fast passes. This is a complete joke and is only a ploy to get everyone to stay at Disney resorts. So disappointed.

    • Sarah F

      I completely agree with you. We are canceling our trip to Disney World because of this. What a waste of money when you can not do the rides you want in the order you want. Ridiculous. They should have left the original system in place for those of us who would like to utilize that.

  • Bryce Cossitor

    Great Review Guys. I have two major concerns with the eventual rollout to all:
    1. We are DVC members and I am wondering how they are going to handle fastpass + advance reservations for us. It took them several years to even allow us the Dining Plan – this is going to be even more confusing since we won’t have park tickets packaged with rooms. Besides that, we typically buy an annual pass every other year, making reservations for two summers within 12 months of each other. That means in the “between passes” year we could definitely be out of luck. Really wish they would come up with a better advance reserve system – which brings me to :
    2. I have seen some discussion elsewhere of an idea that I think has merit. If you are going to allow advance reservations, only allow it for possibly 1 or 2 fastpasses per day, requiring the other fastpasses be done the day of the visit to that park. The whole point here anyway, is to cater to the use of smartphones, etc. so why micro manage early reservations, especially when many people are going to be shut out because they could not do advance fastpass for one reason or another. Lets face it, letting people reserve attractions months in advance is a train wreck waiting to happen. I would venture a guess that 50% of the advance fastpasses will be no-shows and others who may have been shut out or left with fastpasses into the late hours will be discouraged. Just my two cents…

    • Jessica Kara

      yeah, I’m a little worried about the AP part as well. Many AP holders don’t stay on property, so I’m thinking we won’t be able to use My Magic + all the time.

  • Priscilla

    Will FP+ work for hard ticket events such as MNSSHP or MVMCP?

  • Fred Freeze

    We are annual pass holder as we spend three months in Kissimmee during the winter. Even though the paper tickets continue to be available, will the number of these paper tickets be reduced as the number of fast pass plus reservations are made?

  • Mary Badami

    We are going Sept. 8-14. Another couple is going with us. When I went to My Disney Experience last week, I got the option to customize My Magic Bands. Our friends got the same option. Ours were delivered today. COOL!!!

  • Mimi

    Thrilled with the info, just hoping they have magicband for Wilderness Lodge in November. My 35 year old daughter and I do Mother/Daughter Trips and we would so love to try this technology. I appreciate all the info on how they work.

  • Glen

    Was it worth it to use a FP on Illuminations? How was the view? My family has a group of 10 going in September, and we have FP+ for Illuminations, but I want to make sure it’s worth it, if not we will change it to another attraction.

    • Jessica Kara

      I LOVED the FP+ spot for Illuminations. Totally worth it IMO. Ands really, what other FP would you get? You can only get three, so to me the obvious choices were Soarin’, Test Track, and Illuminations.

      • Jen D

        Do they change what you can FP? I don’t have an option to FP illuminations

        • Jessica Kara

          I noticed that it was only available on certain days of my trip. I also observed that they didn’t have the area roped off every night. So, you may need to try for a different day to see if you can get it

  • Lorizh

    Hi, I already have a Magic Band that I obtained from being a tester via the Contemporary. I heard they were good for approximately 2 years. My question is this, we’re planning another trip (just mom/son) in either January or May of 2014 depending on how my son’s spinal surgery goes, if we stay at another resort this would include The Swan, can we put our Park Passes only on our Magic Bands? We have no desire to add the dining plan again (last trip we lost approximately 60 dollars a day and one day 240 due to Disney losing our entire plan and it getting lost into cyberspace :( ) However we loved the magic bands for the park hopper and everything else of course but don’t want to be limited to our resort choice due to them. Thank you all!

    • http://growlybeast.tumblr.com/ growly beast

      I’m curious as to why Disney didn’t refund or make up for the lost Dining Plan.

  • Lorizh

    I do want to give my positive experience with them. They were quick, easy to learn and fun! We got to customize! We did have a few snafus, after 3 days with the Fast Pass Plus but Concierge took care of that daily for me. They even gave us choice of times instead of being constricted to the time choices you’re handed (which were 4 different times for your 3 fast passes which is pretty good) for our inconvenience. It just wouldn’t allow me to change the times as needed if we were running late due to Disney Transportation which is usually everyone’s reason for running late lol. They don’t know what happened, it just did but we agreed to be testers therefore we took the risk.

    Also, at first they didn’t open our doors, that took about 10 minutes to fix, and they forgot to put the pin numbers attached to everyone’s but mine, again they noticed that when they were fixing the door entry (all by the way you can use your room card with, so always bring it with you!). A couple of vendors didn’t take them or weren’t working, no big deal. They were so easy to use and we hardly noticed them on our wrists, we even purchased those cute little castle, epcot, tree of life and sorcerer’s hat to put on them.
    The only thing I would suggest for Disney is this. They have many holes to attach the rubber snaps to, why just 2? That does seem like such a risk. Most bracelets of those types will go with 4 to be secure. So although we didn’t have problems I did hear of others who lost their bands due to them not being secure. Add a couple of extra rubber snap Disney, it’s not big deal :)

    So we had a blast with them and seriously feel like going back to cards would be so old fashion now ;) Can’t wait for the entire Disney World to have them!

    PS, we did have a bad experience with them at ASMu due to a CM wanting to play with them, they’re the ones who lost our dining plan…ugh…I get they were excited about them and thankfully we were only there for our last night but it did put a damper on things. I blame myself for taking it off my wrist and handing it over the counter, I should have stood my ground and said no when she said she wanted to “try something” no other guest has ever been able to do at their resort yet. Oh well, live in learn lol

    • http://growlybeast.tumblr.com/ growly beast

      I’m curious as to why Disney didn’t refund or make up for the lost Dining Plan. I’m a hardcore user and don’t really want to experience that.

      • Scout Kent

        I’m sure they would have – the employer who caused the issue should of course have taken the lead on this, but, failing that, I cannot imagine Disney not making this right if it had been brought to their attention.

  • Dan

    I arrive at Pop Century on the 2nd of September, will I qualify for the magic band and mymagic experience? I downloaded the app and made an account just in case anyway :)

  • Mike

    I have a question. Just helped a friend pick some of her fast pass+ attractions. I was surprised to see several shows are included as options. How does this work? Is there a designated reserved area for those who use a fast pass+? This is huge for me because I am going in November and I have an older person coming who struggles to stand for a long time waiting for shows like Illuminations, etc. Thanks for any input!

    • Chinner08

      For Wishes fireworks, there was a CM with a MagicBand reader guarding the entrance to the Rose Garden. We saw Lion King, Nemo, Laugh Floor, Disney Jr., & Lights Motors Action using FP+. We were allowed to enter just before everyone else. Also, if your companion has trouble standing, you might consider a wheel chair or guest assistance card to get you into the handicap seating area.

  • Kristin Vitale

    Our vacation starts Mon, Sept 9 and I never received a letter or email about qualifying. So on Tues, Aug. 27 I logged into the My Disney Experience site and it popped up saying I can custom my MagicBands. Yay! I clicked the popup, confirmed the shipping address, and customized our bands – even with names. It had said, “Hurry! Customize now as they’re about to ship any day now!” They weren’t kidding. Apparently, if we didn’t confirm our shipping address, they would’ve shipped gray ones to Pop Century that we would’ve received upon check-in. On Thurs, Aug. 29, I logged in again to see if we caught it in time to ship to our house and turns out they delivered it that day! I’m so excited!! I haven’t tried the FastPass+ system yet but will this weekend!

  • Susan Stephens Fons

    Okay now I am confused. We were invited to test the Magic Bands and FastPass Plus for our trip in September. I did everything before they were shipped, customized and chose our three FastPass selections for each park. Did I read that we will not be able to get any other FastPasses in the parks because we already have three reserved with our Magic Bands? That’s it, just 3 FasPasses total? We went twice last year and used FastPasses at every ride we could and we definitely used more than 1.5 or even 2 or 3. If it’s true we are limited to only the 3, what is the reasoning behind this? Doesn’t seem quite fair if people know how to use the FastPass system and it works for them.

    • Jessica Kara

      We were able to use our regular park tickets to obtain paper FP’s in the parks in addition to the ones on our Magic Bands. That’s something I gave them feedback on in the survey about My Magic +. Three FP’s per day is sometimes not enough.

  • Jessica Kara

    We got to try the Magic Bands during our recent trip as well. We were able to customize them and got them within days of ordering them online. We LOVED having the Magic Bands! For some reason, they are so much easier to remember and keep track of than the room keys. Even my 8 year old could remember to check for his Magic Band before we went to the parks. That never happened with the old room keys/tickets! Being able to book Toy Story Fastpasses from home and not having to go through that rush at the parks was probably the best part of the whole thing. We got to ride TSMM three times this trip, all because of My Magic +. I also really liked the FP for Illuminations. It was a great spot and not having to get there an hour before the show was awesome. My whole family LOVED My Magic +!

  • Terry

    My family and I have been to Disney quite a few times over the years and we were reluctant at first using the bands on our last trip but we tried them anyway and we loved them they worked great on everything from getting into the parks, room at pop Century buying dinner to shopping but the best thing by far was the three fastpasses we didn’t have to rush to get one since we had them when we arrived at the park only wish we could get more. It was easy for my wife to set everything up with her smartphone or ipad. We could even check wait times on other rides so we didn’t have to walk to them to see how long the lines were. We didn’t even set anything up until the night before when we decided what park we were going to the next day and if we needed to change something we did it at the park on her phone it worked really well for us and I would recomend any visiter to use them.

  • Daniel De Tolla

    Are you only limited to 3 fastpasses the whole day or can you go and get another fastpass the old traditional way in between before or after the reserved fastpass+s

    • Chinner08

      What I was told was that you can still use your key to the world and get traditional FP’s just like before.

  • Lisette Raynor

    We were selected and were notified about 3 weeks ahead of time. We stayed at Art of Animation September 6 & 7. We are annual passholders and our passes were uploaded onto the bands. It was wonderful to be able to set up our Fast Pass+ before arriving to the park. We also loved that with Fast Pass+ we were able to experience the Design Center at Test Track just by using the Magic Bands. One of the members of our party was not able to upload his Annual Pass onto his band due to a glitch with crossovers of different accounts and all of us being on the same reservation. We had an IT guy come out to the lobby to speak with us. He took all of the info and told us it would be done by morning and to get a good nights sleep. When we woke up the next morning, we checked My Disney Experience and discovered that his band was all set!!! Pixie Dust, Magical Moments??….You bet, but only because we were at Disney!!! We love Disney CM’s and Imagineers!

  • elisabeth

    Is there any way to be picked to try the magic band or is it random? We are going this winter and would love to try this out!

  • Chinner08

    Just returned from a week at The World & loved the magic bands.
    The convenience of making our FP’s before we went to the parks save us
    lots of time. It also allowed us to let the kids run ahead of us to the
    room & let themselves in. I also liked being able to go to the
    pool without having to worry about where I was going to put my key. One of the other highlights of the band was that we got to sit in the Rose Garden during “Wishes” fireworks. With the exception of a couple of restaurants where the reader was down, we used the band to pay for everything too. Another nice feature is that you can set a spending limit when you check in and change it as needed.

    We had two hiccups with them: first, at least once a day there was a
    problem at the gate with one of our party. The great thing is that the
    roaming CM’s with the computers were right there every time. What I
    quickly realized was that the problems usually stemmed from not having
    the finger in the reader just right or not using the correct finger (My
    dad, for some reason, decided to have his middle finger read the 1st
    time. Subsequently he tried to enter using is pointer finger…blue
    Mickey every time.)

    Second, on the 2nd to last day of our trip, mydisneyexperience account said that I had reached my FP+ limit, yet I had not reserved any FP’s for that day. I went to
    concierge & was told it is a known glitch. They essentially “comped” us our FP’s for that day using their CM privileges.

    No one does customer service like Disney. With the decline in our
    society’s personal skills, it’s likely no one ever will either.

    • jzopks

      Consider yourself extremely lucky. All evidence to the contrary when I visited.

  • B AIKMAN

    Did you find yourself using the app a lot while at the parks? I’m curious because as someone coming from Canada I am hesitant to use the bands if I am using the app a lot while there. With the lack of wifi international visitors may get spanked with pretty harsh data/roaming charges accessing the app. Have they addressed this in any way?

    • Chinner08

      There is free wifi on Disney property. I didn’t use the app because it always crashed my Android phone. So, I brought our tablet & used MDE through the web. But, I thought the kiosks were much easier to use to change our FP+’s when we were at MK.

      Also, we used MDE every night to plan our FP+’s for the next day. It was great not having to got to the ride or dispenser to get our FP’s then have to go back whenever the FP’s were valid. It probably saved us a few hours of walking since we had a Sr. in a ECV & three under 10 years old.

    • Emmy

      Yes all the time. It has a lot of information. As I like to change times or rides which it will allow you to do. So if you run late you can change times. Or to lookup dining times and to make reservations which I love so easy now. I find we use the app a lot while in the park.

  • Ac Berry

    what resorts are using the magic bands right now

  • Ac Berry

    what resorts will be participating after September

  • Stephanie

    Question–I have reservations at Art of Animation in March/April 2014, but we purchased our tickets through Under Cover Tourist. Will we be able to link our tickets to MyMagic+ through My Disney Experience? I’m assuming it will be fully implemented by the time we are there.

    • Chinner08

      We had “Will Call” tickets purchased through the YES program. After we picked them up, I went to MDE and entered the numbers & viola…they were linked to our Magic Bands. It was very easy. I imagine your tickets should be the same or similar.

  • Maria LaJeunesse

    I just have two questions
    1)is it only 3 per day, per trip or per park for the fast passes?
    2) and if it’s per park what if you want to visit more than one day on your trip since we are spending 2 days at MK?

    Thanx :)

  • Renate Wert

    I hope the number of Fastpasses per day goes up at the official launch. When we go, we go hard. Usually about 6 passes per day. Also, there are things I won’t ride like Tower of Terror, my boyfriend gets his pass and mine and rides back to back. I have never stayed at a resort because I live a couple hours away and usually we go for a day trip, so when you buy things using a MagicBand or just a room key, does it charge one credit card? What if 2 people split the cost and pay with two cards? Basically, will my room key be linked to my credit card only?

    • jzopks

      You get three as of the formal launch.

  • Tricia

    Were you able to use regular fast pass as well with the magic bands?

  • jzopks

    I just had an opportunity to test the bands this week, and I just have to say it was a nightmare experience. The resort and park staff could not get my daughters’ tickets to work with their bands so they were denied admittance to parks, they could not fast pass, we could not make dining reservations. I stood in line or sat on phone hold more than four hours during our trip last week, and no one was able to help us. They just kept shrugging their shoulders and passing us off to other people. Or they would stand around in a group and stare at the screen and say, “Wow, we don’t know how to fix that. This is a job for IT.” “IT will email you when it’s fixed.” “IT doesn’t work weekends.” We lost two of our four days on vacation to this nightmare and Disney did ZERO to compensate us for our troubles — and we paid full fare. They told us that since we chose to use the bands this was the risk we ran. Only, we were not given a choice; we were told this was just the new system.

    The website was buggy, and their kiosks were constantly down. My BIL who works in IT Support for a major cell phone company and was traveling with us, commented that he thinks the same people who built the Obamacare site built the mydisneyexperience site — it was that bad. It was not ready to go live. And Disney had no common sense stopgaps in place for situations that could not be managed. I asked for a business or VIP card I could show at the park to get my kids in. I asked for the bands to be reissued. I asked for escalation in support. I called the internet help line, and I was told by the person who answered the phone that I needed to call the internet help line. Mydisneyexperience was THAT ridiculous. No solutions or compensation were offered or provided. Disney just kept canceling my kids tickets and reissuing them, which never fixed the problem.

    Ultimately, the issue was that they could not link the tickets to my children’s avatars. So they made shadow avatars, which then made the problem even more confusing and difficult to resolve because the shadows would not link either. And then, in a final act of desperation they told me that this was my travel agent’s fault and there was nothing more they could do for me unless I showed up in person with the agent at one of their guest services locations. What are the odds of any guest being able to make a travel agent magically appear? As luck would have it, I actually had access to my agent and drug him to the support counter in downtown Disney. We stood in line and he did noting but lend me moral support until they completely wiped out both of my children’s accounts and reissued their passes in about 10 minutes. When the agent asked if he could have done something different to avoid the issue, the employee said, no this was an implementation issue on our end. So it WAS Disney’s problem the entire time. Their staff just passed the buck over and over. Everyone in our tour group had some sort of issue, no one was immune.

    I was only able to make fast pass selections for myself, but the rides I wanted to do were already booked. So I what I see coming is the need to schedule rides like dining experiences — 6 months in advance and after you’ve already paid the money for the trip. Anyone who wants to attach their credit card to a system so buggy and poorly designed is asking for trouble. I would wait to visit Disney until next year. Hopefully they can get the kinks worked out and actually train their staff on implementation by then. Meanwhile, we repurposed a 1st Visit button we found to a “Last Visit.”

  • Jess

    Im going to be going for the week of the 24 and we customized our bands yesterday, I’ve been going to disney since I was five, florida resident, I think this is the best way to get rid of the minor things that could cause a damper on your trip. At least three or so FastPass machines were all was out of service especially for major attractions, this could slowly rule this out. Also, I know that we’ve forgotten out room keys at home sometime then we have to go back all the way to the room to get them, this is just going to be another braclet for me, personally, ahahha. I love that this is only from the very first tests so its been a few months now I can’t wait to see the improvements.
    An Amazing Blog!!

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  • Rick

    We found the bands to be uncomfortable and stiff. Also, we don’t want them in all of the photos of each other, as our watches and jewelry look nicer.

  • Debbie VH

    We just returned from Disney and had mixed reviews on the Magic Bands. I liked being able to use them as tickets and to make purchases, but the fast passes had limitations. I would have liked to split my 3 choices between 2 different parks on the same day, or be able to do the same ride twice (like Test Track). When we went, they made Test Track, Soarin and Maelstrom a “top tier” selection and we were only allowed to choose one fast pass from this category. That was a bummer. We chose Test Track and then didn’t select another fast pass. I heard Disney is taking visitors’ feedback about the new Magic Bands. Does anyone know who to write to or email to give feedback?

    • kimmielou26

      I had the opportunity to give feedback, through a survey. I expressed my disdain with being able to only pick 3 choices from one park per day. It’s ridiculous that you can’t have more choices and that you are limited to one park! In Disney’s defense, they are trying to do crowd control on an insanely large group of people. I have hated the dining plan for years, for the same reason. It kills any chance of spontaneity, as all restaurants are booked months in advance. Oh well. It is what it is. Still live the damn place.

  • bob

    the app is awfull it crashes all the time

  • Emmy

    The new bands are much better as far as entering the park and buying merchandise, dining etc. And using when you have a fast pass. But to only be allowed 3 fast passes per day at only one park doesn’t sit well with me at all! And then it will only allow you to choose one prime ride and the other 2 have to be the crappy rides that you would not ride to begin with. Sorry Disney if you would update your rides that are still 70′s style it would not be so bad. For instance today is Easter Sunday and chose fast passes for Epcot. Our first choice was Soaring. Then pick 2 &d 3 our choices were Figment, Living with the land, Spaceship Earth, and Nemo. The Land and spaceship earth and Figment never need a fast pass so it is a waste of a fast pass.
    We don’t have kids so Nemo is not a ride we are interested in. We bought the season pass so that we could park hop and have not block out dates as we live in Florida.
    So when the 3 fast passes get used the next park we cannot get any! They say they are working out the bugs and will eventually be able to get more. But our luck it will be after our passes expire and they will not be renewed if this is still going on.
    We paid $1000 for these passes for the 2 of us and are pretty pissed off that they are dictating what we can and cannot ride when we want to!
    There are a lot of people very unhappy with this! The only one that it is convenient for is Disney!! They want you to ride less and eat and buy more with the new magic bands because I will admit it is much easier to spend when you are wearing them.

    • JC Snow

      Nailed it

  • may3

    I stayed at Pop Century and Beach Club last fall and got tested with the Magic Band. Here are my experiences:

    1. For purchases, the magic band worked fine except for this one store in Epcot.
    2. For fastpasses, the magic band worked fine always, but there was once a big line at test track to use the magic band because it scans slower than the paper fastpasses. We didn’t have to wait too long, about 5 minutes.
    3. For the hotel door: At Pop Century, the bands worked fine until about the last 2 days, when my son’s band suddenly won’t open doors anymore, though it still worked for other stuff. The rest of the bands still worked, so I didn’t complain. My son was mad, though. He was proud of being able to open the hotel door.
    4. At Beach Club, I stood in front of the check-in counter for over half an hour. There was no line, and I had already done pre-checkin online. What’s the hold up? They couldn’t get the magic band to work. Two guys worked diligently on the magic band. Eventually they gave it to me, but warned me that it might not open the hotel door! At that point I didn’t care, I just grabbed the bands and took off. Got to the room and the door didn’t open. Me and the kids kept trying and it eventually opened! Yes!!!

  • JC Snow

    FastPass + is a complete disaster.