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Disney World's MyMagic+ Review, Including FastPass+ and MagicBands

MyMagic+ reader

MyMagic+ is a massive project being implemented at Walt Disney World and includes the introduction of FastPass+, the MagicBands, and the touch-to-pay system.

Let’s get started with the MagicBand. The MagicBand is a “rubber”-like wristband that contains a Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) chip that acts as your park ticket, room key, and credit card. Wearing the MagicBand felt a bit awkward at first. It’s difficult to describe, but it seems as though the band would never want to stay with the Mickey head facing up. I suggest wearing the band prior to the trip to get the “feel” for it and to make adjustments. Though as the day goes on, you barely even notice that the MagicBand is on and this was on a hot summer day. It actually felt like I was missing something when I took it off at the end of the day. It may not have changed my life, but it was certainly more convenient to never have to take out my wallet to search for my room key or annual pass. For those of you wondering, it will sync with your annual pass once you connect it with your Disney account.

MagicBandMagicBand

Once you book your reservation at one of the qualifying Disney resorts that are participating in the testing, you will be prompted to customize your MagicBand. Basically, you get to choose the color you want and the name you want printed on the inside of the band. It will tell you how many days you have left to customize the bands and when they will ship. My bands arrived only two days after shipment.

MyDisneyExperienceMyDisneyExperience

The biggest undertaking of MyMagic+ is the new FastPass+ reservation system. Once your resort reservation is linked with your Disney account, you can begin making FastPass+ reservations starting the day you check-in. FastPass+ is replacing the current paper FastPass system, but it is currently still made available to all guests. On the MyDisneyExperience website you begin by selecting the day you want to make your reservations.

MyDisneyExperienceMyDisneyExperience

Then you select the people in your party that you want to make the FastPass+ selections for.

MyDisneyExperienceMyDisneyExperience

Next you choose the park in which you want to make the FastPass+ selections in. The rules are that only three FastPass+ selections can be made per park per day and only one park can be used a day. Also, you cannot choose the same experience twice in the same day. I thought this was sufficient because, for example in Epcot we made a selection for Test Track, Soarin’, and Maelstrom. Hollywood Studios and Animal Kingdom were the same in that three FastPass+ selections were enough for the day. In Magic Kingdom we received a bonus fourth FastPass+ selection during our testing that we used for Haunted Mansion. Again, I did not feel that four was not enough. Although, I could still pull regular FastPasses from the machines, so my thoughts could change once that is no longer possible.

MyDisneyExperienceMyDisneyExperience

MyDisneyExperienceMyDisneyExperience

Disney will give you four recommended options for the times of the FastPasses, usually one in the morning, afternoon, and evening. But if you don’t like any of the choices, you could manually change the time of the FastPass+ experience and the experience itself (if it’s available of course).

MyDisneyExperienceMyDisneyExperience

Once you have gone through the process of selecting your FastPass+ experiences, which can be made up to 45 days in advance, then it’s off to enjoy your vacation.

When you arrive at the resort, nothing has to be done to the MagicBands, they will already be linked with the reservation and can be used as the room key as soon as the room is ready. So make sure to have your MagicBands with you before packing your bags. During my testing, they still gave out plastic room keys as well. This is also a good time to add that the MagicBands are completely optional. The plastic cards will serve the exact same purpose as the have the same technology in them. You can wear the MagicBand only if you want to. Moving on, you will need to tap the Mickey head on the MagicBand to the Mickey head on the door. This concept of tapping “Mickey to Mickey” will be repeated throughout your vacation.

Room Mickey ReaderRoom Mickey Reader

To enter the park, you will go through the turnstile-less turnstiles (I guess). I call them Mickey Readers, but they can also be called Mickey Heads or Mickey Stiles or the green glowy thingy. I liked the new Mickey Readers better than the old turnstiles, mostly because it’s just cool to watch it light-up green and strollers are able to enter much quicker. But please remember to tap the band (or card) and put your finger on the scanner. The line can easily be held back because people keep forgetting to scan their finger.

Magic Kingdom Mickey ReadersMagic Kingdom Mickey Readers

The Mickey Readers at Animal Kingdom.

Animal Kingdom Mickey ReadersAnimal Kingdom Mickey Readers

Here’s my best attempt at capturing a photo of the process. By the way, Cast Members at the Mickey Readers carry an iPod Touch-style device to see if you are cleared to enter. It will also display your name and any information you choose, such as a birthday or anniversary. Some Cast Members made me feel special by greeting me in by name.

Mickey ReaderMickey Reader

Mickey ReaderMickey Reader

Here is how they look when they are not in use.

Magic Kingdom Mickey ReadersMagic Kingdom Mickey Readers

Once inside you can make changes to your FastPass+ reservations from kiosks like the one shown below or the MyDisneyExperience app. It displays nearly the same thing you will find in the MyDisneyExperience website. This one is in Storybook Circus. There is also a Cast Member at every one I saw if you need assistance.

MyMagic+ KioskMyMagic+ Kiosk

Most attractions now allow FastPass+ and are equipped with two Mickey Readers to scan your MagicBands (or cards). Again, my best attempt to capture this magical moment.

FastPass+ Mickey ReaderFastPass+ Mickey Reader

Paying for items, I used the touch-to-pay system. You just simply tap the Mickey Reader on this little machine and type a four digit pin code that you created either on the website or checking-in at the resort. It’s very quick and easy, although a regular credit card can be used as well.

Touch-to-Pay DeviceTouch-to-Pay Device

Overall, my experience with the MyMagic+ system has been positive. I will be testing it again in a month and will be looking to see the improvements or changes that have been made, especially since it will be opening up to a larger test group. I am optimistic about the new system, but worry about the challenges that can occur when the system is rolled-out completely, such as FastPass+ availability and glitches. I saw very few people with MagicBands in the park and using the FastPass+ system. As the testing expands, the reality of the system will begin to show.

If you have any question, please feel free to ask them in the comments below. 

There are 14 comments.

I'm very excited by the MyMagic+ program. I think the Theme Park 2.0 concept is great, and the idea of being able to conduct all park affairs with a simple bump of the wrist just sounds fantastically simple. Cutting down the number of things needed to be carried into the park is a huge improvement. With this, I'll be down to just bringing a smartphone (although I also always carry a photo ID, generally my passport, at all times when I'm overseas), and said smartphone doubles as the Park Map.

I probably won't be back to Walt Disney World until it's fully rolled out, but I'm super excited to get to try it eventually. And heck, maybe they'll export it to DLRP and I can try it sooner!

Great info! Thanks! We leave for WDW in 6 days and we have MagicBands, yea! My question is, at park entrance, do you tap the band first, then do the finger scan? Or vice versa? Or simultaneously???

Hi Caralee! You tap the band first, then do the finger scan. It's very easy - and fast :-)

Can I upgrade from a card to a band? And how much would it be?

Hi Sarah! We can ask around but it would be useful to have a few more details. Where/when are you staying at the resort? It could well be that you'll receive a MagicBand anyway.

We may be going the end of January because its close to my birthday it's February 2 mebe ill see you there?

im staying at bonnet creek resort i stay free because my grandparents own a timeshare they have a disney desk in the lobby should i ask? do i still get my name on the band like wow resorts? can i get my name on my touch card too?

im staying at bonnet creek resort i stay free because my grandparents own a timeshare they have a disney desk in the lobby should i ask? do i still get my name on the band like wow resorts? can i get my name on my touch card too?

Hello, my question about the magic bands is: I had read somewhere, but can't find it now, that they also help with the Magical Express when you arrive at Orlando airport. Is this true, and how is it simplified?

So what if you're staying off-site? Will you get the band and fast pass +?

Hi Carol. When the MyMagic+ is completely rolled out in the next few months, anybody staying at a Disney Resort or is an annual pass holder will be given a MagicBand to use if they choose. Gust staying off-site will have the option to purchase a MagicBand, but will be given a card (like today) with the same functionality. FastPass+ will eventually be available to both on-site and off-site resort guests as the old FastPass system gets discontinued.

recently visited WDW ... we opted out of the Magic Band as after several issues we were turned over to the Technical Department which tried several times to fix our problems only to find out other problems developed ... I am sure the system will eventually work fine ... only complaint is that you will be limited to 3 Fast Passes for any one day; we typically get upwards of 6 per day in the old system ... if the attempt is to limit wait times, then limiting the number of Fast Passes per day will only increase the number of people standing in line ... and, there really is no advantage to staying on-site or at a prime WDW hotel, everyone will be treated the same in the new system and be limited to 3 Fast Passes

Recently had a 10 day stay ruined by the combination of magic bands, fastpass+ mixed with program with a thousand bugs, the My Disney Experience app. The app constantly displays incorrect information like wrong times for our fastpasses to wrong locations of restaurants (since when was the Captain's Grille relocated from the Yacht Club Resort to the Wilderness Lodge?). I am so kicking my self for activating my annual pass before they finished testing this mess. Never before did I wait on an hour long line of disgruntled guests to get to the counter at guest relations at Epcot. It's currently a nightmare people.... Stay away!

Could Inget some information on if this new system changes handicapped access wheelchair or scooter
Guests? Will the bypass continue so we don't have to nano über the wheelchair through the queue?