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Walt Disney World to introduce MyMagic+ system as NextGen plans become reality

Disney MagicBand

The Walt Disney World Resort is set to introduce a number of new planning tools and interactive experiences under the banner of "MyMagic+", Disney has confirmed.

The move is the latest in Disney's NextGen initiative, which aims to revolutionize the guest experience at the company's theme parks and resorts. It will see visitors' hotel room keys, theme park tickets, FASTPASS queue-jumping reservations and even wallets replaced by a single wristband, dubbed the MagicBand. This will be equipped with RFID short-range radio technology, allowing guests to simply "bump" the device on readers to perform a wide variety of actions.

Some of the features enabled by the MagicBand and MyMagic+ will be purely replacements for existing systems, such as entry to parks and hotel rooms, and the ability to redeem Disney Dining Plan credits in restaurants. However, Disney is also promising that the MagicBand will enable "new levels of interactivity", which could mean personalized greetings from talking Disney characters and enhanced interactive queue experiences.

The MagicBand will also form a core part of the FASTPASS+ scheme, which will enable guests reserve ride times on popular attractions month in advance of their visit. FASTPASS+ is similar to the existing FASTPASS system which enables guests to pick up a pass for a supported attraction from booths close to its entrance, allowing them to return during a specified time window and skip the regular "standby" line. This will continue to operate alongside FASTPASS+, which will allow guests to effectively reserve a FASTPASS ahead of time.

The MagicBands will be used in conjunction with the new My Disney Experience vacation planning website and smartphone application, which provide key information uch as attraction wait times, maps, park hours and information on rides and restaurants. The two are expected to evolve to incorporate guests' personal itineraries as the FASTPASS+ system is rolled out.

Many of Disney's planned innovations are based on RFID technology, which will be used as a convenient and quick way to identify individual guests. All Walt Disney World resort guests are now receiving RFID-enabled "Key to the World" cards, while sensors are cropping up in a number of retail outlets and at theme park entrances.

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