Walt Disney World begins issuing plastic cards to Annual PassholdersBy , Friday, March 22, 2013 10:59
Walt Disney World has begun issuing plastic cards to Annual Passholders in place of their existing paper passes, paving the way for the introduction of the MyMagic+ system.
Inside the Magic has posted an extensive photo report on the updated passes, which are currently available in exchange for paper passes at Epcot's Odyssey Center. The plastic passes enable guests to pass through the new turnstile-free entrances to the resort's theme parks, and are also expected to be employed by the new FASTPASS+ "ride booking" system.
The cards will work in conjunction with MagicBand wristbands, which will be issued to Annual Passholders over the coming months. These will allow guests to simply "bump" the device on readers to perform a wide variety of actions, including paying for food, drink and merchandise.
The introduction of MyMagic+ is the latest element 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 the MagicBand.
The scheme has already stoked controversy, with Disney CEO Bob Iger responding angrily to privacy concerns raised by Massachusetts congressman Ed Markey. Iger's response describes Markey's claims as "ludicrous and utterly ill-informed", denying strongly that Disney intends to "manipulate" children.