Walt Disney World is constantly changing and making improvements, and while some changes are bigger than others, the resort has been quietly making some improvements this week that were completely unexpected. From a change in policy regarding MagicBands that frequent Walt Disney World visitors will appreciate to the debut of characters in one of the most populated areas of the Magic Kingdom, here are some recent developments that threw us for a loop this week:
1. The ability to opt out of more MagicBands
There’s nothing like receiving that first MagicBand in the mail before embarking on a Walt Disney World vacation. However, if you’re a frequent Walt Disney World visitor or an annual passholder, getting a new MagicBand for every trip, hotel reservation and pass renewal can lead to quite the assortment of MagicBands in your home. Though this might seem like the ultimate first-world problem, some guests have complained about the pile-up of MagicBands in their homes, and it looks like Disney has finally taken notice of this issue and has created a way for guests to curb their MagicBand collection.
Effective immediately, guests who currently have an active MagicBand that is less than a year old can opt out of receiving a new band automatically by navigating to the My Disney Experience website and selecting not to receive a MagicBand when making a hotel reservation or purchasing tickets. This feature is only available via the My Disney Experience website (not the mobile apps) and guests who have an active MagicBand that is more than a year old will not be able to take advantage of this option (apparently the batteries in these things only last so long...).
2. Outdoor characters are (slowly) coming back to the Magic Kingdom
Historically, characters at the Magic Kingdom have been easy to encounter, hanging out at various locations around the park periodically throughout the day. Unfortunately, in recent years walk-around and outdoor characters have been on the decline at the park, with guests increasingly needing to wait in lines (or make FastPass+ reservations) to see their favorite Disney Princesses and characters at the Magic Kingdom.
However, it looks like wandering characters are making a return to Walt Disney World. Last week, a new test featuring an on-the-run Flynn Rider was announced, and just yesterday it was revealed that now through August 19th, Snow White and Mary Poppins will be appearing periodically in the Magic Kingdom’s West Plaza Gardens to meet guests in a more natural setting. While all of these new meet and greets are being treated as limited time experiences, it’s clear that Disney is considering implementing more outdoor characters at the Magic Kingdom in the future, which is a welcome return to form for this park, which some have recently criticized for being "too structured".