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5 Unexpected Developments Happening This Week at Walt Disney World

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

Image - Julie Friend, Wikimedia Commons

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".  

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There are 14 comments.

I thought the MagicBands were NFC chips like contactless payment cards and were therefore passive and didn't require batteries?

They have two chips, a long and short range. The short is passive but the long isn't and does actually have a battery. The long is used for stuff like the automatic photo association for ride photos.

The App is amazing and the magic bands are really convenient as well. Only thing I have against the Magic Bands and the app is that there isn't a way to see how much you have spent using the magic band over the course of the trip. Only way is to contact the front desk of you hotel and they can give you a number. For some that are on tight budgets, this can become a very big problem. Disney, we need a way to track this in the app!

We just left Disney last week and upon departure was asked to take a survey on Disney's My Experience App. The ability to view room charges and make payments was my top suggestion. I would love for this to be available by the time we visit October 2016

It would be nice for characters to freely roam the parks. But seeing the amount of clothing that is involved in some of these costumes, I don't blame Disney for having meet and greets in a more formal, air conditioned, place.

I assure you. Guests ask hundreds a time a day where to find photographers and if they can see their photos on the app. These are hands down the most requested app changes, even if you don't appreciate them. The vast majority of guests who are staying on property are purchasing Memory Maker with their reservations and want their money worth.

People are complaining about the "pile up" of magic bands in their homes? Really? They have only been in use, what, about 2 years now? How many times have they stayed at Disney to acquire such a massive magic band collection that is overtaking their home's storage space? Lol. How about just throwing them away?

Nancy, I am lucky enough to have 4 from the last 2 years and will be getting another in December. I, however, am not complaining! I wish that they would add some new colors! Purple would be a great start. I can color coordinate the bands with my outfits! LOL!

I would love purple too! :)

FYI, the magic band hold has been in effect for a little while now. You can call Resort reservations and ask them to hold the magic bands. They will only hold it for one trip. You need to call or request the magic band hold for every resort stay that you have. And they have a "RF" card in them, not batteries.

I love that Snow White will be seen more in the Magic Kingdom. It is hard for kids to see her in the magic Kingdom when she is hidden at the town square theater only until 3pm. If people don't plan to go to Epcot then they would miss seeing Snow White. She is my favorite and the first Disney princess and impressed Disney is having her more accessible for the little ones who go to the park dressed like her.

if you’re a frequent Walt Disney World visitor or an annual passholder, -- at $100 + a visit how frequent can it be?

I was just at MK last week 18th & 19th July. I saw Mary Poppins many times walking about. 3 times she had a child by the hand and talking only the way Ms. P can. It was lovely!

We have Magic Bands from the initial beta testing roll out which still work perfectly well. We love our growing collection and accessorize Magic Bands to match our daily wardrobe. Mind you, we keep newer Magic Bands handy in case those batteries ever finally do give up the ghost.

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