MyMagic+ and My Disney Experience have become so ingrained in the Walt Disney World experience that it is hard to imagine a day at the parks without them. And although it’s rare, we do know that MyMagic+ does encounter issues from time to time that occasionally result in partial or full-scale outages across Walt Disney World. 2015 saw several instances where guests were either unable to gain admission or couldn't claim FastPass+ reservations for several hours at a time. And though it has been a long time since we've seen a MyMagic+ hiccup of any kind, reports have surfaced that a very specific type of outage occurred across Walt Disney World for a few hours on Friday January 29th that affected a select number of guests.
The trouble began in the mid-morning, when on-property guests noticed that they were unable to use their MagicBands to make purchases or redeem Disney Dining Plan credits for meals. Though this is the first time an outage of this type has occurred (guests were still able to use their MagicBands for admission as well as FastPass+ redemption during the time that this issue was occurring), Disney's handling of this issue was swift and efficient, and we learned quite a lot during yesterday’s brief MyMagic+ hiccup.
1. Disney is prepared for basically any kind of outage
While this is the first time we’ve ever seen a MyMagic+ outage happen at Walt Disney World that affected just Walt Disney World resort guests trying to use their MagicBands for a transaction, Disney Cast Members were well-prepared for this problem and immediately began using a contingency plan that ensured that guests who were affected by this issue didn't have to upset their plans.
Guests who were trying to use their MagicBand to pay for items outright were first asked to pay with either credit card or cash, but those who couldn't use alternate forms of payment were able to write their MagicBand ID on a receipt for future charging when the system came back online. Similarly, guests who were trying to redeem Disney Dining plan credits were able to continue with their dining, but were asked to provide their MagicBand ID at checkout so their redemptions could be applied to their account after the outage was resolved.
Though these seem like common sense moves, Disney’s ability to inform Cast Members of the situation in a timely manner and continue to move guests through food and merchandise lines without much of a hold up was quite impressive, given the circumstances surrounding this sudden outage. We’ve seen how Disney has handled previous outages with swift action, and it seems like this most recent technological hiccup was no different, with Disney having a concrete contingency plan that well-trained Cast Members were able to follow with ease.
2. Disney is getting faster at fixing problems
Back when MyMagic+ was in its infancy, an outage could last for several hours, frustrating guests who were still getting used to the new system. Even though Disney tried to be as accommodating as possible in these situations (even bringing back paper FastPasses for a whole day during one memorable outage over a year ago), guests often complained loudly about this new system, and tempers often flared while guests waited for whatever bug was affecting MyMagic+ to be fixed. However, though guests have waited for many hours in the past, it looks like Disney has gotten better at dealing with tech issues in a swift manner, with this newest problem only affecting guests during the morning and early afternoon. Though we don't know exactly how long this outage was active, reports indicate that most guests were able to use their MagicBands to make transactions only an hour or two after the outage first occured.
This is in stark contrast to perhaps the MyMagic+ outage that happened back in 2014, which essentially rendered MagicBands completely useless for nearly a full day. Though we know that Disney is prepared if such an outage occurs again, it looks like the likelihood of that happening is dwindling as Disney gets better at fixing issues as quickly as possible.