After three years of development and $1 billion in expenditures, Walt Disney World Resort has unveiled new technology tools that allow guests to customize and personalize their Disney vacation experience like never before. MyMagic+ is a vacation management system that connects nearly all aspects of the guest experience. MyMagic+ is comprised of 3 main components: My Disney Experience, Disney FastPass+ and the MagicBand. Each of these components are explained below.
One of the goals of Disney’s MyMagic+ is to reduce the amount of time park guests must spend waiting in lines and to enhance the user’s park experience. Guests will also be able to use “Once guests using MyMagic+ arrive at Walt Disney World Resort, for the most part, they will be able to leave their wallets securely stored in their room safes (or wear it on their wrist so to speak). No more scratchy lanyards around guests’ necks or fanny packs loaded with ‘Key to the World’ cards or park tickets, PhotoPass cards, reservation lists and itineraries. RF-enabled wristbands or cards will become guests entry ticket, room key, store FastPass+ selections and Dining Plan entitlements, and can be used to pay for dining and merchandise.
Guests will be able to access their itineraries, reservations, and other important information through their smart phones and change selections on the fly. Those who don’t have smart phones or similar devices can visit MyMagic+ kiosks for assistance.
My Disney Experience
My Disney Experience is a combined website and mobile application that will provide a one-stop shop for every phase of a guest’s vacation. Guests may use My Disney Experience to get information on all Walt Disney World attractions or characters, reserve dining and other experiences and make FastPass+ selections in advance. The My Disney Experience is there to give guests the flexibility to plan as much or as little as they’d like to create the exact Disney experience they want.
The My Itinerary section of the web site gives guests a daily view of their plans; here guests can choose to add plans such as resorts, dining ADRs, and parks or locations they plan to visit on a specific day. My Reservations contains a list of resort and dining reservations, including confirmation numbers. Guests can also use My Disney Experience system to connect with Family and Friends to coordinate plans and share photos. There is no charge to use the My Disney Experience system.
To get started using MyMagic+, visit StartYourDisneyExperience.com and sign up for an account. You will then want to Download the My Disney Experience app. Visit our Mobile Option page to learn more about the My Disney Experience mobile application.
Guests can now log on to My Disney Experience to complete the Online Check-In process up to 60 days in advance. Guests will also now have the option to prioritize room ready upon arrival over room requests. Lastly, guests who will be staying at a resort where ‘touch to pay’ functionality is available will have the opportunity to create a Personal Identification Number (PIN) during the Online Check-in process.
To facilitate the use of the My Disney Experience mobile app, Disney has installed complimentary WiFi at the theme parks, Downtown Disney and resort guests rooms, as well as in some public areas. Also installed was an outdoor seating area in the Magic Kingdom adjacent to the new Rapunzel themed restrooms that features 6 charging stations with 2 outlets and 2 USB ports each to recharge mobile and electronic devices. (These can be found concealed in tree stumps). There are also recharging stations in the FASTPASS tent in the Storybook Circus area of Fantasyland and at the gift shop arcade area at the exit of Space Mountain.
Once guests arrive, they can use the MyDisneyExperience app or park kiosks to spontaneously change their plans in the moment. The app can even display notices like attraction closures. Disability Access Service (DAS) return times can also be viewed under My Plans and My Reservations.
The My Disney Experience app also includes Disney PhotoPass capabilities. Guests have view PhotoPass photos, purchase Memory Maker, find PhotoPass photographer locations. and Link PhotoPass cards through the app. Guests who have purchased a Memory Maker can also download photos on their mobile device to share on social media.
MagicBands, are all-in-one wrist-band devices that connect all the vacation choices that guests make online using My Disney Experience. MagicBands are equipped with a radio frequency identification chip that is used to enter a guest’s Disney Resort hotel room, pay for food and merchandise, and enter the “turnstiles” of theme parks and water parks. Even parking plaza booths are expected to be equipped with RFID touch points to validate parking. Plus, the MagicBand provides FastPass+ access to all the experiences selected in advance and serves as the connection to Memory Maker Photo Service.
Standard MagicBands are hypoallergenic and ventilated for comfort in high heat. They are also completely waterproof for use in water parks, showers, heavy rain and the washing machine. MagicBands will come in single adjustable size with a removable layer, allowing the bracelet to be sized for younger guests. It you remove the outside layer, however, you cannot add the outside piece back on; thus, it’s important to be sure that you want to shortened the band before you do so.
The standard MagicBand is complimentary only for Walt Disney World hotel guests and Annual Passholders. Guest staying at the Swan and Dolphin and at non-Disney hotels can purchase a MagicBand and link it to their tickets in the MyDisneyExperience account. MagicBands can be purchased at many theme park and resort shops and can also be purchased in advance at the Disney Shopping site.
No personal information is stored on the bracelet. Rather, the bracelet contains a unique ID code that identifies guests in Disney’s encrypted database and Disney’s readers use that code to look up guests’ information. As an added safety precaution, to make a purchase using the MagicBand, guests have to enter a four digit pin number, which they set up when they arrive at their resort. If a MagicBand is lost, guests have the option to disable it through their My Disney Experience account using their smart phones or by reporting it to any Guest Services Cast Member.
An added perk of using My Disney Experience app or website is that guests will be able to customize their MagicBands with their names or nicknames (printed on the underside of the band using up to 9 or 10 characters). Guests will also be able to choose from 7 possible colors, including pink, green, red, orange, blue, gray, or yellow.
In addition, Disney has introduced collectible sets of MagicBand accessories and charms that park guests can purchase to make each wristband even more unique. These items are known as MagicBandits, CoverBands, and MagicSliders. You can even purchase these before you leave home at the Disney Shopping site.
From booking until 10 days prior to check-in dates, guests may customize their MagicBands online and choose to have their bands sent to their homes or to their resorts where they may be picked up at the front desk upon check-in. Guests who elect to have their MagicBands sent to their home, will receive them no more than 30 days prior to their arrival dates. From 9 to 5 days prior to arrival, guests may still customize their MagicBands online but must then pick them up at their resorts. Guests who have less than 5 days prior to arrival or who do not wish to pre-customize their bands will receive a plain gray band at check-in. Replacement bands will also be gray. Guests who do not wish to wear the MagicBand can request instead, a RFID card similar to the current Key to the World card. Each MagicBand can handle multiple numbers or types of ticket entitlements. Off-site guests For additional MagicBand information, Disney offers an official MagicBand FAQ.
The MagicBand can also be used to unlock extra elements in the Disney Infinity video game and in fact, at least one nugget has been discovered. Placing a MagicBand against the game pad of the Disney Infinity game will unlocked “Dragon Gate” with a Flying Fire breathing Dragon, which can then be used in Toy Box Mode within the game, plus discover a whole new prebuilt Toy Box to play in called “Dragon’s Keep.”
Disney FastPass+ service will allow guests to lock in some of their must-do attractions and experiences for each day of their trip through My Disney Experience – up to 60 (and possibly +10) days prior to day of use for Magic Your Way ticket holders and Annual Passholders. For the first time ever, guests can reserve experiences like firework and parade viewing areas, shows, Disney character greetings, rides and more before ever leaving home. Generally, guests will be able to choose up to 3 FastPass+ experiences at one park per day for each day they hold valid theme park tickets. Guests can choose the same FastPasses for everyone in their party at once or individually. For guests who don’t know where to start, Disney will recommend FastPicks – a set of FastPass+ selections that serve as a starting point – and give guests the option to customize their selections. The system will then return up to 4 groups of availability from which to pick – early, mid day, late, or all day. Over 60 rides, shows, parades, and meet & greets will be included in FastPass+. There is no charge to use the FastPass+ system, but you must have a My Disney Experience account set up to use FastPass+. Additionally, you must have purchased theme park tickets prior to your vacation in order to make FastPass+ selections in advance of your trip.
Visit our FastPass+ Guide to learn more about FastPass+.
MyMagic+ and Online Check-in
Disney’s Online Check-In service is a convenient option that starts your check-in process online from home and may reduce registration time upon arrival at your Disney Resort hotel. As part of Disney’s recent MyMagic+ updates, Disney has made several changes and enhancements to the Online Check-in process. First, all Guests, no matter how their reservations were booked (i.e. directly through Disney or using a travel agency), will be required to log on to My Disney Experience to complete the Online Check-In process. Additionally, the service is now available up to 60 days in advance rather than the previous 10 days. Guests will also now have the option to prioritize room ready upon arrival over room requests. Guests who select this option should be aware that it is a non-guaranteed request. Lastly, guests who will be staying at a resort where ‘touch to pay’ functionality is available will have the opportunity to create a Personal Identification Number (PIN) during the Online Check-in process.
The guest PIN replaces the need for guests to sign on transactions when using the MagicBand. The only exceptions to this are table-service and other tipped locations where guests need to validate the final total and when the system is offline and a PIN cannot be verified.
In addition to the benefits we have already mentioned, MyMagic+ has some other features that makes vacation planning easier than ever.
Guests can also use the My Disney Experience system to coordinate and make plans with family and friends and to share photos. The Family and Friends feature allows you to assign Experience benefits you’ve purchased to your “Friends” such as ticket entitlements and plan activities for them such as Disney FastPass+ selections and dining reservations. “Friends” will fall within either of two groups, “Managed” friends or “Connected” friends.
You can add “Managed” friends to your account and create a Site/App profile for them that you control. “Manage” friends do not have their own account or are ineligible for one such as guests under the age of 13. You are completely in control of your “Managed” friends profiles, information and whom they may connect with. You manage on their behalf. Anyone on your Disney Experience reservations (such as aroom, package or dining reservation) will automatically be listed in your account as a “Managed” friend.
You can also connect with friends who have their own Site/App profiles; these are “Connected” friends. Connected friends share itinerary and activity information and can book activities for one another, such as FastPass+ selections and dining reservations. If you want to allow others to make reservations for you, add them to your “Connected” friends. You may choose whether your “Connected” friends can see all of your activities or only activities that you have in common with them. In your Friends List, there is also a box that can be checked so one friend cannot see another friends information. If your “Connected” friends have selected activities for you, you may also choose not to participate in those activities. However, FastPass+ selections made for you by your Connected Friends will count against the number of FastPass+ selections you may hold, and are subject to modification restrictions and expiration rules. Thus, it appears that some care should be used when selecting your “Connected” friends. You can edit your “Friend List” at any time.
For the first time, Walt Disney World guests will be able to choose ride times for their most important “must do” attractions and experiences up to 60 days in advance. If dining reservations have already been made, guests will be able to choose FastPass+ times that won’t conflict with their already scheduled dining reservations. Under the old FASTPASS system, ride time return windows were based on how many FastPasses were distributed on any given day, making return times for popular attractions basically a crap shoot. One could easily find themselves with a return window for an attraction such as Soarin’ that conflicted with an evening dinner reservation at Epcot – even if the FastPass was obtained very early in the morning. With careful planning, those so inclined, should be able to eliminate the possibility of such conflicts, with only one small caveat. While it more than likely won’t happen often, Disney has the right to re-assign FastPass+ selections for you in the event of unplanned attraction down time.
In addition Pre-arrival FastPass+ selections could also spell the end of the long-standing conventional wisdom that dictates guests must arrive at parks early in order to ensure riding all of their “must do” attractions. Guests may find better uses for their early morning hours than selecting the day’s park based on its morning Extra Magic Hours schedule or waiting patiently with coffees in hand for opening rope drop and the mad scramble for popular FASTPASS machines. For example, the new FastPass+ system may allow more park guests to spend their mornings over a leisurely breakfast or even sleeping in!
Another possible upcoming feature of MyMagic+ will be the expansion of Disney FastPass+ Quick Service to other quick service dining locations. Imagine while standing in line for an attraction, using your smart phone to get a same-day time-window for a quick service restaurant, placing your order and paying for your food prior to arrival. By virtue of your MagicBand, the restaurant will know you have arrived and will deliver your food when it’s ready without having to do anything else.
Additional MyMagic+ Updates, News, and Developments
As far as what the future holds for the new Next-Gen technology, MagicBands may be encoded, at the guest’s election, with all sorts of personal details allowing for more personalized interaction with Disney employees, characters or rides. For example, a guest’s “favorite” character would “magically” know the guest’s name before being told or announce the guest’s birthday or anniversary. Rides and queues could potentially use MagicBands to give guests a more personalized experience. For example, the Audio-Animatronic Buzz Lightyear in Buzz Lightyear Space Ranger Spin queue may some day in the not too distant future, converse with guests on a first name basis or the ride itself may remember your previous scores. Rumors suggest there are plans currently in the works for the “it’s a small world” attraction in the Magic Kingdom to say goodbye to guests personally after gathering their names off of their MagicBands. (And screens have been installed that would indicate this is a correct assumption. However, they are not turned on at the time being.) We’ve also heard that at some point in the future, your child might be able to create a doll online and then have their video creation say hello to them personally when they ride on “it’s a small world.” Meanwhile, a new Bark-O-Lator machine has recently been installed in Disney’s Animal Kingdom that allows guests to bark into the machine and then have the barks translated into English, similar to the collar Dug the dog wore in UP that translated his barks. At some point in the future, guests wearing MagicBands may find these messages personalized to their information.