The MyMagic+ experience is alive and testing at Walt Disney World…and I had the chance to take them for a test run this week!
Disney does a great job of testing stuff with cast members before really rolling them out to the public.
I was able to be a part of the test due to fact that my husband works for the company. So full disclosure here, we were given free Magic Bands and a free hotel room as part of the testing. We did pay for our own dinner and food items in the fast food area.
So disclosure over. Let the fun begin!
For those of you unaware, Disney is rolling out the MyMagic+ experience. It’s all part of this new seamless planning system for guests. Essentially, you make a hotel reservation, download an app, and your vacation planing…from restaurant reservations, fast pass reservations and more are, at your fingertips. You check into your Disney resort and you are handed the Magic Bands. These bracelets are your hotel room keys, your park passes, your credit card to pay in the stores, restaurants and bars. This is your old “Key To The World” card. And it really is life-changing technology.
The three main components for the MyMagic+ experience:
- My Disney Experience smartphone app
Disney World started this process a while ago and guests may have started noticing transitions without even really realizing what they were.
First came the room keys. No longer are you able to slide your credit card room key into the door lock. Instead, they rolled out new door locks where you waved your card in front of the door to unlock.
Another big change, turnstiles at the park. Gone are the old enter your ticket, scan your fingerprint and walk through the arm entry gates. Now, you enter through a gate-less area where a cast member scans your bracelet, scan your fingerprint and you’re in the park.
So now that the infrastructure is in place, they are testing the actual bands. As a cast member, there are two different ways testing is being done. The first is you go through the whole experience in terms of ordering and personalizing your band colors. We had the second option, show up at the hotel and your bands are handed to you. Either way is really fine – but can be a bit confusing. Let me explain.
Upon check-in, we all received the same color band. Apparently this will be normal at the resorts. I’m told if you schedule a reservation way in advance you will get to pick your color and personalize your band a bit. If you schedule a reservation with no time for shipping, you’ll be given the grey band upon check-in.
So we all got the same color. Not a huge deal, except that each band has a unique 12 character ID that is tied to an individual person. They are non-transferable and have to stay with the particular person at all times. You do get a sheet with individual names matched to those numbers, but we knew that would be lost quickly. We asked for a sharpie at the front desk to at least initial each bracelet. We figured this may be a common problem for people, until we went into the gift shop. You see, Disney thinks…really well sometimes. They have designed ways to let you customize your Magic Band!
There are three different accessory items: 1) CoverBands – basic fabric that slips on the outside of the band. 2) MagicSliders that basically make your band look like a watch, without a clock and leaves the Mickey head in the middle. And 3) MagicBandits that are kind of like the croc charms that snap into the holes. Leave it to Disney!
The band itself is very comfortable to wear. It’s durable and didn’t break, despite me trying multiple times. My wrist did get a little sweaty in the heat, but nothing that was uncomfortable. I didn’t break out into any rash, despite my terribly sensitive skin. I went into the pool with it on. I even went into the hot tub. No problems at all.
BIG BONUS: I think my favorite feature of the band is the convenience. Picture this, you’re in the pool and you want a drink from the pool bar. Just walk up, order and swipe your bracelet. No need to try to find the room key. Done and done. Yes, this is the life.
I should also note, my kids loved wearing them. They normally hate to have things on their arms. At Mickey’s Not-So-Scary and Christmas parties, they always get annoyed when they have to wear the bracelet. But these, they loved. To the point that they wouldn’t take them off when we got home.
When you check in, you also pick a pin number, and you are required to put that pin number in before charging, a nice extra-security measure.
CONS: There were just a few things I didn’t love about the band. In the resort itself, it was hard to open the room door. You have to get that small Mickey head to line up just right to get the green light of the door to open. It can be difficult if your hands are full, as they often are on the way back to the room. I found I had to empty that hand and hold my arm in a bit of an uncomfortable position to make it quick.
The same thing happened to us in the quick-service restaurant. It took some wiggling to get the mickey head to get the light to turn green. Nothing major, but some time.
Also, I worry about tan lines. But, just another reminder to lather up your sunblock around your band and you should be fine. 🙂
The big part of this experience relies on the internet, in particular, Disney property-wide wifi. In the past, guests would have to join a wifi network. Recently, Disney unveiled the property-wide wifi that automatically connects to your phone. We did not have wifi at all in the room most of the night. I’m guessing they are still working to make this work, I can only image how many people use it – that’s a giant project.
MyDisney Experience App/ FastPass+
The wifi is important for use of the apps. The MyMagic+ app allows you to schedule your fast passes, called FastPass+, and change them on the fly if you need to.
You are limited to three fast passes per park. It’s super easy to change them if you realize you aren’t going to make it on time or adjust depending on weather. This is a great thing to come to the park so you no longer have to run to the attraction to snag a paper pass. Eventually, you’ll be able to reserve access to even more attractions—plus shows, parades, fireworks and Character Greetings!
Overall, this is an efficient and revolutionary experience coming for Disney park guests. I’m not exactly sure how they decide which cast members get to test, but I’m happy we were chosen! I’m told they will roll out to annual passholders at some point, but not sure when.
Are you excited for the new MyMagic+? What are you most looking forward to? Will you bling out your Magic Band?