Disney Announces MyMagic+

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©Disney

We’ve been talking about NextGen for a long time now, and today it was officially announced to the public what Disney is looking to do with this new venture.

My Magic+ is going to be a tool that allows a guest to customize their entire visit. This new system is going to be able to allow guests who like to plan – as well also guests who are a bit more spontaneous – the ability to create the exact Disney vacation experience that they want and desire.

Through Disney’s newly renovated website and the the My Disney Experience mobile app, guests will be able to reserve times for the new FastPass+ system, plus book dining reservations and other activities like The Pirates League.

About that FastPass+ system, we currently know that guests will be able to schedule up to 3 FastPass+ options before the arrive for their visit. They can select things like rides, shows, parade viewing areas, fireworks viewing areas, or character meet and greets.

It appears that things will not be super rigid, though. If you have access to a smart phone, you’ll be able to change your plans in the moment. It also appears that guests will not be forced to use the system, at least right now, and you can share as much detail as you want, so if you object to Disney knowing your kids names, you do not have to provide that information.

Disney also announced the MagicBand, which is a rubber bracelet that will link all of this together. It will serve as your room key and your park tickets, and it will access your FastPass+ information, serve as your PhotoPass card, and allow you to use it to make payments. Keep in mind that any purchase over $50 will require entry of a PIN. The good news is that your band can be deactivated by either a Cast Member or a smartphone if you lose it or it gets stolen. Once these MagicBands are released, Disney plans to introduce collectible aspects to the bands, including things like charms and accessories.

According to Tom Staggs, Chairman of Disney Parks and Resorts, “The bands themselves will contain no personal identifiable information.”

MyMagic+ plans to be rolled out slowly in the next coming months. However, there is no set date when any of this will be available. We’ll be sure to keep you posted!

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Posted on January 7, 2013

45 Responses to “Disney Announces MyMagic+”

  • by Marie Rossiter on January 7, 2013, at 12:08 pm EDT

    We have reservations at All Star Music Family Suite and using Magical Express starting Feb. 24. I have accessed the My Disney Experience area on the website and all my reservation info is there, but no FP+ option. Is FP+ still only being offered to random resort guests?

    • FP+ is in limited testing right now. Those who I have seen getting it so far have been staying in Deluxe accommodations. They are not running it all weeks either. It is a random thing. Not everyone gets it.

    • well this will def be no use to me as it mentions a rubber band and gues what, I can’t touch anything made form any type of rubber so would love to know what my alternative is.

  • Hey Rikki! Great article! I am wondering if this option will cause some hassle for those who do not use it. For example, how on earth do you reserve fireworks seating? Will it be in a designated area? Will people who don’t reserve it have to camp out somewhere with poor views?

    We are going to WDW in June and plan to buy our tickets through Undercover Tourist. We are staying at the Villa Wilderness Lodge by renting DVC points through David’s.

    Will anyone with tickets be able to use this service when it rolls around? Or will it only be offered when you do the Magic Your Way ticket package through Disney?

    Thanks for letting us know about this.

    • I can speak to the firework/parade fast pass viewing. Yes, there are designated areas for both of these events. My in-laws did the parade fast pass in December with stading room only roped off in front of the castle. They got extra special treatment from the cast and characters in the parade. As for the fireworks, it is very similar. A roped off standing room only area. I was told by a friend that there was also a seating area for some guests. Hope this helps.

    • It use to be that if people were in a prime view spot, they paid the premium for it. Or if people had fast passes, they did whatever was necessary to obtain them…. (i.e charge over to Toy Story at park opening…)

      When Disney raised the price of children’s annual passes to that of the adult ticket, I wondered if one reason was to push Florida residents into booking a weeks vacation at a Disney resort instead of purchasing the annual passes for their families.

      Depending on how this new system rolls out, I wonder if this could be a tipping point for some die hard fans. If I can’t go to the park on a whim and get fast passes, or perhaps score a coveted viewing location for the parade or fireworks… what value will my annual pass really be anymore?

      Us veteran park goers know how to get around the parks, using Touring Plans… :) and what’s the best strategy for park hopping if you still want to get fast passes for rides at different park on the same day.

      I just wonder how all this will be absorbed by seasoned fans.

  • I love this idea, but I’m also very scared about it.

    First off, I love the idea of everything on one band, since a band is hard to lose since it’s right there on one arm (also love that photopass is on there too!).

    What I don’t like is Fastpass+

    I just went to Disney this Christmas, but the only thing that allowed me to go on every ride that I wanted to without having to wait in a line longer than 15 minutes was rope-dropping and getting Fastpasses then.

    Now people can reserve the fastpasses months ahead, and the slots will go quickly I imagine.

    I remember another blog post on here for the week before Christmas about it beta testing and mentioning even then some things had no availability. I can only imagine what happens in peak seasons.

    All in all, I hope that this is implemented, but some paper fastpasses or something remain for rope droppers.

    • Sahil — I agree with you on all counts. The band seems great, but what if you are trying to make some touring plans and want to wait to see which park days will be the best? Or what if weather or some other factor changes which park you want to go to? It seems to me that the fastpass + early reservation system would really mess this up.

      I hope it’s not in place before our trip.

      • Yup, exactly. Fastpass are exactly fluid enough to account for all this.

        The issue regarding how this works is quite simple:

        Either the fastpass+ system will exist ALONG with the exisiting system (paper FP still available) – This will lead to more guests in the FP line which creates both longer standby and longer FP rider waits

        OR

        Only the Fastpass+ system will exist and the issues are the ones you and I mentioned above.

        Seems like a lose-lose to me, to be completely honest (only in reference to Fastpasses, otherwise the integration portion rocks).

        • If both Fastpass and Fastpass+ systems are used and the same number of passes are distributed, just shared between the two types, it should not increase FP lines or standby lines.

          • I agree with Audrey. This is how it appeared to work when I used the FastPass+ in December. Many attractions used both paper and the Plus version. There wasn’t a problem with too many folks using a fastpass and wait tines were as long as they generally would have been at this time of year for non Fastpass users.

        • My guess is that paper FP tickets will eventually go and that the original FP distribution areas will be redone with digital kiosks and touch screens where you can swipe your wristband and pick a time. I believe they already have some of these kiosks at Guest Services. This will still allow you to get a FP+ on the day, but of course the question is whether they will still be available with resort guests booking them months in advance.

      • Sahil & BagsMom – I hear your concerns! What was wrong with the current system! … Ok, I did read about the fast pass machines breaking down and the cost to maintain the machines… but computer systems crash too…

  • What about people who don’t have smart phones? I do a lot of advanced planning but not so sure I like this idea.

    • The blog post on Touring Plans from the week before Christmas said that at any fastpass+ station they had the option to change reservations (although one commenter said that space was limited when they tried to do that, since it was the day of).

      Again, this could change by public launch.

      But I’m with you, not so sure I like this idea.

  • My husband and I tested Fastpass+ in December. I have to say I loved the parade viewing, but my husband was not crazy about the idea. He looked at it from the point of view of those who did not have this option and how frustrating it must be to have to secure a parade viewing spot so early and have others walk up to a prime spot minutes before the parade.
    We were able to reserve 7 Fastpass experiences, divided between The Magic Kingdom and Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Of course this was only a fraction of the rides and attractions we experienced during our 8 day visit. If the amount of Fastpass+ reservations available to each guest are limited and the existing Fastpass system remains in place, I think they could co-exist successfully. I am definitely a planner, so Fastpass+ appeals to my OCD tendencies. Yet it is flexible enough for my more spur of the moment husband. I imagine there are those who will not care to reserve experiences from home at all. I hope all is in place when we return in December. I would love to try the new technology.

    • Well, quite honestly, I feel that the experience wasn’t too bad for you espeically because you were testing. I say that because while you were testing, only a select group of onsite guests were testing (what I’m getting at is that it was a small group). The Fastpass+ system must have had lots of spots.

      My fear is that fastpass+ slots will run out months before a trip, not allowing for any changes.

      I really hope that the two systems co-exist though, I would be sad to see the traditional FP system go away.

      • If Fastpass+ spots are limited for each time slot at each attraction/experience, then it is possible that they could be filled ahead of time not allowing last minute changes. However that scenario already exists with dining reservations. I usually book dining “reservations” 180 days in advance or as soon as is allowed. I realize that should I want to make last minute changes, there is a good chance that there will not be available seating when or where I would like to dine. So I can choose to keep my original “reservations” or make other plans based on what is available. The same scenario can be imagined with Fastpass+. As long as the regular Fastpass system is kept in place with passes made available for all time slots each day, then you would have the option of attempting to obtain a regular Fastpass if you were unable to reschedule your Fastpass+ to your satisfaction. Of course the ability to change your Fastpass+ at the last minute can not be guaranteed anymore than the availability of last minute dining “reservations”. Basically, you plan the best you can and if YOU have to change those plans, you have to realize you may not get exactly what you want and just go with the flow.

        • I’m concerned that Disney will anger lots of guest with the parade fast pass viewing area. Hurry up and wait is not my most favorite thing about Disney, yet it’s just part of the experience – for EVERYONE – if you want to get a good spot for certain events.

          It might also infuriate people to be told that “don’t worry – you can change your plans on the go” and then, like you mentioned with the ADR’s, there isn’t any availability – look out Disney!

  • It will be interesting to see how all this works out. Very interesting to see how it is all received by the public when it’s all said and done. So far, the idea does not appeal to me at all.

    I guess we’ll just have to rely on our Unofficial Guide’s touring plans and hope for the best. Although I guess their plans will have to change as well, since the option to get fastpasses on the same day may not exist.

  • I couldn’t be MORE excited about this!! I’m a little surprised that so many of my touringplans peeps (that’s what I call all of you people…) are not all equally as thrilled. I have personalized touring plans for each day of my upcoming April trip, as I did with my last April trip, and we follow them almost perfectly. On my last trip we woke up late one day and threw the plan out the window, and that was the only day that we had more than 15 minute waits, in fact we waited 75 minutes twice in that one day! 2 1/2 hours for 2 rides!!!!

    The ability to choose my Fastpasses without having to TRACK ACROSS AN ENTIRE PARK and be able to know the timing is something I would pay extra for, but they are giving it away for free! If they keep the original fastpasses along with new fastpass +, that would be incredible! But even if they did away with the original passes, I would still prefer this over the waste-my-touring-time-running-across-the-park current fastpass procedure.

    If they do keep both… I’m shivering at the amount I will be able to get done in a day. And maybe (I’m talking small maybe here) I will have a day or two where we don’t get up at the crack of dawn to be at rope drop…

  • I thought I read somewhere that if you sign up for fastpass + that your ticket is tied to that, and then your ticket DOES NOT work for regular fastpass.

    Am I wrong? Has there been any mention of that?

    I am not sure how I feel about this. I plan ahead, but I have little kids, and our plans change… often!

  • Hi! These MagicalBand is only to resorts guests?

  • While it’s ambiguous as to whether regular paper fp’s will remain or not, it is unambiguous that once you go to the wrist-band, you will have access to fp+, but not regular fp, because your paper ticket disappears.

    Having said that, I have a little story to tell…

    Once upon a time, not all that long ago, not more than 20 years ago, one could book a restaurant “priority seating” just before one’s trip, or call guest services each morning of one’s trip & book a meal or two at a nice restaurant of one’s choice… including Cinderella’s Castle for lunch. Did this on my honeymoon in ’93…

    …this was in the days of rupublic… before the dark times… before the Empire… (oh wait, wrong story… go away Obi-Wan!) (cough ahem)

    …Then they invented “Advanced Dining Reservations” (ADRs). And now one must know every meal they’re going to eat 180 (or 190!) days in advance & if one books one’s trip less than 6 months ahead of time, all the “popular” places are gone… unless one wishes to eat dinner at 9pm…

    Having said this, this are certain advantages to this kind of system (i.e. booking Soarin’ or Toy Story Mania for an afternoon ride) without having to be 1st in line 45-60 minutes before the park opens. And being able to get nice parade/fireworks spots is great.

    But overall, I’m not sold on this idea at all. And BTW, if you’re park-hopping, you can only book fp+ tix for one park per day, so you’ll be park-hopping to or from the ability to use fp. Too bad for you.

    Guess we’ll wait & see & find out shortly. At any rate, the way things are changing, it appears that the Unofficial Guide should probably be published 2 or 3 times a year now! :-)

    • My understanding is that regular FASTPASS will still work with the wristband. It will be similar to the way it worked before; only, instead of putting your ticket into a FASTPASS machine, you will use your RFID wristband and scan it at FASTPASS machine. The downside to this is that “FASTPASS runners” will be a thing of the past (as it’s difficult to bring everyone’s wrists with you to the machine). To get around this, everyone could wear his/her wristband on a lanyard instead of their wrists (I’ll probably wear my kids’ wristbands on a lanyard instead of making them wear them).

  • I like to plan, but this FP+ seems like a terrible idea, unless they plan on keeping both FP and FP+.

    If I book a trip and then go and reserve my ride times through FP+ – the 3rd time I try and schedule a ride time and it isn’t available I would probably just cancel my trip. Its not like an ADR, if I can’t get one then we just eat CS – but if I can’t get ride times the alternative is wait in line – why would I plan in advance on doing that?

    • I agree. Why would I want to pay for a big Disney trip, if I knew in advance that I was going to have to wait on those super long lines. BTW, I can’t believe they listed NEMO as a ride anyone would need to book a fast pass for in advance….. Once again – Brilliant Disney….. just give guests more reasons to be angry with you!

      …. Has anyone noticed I’m not happy about this FP+… :)

  • Does anyone on the TP team have inside knowledge on whether this will be operational by June of this year? I am taking some family members for their first time and have encouraged them to buy their park hoppers through Undercover Tourist as soon as they are able, but if this will be in full swing by June, I see no point to having them by park hoppers and will tell them to just purchase MYW tickets. Any ideas??

  • More (vague) info direct from Tom Staggs:
    “Guests staying at Walt Disney World Resort hotels, and Annual Passholders will receive a band, as well as those guests who purchase a photography package. Guests who stay at non-Disney hotels will receive a ticket with features of touch to enter the park, touch to redeem FastPass+ and touch to pay. These guests can participate in My Disney Experience and purchase a MagicBand if they wish.”

    • I participated in the test last year at EPCOT. They put those special sticker on our paper tickets.

    • I wonder if this means sometime in the future i’ll have to exchange my paper AP for a band. I wonder if it would be worth it to check with guest services on my next visit?

      I don’t mind the band system as long as there is still some way to obtain a FB the day of. I make too many day trips and they’re rarely planned more than three days ahead of time. it would suck to know that i’m paying oodles for a pass and won’t get to make use of the FP program anymore.

  • I’ve read in multiple places that this will be available in ‘the spring’, does anyone know if this means April? We head to Disney mid-april and I want so badly for this to be in effect. We’ll be in MK for 3 days and just being able to see Enchanted tales with Belle and Ariel’s Grotto on a fast past instead of at park opening will allow us to ride many other rides at low wait times between 9-10 am…

  • Anyone else wondering how people will respond to an ugly tan line on your wrist? I can’t help wondering if there will be any complaints. The wristband looks bulky and hot.

  • 3 fastpasses+ are not enough for Magic Kingdom. We usually get 7-8 fastpasses a day for that park.
    I like Universal’s express line but I see how it wouldn’t work with Disney as Universal has a lot less people visiting and less resorts, but it was so nice to go on 10+ rides without waiting and planning the time you wanted to go and not having to have a “runner” to go all over the park to get fast passes… Disney is better at everything else but the fast pass system, well I guess it’s free at least! :)

  • Man, after all that hard work of developing ‘fastpass runners’ for our touring plans… I have a question, does anyone know how this will affect our touring plans? Will it allow us to chose 3 or 4 fastpass+ options (along with placing the time slot) without touring plan having us travel to get a paper ticket?

    Everyone does realize, I hope, that this big idea is just Disney copying touringplans.com…

  • I am staying at the Fort Wilderness cabins in March, and am wondering how do we know if we will be getting the Magic Band or the standard Key to the World? Is this something we find out when we check in, or do we receive an email ahead of time stating we are part of the testing phase? I too am concerned that if we do not get the Magic Bands, does that mean we miss out on using the standard Fast Pass because the spots will be all gone from the Magic Band users? Thanks for your help!