Preliminary MyMagic+ Test Observations from Walt Disney World

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I’m heading out on a quick trip to Walt Disney World soon and, lucky me, I was randomly chosen to be a MyMagic+ tester during this visit. This is the second time I’ve been randomly selected to test aspects of Disney’s foray into full guest electronic interaction with the parks. I’ll let you know how my in-park experience goes after I’m back, but in the meantime, there are several aspects of the test set-up which bear mentioning in advance.

Here’s the invitation:

MyMagic test invite-001

MyMagic test invite_0001-001

And some observations about the test so far:

  • Number of FastPass+ selections allowed. During this test, I was allowed to select up to three FastPass+ attractions per day. We have no word yet on whether that number is stable or whether it will vary based on where you’re staying, your ticket type, the cost of your package, or anything else.
  • You can’t “double dip” on the same attraction on the same day. In other words, even though I was allowed to get three FastPass+ on each day, there’s no way to get three FP+ for Space Mountain on the same day. They must be three different attractions.
  • You can “double dip” on the same attraction on different days. I could sign up for a FP+ for Space Mountain on two different days.
  • Annual passholders MIGHT be able to get FP+ for any day. I am a WDW Annual Pass holder. Despite the fact that this MyMagic test invitation was related to a three night WDW hotel stay, once I input my AP number into the My Disney Experience center, I could make FP+ reservations well past my check-out date. My stay is in July, but I was allowed to make FP+ reservations online for September and beyond. No word on whether this is a testing glitch, whether these FP+ reservations would actually be honored then, or if there will be a specific window for AP advance reservations in the future.
  • You MUST have a purchased ticket in the Disney system in order to get a FP+. While I have an annual pass, my husband (my traveling companion for this trip) does not. Since he often opts to play golf or swim while I’m in the parks, we sometimes decide to “wing it” with purchasing him a park ticket and just buy what he wants when we’re in Florida. I was allowed to make FP+ reservations with my Annual Pass in the system, but since he had no ticket, he was not allowed to make any FP+ reservations, even though his name is on the room reservation. I ended up buying him a two-day park ticket online in advance (something I would certainly not have done otherwise), just so that he could make some FP+ reservations. If I had not done this, there would be no guarantee that we would be able to have the same FP+ reservation times. Assuming this process continues, this is a HUGE way for Disney get more ticket sales up front. I see the benefit for them, but not for me.
  • MagicBands can be customized. During the test, we were allowed to select our personal MagicBand color from pink, green, red, orange, blue, gray, or yellow. We could also customize the name on the band to be something other than the name on the hotel reservation. This is plus for guests, like my husband, who are primarily called by a nickname rather than their given name.
  • Currently, not every aspect of WDW can be added to the My Disney Experience experience. During this test, there was no mechanism for adding tours to your itinerary. Despite having a confirmation number, there was no place to input a tour in the MDX system. Similarly, some special dining reservations can not yet be added to the system.
  • There are short cuts for newbies. During the FP+ selection process, you can go into great detail with selecting your attractions and FP+ times. But if you’re new to Disney or just confused about FastPasses in general, there is a mechanism which allows the computer to select all your FP+ for you. My guess is that, much like having the machine select your lotto numbers for you at the gas station, sometimes you’ll get lucky (Soarin’, Test Track, Mission Space) and sometimes you won’t (Country Bears, PeopleMover, Carousel). Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE the Bears, but I wouldn’t want to waste a precious FP+ on this attraction that rarely has a wait.
  • FP+ slots are spaced out. Just like the current standard FastPass, you cannot hold more than one FP+ at a time. I played around with the system for quite some time, but I was never able to get two FP+ during the same hour.
  • FP+ has no park hopping feature. As it stands now, you cannot select FP+ attractions for more than one park per day. I was allowed three FP+ selections per day, but they all had to be at the same park. No word on whether this will change in the future.
  • FP+ users can not use regular FastPasses. This little nugget of info is buried in the FAQ on the WDW website. You can color me unhappy. In the past, I might have been able to get/use substantially more than three FastPasses during a single day, I could also get/use FastPasses at more than one park per day. Under the new system, these options no longer exist. As for use strategy, a friend of mine on the Disney Parks Moms Panel noted that she would likely use her FP+ allotment for her “second park” on days that she’s Park Hopping. During the morning, she’ll use shorter standby lines (and perhaps a Touring Plan), and in the afternoon, when lines are longer, she’ll use her FP+ allowance.
  • The MyMagic system may be fully in place before holiday 2013. I encountered a few techo glitches during the MyMagic+ set up process and ended up having to call the help line a few times. (The product is in beta after all.) During one of these calls a zealous MyMagic specialist cast member offered up that they’re shooting for a full roll-out in “2 to 3 months.” That’s obviously vague and they may encounter something that forces further delays, but it looks like full implementation of the system is getting closer.

I’ll let y’all know how my actual in-park experience with MyMagic+, MagicBands, and FastPass+ goes when I’m back from my trip, but in the meantime do you have any questions or have anything specific you’d like me to investigate while I’m there? Let me know in the comments below.

UPDATE: Here are the results of my MyMagic+ testing.

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Posted on July 18, 2013

83 Responses to “Preliminary MyMagic+ Test Observations from Walt Disney World”

  • Hi :)
    I have heard that you can attach your credit card to this service as well so you can just wave your band to pay for things. Can you find out if there is a way to block the kiddos bands from being able to charge things.
    Thanks :)

    • Previously, you could elect to allow charging privileges on individual Key to the World Cards on a case by case basis – meaning you could choose whether or not to allow your kids to charge. I assume that this same option will be in place with the Magic Bands, but I’ll double check when I’m at the parks next week.

    • Also, even with the Magic Bands, you will likely have to enter a PIN code to make charging purchases, so if your kids didn’t have your code, they would not be allowed to charge.

      • My understanding is that a PIN is required for purchases of $50 or more. That amount may be variable, it’s unclear. But charging is allowed … this functions as a replacement to your KTTW card. Which is somewhat of a bummer, since I’d started collecting the cards for scrapbooking.

  • Hi,

    What about if you purchased an annual pass over the phone but have not yet picked it up in person. Do you know if Disney’s system is smart enough to recognize that you have a valid pass waiting for you and let you register for FP+?

  • Hi, you mention that the tickets have to be purchased thru Disney to be able to utilize FP+. What about the 10 day no expiration passes I purchased earlier this year from Undercover Tourist? We never use more than 4-5 days per trip, so they last for easily 3 and sometimes 4 trips. Will this put UC out of business (and make me an EXTREMELY unhappy camper) if no one in my family can get fastpasses except me thru my AP?

    • I’m sorry if I was unclear. You have to have a purchased ticket, but I don’t necessarily think you have to purchase it directly through Disney. My husband had no ticket at all, so I had to buy him one in order to reserve his FastPasses. My assumption is that if you had any valid ticket (bought from Disney, or from another source) you could enter the bar code number and add it to your My Disney Experience and FP+ account.

      • Right. And the issuing being that one may not have the bar code number since the ticket is at guest relations waiting to be picked up. If they can’t handle this situation, then FP+ is basically broken for APholders who are not locals and choose to renew or buy a new pass over the phone.

        I’m interested to hear what they say. Thanks for checking.

  • I heard that there’s a loophole for us AP members where we can actually get away with using both FP and FP+ simultaneously (so long as both systems are running, that is). The FP+ and your park entry are linked to your Magic Band. However, if you bring your physical copy of your AP, you should be able to still use that at regular FP terminals.

    You’ll have to let us know if this rumour is true or not! I’ll be heading to parks in September, and I’m counting on this loophole!

    • I’ll certainly bring my card with me and give it a shot. However, whenever there’s a loophole, Disney usually eventually figures out how to close it.

  • I’m holding out hope that this won’t be operational by early December when i go next, but just in case…I absolutely hate having things around my wrist. Have you heard if there will be an option to continue using RFID cards instead of switching to a band?

    • I’ve heard scuttlebutt that you will be able to choose whether to use cards or bands, but I’ll see if I can get it nailed down more firmly. Purely from a logical standpoint, I’d think that they’d have to keep a card option available. Due to medical conditions or size issues, some guests simply could not have things on their wrists.

      Also, day guests purchasing park admission from a non-Disney source would likely have a card rather than an expensive band.

      • Couldn’t Betsy and others just put the MagicBand in their pocket and just pull out out whenever they would Jane pulled out their kttW card?

      • Couldn’t Betsy and others just put the MagicBand in their pocket and just pull it out whenever they would have pulled out their kttW card?

        • by Erin foster on July 19, 2013, at 10:11 am EDT

          Theoretically yes, but a band is much bulkier than a card and probably more prone to getting lost than a card that you can stick in the wallet that you’re used to having anyway.

          I’m picturing the years I travelled to WDW when all three of them were small. We carried their cards to prevent loss. They wouldn’t have liked wristbands and I imagine that stuffing my pockets with multiple MagicBands would have been a real drag.

  • I was able to select FP+ attractions today for August 20-21st. I have a hotel ressie for POP, had entered parks for each day in DME earlier, and just happened to check today. I do NOT have tickets linked (won them) and I did NOT receive an email. Wondering what’s going on???

  • also, I was “given” a 4th bonus selection in the magic kingdom that was POTC. I didn’t get to pick it, that came up automatically

  • I purchased a Florida Resident Weekday Select Pass from AAA. I was handed a plastic card voucher. The voucher cannot be entered into the MDE/MyMagic+ system until I exchange it for a real pass upon arrival at a Guest Relations location on WDW property. I am assuming, then, I cannot use FP+ either until day of arrival when I exchange the voucher for a pass which I can scan in via my phone.

    • by Erin foster on July 19, 2013, at 10:12 am EDT

      I’m going to check on this scenario. I’ll let you know what I find out.

      • Thank you. I have tried every which way to enter the voucher into the system. You cannot. Disney has confirmed this. You must turn it in an exchange for a pass upon arrival. Only then, can the pass be scanned in. It really makes FP+ moot for me at that point. Might as well go with the regular FP system. Maybe these voucher cards are being phased out. But AAA had a stack of them when I purchased my pass.

        • Interesting. Last year I purchased a DVC PAP and plan to pick up the pass for my November 2013 trip. I have a will call number. I just linked that pass using the will call number to my MDE account and had no trouble doing so. All I needed was the will call number that started with CARN. It was explained in the link tickets area quite well. I already had a DVC reservation that begins late in November. Obviously, I am not participating in the July test.

          Perhaps they will add a way to link the vouchers at a later date. I didn’t see one right now.

          • If I had purchased my FR pass directly through the website, I would have received a will call number and could have directly entered it into MDE then and there. But I purchased my pass from AAA instead to achieve a few extra dollars in savings. So, I was handed a plastic card voucher instead. Given a choice, I’d rather have the savings. I’ll just have to wait to exchange it for a pass upon arrival.

  • Say we sign up to participate in the FP+ testing during our next visit in Sept. can we opt out and go back to just using fp on any given day if we choose to?
    We’d like to use fp+ for epcot and hollywood studio but would rather use reg fp for the other parks.
    Also, can you just test out the my magic+ wristbands and not the fp+.

  • Would you be able to get the bands wet like in the pool or shower so you don’t have to take it off? Also could you choose different options for example if I choose the bracelet and husband wants old card option? And my 3 year old son I would just hold his card like you did he would never wear it.

  • by Erin Foster on July 19, 2013, at 11:13 am EDT

    I have heard that they’re OK to get wet. (If not, they’d have lots of angry Kali River riders :-))

    Not sure whether different party members can use different forms of ticket media. I’ll ask.

    • You’d think they’d have to be okay to get wet in those Florida rain storms

    • I was in Blizzard Beach earlier this year when Disney was filming some promo videos for Magic Bands. The actors were all wearing their Magic Bands on the water slides. I spoke to a couple of the actors and they had been wearing the bands for about 4 days of filming and said they were pretty comfortable.

  • Erin, you said you bought your husband a two-day ticket to get access to the system. Were you limited to making FP+ selections for just two days? Or did the system let you make selections for him for your entire stay?
    In the name of science, this would be a useful experiment to try if you haven’t yet.

    • by Erin Foster on July 19, 2013, at 2:14 pm EDT

      I was only allowed to make two days of FP+ reservations for him. So we did have to choose in advance which two days he’d be going into the parks with me (assuming that he’d want to take advantage of FP+ attractions while we were together).

      • Thanks, Erin – this has implications not just for whether we buy tickets in advance, but *which* tickets we buy in advance. Waiting to add days until late in the trip may come at the cost of being able to make FP+ reservations for those last days.

        PS – the web site needs to set you up as a regular columnist, so your replies show up in the special color!

        • Yes Nicholas, I agree, this could make a huge difference in what I buy in advance and remove several options for upgrading on the fly. Also, I wonder how complicated it will be to buy a package with tickets (say, to get free dining) and then use a different set of tickets when you get there. Will they let you add other ticket (perhaps from Undercover Tourist) when they know you’ve purchased a ticket to get the package?

  • Looking forward to your update Erin, hope you don’t have to spend most of your time getting our questions answered. Do you think you can use FP+ on some days & standard FP on others? Thinking FP+ would be handy for days when we go into park later in day, but on other days we’d prefer to tour as we do now.

    • by Erin Foster on July 19, 2013, at 3:37 pm EDT

      Thanks for looking out for me. I’m happy to help (and curious about all these questions myself).

      My guess at this point is that once you’re into the FP+ system, you’re all-in, meaning that your park pass/band would not be active for regular FP acquisition (at least that’s my interpretation of the notice on the WDW website). I suppose the way you could use it in a more spontaneous way would be to select FP+ times for late in the day (basically just choosing random times), but then changing your FP+ assignments on the fly using your phone or one of the FP+ onsite kiosks.

      Big caveat – that’s all just me speculating now. I’ll try to nail it down more firmly next week.

  • When is your trip? I am curious how far in advance of your trip you received the email. We arrive August 16th and I have been hoping to get an invitation to try.

    • by Erin Foster on July 19, 2013, at 3:32 pm EDT

      I got the notice of the test in the mail via UPS about 10 days prior to our check-in. I don’t know the duration of the current test and the folks at the MyMagic help line didn’t tell me.

  • How long before your check-in day would you get the e-mail to notify you that you were selected to try MyMagic+? Thanks, Erin!

    • by Erin Foster on July 19, 2013, at 3:33 pm EDT

      The notice of the test came via UPS, not email. I got it about 10 days before our trip.

      • I doubt they’d UPS to Canada. 10 days is kind of short notice anyway considering that some people (like me) leave home to start their vacation several days before they arrive at WDW. It would throw off all of my Touring Plans! :)

  • Can you tell me how the tickets purchased at a Disney retail store work? Will they be usable for FP+? Also do you know if there is still a discount for buying a 5 day ticket at the Disney store and how that price compares to a 5 day ticket purchased at AAA in Florida?

  • Im so confused about all this. I’m a local with AP. Sounds like I will be able to use this too? Or do I need to be staying at a hotel? I never stay at a hotel we are day trippers. This sounds like way too much work. It looks like this may be the last time I buy WDW AP

    • My understanding is that once the program is fully implemented, AP holders will be able to make FP+ reservations in advance. I’m not sure how far in advance. I’ve heard 60 days, but this could certainly change.

      • What about AP holders with a plastic card voucher? Apparently, I was able to register the voucher under one area such that I could purchase a MNSSHP AP discount ticket. But I am unable to register it for MyMagic+.

  • If Disney sticks to their current practice of only providing Bands to Hotel Guests (and Annual Pass holders), their CM’s will know (at a glance) those park guests who are not also hotel guests. This could be a good way for them to screen out non-resort-guests on Evening Extra Hours Nights. Who knows other use they could make of this information.

  • Hi Erin,

    Do you know if fastpass+ return time windows will be longer than they are with the current fastpass system? I think the new fastpass+ would be far more palatable if Disney had a 3hour window for use.

  • Has anyone made an estimate of how much Disney will save when they eliminate the current FastPass infrastructure?

    • I’ve seen versions of how much it is costing Disney right now to add all the WiFi/RFID/equipment to the parks ($1.5-2 billion), but nothing about how much they will eventually save.

  • If we have passes included with our package, am I right to assume the ticket will automatically connect when you do online checkin? We are not going until November. Kind of hoping it doesn’t go official before then, but want to have the facts just in case.

    • My guess, and that’s really only a guess, is that if you bought an entire vacation package from Disney, all of your info would be automatically linked. We’ll have to wait until full implementation to find out the entire scoop.

      However, once the system is fully in place, I think you’d want to link your tickets well before the 10-day online check-in window. Assuming that they allow you to make FP+ reservations further in advance (60 days?), you’d probably want to make them at the first allowable opportunity. I’m envisioning a situation where all the most popular FP+ (Toy Story, Soarin’, etc.) are gone many weeks in advance, just like getting a reservation at Chef Mickeys. Again, that’s me speculating.

  • Can FP+ be made separately for each party member? For instance my DD and I FP+ 3 rides completely different from 3 rides that my DH and DS FP+. Such as Dumbo versus Haunted Mansion.

    • Yes. You can choose to make all your FP+ reservations together or customize them individually for each person. The custom option is great for families with different age kids or families where some folks love thrill rides while others don’t.

  • Hi Erin,

    We’re staying in August and we didn’t receive a notification, but when I logged into My Disney Experience we were all set up for MyMagic+. I’ve customized my bands and selected FastPass+ for our trip. The other day I was obsessively rechecking to see if there was any “Be Our Guest” reservations availble (someone might cancel, right???) and the option to set up a lunch fast pass came up. I started to do it, but I would have had to give up a ride fast pass, so I didn’t do it. Then, after some thought, I decided I was willing to give up the Big thunder fast pss, but the option to reserve lunch hasn’t been available since. Do you know anything about this option? Do I now have to obsessively recheck 2 things?

  • I’m wondering how FP+ will work on the day in a park. Will you be able to go on-line, see what is available, and make/change your FP+ reservations on the fly? How many FPs will be available on the day?

    IMO, a better initial release of FP+ would have had it working pretty much like the current FP, but without the running around and paper tickets. I.e., you would go on-line with your smartphone, see what the return times are, then choose an attraction and have your FPs associated with your Magic Bands. All other FP rules would apply, so you would be eligible to get another FP either two hours later or after your FP window started. Advance booking of FPs could be rolled out later once all the Magic Band bugs have been worked out.

    • You can make changes to your FP+ reservations on the fly while in the parks. You can either do this on your mobile device or at FP+ kiosks in the parks. So if you happen to see that you’re going to miss the time of a reservation, you can go online and check if there’s availability later in the day. Or if you happen to get a walk-on for Space Mountain, you could cancel your FP+ reservation for that and try to get a different one for another attraction.

      During this test, I haven’t had any trouble at all getting the FP+ times I wanted, attractions I wanted, or changing times/attractions. However, I was told by a MyMagic+ CM on the phone that the test is small, so there’s lots of availability. I’m guessing that changes and on-the-fly FP+ reservations will be more challenging to arrange after the program is fully operational.

    • I agree with you Bryan. I can see limiting the amount of FP+ rides you can reserve ahead of time, but once that day arrives, if there are ride windows open and you don’t have a FP for that time, you should be able to reserve it. Also, they have to make sure people can get FP+ the same day for the popular rides. It would be ridiculous if someone who decides to go spur of the moment couldn’t get a FP for a ride because they didn’t reserve it 2 months in advance.

  • Hi Erin,
    I don’t know if you’ve left for your trip yet, but I was wondering if there were options for reserved seating during the testing phase. I won’t be visiting until next year but will be bringing a 2.5 year old, so having reserved seating for a parade sounds like a great use of FP+ for us. Just wondered if it was available already and, if so, if you know which parades and/or fireworks shows are included and if the seats are in prime locations. Thanks for any info and hope you enjoy your trip!

  • We also got invited. I was told by a cast member on the phone that we would be able FP+ for our three a day fastpasses, but that we could also use the old system with our Key to the World card. Any idea if that’s accurate?

  • Erin, do you know if Disney has figured out how to lessen or eliminate the “wristwatch farmer tan” line that will, inevitably, appear after several days in the Florida sun with a Magic Band on a wrist? I wouldn’t want any noticeable tan lines like that! ;-)

  • Wait, no purple MagicBands? My feeble hopes died.

  • by Neula Martinez on August 3, 2013, at 9:09 am EDT

    We’re leaving for Florida soon and heading to Disney on the 17th. Hoping we get selected for the Magic Bands. :) I have two children with Autism and being able to get our Fastpasses planned ahead of time would be a Godsend. It’s nice that you can change them while in the parks if you need to. I’ll be watching my mail and e-mail this week hoping for an invitation! :)

  • I am confused. Will the regular fast pass system as it exists now still be around when the new fast pass + system is implemented? Or will it all be fast pass +? Thanks for your help :)

  • by Beth Sherwood on September 8, 2013, at 9:26 am EDT

    Hey All,
    Just came back from Disney last week and had the magic bands. When we were there we were able to use the fastpass system with our cards! A glitch that Disney claims they are trying to fix. Take advantage of it! They are waterproof and pretty comfortable! My 4 year old lost 2 of them but guest relations was quick to replace. You do link a credit card to the band and use a pin to purchase everywhere on Disney grounds!! We opted to not link kids bands. I also liked that you could change fastpass options on the fly, although in August times were often not available. Disney is also great about ride breakdowns and fastpass. If you have fastpass for a ride and it is not operational you have the whole day to use that fastpass on any ride in that park! I would be happy to answer any other questions!

  • We (family of four 2 adults, two college students) also were invited by email and UPS to use – and did use – the Magic Bands with FastPass+ for our August trip. (We stayed at the Yacht Club where they were offering Magic Bands as people checked-in.) We spent six days in the parks and chose our Fastpass+ options before our trip. Having already made dinner reservations, we worked around those. For each day, we chose a park and three attractions, the system gave us preset options with times assigned to the attractions we chose. You could switch them individually afterwards, or you could try to switch them in the park on that day – if other times were available. In fact, we ended up switching one ride everyday.

    Like Beth, we could also use the traditional Fastpass system with our cards, so that helped when three (a fourth was offered both days we were at the MK) is not enough. However, although we always arrive at the park for opening, there was definitely a different feeling knowing we already had Fastpasses to our favorite rides. It seemed less hectic.

    We also used them to purchase food/gifts wherever we went and only had one glitch when a machine at a store was not working. We also wore them swimming with no problem. Seemed much like being able to use your room key without having to find it.

    In all, a fairly positive experience for us. I wonder what it will be like when everyone is using it – will times to busiest rides be available? And, in some parks, three does not feel like enough – especially if you had a varied age group.

  • Do you know if the bands recognize a child’s credit when ordering food with a dining plan for QS? In other words- will I lose adult credits if my children do not order off of the children’s menu?

    • I have not yet personally used the MagicBand with the Disney Dining Plan. However, in the past adult and children’s QS credits were not differentiated. My assumption is that you won’t have the problem you describe.

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