More MyMagic+ Observations

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In our continuing quest to keep you as updated as possible on MyMagic+ testing and roll-out at Walt Disney World, I’m here to give you a few additional observations based on my recent WDW trip, my second using MagicBands and FastPass+:

MyMagic+ resort check-in materials, front.

MyMagic+ resort check-in materials, front.

  • MagicBand readers are live at the Magical Express check-in station at Orlando International Airport. I was mailed the standard Magical Express vouchers and luggage tags to my home about a month before my trip. I approached the ME check-in stand with voucher in hand, but also wearing my MagicBand. The ME check-in cast member saw the band, told me that I could put away the vouchers, and instead asked me to tap the RFID reader with the band. This worked like a charm. However, on the way home, there was no mechanism for the pick-up driver to read my MagicBand. I needed to have either the mailed voucher or the slipped-under-my-door departure time notification voucher in order to board the bus home.
  • PhotoPass photographers are now equipped with MagicBand readers. However, they still seem to be a little “iffy” at this point. I stood for seven PhotoPass photographers during my trip. Only two of these were able to scan my MagicBand without some sort of a glitch. For the foreseeable future, ask them to link your pictures to a standard PhotoPass card, as well as adding them to your MagicBand.
  • My two MagicBands had completely duplicated functions. I received an orange MagicBand when I stayed at Bay Lake Tower in July. I received a pink MagicBand when I stayed at Beach Club Villas during the last week of September. Both are linked to my personal MyDisneyExperience account with an “active” status. To see what this meant, I put both bands through the paces.
    • They both opened my Beach Club room, as did the Key to the World Card I was given at BC check-in. According to MyDisneyExperience, my old Bay Lake KTTWC is also still linked to my account. I’m now wondering if that old KTTW would also have gotten me into my new room. I’ll try this during my next visit.
    • Both MagicBands let me into the parks, as did my annual pass. With all these duplicated admission media, that finger scan at the entrance has become particularly important for Disney.
    • I was able to use both MagicBands to ride with my FastPass+ reservations. In the interest of research, I tried to push the limits of the system by going through the FP+ line with MagicBand pink and then immediately attempting go through the same FP+ line with MagicBand orange (or vice versa). The reason I did this was because with the old paper FastPasses, cast members would collect and discard your paper FastPass to ensure that it was not used twice; I wanted to see what would happen with no paper ticket collection. At three of the four attractions I tried this at, my second attempted FP+ use was rejected, showing a message to the CM attendant that the FP+ had previously been used. At one attraction, I was able to ride twice using the two different MagicBands (I was still within my one-hour window). I’m sure this semi-loophole will be closed soon. If you’re curious, when you scan your MagicBand anywhere and things are working, the Mickey reader glows green. When there is a problem, the Mickey reader glows blue. I saw lots of blue when I attempted to double use a FP+. I’m glad to see this mechanism in place.
    • I was able to charge purchases with both MagicBands and my KTTWC.
    • If I had chosen to do so, I could have deactivated any of my linked bands/cards using the MyDisneyExperience website. If you’re a frequent visitor and you like having fewer things to keep track of, go ahead and deactivate your old media. I had fun playing around with they system, but in the future, I may decide just to keep my current media active on my account.

    MyMagic+ resort check-in materials, back.

    MyMagic+ resort check-in materials, back.

  • I had no trouble getting in to Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party with a my MagicBand. I had previously linked this to my account. I did see other guests complaining of issues related to this, but it didn’t happen to me.
  • Virtually all food and merchandise vendors are now equipped with MagicBand readers. Additionally, my MagicBand charging PIN was retained in my account from my previous visit. I chose to change it, but if I hadn’t done this my old PIN would have worked with my new MagicBand.
  • Premier Pass Holders be cautious. A good friend of mine spent hours, and I do mean HOURS, at Guest Relations this weekend trying to get her Premier annual pass (the kind that lets you in to both Disney World and Disneyland) linked to her MyDisneyExperience account so that she could make FastPass+ reservations for an upcoming trip. They eventually forced a workaround, but it wasn’t pretty.
  • They’re starting to add charging stations. Constant use of the MyDisneyExperience app can take a real toll on your phone battery. There is now a power strip at a table at the back of the Space Mountain exit store with 20+ outlets. (No USB ports.) It seemed pretty dead there, so it’s a good place to hang out if you need a power boost.
  • I was not offered Fireworks/Parade FP+ options, despite my weekend visit. Many other guests have been offered FP+ for parades and shows, I’m not sure what the criteria are for this.
  • I could use my MagicBand for pool access. I was staying at the Beach Club, one of the Disney resorts that restricts pool access to registered guests. The cast members at the pool gates were equipped with portable MagicBand readers.
  • I was able to “regenerate” an expired FP+. Again, in the spirit of pushing the boundaries of the system … I let a FP+ reservation for Haunted Mansion expire without using it. About half an hour after the expire time, I tried to make a new HM FP+ reservation via the MDX app on my iPhone (using the “Change FP+ selection feature). No luck. However, I was able to change my expired, but unused, Haunted Mansion FP+ reservation to a Peter Pan FP+ reservation at a time later in the day. I then changed the Peter Pan FP+ back into a Haunted Mansion FP+ using “Change FP+ selection” feature on the app.
  • The MagicBand really does make navigating Walt Disney World super easy. Now that more park elements are connected to the MyMagic+, it’s more clear exactly how easy they system is. I hadn’t realized before how often I was searching through my bag, looking for my Key to the World Card or a paper FastPass. The ease of the MagicBand was made more obvious during the few instances where I had to use a card of some sort. For example, to use my annual pass discount on merchandise, I still had to show my pass card and a photo ID. In the past, I didn’t think this was much of big deal. Now it seemed like a unnecessary chore. I’m hoping that they’re able to link discount opportunities to MagicBands in the near future.

For those of you playing along at home, here’s a roundup of Touring Plans coverage of MyMagic+:

Please remember that MyMagic+ is a moving target, with frequent updates and changes. We’ll do our best to keep you as well informed as possible. As always, let us know what you want to know and we’ll keep our ear to the ground for you.

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Posted on October 7, 2013

49 Responses to “More MyMagic+ Observations”

  • by Brady Jensen on October 7, 2013, at 6:26 am EST

    I had absolutely no problems linking my Premium annual pass (the two-coast version) to my Magic Band — which actually surprised me a bit since I have had big problems getting WDW websites to recognize my pass number in the past. One challenge is just understanding which number to use since WDW uses one format and DL another, with both on the pass. I’m not surprised to read someone had issues, but wanted to report that for me, at least it worked on my trip in mid-September.

    • That’s incredibly interesting. Thank you for sharing. My friend had several cast members tell her that it wasn’t possible to link a premier pass to a MagicBand – she kept trying until she found one that figure out how to do it. This seems to be a matter where finding the right person to help makes a big difference.

      • Hi Erin & Brady,

        I myself was having problems adding my Premier annual pass to my MDE account. I bought the pass in CA and haven’t actually used it in Florida yet (where I’m told they’re going to swap the actual card out for a MyMagic+ friendly card). While the website choked on the 20-digit California barcode number, I stumbled onto an easy solution:

        Using the MDE app, you can opt to “Scan My Ticket/Pass Instead” of entering the number. Scanning the barcode with the app correctly identified it as a “Domestic Annual Pass – CA Sale” ticket, AND the app offered me a friendly reminder that I’ll need to have the physical card replaced with new media to use it in Florida.

        Hope that’s helpful for folks!

  • Hi! How were you able to link your MNSSHP ticket to your band? I contacted Disney about this and they said it wasn’t possible. Thanks!

    • I just did it on the MyDisneyExperience site. However, I have heard that many guests have experienced problems with this and it may be a feature that they have turned off temporarily in order to fix glitches. Or it may be a situation like the Premier Pass where some cast members have expertise on the topic and others don’t.

      In any case, as long as you have your MNSSHP tickets I wouldn’t really stress about it. I believe that the FP+ system is not operational during the parties. And you can still pay for food/merchandise in the parks with your MagicBand during the party regardless of whether you have your party ticket linked.

  • Has anyone tried photopass plus with Magicbands? I’m wondering if everyone in your party can now use the photopass plus feature independently, or if it’s limited to one person like with the old photopass plus lanyard.

    • That’s a great question. I’d love to know the answer myself.

      • I used my band with photopass plus two weeks ago. Only a few of the photographers scanned my band. I needed the card to attach ride photos (they did not want my band). So to answer your question Paul, it is still limited to one person (one card/lanyard)for ride photos. I second the recommendation to ALWAYS scan a regular photopass card when the photographers scan your band until they work out the kinks. If you are traveling with family who are staying in a different resort, it is much easier to link all of the photos to one photopass account if you have the card number. I called and had accounts linked for band only scanned photos, and they were accommodating, but I waited on hold forever, and had to make numerous calls to make this happen. In one instance, my sister tried to give the photographer a photopass card, but he said he only wanted to scan the band….as a result I spent hours on the phone getting those photos linked to my account.

        • Donna,
          Thank you for the post. We are heading down in two weeks and I was wondering the same things that Paul was asking. You confirmed what several people said. While is does seem that MagicBands are awesome you still need to be careful. I don’t want to lose my Disney Picture moments (one of the exact reasons we get photopass plus. It is too bad that Disney doesn’t make all the Bands connected to Photopass plus (especially if all the other activity is linked). I really hope they consider that in the future because as your party separates for rides using fast pass + it is frustrating to still need the special card to grab your ride pictures.

  • Did you have the option of Be Our Guest Fastpass? I am coming in November and don’t see that or parades or fireworks as options.

    • I was not offered a Be Our Guest test during this trip, but I was during my trip in July. You can read about this here:

      http://www.disneyfoodblog.com/2013/08/19/review-be-our-guest-restaurant-fastpass-system/

      I don’t know what the criteria are for being offered different FP+ options. Since they’re still in test mode, I think they’re still tinkering with the system and seeing how much capacity they can handle.

    • After a little detective work I found the link for Be Our Guest Fastpass+ reservations. But there are none available the entire week of our stay (November 30-December 7). Guess I missed my opportunity. Thanks to Touring Plans, I pursued info on our bracelets and Fastpass+ reservations. I was able to order bracelets and make reservations, but not offered parade or show options. I don’t know if this is because I was a latecomer, but I wish Disney would be more forthcoming with info. When I asked the Disney representative why I had not received any instructions, she said they would have sent an email 30 days prior to my trip. Wonder how many Fastpass+ choices would have been available then?

      • @Audrey. You haven’t missed the opportunity to get BOG Fastpass+ reservations. I am going Nov 22-28. A few weeks ago, only Nov 22 was an option for BOG fastpass+. However, a few days ago, Nov 23 & 24 became available. I am assuming next week or so, the rest of the week I am staying will become available. Since you going the week after me, start looking in about 2-3 weeks to see if it’s opened up for you yet.

  • Checked in at Old Key West, they are still on the old RFID key system.. Got our annual passes at the DTD Guest Services and they still issued the RFID Cards (no bans).. Our RFID cards only failed once so far and had to get new ones issued, But it seems like everyone’s first response is do you have the “My Dis. Exp.” app… My answer is yes, but the older version since the new one does not work on my phone and your tech support is no support at all, at which all they can say is sorry and cut us new cards….

    • Don’t know if you have iPhone or Droid, but the app was awful on my Android phone. It refused to load, or when it did, would tell me I wasn’t at WDW when was standing in the middle of a resort.

      I uninstalled the app and looked at the app reviews on the Android market. It seems many many many people had the same experience I had.

  • Thanks so much for the update, Erin. Did you attempt to use your KTTWC to obtain regular FastPass? Did it work even though you had set up FastPass+ reservations? Thanks again!

    • During my July trip! I was able to get legacy (paper) FP with my KTTWC and FP+ with my MagicBand. During this trip, I got legacy FP with my annual pass card and FP+ with my MagicBand. I didn’t try to use the KTTWC for FP myself, but I saw other guests doing this and it seemed to work fine. At some point, this “double dipping” will likely go away, but for now it seems that you can hold both legacy FP and FP+ at the same time.

  • I understand how fastpass+ works at normal rides, but what about at shows? For example, if I wanted to use it at the Lights, Motors, Action show in HS would it give me a shorter line so we wouldn’t wait as long or would it give some type of reserved seating area? Also how are the viewing areas for Fantasmic, Illuminations, and the afternoon parades?

    • The FP+ for shows and parades gives you both a shorter wait time and seating in a reserved area. I haven’t done this myself, but Touring Plans blogger Brian has. You can read about his experiences at the link above – Brian’s MyMagic+ experiences.

    • We had fastpasses for Fantasmic and it was a bad decision. Thinking that we would have a guarenteed seat our group of 4 got to Fantasmic 15 min early, and there was no seats left! Normally we would go earlier and grab good seats, but we ended up having to sit apart in the regular seats. So a warning even if you get Fantasmic fastpasses you still have to go quite early

  • I was just curious do you still need to carry around your driver license for purchasing alcohol or is that information saved on your magic band?

    • You still need to show a proper photo ID to purchase alcohol. I can’t see this changing any time soon, if at all.

    • Had several drinks at Epcot International Food and Wine Festival. Had photo ID for that purpose, but no one asked. I look over 30 but thought they were relying on the electronic info.

  • Nine of us will be staying at POFQ in mid-November. Part of our group does not want to use MagicBands, etc. So what do we do? Will they force us to take them when we check in? Can we just ignore it? Can we opt out? If we “have” to take them, should I go ahead now and do FP+ for everyone even though we may not use it? If I customize everything, does this mean we will not get KTTW cards at all? Ahhhhh! Help!

    • You don’t have to use a MagicBand.

      You should know that everyone who gets a MagicBand also gets a Key to the World Card. The MagicBand and KTTWC functions are completely duplicative. Both will open your room. Both can access FP+ reservations if you’ve made them. Both will serve as a charge card if you’ve selected that option.

      Are you concerned about the comfort/style of the band? If so, you can use the KTTWC instead. If you’re concerned about being too controlled by FP+ return times, then just don’t make any FP+ reservations. The choice is really up to you.

    • My husband didn’t wear his band because he hated wearing it, and the KTTW card worked the exact same way as the band does.

  • I had no problem linking my Premiere Annual Pass to my magic band, but I did it ahead of time via the website. I simply linked the passes to our bands, did not encounter any issues.

    BUT we did find that for merchandise purchases in the park, we had to present our APs to the cashiers BEFORE the purchase was rung up. Although my expectation was that I wouldn’t need to do this, it makes sense since the band is for approval of purchases after they’re rung up. If you don’t show your card, you’ll get rung up at full price. And not all cashiers will ask if you have an AP once they see your band. It’s up to you. This was not a problem for us once we realized what we had to do.

    All in all, the bands worked flawlessly. All the vendor food areas at the Wine and Food festival had readers installed. It made the experience even better.

  • I am included in the testing for the VWL; my stay starts October 15th. I have a few follow up questions (answers from anyone would be great).
    First, I already selected a few FP+ for certain days (not all); does it seem better to select far ahead or on the day/day before you visit the a park?
    Second, while looking up dining reservation choices online I saw a button next to the Be Our Guest Restaurant for FP+; when I selected it I was directed to FP+ selections, but Be Our Guest Restaurant was not selected. I have read where others have been selected to test the FP+ for Be Our Guest, do you think they would let test it if I ask Guest Services(or who ever I talk to about the testing)?

  • For your FP+ question, I would make selections now. You can change them during your visit if that seems to make sense at the time. It is very easy to change FP+ reservations while you’re in the parks.

    You can certainly ask Guest Relations about BoG FP+ testing, but my guess is that they won’t be able to help you (just a guess, no real info). The FP+ offerings differ slightly from guest to guest, likely due to the testing process.

  • Erin – thanks for all the great info. We just visited in late September and really enjoyed our bands. I had read here that they were having trouble linking MNSSHP tickets to the bands at that point so we didn’t even try. Glad to hear its working better. Quick future functionality question if you have any idea: we received bands in Sept because we stayed at Pop. We’ll be returning in June 2014 but staying off property. When we purchase tickets will be able to tie those tickets to our existing bands and add a new credit card number for purchases? Even though we’re off property, would still love to use our bands again. Thanks!

    • Unfortunately I don’t know the answer to your question. My guess (only a guess) is that once you have a band, you should be able to customize it at will by adding tickets and cc info. However, it is a long time between now and June. By then MagicBands may be available to everyone, or they may decide just to give them to resort guests and AP holders. Try checking back in March and we have more accurate information.

  • How do you set a PIN for charging? I didn’t see anything anywhere about that. Is it done at resort check-in?

    • Yes. The first time you do this, you set it up during check-in. You can modify it online later.

      • Where online can the PIN and card be modified?

        • You can modify your card at MyDisneyExperience.com, then select “Manage MagicBands.”

          You PIN can be changed online during online check-in or at WDW at the front desk of your hotel or any guest relations window.

  • We are arriving mid-morning in a few weeks and plan to go straight to one of the parks. Since we’ll be receiving our magic bands in the mail and they’re already linked to our resort stay and tickets, do we still need to check in at our resort before heading to the park? Will we be allowed to park our car for free at the park if we haven’t checked in to the resort? Thanks!

  • I had a portable Targus “iPod” charger with me. It takes a USB connection. As long as you have a USB cord with the proper connection to your phone on the opposite end, it’s a great portable charger. I used it at anywhere I sat down to eat or in any kind of show where I could charge the phone while watching the show. A must have without seeking out charging stations.

  • We are visiting in December, and I am looking forward to the Magic Bands. My question is this — how do you link externally bought tickets (aka, via Undercover tourist tickets) to the bands? Is it possible?

    • When you have the tickets in hand, just go on the My Disney Experience website or app, and choose the options to link tickets to your account. You’ll just enter the ticket number (or maybe even just take a picture of the back of the ticket – I haven’t tried that, but I’ve heard about it). Easy-peasy.

  • I am a florida resident seasonal passholder and have my pass linked to the my disney experience site. we’re staying at beach club and have already customized and received magic bands. am i safe assuming that my card and band are linked for good? it does tell me that i have one card and one band at the main experience page. i was told in the past by a cast member that once we check out of beach club the band will be deactivated and won’t be linked to my annual pass any longer.

    • My experience is that my Annual Pass and my MagicBand are now permanently linked (at least until my AP expires). Even though I’ve checked out of my resort, the MyDisneyExperience site is still allowing me to make FP+ reservations for the next 60 days.

      Of course, there’s always the possibility that Disney could modify the system and this may no longer work.

      With this new product, which is constantly changing at this point, I’ve found that different cast members have more than the usual amount of variation in their knowledge.

      • Thank you soooo much! :) i too have noticed that i’ve been getting different info depending on which cast member i talk to.

  • I know this is an old post but I thought I would post an interesting trick/feature I discovered this past week…

    My wife and I are semi-local(< 1hr away) Annual Passholders, I setup a reservation to Pop Century in early November and got selected to receive magic bands. We ended up moving the reservation til mid December for various reasons a few weeks later after we received our Magic Bands.

    We ended up going to Disney for a few days last week(offsite hotel mini vacation) and our Magic Bands worked without issues for admittance to the gates, but we were not able to register for FastPass+ via the website or mobile app(told us we were ineligible until our stay in December).

    Out of Curiosity I tried my Magic Band while on a rest room break on one of the in park FastPass+ Kiosks(one at Magic Kingdom, in between Adventure Land and Frontierland). It works and I was able to setup my three fast passes for the day for both me and my wife.

    TL;DR; So if you have your Magic Bands but, cannot get FastPass+ because the website restricts it. Try the Kiosks in the park. You may be able to setup your fast passes.