The Other Side of MagicBands

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When I reviewed MyMagic+ about a month ago, my article was all sunshine and rainbows, but comments were mixed. I felt awful for folks who had such a bad experience but couldn’t relate as ours worked flawlessly. Well, my friends, I have seen the other side, and in the interest of balanced reporting I want to share what we’ve been through. All told, I would estimate we spent 3+ hours with Guest Relations and MagicBand cast members on the first day of our visit.

Rabbit

This is how it feels to spend two hours in Guest Relations!

First, let me share a little background. My parents and sisters live in Florida but several hours away and had decided to take a year off annual passes, meaning they hadn’t visited in a while. When they decided to stay on property this weekend they were told about the MagicBand changes but were unable to book anything in advance because they were looking to purchase Florida resident annual passes, which cannot be sold over the phone. Of course, as testing has expanded there are fewer FastPass+ options are available the morning of arrival. Lesson 1: If you are unable to purchase tickets in advance it might not be worth using FastPass+.

I talked to my parents about maybe just sticking with paper FASTPASS tickets this trip, but since they’ve done it all at Disney, the MagicBands were a novelty and something they really wanted to try (I could relate! ;)). Keeping this in mind, I visited a MyMagic+ kiosk prior to their arrival to plea my case and ask if I could use MyMagic+ with them. The cast member told me it was no problem and for my parents to just send me an invitation over the My Magic Experience website. When I logged in to accept their invite on my phone it looked like it had worked, but oddly I couldn’t see my Mom. I assumed this was just because maybe she hadn’t entered an email address, but this was a very wrong assumption and should have been the first red flag  Lesson 2: If something doesn’t look right on My Magic Experience – it isn’t right. Make sure you call and get it figured out in advance!

Fast forward to their day of arrival. I decided I’d miss all the fun of buying passes during the early morning rush and show up fashionably late. (Side note – it’s always bonkers to buy tickets in the morning. These lines are the longest you’ll see all day during a time when attraction lines are at their shortest. Morning ticket purchases are definitely not Touring Plans approved!) After waiting in the line, buying annual passes, and having them associated with their MagicBands, they headed for the park gates. When my mom tried to use her MagicBand, it wouldn’t work, and the cast member trying to help happened to call her by my name while trying to assist. That is when they figured out that MY annual pass had somehow been tied to my Mom’s MagicBand, and they were sent to Guest Relations. Lesson 3: DO NOT send invitations to folks who are not staying on Disney property. The system is only designed to accommodate guests staying at a Disney Resort. (We’ve been told this will expand in the future.)

IMG_6157

Indy was having a better day than we were…

At Guest Relations it took nearly an hour to pull apart what had happened. When my family sent me an invitation and I accepted it, the system added me to the party of four in their rooms. Since the system didn’t understand I was an additional guest, it decided to replace my Mom and add all of my account information to her MagicBand. Apparently, this was a completely new situation to the Guest Relations cast at the Studios because it took nearly another hour to figure out how to get her a new MagicBand and then set them up with FastPass+ options for that evening. But still, my family had nothing but praise for all the cast who helped them that morning. I think their patience helped them get FastPass+ for everything they had wanted, even the things that showed unavailable (and some extras!). Lesson 4: Pack your patience. This is still a test, and being kind will always get you further! :)

After spending this crazy amount of time at Guest Relations, they decided they wanted to just leave and start fresh later in the day. I think they needed a nap, too, after getting up at 4am to drive down thinking they were going to make rope drop! We made a plan to meet at Magic Kingdom for some fun! We all arrived and were able to get in without any issue. Then we headed to a MyMagic+ kiosk to get me setup with FASTPSSes that matched my parents. (They’d been told this wouldn’t be a problem earlier in the day.) When we arrived and explained our situation, the cast member told us that the system was meant for parties traveling together, that he could make no guarantee that I could be accommodated, but that he would get a Guest Relations cast member for me to speak with. I have to admit, I had that “here we go again” feeling, but they were very understanding and assured us they wouldn’t break up our travel party. The cast member grabbed my dad’s MagicBand to match us up. That is when we were informed that ALL their FastPass+ reservations were NOT for the day we were there but the day prior. The Guest Relations cast member earlier in the day had booked the wrong date in error. Lesson 5: Check those dates – make extra sure what you’ve booked is correct because it is difficult to change at the last minute. 

IMG_6551

By this point Disney had more than egg on its face!

At this point my family said to forget it; they would use the old FASTPASS system. They explained that it was 4pm and they hadn’t been on a single ride and detailed all the time they’d spent at Guest Relations. Up to now the cast member hadn’t heard the whole story and assured us that he’d fix it. He came back with their MagicBands programmed with five free rides on anything and brought me three front of the line passes. It was the best he could do, and we were thrilled to finally have a chance to go play! I used paper FASTPASSes for a couple of rides, so it lined up for us to experience everything together. For the first time all day and after hours waiting – things finally worked!!!! Lesson 6: Just when things look bad, fate steps in to see you through. This is Disney… there has to be a happy ending! :) 

And I wish that was the ending… but there was one final sad note. There is no way, no how, to get someone without a MagicBand into a parade or fireworks FastPass+ viewing area. So after a ton of fun riding rides, snacking, and taking family photos… I got booted. Sure, my entire family could have given up their spots to hang out with me, but I insisted they go because I know what an awesome view they’d be missing. Earlier in the day we’d talked about just paying the $25 a day to add me to their room reservation, but Guest Relations at the Studios assured them we could stay together. I guess we did.. mostly. But it seems like we would have had a much better visit had I just paid the “ransom” to get on their reservation. Lesson 7: If it really matters that you spent time with your local friends, it might be better to pay the fee and add them to your room reservation, even if they don’t stay with you.

I hope by sharing our experience we can save someone some trouble. It was the worst day I’ve had at Disney in a long, long time, and I certainly felt second class next to “on property” guests. I’m sure they will get all the bugs out of this system in the coming months, and I personally can’t wait! It was great when it worked, but now that I’ve experienced the challenges first hand, I understand some of those frustrated comments on my first article. I’m curious if the general opinion is improving or if other folks are having experiences like mine. Please let us know in the comments below – I’d love to hear from you! I’ll also do my best to answer any questions anyone might have. Please keep in mind I can only speak to my experiences as it seems I get conflicting information even when I ask questions in the park. I’m happy to offer my opinions, though! As always, thanks for reading! :)

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Posted on November 11, 2013

84 Responses to “The Other Side of MagicBands”

  • Hi, thanks for your article and I’m sorry to hear of your experience. My family (me , my husband and our 4-yr old) are going soon and we just received our magic bands. I have a couple of questions:

    1. My husband made the reservations and set up a MyMagicExperience acct for the family. Then he asked of I already had one and when I said yes, we linked them. Now he can see all three of us on his but I can only see him and myself on mine … Not our son.

    Do you think this may pose a problem?

    2. I’m also confused about your comment regarding the parades and fireworks. Can you not see those anymore without a magic band? They boot you from the park?

    • For your second question, she’s referring to special FastPass+ viewing areas for parades and fireworks. On certain days, parades and fireworks are available as FastPass+ options. If you make a FastPass+ reservation for one of those shows, you can view the shows from one of those viewing areas. You should not need a MagicBand (any park admission medium should work fine with the FP+ readers if the card is associated with you in My Disney Experience), per se, to enter the viewing area, but you will need your own valid FastPass+ reservation.

    • by Susan Schools on November 11, 2013, at 8:17 am EDT

      My 13 yo daughter & I just returned from Disney and used the MagicBands. We, luckily, ran into no issues with our FastPass+ reservations but I have 2 observations to share.

      First, long ago I set up my Disney account and it’s linked to an email that I do not monitor on my phone. I thought I had made an update to get the email I do watch on my phone linked to my account but it didn’t happen. Notices were sent to an email address that wasn’t monitored for dining reminders and notices of changes to our FastPass+ reservations, etc. It didn’t impact us but it could have.

      Second, charging food & retail purchases with my band proved more challenging than expected. We had no issues getting in the parks or using our FastPass+ reservations. But buying something typically (not always) required me to take off my band and wiggle it around to get it to read. It wasn’t like that all the time but more often than not and to the point that I had to pull out my KTTW card in Epcot to make a purchase (despite all the attempts by me and the cast member at Mouse Gear). When the cast members had the portable scanners — no problem at all.

      • Just a note on making purchases. A castmember at Downtown Disney showed this to us. Many of the scanners/readers have a magnet on the back and rest on a metal base, so you or the CM can just pick them up and hold it to your wristband, helping to avoid the awkward wrist turn. However, be warned, that not all CMs seem to be aware of this and may not be comfortable with you doing it yourself.

    • Hi Jen,

      Everyone did a great job of answering #2 for you but I wanted to address #1. If it were me I would certainly call and look into that. Everything looking normal on my Dad’s account but I couldn’t see my Mom when I logged in – it was the first sign of problems.

      Good Luck!!

      • Hi Daisy,
        Thanks for getting back in touch. I spoke with tech support tonight and they made it where I can now see my son on my disney experience but I still can’t add him to reservations or fastpasses which I didn’t realize until I was off the phone (my fault … he offered to set up a fastpass for me but I told him I wasn’t sure which to add yet.)

        I’ll call back tomorrow to see if we can’t figure it out. On the plus side, we seem to be able to make fastpass arrangements for all of us through my husband’s account so it’s at least possible.

        Do you think it could be because my son is a minor so the system will only let the person who initially added him make plans for him? Just a thought. Thanks!

        • I noticed on my trip that I control all reservations for the folks who I made package reservation for and my brother controls those he made package reservations for. My mother who is going as my guest can’t add anyone of us to her reservations, though I can add all the family to mine.

  • Jen they will allow you to watch fireworks and the parade. They have a fastpass+ viewing location so if 3 members of your group have it but the 4th

  • Doesn’t you wouldn’t be allowed to stay with them. Sorry about the split post.

  • I had a similar problem: when my aunt invited me to be friends on MDE, I got added to her room reservation in place of my uncle. It took a call to Disney to correct it (we haven’t left yet) and I am hoping that things will be smooth and that the problem has been fixed.

    Jen,

    Check the sharing settings on both accounts. Are you both listed as family? Do you both share all plans (not just shared plans)? You can still watch parades and fireworks without a fastpass, but fastpass plus has designated viewing areas.

  • Thanks for all the help everyone!

  • 3 hours to fix Magic Band issues is more “typical” then it is extraordinary. We’ve spent nearly 9 hours over the last week and a half and things still aren’t straightened out. Though we can now use the FP+ system to book, we just need to trust the good graces of the CM’s to let us all on (one of our party’s Magic Band doesn’t work). We’ve had the system randomly drop Magic Bands as the day progresses (it allowed all of us into the Park the first day and to use the FP+ system, but then dropped 2 of us after the first booked attraction). At various times the system has decided that members of our party did not have valid park admission (on two separate occasions we’ve had to get new passes issued to different members). The last fix we got was at Downtown Disney and the CM’s there seem to be better acquainted with the issues. It took them only 20 minutes or so to “fix” things so that it mostly works. As I said, we can now use the online FP+ system (though our trip is all but over) and the CM said the issue is with “layering” the info on the magic bands (ie Park Admission, Room Access, Charging info, personnel info, Will Call, etc). We still have issues with one where it won’t work to get her into the Parks or the room.
    My advice is to get the Magic Bands but always keep your hard copies (your Key to the World Card, your passes, your event tickets, your credit card, your discount cards and your id) in case things go wrong and to not spend too much time trying to fix your Bands (I’m more stubborn then most)
    Also, huge thanks to all the CM’s who have helped and who have to put up with a system that is this buggy. Eventually, the Magic Band system will be great, but right now it needs a few more months in the oven.

    • Wow – that is awful, Terrence! I’m sorry for your bad experience. It really does seem like they are only ready for squeaky clean on site reservations. Seems like they should ask people about their situation before testing. It really is a bad experience.

  • Yikes! We’re going this Thursday for a week, and I’m calling this AM. When I got the prompt to order customized bands, I called them first because I didn’t want them shipped here to my home. I just wanted to know if I could pick them up when I get there instead. The cast member I spoke with told me “no problem – just have them shipped to your resort. People do it all the time.” So I did that, but now I just got an email that said “don’t forget your magic bands, and keep them in your carry on because you’ll need them to board the magical express!” SMH.

    • Magical Express is probably OK–I’ve got my MagicBand for an upcoming trip, but they also mailed me the usual DME envelope with luggage tags AND the paper voucher for the bus. You can use the MagicBand for the bus (I did in September), but the voucher works, too.

      • i thought this was interesting though…the busses back to the airport are NOT equipped to support magic bands yet. we almost missed our bus because i had to go to the luggage desk while they tried to find our reservations to print out new express passes. Luckily my aunt saves everything and happened to pick up the ones that they stuck on our door the night before. i thought i threw them away because i assumed the magic bands did everything!

    • Due to changing hotels at the last minute, there have been times when we did not receive our Magical Express packet for the updated hotel. When we arrived at the airport, we informed the Magical Express help desk that we did not have paperwork. They looked us up in the reservation system and were able to confirm that we had reservations at WDW. That was it!

  • Thanks for this post. I was feeling bad about our experience this past weekend, but I think I only spent two hours trying to get problems fixed, not three!

    In our case, the problem was that we booked two rooms, and the travel agent booked one in my name and one in my wife’s name. When we checked into the resort, the CM asked us who was staying in each room, and since my wife and I were in the same room, the CM tried to move all the names around so that the right people were in the right rooms. But since my wife “made the reservation” for the 2nd room, they couldn’t move her from there, and just left her on that room (listed as an infant!). So now there were two of her, and seven in our party instead of six.

    This started a whole cascade of issues that caused FP+’s to be dropped, bands to stop working, new bands to be issued, people not being able to get in their rooms or to charge anything, etc.

    Except for the CM who checked us into the hotel and started the problems, all the other CMs were very helpful. But, they clearly didn’t know exactly how to deal with this situation either. At Magic Kingdom, the guest relations CM had to call someone (I thought he said the “avenger” squad?) and talk for about 20 minutes to get everything worked out. Still, one of our party never was able to use FP+ for the rest of the trip, and only got into the attractions by the good graces of the CMs at the attraction itself.

    I agree with most of the lessons listed in the post, especially #2 (DO NOT ignore seemingly small problems on the My Disney Experience app or site) and #4 (it’s going to take patience).

  • I can relate to all of the comments published. We spent the week of Oct 19 – 26 at the Polynesian using the Magic Bands. We didn’t have many issues once we arrived at Disney but the weeks leading up to our trip were stressful. I am a big planner for all Disney trips and the Magic Band set ups were so confusing. I think it is ridiculous that for a party of 7 who are varying ages (some can ride Space Mountain, some can’t..too small) you have to set everyone up on Space Mountain and then go back into the system and change those you can’t or don’t want to ride it. This is all because if you have one attraction everyone wants to go on you want to set it up together to get the same times. But with the current system you have to pick all 3 of your daily allowed fast passes at one time. Thus, all 7 people had to be set up for Space Mountain, Thunder Mountain RR and Splash Mountain. Then I had to go back in and try to change those who wouldn’t be on those rides to something else at around the same time. It was a game of trial and error. But, as everyone knows, those are the attractions in Magic Kingdom you really want fastpass+ for. For some I couldn’t find anything else at the same time, and those fastpasses were wasted really. I made probably 10 calls to the tech department getting help before we left and even the CMs couldn’t get it all arranged the way we wanted it. We also had the problem of not seeing everyone in our party on our My Disney Experience apps. A lot of this had to do with old My Disney Exp accounts which had to be deleted and children/parents. Confusing to say the least. However, we did the best we could with the help of many different tech CMs and by the time we arrived our Magic Bands worked (my grandson got changed so many times that he ended up with 3 Magic Bands…the last one he picked up at the resort. Somehow he got on the Magical Express without it) We used paper fastpasses as well as the fastpass+ and had a great time. We had no problem using the bands for our room keys, dining plan or making purchases. One additional comment, I am so glad we were there the week before they started the testing at Epcot allowing only one “major” attraction to be picked for fastpass+. I don’t like that idea at all and hope the test fails.

    • Hi Susan – I totally agree. It seems like they are ready for only the most basic setup but not how people really want to use their time on vacation. I really hope they fix the bugs before taking paper fastpasses away from resort guests.

  • I got invited to use Magic Bands for a couple of our upcoming stays. I set everything up in the computer and it all looks good (fingers crossed). I had wondered if we can use the magic bands on other days (not when we are staying there). It looks like we can’t. I just wanted to double check.

    • Hi Amber- take this with a grain of salt but I was told Magic Bands are good for 14 days after their last use. Mine from over a month ago is still getting me in the gates which makes me think that is true.

  • My husband and I just returned from a week at Disney with the Magic bands. Flawless.

    • Hey Judy! May you always be so lucky!! :) My last article on this you can see we had a perfect experience but that wasn’t the case this time around.

  • I just wanted to pop in and say that Florida Resident Passes can certainly be *paid for* over the phone. It’s true that they won’t send you the actual passes, but they do send vouchers that CAN be linked to a Magic Band, as I currently have four of them in my possession for my step-daughter and her family. They’ll be meeting us at our resort when we fly in on Thanksgiving, so we will see how things go!

    • Hey Jackie – can I ask when you were told this info? My parents booked the last week of September and were told they had no options. They’ve been going to Disney 6+ times a year since the moment I could walk so they are pretty good at booking! :) Makes me wonder if it was another training issue? Thanks for sharing!!

  • I just returned from a week with Magic Bands. The major problem we are dealing with is Photo Pass with my daughter’s Magic Band. The pictures scanned with her band are floating out there somewhere and cannot be found by Photo Pass. They are looking, so maybe we’ll get still get them. They are character photos, too. Good system, but needs work.

  • My parents and I visited for a few days at the end of October, but didn’t stay on-property, because my parents always refuse based on the cost difference.
    The new magic band system certainly made us feel more-so like ‘second-class citizens’ than we had ever felt before at WDW. We were able to get old paper fastpasses for all the major rides (i.e. Splash/Space/Big Thunder Mountain), but it was the fastpass+ that was available for all the smaller rides that irked us. For example, my mom had wanted to ride the new Little Mermaid ride, but in order to do so, we had to wait in-line for almost an hour. Guests staying on-property who had made fastpass+ registrations were able to bypass us, simply because they stayed on-property. This didn’t seem fair, especially when we were baking in the warm Florida sun! ;)
    I hope Disney does indeed expand the program to off-property guests, otherwise I predict a lot of people like us will decide to forgoe Disney the next time they visit Orlando area.

    • Realize it is to late to help you now, but for other’s reference Under the Sea does have paper FP. You have to get them from the machines at Philharmagic. But I understand your point of view on some of the other rides like Haunted Mansion, which don’t.

    • Hi Amy – the line normally dies down later in the day too. But I also realize I’m too late. Hopefully they will get all the bugs out soon. At least your family was able to stay together!! :)

  • Daisy, thank you for another excellent article. Your research is first-hand. Your reporting is balanced. And best of all, you attempt to solve Disney problems the only way they can be solved, via Guest Services. You give the rest of us useful information and real tools to plan our vacations. With no disrespect for any other Disney-related site, I find my list of Disney vacation-planning sites narrowed over these past two years down to two. Thank you for fairness and facts.

  • My first thought was what if this happened to a family whose this was there 1st and maybe only trip to the world? Time is precious and they wasted hours just trying to get in the gate or getting benefit they paid for! I also listen to alot of disney podcasts and hear give it time they need to work out the bugs. Once again wasted time, Disney can handout all the fast-passes, front of the line pass but they can not give you back the time wasted “fixing” something as basic as who is registered in to what room, and even then the issue lingers on throughout the stay. Disney is cashing in alot of goodwill chip on this enterprise and for what, IMO is a money issue and they dont really care about “My Experience”. They want to get more guest out of the attraction lines and in to the shops to spend more money by fewer fastpasses and longer wait time where guest will just elect not to wait in. Getting more rooms sold by creating a cast system between benefits based on property guest vs off property guests. Good Luck Touring Plans trying to figure this one out.

    • I totally agree!! It would have been very different if we hadn’t have already done everything in the park. It pretty much ruined more than half the day. I feel terrible for families that have traveled far for this experience… it can be far from magical.

  • Thanks for the great article. I have decided, after reading this and other comments, to allow some time in our schedule for a few bumps in the road with our Magic Bands. My challenge is that we have 3 seperate stays in our trip with 2 rooms each stay. It goes like this: Stay 1, one night hotel only. Stay 2 (same resort), 6 day package with free dining. Stay 3, 1 night hotel only (same resort). Since we are a party of 8, this requires us to have 24 Magic Bands for our whole trip. I was told that they should all work at any time regardless of the different reservations since everything is under one reservation number in My Disney Experience. Time will tell. I’m going to bring some extra patience with me!

    • Oh my.. 24 bands? That is crazy. They can’t do any better for you! I certainly hope you have the option of using paper fastpasses during your stay and wish you lots of good luck and pixie dust!!

  • Question: We are vacation club members and I already have 7 day no expiration passes we bought last time we were down there so I don’t need to buy new passes. Are we going to be able to get the bands and use fast pass+ or is this going to be a major issue. I don’t even know where to start and who to call? We aren’t going until April so we have some time…but thinking ahead I am guessing we are going to have major problems.

    • Hi Nicole – I would call and ask. There is just no telling what the answer will be. It would be really helpful if you’d let us know what they say. I’m sorry I don’t have info for you.

  • We had alot of problems at check in with our bands. A little background – we are DVC members and originally had a split stay between Jambo and Kidani. I ordered our annual passes. I made all our fastpass+ reservations with no problems at all. We received 2 sets of magic bands. They were not labeled, so we did not know which set was for which hotel. At the 7 day mark our waitlist request came throught and we were at Jambo for the entire stay. We used the magic bands for Magical Express with no problem. When we arrived at Jambo, our annual passes and all our fastpass+ were wiped out. It took over 2 hours and the Concierge to straighten it out. Luckily I had my own spreadsheet with all our times on it. On certain days we were meeting up with friends and had all our fastpass+ times matching. The very patient cast member was able to match most of the times, if she was unable to she gave us “anytime, any ride passes”. We then had to go to Guest Services at the park to pick up our paper annual passes. After about 1/2 hour we were all set. We did not have any additional problems until the last day. We did not receive our Magical Express paper with the pick-up time on it. The Concierge told us that it had us being picked up at our home resort, Old Key West! I was expecting them to say Kidani, how Old Key West came up I will never know. Was it an inconveniece? Yes, but having a patient Cast Member helped. She was just as baffled by our issues as we were. She thinks it all had to do with the waitlist coming through since this changed our reservation number.

    • I feel like this is going to be ongoing with DVC members for a while- our reservations are always changing and updating with the wait system and the way we use our passes. It isn’t the typical reservation. I have two young kids- so standing around for hours waiting for it to be fixed isn’t an option. For the first time ever, I am actually afraid to go to Disney!

    • Oh Lisa – I’m sorry you had such trouble. I can’t imagine folks are bringing multiple sets of bands! We thought our situation was tough! Glad you got it worked out.

  • Question, I am going to be staying at Shades of Green and using the military promotional tickets. I see so many people using Magic Bands and admit I’m eager to try them out. Do I qualify? Did everyone here get asked to try them out? I’m a little confused at how it is all working.

    • Unfortunately, I think the answer for you is no, at least for now. But, that may change at some point in the future. Technically speaking, Shades of Green is not owned/operated by Disney, much like Swan and Dolphin, so these hotels are not included in the program yet. I’ve seen/heard rumors that they might be added eventually though, but no dates on when that might happen.

  • UUmmm… I think I might pass on the wrist bands. I got an invite to do it, but it is a tricky trip. Two weeks of a DREAM vacation, 3 different resorts, First Room Res on Property at Disney Resort, then DVC,then off Property. Local Season pass holders, Premier pass holder and 10 day.

    Question… Can you use it for some of your trip and not all of your trip?

    • I’m not sure that’s an option. You either have them and use them throughout your trip, or you have a card. During testing they were issuing both the bands, and the cards to guests, with the cards to be for backup purposes only. However, I’ve heard that guests arriving since Nov 1, only have the option of the bands.
      I think the trick here is to try and keep it simple. I don’t mean to scare, but your situation, sounds like it might be problematic. Hopefully not, but with 3 different resorts, one of them a DVC, you might want to pack a little extra patience. Oh, and the off-site will not have the benefit of using the MagicBand.

    • Hi Rebecca,

      I’m pretty sure you’ll be okay to use the old system if you have annual passes. It doesn’t sound like they are ready to rollout bands for those yet. But, GrumpyFan seems pretty in the know – so I could be wrong! :(

    • Ok so I am reading and reading all the blogs about magic bands… So I tired to link them to our hotels and park tickets so we could get our fast passes. I have been on the phone for HOURS the last few days. Disney states it is a Undercover Tourist problem (they need to “release” the tickets), Undercover Tourist said it is a Disney problem (Disney will take care of it when you get there). Disney was able to link one of the three tickets purchased for UT. But Disney even had a problem linking my Premier Pass that you can only get at a Disney Park. So it will be interesting to see how it goes when I get there. I will call in a couple more weeks to see if they are able to link yet or when we get there Send my Husband to the bar for an hour or two, and the kids to the pool while I go get the bands figured out. I am excited to try them, but don’t want to wait for an extended time trying to get them to work each day. Disney said to go ahead and make our FP selections and if space is still available at the same time they can add the kids tickets to it too.

  • On your “Lesson #2…One issue I have run into with families traveling together is if one person is connecting to a family via the plan and share function in MDX is that that connection only connects the two individuals…not an individual to a family or a family to a family. So in your case, if you connected to your Dad, you would not connect to anyone else in his room. You would have to send a separate invitation, or you could use the “Mutual Friends” functionality in MDX to actually connect to other guests in the room. (For the purposes of giving at least 1 person to schedule fastpasses for the whole group, across multiple reservations.)

    • Wow, Ginger! You should write and article!! :) They really should release information on this if it’s an issue. This is the first I’ve heard of that being an option. Plus – I stayed on property recently so I have an MDX account. How would this work if I hadn’t? (Hope that doesn’t sound snippy – I’m really curious)

      • I am a TA and this has been an on going issue with multiple families traveling together. I kid you not when I tell you that I have trained more than one cast member (including a few on the help desk). I am happy to talk you through some of the process for an article…your reach is much broader than my little blog!
        To answer your question, I think ultimately when this is out of testing (jan 6 is supposed to be the date.) then everyone will have to create an MDX acct and link their tickets.

  • Getting things fixed in advance is not so easy. It took 7hrs. on the phone over 2 weeks to get our account fixed. It was a nightmare.

    I would also mention that people should take screen shots of their fpp. While they were showing on my app, my band would scan blue for them. Having backup proof is imparative.

    • Hi Sarah – WOW – 7 hours!! That is awful. I hope your vacation is perfect after that!! Sending pixie dust your way!

  • Not to be a negative Nelly, but I think Disney needs to do a better job at working out these kinks. Sure, everyone was very nice and tried to be as helpful as they could, and in any situation like that I always try to stay positive and grateful. However, many people spend thousands of dollars and plan for months for Disney vacations. The author spent hours at Customer Relations sorting everything out. It was nice of them to set you up with fastpasses, but your family lost a significant part of your day. Come on Disney. Figure this out!

    • Hi Dawn – I agree. I’m seeing so many negative review. They don’t seem to be prepared for anything other than generic “X number of people stay in one room, buy a package that includes tickets, and do everything together”. Disney has to know people want more!

  • Your review seems to be consistent with others I’ve read, as well as my own experience. When they work, they work well, and usually without any real issues, but when they don’t it’s not pretty. However, most of the problems I’ve heard about are with situations similar to yours where there are non-standard or complex guest arrangements.

    • Hi GrumpyFan – thanks for your comments and all the information you’ve shared here. I really appreciate it!

  • I have a room and tickets booked in December and I want to change the tickets to annual passes. Do you have any pitfalls I should avoid on this transaction.

    • Hi Dennis – I would call Disney and ask them. It might be worth it just because you can still use paper fastpasses with an annual pass and rumors are swirling that room key cards will lose this ability soon.

  • We are annual passholders who rarely stay on-property. I was advised by a friend and castmember to avoid moving to the Magic Bands for as long as possible. The legacy FastPass system makes so much more sense for our family and the way we tour the parks (a few hours here, a few hours there). I also prefer the flexibility of the legacy FastPass system better. There are four of us but only two of us who like Splash Mountain, for example. We can now grab four FastPasses and the two of us can ride twice. I hate that the new system hurts that kind of flexibility.

    On our last several trips even without the bands, we have been inconvenienced by all the glitches in the Magic Band system, including scanners going offline at the entrance to Animal Kingdom and then going off again at the FastPass Return for Kilimanjaro Safaris. With our cards and paper passes, we eventually got to bypass all the wristband folks waiting not so patiently for everything to come back online.

  • It really sounds like they are doing a great job.. I think we’ll skip Disney this year and go to Universal, it just so happens that they’ve had their fast pass system working properly for many years.

    • Hi Andrew – I will say Universal has an excellent fastpass system and ever sells affordable annual passes that INCLUDE fastpasses for rides after 4pm. It is looking pretty good next to this….

      • It’s been years since we’ve been to Universal but I think I’ll give them some money in 2014. We were at the World in May and we had nothing but problems with our RFID cards after we switched.

        They will work the bugs out eventually, I really think they released it for public testing way too soon. I’m sorry your experience was so bad.

  • My wife and I went on part of our honeymoon to WDW from Oct. 21 -> Oct. 28. Some notes:

    1) I stupidly linked our MNSSHP tickets to our MagicBands in MDX. This apparently caused many problems. The first day the admission scanners didn’t work for us, so a CM had to verify that we had valid admission with her iPad.

    2) We spent some 2 hours+ at Guest Relations getting those tickets crowbared off the MagicBands.

    3) The cast member at GR had to remove everything from our MagicBands then add our passes back.

    4) After he had done this, I pointed out to him that my wife now showed *5* passes on her profile on MDX. At that point he told me to disregard MDX as regards to “Tickets and Passes” because “it’s so buggy it is meaningless”.

    5) After those 2+ hours in GR (which had my new wife livid and ready make someone eat her MagicBand), the MagicBands worked fine for admission, charging, room key, and FP+.

    6) Even though we only stayed at the Poly for 2 nights, our bands continued to work for admission and FP+. We were told that the bands continue to work for your current entitlements. So after we checked out of the Poly we couldn’t charge to our room (of course), but everything else still worked. You would think Disney would figure out that they could make even more $$$ by linking the MagicBand to a guest’s credit card if they were not actually staying on site.

    So, after wasting 2-3 hours in GR, the MagicBands worked well for us. But it took some work.

    Regards,
    –Lee

  • I stayed at the Poly, Oct 23-28, two rooms. One reservation in my name with my husband and two children. The other room was in my parents name. I added my parents reservation number to my MDX account and managed everything for all of us (this worked very well). Purchased standard 5 day tickets from undercover tourist and had no problem adding the tickets to our magic bands. I added MNSSHP tickets as well with no difficulty and used bands to enter the park for the party. We had no difficulty using MDX and MB for park entry, charging to room, FP+, or room entry. The problem occurred when we decided we needed to park hop. I went to the concierge desk at the Poly, expecting to easily add (for a price) the park hopping option to all of our tickets. I was first told they would need ALL of our magic bands at the desk in order to add the option. I returned to our rooms, collected all of the bands, and went back to the desk. The concierge was still not able to fulfill my request, even after he consulted with a manager. I was told that my best option was to either go to TTC to have the option added or to Guest Relations in one of the parks. Having already spent nearly 1 hour, I was running out of time, we wanted to park hop the next day, had Chef Mickeys reservations soon, and MNSSHP that evening. Who knows if guest relations would even be able to figure it out!?!? I was frustrated, but understood that kinks were still being worked out. When I got back to the room, the concierge desk called and told me they were bring to my room, 1 day complimentary park hopper tickets for our entire party. It allowed us to hip the one day we needed to, and likely saved us from spending hours of our vacation in guest relations.

  • I’m going in January for 5 nights but I’m going to moving to three different resorts on Property throughout my trip. I’ve already purchased my AP and have linked the voucher to my account and have been able to make my FP+ times. However, from what I’m reading here I’m going to have to deal with 3 different sets of Magic Bands??? One for each resort??? Is this correct??

  • A trip to Disney has become so complicated, even since our last visit. We just got back from Universal and it was a breeze. Stay on property- go to the Express line. I realize it’s not a fair comparison, but it seems like planning a Disney vacation has become a chore. Reading this post and the responses makes me dread our next trip (if there is one).

  • Oh, my! Apparently, it’s been awhile since I’ve been to Disney! All of this sounds like a very confusing foreign language to me. Is there someplace like Disney for Dummies that explains in more detail what you all are talking about? I have the general gist after reading all of the comments and I’m sure that by the time we visit in the fall of 2014 (tentatively), these kinks will be ironed out for the most part, but by then there will probably be new headaches. We have been planning and promising this trip to our four daughters for the last three years and they will be devastated if we have to spend hours, or God forbid, a whole day jumping through hoops. The thought of years of planning, thousands of dollars spent and the possibility of so many roadblocks ruining the trip causes a weight in the pit of my stomach that makes me want to say forget it! Why can’t anything be simple anymore?

  • I have 2 bookings back to back in feb (Jambo house and Bay Lake) both on rented points booked in August. Yesterday the system let me customise my bands (90 and 95 days out) and I look to be about a week away from picking FP+. So a few things are different from everything I’ve read online

    1 – I am an Aussie so have to pick my bands up at the resorts. Yes. Resorts. 2 at Jambo then 2 at Bay Lake for four bands. I suppose this is simple as my magic express in and first 5 days of FP+ will be on one set and the last 2 days of FP+ plus magic express out will be on the second set. I’d rather have extras than bugger around getting them sorted.

    2 – my girlfriend and I aren’t settled on using photopass but if we do obviously we don’t want to pay twice to get say two CDs – I’m guessing this should be one of those “call up and ask”. A somewhat painful adventure given time differences and call costs :p

    3 – I can “see” fast passes out to Jan 25 right now. That’s a lot more than 60 days. Good for me hopefully I can get my first choices but it’s not what I’ve been reading everywhere. Or do I need to call Disney

    Great site and articles. Certainly getting me super pumped for my Disney visit :)

  • I’m surprised that so many people remain willing to spend so much of their valuable vacation time testing the new magic band system. I go on vacation to escape everyday frustrations not endure more.

    My next WDW vacation is planned for April and we’re staying at the Swan, so if I’m lucky, we’ll be able to get fastpasses for Captain EO, Figment ride, the Great Movie Ride, Mickey’s Philharmagic, and It’s Tough to be a Bug. Aren’t you all jealous? I’m glad I’ll have fastpasses for walk-on attractions.

    I just wish Disney had stuck with using the Magic Bands for rooms, dining reservations, and charging and left the fastpass system as it was or stopped using fastpasses altogether.

  • by Howard Billard on November 12, 2013, at 5:30 am EDT

    My family has decided to abstain from any more WDW vacations for at least a year, until this gets settled.

    Great job Disney on Fastpass minus.

  • Yikes – what a difference a couple of years makes! I so enjoyed planning our last WDW vacation in 2012 and our touring went so smoothly, thanks to the more reliable “legacy” Fastpass system and some basic know-how (thank you, touringplans)! This year, the enjoyment is gone, knowing that in 2014 we’ll be arriving in the middle of a “test” (or possibly the rollout) for a completely unreliable, time-sucking, wait-inflating, unnecessarily complicated system, the parameters and rules for which are not yet defined. I appreciate you sharing your experiences, even though I secretly hope that my family’s experience won’t be similar. Our next trip will be that “once in a lifetime” trip for two in our party, and I will be crushed if it turns into a disappointment or a hassle thanks to WDW’s shiny technological blunder.

  • The fact that Disney calls this a “test” in no way excuses the poor performance of the system. My family purchased annual passes for the first time this past year, and throughout the four trips we made between December 2012 and October 2013, we observed so many failures of the system that we stayed away from it on every trip. We also experienced the lines at Guest Relations growing considerably as each phase of the “test” was rolled out.

    My biggest beef is that Disney hides behind the words “test”. Testing happens in a test environment – not customer facing. Every single park goer is sublect to this “test” whether they decide to opt-in or not. Legacy Fastpass availability, long lines at Guesst Relations, waiting for magic band payments that seem to take forever, etc. all are negatives on the guest experience for every park goer.

    As an example, my wife wanted to buy Popcorn at a cart in Epcot. It was a busy day, and she was sixth in line. What should have taken a few minutes took more than 20, as each person in front of her was paying with a magic band, and the purchase validation was taking 3+ minutes each time (I timed it). The poor cast member was apologizing left and right, but the outcome was that even though I opted out of the test, I had to pay the price for a poor IT effort.

    Testing a buggy system in production is never a good idea – and when it takes hours to fix errors the guest experience is significantly degraded.

    As an IT professional, the decisions that Disney has made in this rollout have been abysmal. As a result, my family has chosen not to renew our annual passes, and will vacation in other venues until Disney has a stable production system that doesn’t cause guests to wait hours to fix errors that are the result of bad IT practices.

    • Hey Chuck,

      I agree with everything you are saying. Thank goodness this would never happen in real life with something important as, say our health insurance.

      Unfortunately, so many wonderful Cast Members have to bear the wrath of unhappy Guests. I hope that everyone remembers not to take their anger out on the “messengers”.

    • I completely agree! They shouldn’t be “testing” in production. I usually take 2-3 trips to WDW each year but won’t be going back for a while until the bugs are worked out. I didn’t renew my AP either.

  • We just got back from a trip to Disney and didn’t really have problems with the Magic Bands, maybe because we didn’t really make any FP+ reservations or use the charging feature. I do want to point out one thing to anyone who may have a family member or a friend who is a cast member. My sister is a CM and stayed with us at the resort for the entire trip. She got a magic band and it worked just fine as a room key. Of course as a cast member she has her special ID that is used as her entrance to the parks and for getting paper fast passes. The problem I have with the system is that there is no way for her to link a ticket in MDX, meanging that we could never make any FP+ reservations as a group. Disney needs to somehow fix this for times when CMs are actually paying guests staying at a resort hotel. Maybe next time I’ll try to talk to guest relations to see if they can add FP+ to her band for ones that the rest of us have reservations for.

  • My initial experience with setting up FP+ for our next trip was positive, if somewhat tedious. The trouble started when I noticed that all the FP+ for the first part of our split stay had disappeared (what if I hadn’t noticed until we got there?). Two long calls with Disney got me those same FP+ attractions at mostly the same times, but I still can’t access the FP+ for those days if I want to make changes (which I did when a lunch opportunity came up for one day, so I had to call Disney again to move one of my FP+ so it wouldn’t conflict). One CM I talked to speculated that our MVMCP tickets were the issue, but wasn’t sure enough about that to suggest/try unlinking them. If that was going to cause a problem, why let me link them in the first place? The system knows they’re party tickets, so code could be written to check for that upfront and not allow the linking–maybe even with a helpful message popping up about why. Now I’m sort of afraid to try anything lest it cause more problems. Also I very much regret not grabbing all the headliners I could at Epcot before they changed to the tiered system.

  • Thank you very much for reading and taking the time to comment! :)