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.
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.)
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.
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!