MyDisneyExperience

A Visit to Magic Kingdom’s MagicBands on Demand Retail Location

by on November 4, 2015

On a recent visit to Magic Kingdom, I was thrilled to customize my own MagicBand at the new MagicBands on Demand retail location inside of Tomorrowland Light & Power Co., near the exit to Space Mountain. Not only was I able to get a purple MagicBand (a color hotly anticipated by Disney fans ever since MagicBands debuted) but I was able to complement it with my own choice of graphics. Rikki Niblett wrote about this new location where guests can create MagicBands on Demand when it opened in late October; in addition to MagicBands, it offers customized cell phone cases. Here are the details on my experience creating a MagicBand.

The storefront’s clock-and-gear-shaped Mickey and “Generating a Bright New Tomorrow” sign got me right in the mood to experience some technology.

© Sarah Graffam

Guests are greeted by several banks of touchscreens used to customize MagicBands and phone cases.

© Sarah Graffam

© Sarah Graffam

A sign displays pricing for MagicBands on Demand with or without adding a name as well as for D-Tech on Demand options for customized phone cases with or without a name.

To start designing my MagicBand, I chose to work at one of the touchscreens at the front of the store. I arrived at the store around 9:30 AM, and there were plenty of open touchscreen stations. If all the stations at the front are in use, there are several more touchscreens located in the back of the store near the center where guests’ MagicBands and cases are printed.

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Adventure is Out There! (But I’d Prefer to Plan for It): Results of a Totally Spontaneous Day

by on October 21, 2015

Adventure is out there

How exactly do you unplan a day?

If you follow my articles, you know that over Labor Day Weekend I partook in a grand experiment in an unplanned day at Walt Disney World. Having now experienced that firsthand (and taking some time to mull it over) I’m ready to report back with this uber-planner’s perspective on completely making things up as I went along. What did I learn? Adventure is out there, but I’d prefer to plan for it.

For a quick review of my experiment, here are the rules that were applied to my unplanned day:

  • Votes were submitted via Twitter, Facebook, and the comments section of my All It Takes is Faith and Trust article regarding which park my husband and I would visit on Saturday, September 5th – we did not tally the votes until we were ready to walk out the door and go to the winning park.
  • We had to make our FastPass+ selections after we arrived at the park using one of the in-park kiosks (this was a rule change based upon a suggestion from a commenter on the original article – I was not allowed to use the MyDisneyExperience app on my phone).
  • We could not make a meal reservation for that day until after we arrived in the designated park, and we had to make that reservation by calling the reservation line (another rule change based on comments).
  • I would provide regular updates on Twitter and solicit feedback from people following along from home – they could make suggestions regarding what we would do once we were in the winning park and I would try to accommodate those requests.
  • I would be allowed to utilize the Touring Plans Lines app throughout the day.

If you aren’t interested in the play-by-play version of the day and you just want to know my reaction to it, scroll on down to the “So, What Do I Really Think?” section and enjoy!

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Hollywood Studios Retrospective: Memories of Disney World’s Third Park

by on August 9, 2015

©Disney

©Disney

It’s no surprise that Disney’s Hollywood Studios is set for a major revamp. With the heavily rumored changes coming to Walt Disney World’s third theme park, it could potentially lead to a park that’s almost unrecognizable to what many of us grew up visiting. While I think the changes are long overdue, this article isn’t focused on what may come to Hollywood Studios or whatever its new name will be. Instead, I wanted to take a moment to remember some of the aspects of Hollywood Studios (or MGM Studios as some park goers including myself continue to call it on habit) that probably won’t make it through the renovation.

I’m basing this on the rumors that only Tower of Terror, Rock n’ Roller Coaster, Star Tours, Toy Story Mania! and the Great Movie Ride will remain. While I won’t argue that this article covers the definitive best parts of Hollywood Studio’s twenty plus year history, these are some of the more memorable attractions, landmarks and shows at the park for me personally. Some of these things still exist today. Some only closed recently and some haven’t appeared at the park in years. Regardless, each had an impact on Disney’s Hollywood Studios.

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Disney Testing Large Group Assistance in MyDisneyExperience

by on July 21, 2015

MY MyDisney Experience

MY MyDisney Experience

Usually the communications we get from Disney are pretty mundane, but something today piqued my interest:

My Disney Experience Pilot Test – Assistance for Large Parties

Walt Disney WorldÂź Resort Guests traveling with ten or more Guests may be invited to take advantage of a My Disney Experience planning service as part of a pilot test.

When your Clients log on to My Disney Experience, some of them may be asked if they are making plans for a party of ten or more people. If they respond ‘yes’, they will be invited to take part in this test. Your Client will be directed to call a specific telephone number at the Disney Reservation Center to take advantage of this service. Not all Guests will receive an invitation.

Pretty vague, yeah? I checked out my own MDE and saw the following:

Making plans with a larger group?
We recommend parties of 10 or more use our complimentary service to set up My Disney Experience. Call (407) 939-7771 from 7:00 AM to 11:00 PM EST for assistance.

I don’t have a trip planned right now and lack the imagination to make one up with 9 of my favorite people. But if you are invited to this and decide to use it, leave a comment and let us know how it went.

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5 My Disney Experience Mistakes—and How to Avoid Them

by on March 31, 2015

Disclaimer: While I am a Cast Member, the following is based on my own experience and does not necessarily reflect the policies of the Walt Disney Company.

If you’re reading this blog, you probably like to plan ahead. The introduction of My Disney Experience has provided us with so many ways to fine-tune your vacation before you even arrive. But if you’re not careful, My Disney Experience can cause problems for your vacation before it even starts. Pay close attention to these tips so you’re well prepared for your Walt Disney World vacation.

my disney experience

Sign in to start planning, but beware…

1) You don’t have a ticket for each person.

Each person needs to have park admission in order to get into the park and to make FastPass+ selections. If only some people on your account have park admission, you will only be able to select FastPasses for that many people. So if you select FastPasses for the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train and to meet Anna and Elsa for your ticket, anyone else in your group who does not have tickets will not be included in the FastPass.

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Be Our Guest Lunch Preorder and MDE: A First-Hand Report

by on March 19, 2015

Be our guest lunch preorder

Enjoy enchanted eats with less anxiety using Be Our Guest lunch preordering though My Disney Experience (photos by Seth Kubersky)

Believe it or not, it’s now been over two years since we first began reporting on FastPass+ lunch reservations at the Magic Kingdom’s Be Our Guest restaurant. In that time, we’ve covered the seemingly never ending saga of Disney’s experiments with managing demand for the popular venue, and now they finally seem to have settled on a (hopefully?) long-term solution. On March 12, the My Disney Experience (MDE) app for iOS devices was updated to accommodate Be Our Guest lunch preordering for guests making dining reservations, and I was among the first wave of guests to take advantage of this newly streamlined process.

To begin, make sure that the MDE app on your mobile device is updated to the latest version.

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Your Disney Trip Planning Timeline

by on February 10, 2015

TouringPlans logoIf you’re planning a trip to Disney World and reading this blog, you’ll have already seen multiple references to certain milestone dates for your vacation: You can make most restaurant reservations 180 days in advance of your arrival, for example. And that got us talking about what a comprehensive Disney trip planning timeline would look like.

Sure, we’ve tackled trip planning subjects before, including Erin Foster’s  and Evan Levy’s excellent Trip Planning 101 series. But we’ve never tried to fit an entire timeline into one page…until now.

Let us know in the comments if we’ve missed anything.

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New Disney Cruise Line Cancellation and Final Payment Policy

by on February 3, 2015

©Disney

©Disney

Disney Cruise Line has notified travel agents of changes to its cancellation and final payment policy. The policy goes into effect for guests who book a new cruise March 3, 2015, or later, or who change a modify and existing reservation after that date. What was once summed up in two bullet points on Disney’s site is now a bit more complicated. TouringPlans has tried to make it a little easier to grasp. All cruises require a deposit of 20% of the vacation cost to book except cruises booked while onboard, which only require a 10% deposit.

What hasn’t changed:
Categories IGT, OGT, and VGT are still non-refundable, non-transferrable, and must be paid in full at the time of booking. These are restricted rates that Disney used to fill the last few cabins on its cruises. For Concierge (OOV, OOT, OOS, and OOR) level staterooms, all deposits are non-refundable.

What has changed:
Nearly everything else.

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Memory Maker FAQs

by on January 21, 2015

PhotoPass Memory Maker ©Disney

The Memory Maker gets you digital copies of all of your PhotoPass photos. Photo ©Disney

Disclaimer: While I am a Cast Member, the following is based on my own experience and does not necessarily reflect the policies of the Walt Disney Company.

Philosophers of the age ask: If there are no pictures, did it really happen? Photos are an integral part of preserving your Disney moments and sharing the memories with family and friends. To that end, Disney offers the Memory Maker for purchase. The Memory Maker is a way to get digital copies of all of the PhotoPass photos and videos from your Walt Disney World vacation. Like any major Disney purchase, you should look at the pros and cons before you decide to drop the cash. I recently had the opportunity to use a Memory Maker as a Guest and participated in the One-day Memory Maker pilot program as a Cast Member. Here are the questions I heard from Guests—and had myself—about the Memory Maker.

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Custom MagicBand Covers – A Primer

by on January 19, 2015

I knew that custom MagicBands were going to be a ‘thing’ about two minutes after asking for one in purple and learning they don’t come in that color. Y’all are a creative bunch, of course, and sites like Pinterest are full of Magic Band bedazzling, from sparkles and nail polish to fabric and plastic jewels.

But honestly, my DIY skills are limited. I’d probably end up with a glittered house cat and smeared nail polish on the kitchen table. Fortunately, a couple of companies have started making custom vinyl stickers to decorate your MagicBand, for around $5 to $8 each. And for the last couple of months, I’ve been testing them to see how they hold up under heavy use. It turns out they’re great. Read on for more.

MagicYourBand.comMagicYourBand.com Magic Bands

Tracy and Matt Davis came up with the idea for custom MagicBand stickers when their daughter asked for a purple MagicBand and was told they didn’t exist. (Note to Disney: might want to look into this ‘purple’ thing.) And apparently they jumped in to the idea with both feet, purchasing a $50,000 custom vinyl printer in late 2014 to launch their business. Today they produce designs ranging from Halloween and Christmas holidays, birthdays and celebrations, to the flags of different countries.

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