Posts Tagged ‘MyMagic+’

All Disney Resorts to Test MagicBands Only to Guests

by on January 6, 2014

MyMagic+ and MagicBands

©Disney

It would seem that the tests at Pop Century and the All-Star Resorts have gone well, because by the end of the month of January, every other resort will be issuing only MagicBands to resort guests for use throughout their stay at the Walt Disney World Resort. This is being done as a part of the continued roll out of MyMagic+.

The test will be rolled out to the hotels according to this schedule:

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Disney’s All-Star Resorts To Test Only Providing MagicBands to Guests

by on December 3, 2013

©Disney

©Disney

The first test recently rolled out at Disney’s Pop Century Resort, but now Disney is ready to start a new version of this testing at all three of Disney’s All-Star Resorts. As part of the MyMagic+ assessment, upon check in at one of these three resorts, guests will be issued only a MagicBand for use throughout their stay at the Walt Disney World Resort.

The schedule for roll out is as follows:

Any guest checking in on or after these dates will be issued only a MagicBand and not a separate Key To The World card/room key.

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New Disney World Welcome Package Mailed to Guest Homes

by on November 23, 2013

I opened my mailbox today and was surprised to find a box from Disney. This was a new welcome mailer related to my upcoming vacation in January. For those of you keeping score, the box arrived on November 20, 2013,for a trip that starts January 9, 2014.

The sturdy presentation box is slightly larger than a VHS tape and contains a welcome brochure, as well as fun flash drive shaped like the MyMagic+ logo. The flash drive contains two two-minute long videos featuring Incredibles character Edna Mode. In video one, Edna describes MagicBands, and in video two she shows you how to use My Disney Experience. This welcome box appears to be an attempt to educate guests about the new technology being used in the parks and resorts. I’ve ordered a MagicBand for my trip, but I’m not expecting that to come for several more weeks, in its own super cool Incredibles themed box. In addition to spending gobs of money updating the in-park systems, they’re obviously spending even more gobs of money to get guests excited to use those systems.

Here’s a tour of what arrived:

Front of the box

Front of the box

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The Other Side of MagicBands

by on November 11, 2013

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!

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The Optimal Use of the New FastPass+ System

by on September 8, 2013

IMG_8129If you read this blog regularly (as you should), you are undoubtedly aware of Disney’s multi-million dollar infrastructure renovation called MyMagic+. Over the past few months, extensive testing of the first phase of MyMagic+ has been taking place at Walt Disney World. For general questions and to familiarize yourself with what is going on I recommend fellow blogger Erin Foster’s two excellent pieces on initial observations and her personal experiences with the test.

Like Erin, I have been cordially invited by Mickey himself to participate in the MyMagic+ testing for my trip next week. Since much of what occurs during the test has been covered so well on this site, I have decided to turn an analytical cheek toward the process (as I do with most things). For the purpose of this article I will be discussing strategies for using the new FastPass+ system.

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MagicBand FAQ

by on September 4, 2013

Disney’s new MyMagic+ system is undergoing larger and more frequent testing. A key component of MyMagic+ is the MagicBand, which means that more guests are having questions about the ins and outs of MagicBand use. Here’s a handy primer with answers to some of the most frequently asked questions abut MagicBands.

IMG_1683-001

What exactly is a MagicBand?

MagicBands are plastic/rubber bracelets containing an electronic chip. Depending on which features you activate, the MagicBand can function as your room key, park ticket, charge card for food and merchandise, FastPass, interactive game piece, and more.

While these features are not currently active, future MagicBand purposes might include use as a PhotoPass identifier, MagicalExpress voucher, resort entrance gate opener, attraction special effects activator, etc.

What technology is used in the MagicBand?

The MagicBands contain an HF Radio Frequency Device (RFID). The device sends and receives signals via a small antenna in the band. The Radio Frequency device works in short range situations (touching the band to a hotel room’s “key pad”) or in longer range situations (perhaps activating a portion of a ride or game).

Out in the real world, RFID technology is used in some credit cards, in highway toll paying such as EZPass or SunPass, in some video game controllers and in many other situations. Chances are you may already be using an RFID device at home and not even be aware of it.

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My MyMagic+ Test Experience

by on July 31, 2013

Last week I took part in a MyMagic+ test at Walt Disney World. When I let Touring Plans blog readers know that I was headed down for testing, you all came up with some great questions about using the new electronic systems at the parks and resorts. After having spent four days with my MagicBand and after having spoken to many cast members about the program, I’m here to give you some answers and a full report about my experience.

MagicBand presentation box.

MagicBand presentation box.

Before I get going, let me first say that every MyMagic+ cast member I encountered was incredibly enthusiastic about the testing. They bent over backwards to solicit real, honest feedback about the guest experience. There are kinks in the system, but they are trying very hard to work them out.

MyMagic+ starts with with the My Disney Experience center on the Walt Disney World website. You can find this prominently displayed at the top right of the welcome page at DisneyWorld.com. You must have (or create) an online account with Disney to access any of the MyMagic features. At my home computer, I linked my resort confirmation number and several existing dining reservation numbers to my account. I selected colors and names for MagicBands for myself and my husband, Jeff. We also chose FastPass+ attractions and ride times for our park days.

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Preliminary MyMagic+ Test Observations from Walt Disney World

by on July 18, 2013

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

Here’s the invitation:

MyMagic test invite-001

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Disney CEO Iger Disses US Rep. Markey’s MyMagic+ Questions

by on January 31, 2013

Copyright Disney

Between the debt crisis, cabinet confirmation, and gun control, you might the the U.S. Congress has its hands too full at the moment to pay much attention to the Mouse. But Disney’s new MyMagic+ program, which was officially announced earlier this month and will soon roll out across Walt Disney World’s theme parks and resorts, has raised questions about security and privacy inside and outside Washington.

On January 24, Representative Edward J. Markey from Massachusetts, who has earned a long-standing reputation for challenging entertainment companies, issued a 3-page detailed letter requesting answers about how Disney’s new RFID chip-based guest management system will be implemented.

Markey’s missive read, in part:

Collecting information about how guests use Disney amusement parks could improve the company’s ability to target advertisements at its guests, including children… Although kids should have the chance to meet Mickey Mouse, this memorable meeting should not be manipulated through surreptitious use of a child’s personal information.

The response from Disney CEO Bob Iger, released on January 28, was less than diplomatic:

We are offended by the ludicrous and utterly ill-informed assertion in your letter dated January 24, 2013, that we would in any way haphazardly or recklessly introduce a program that manipulates children, or wantonly puts their safety at risk. It is truly unfortunate and extremely disappointing that you chose to publicly attack us before taking the time to review our policies and/or contact us for information, which would have obviated the need for your letter. Had you or your staff made the slightest effort, you would have found most of the answers to your questions already existed and were publicly available online at http://corporate.disney.go.com/corporate/pp.html and https://disneyworld.disney.go.com/faq/my-disney-experience/privacy-policy.

You can read Iger’s full response here.

Congressional concern is unlikely to significantly slow the billion-dollar MyMagic+ project, which is expected to expand across WDW in 2013, and invade Disneyland Resort the following year.

Are you concerned about your personal privacy in the light of Disney’s new designs? Do you feel it is appropriate for government representatives to ask questions like these? Leave us your take in the comments below.

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