Walt Disney World Annual Passholders Getting RFID Passes

by on March 13, 2013 52 Comments

Filed under: Recent News, Walt Disney World (FL)

Beginning on Wednesday March 20, 2013, Walt Disney World guests who purchase or renew their Annual Passes will be issued an RFID pass as opposed to the old type. These passes can be used to enter the parks through the Next-Gen Touch Point entrances or through the regular turnstiles.

Existing passholders who would like to convert their passes to the new RFID style may do so between March 20, 2013, and May 19, 2013, at The Odyssey Center in Epcot during regular park hours. Passholders will need to show their pass and a valid photo ID to convert their pass.

The new passes will have a green background and will include a colored stripe to indicate whether or not the pass has parking privileges. Passholders who get free parking will have an orange stripe, and passes that do not include parking will have a black stripe.

What do you think of these changes? Are you excited for the new RFID technology?

Posted on March 13, 2013

52 Responses to “Walt Disney World Annual Passholders Getting RFID Passes”

  • What happens after May 19th? If we don’t get down there are we stuck?

    • Was thinking the same thing as Karen… Wont be down there till June.

    • by Scarlett Litton on March 13, 2013, at 7:30 pm EST

      My guess is that the Odyssey Center is only open for conversions until May 19th and they will use those 2 months to try and convert the bulk of current AP’s. After that, passes will probably still be done at Guest Relations.

      • After May 19 they are going to be switching to a bracelet. When I switched my pass I was told that Disney will send an e-mail and I tell them what color I want as they have 6 to choose from. If I don’t respond to their e-mail they will select a color for me and send me the bracelet. I live in upstate NY so I only get down there 3-4 times a year. I just happened to be there when they were switching the cards over. It will be interesting to see how these bracelets work with the FP and parking unless they send you a parking pass.

  • What APs don’t include parking?

  • Just got back from Disney yesterday. Had a 3 day park hopper pass. Green background. Used the rfid gates. It really did speed up entering the park.

    • by Scarlett Litton on March 13, 2013, at 7:31 pm EST

      The lines at regular turnstiles have been crazy lately since there are so few left. I’m really excited to be able to use the new entrances.

    • I was there two weeks ago and was also impressed by the new passes. I was worried about it, that there would be a huge amount of kinks to work out as it’s a new system, but I think we only had two times in 7 days that the system didn’t work on someone in our party of 7. When this did happen, they just moved that person onto another cast member who slid their card through a handheld swiper, lickety split. A good experience overall for my family!

  • We have APs and have a trip planned for the end of April. We are bringing the kids, and they will have regular park hopper tickets. Will we be able to upgrade everyone to RFID? And if we do switch, does that mean we also switch over to the new fastpass+ system?

    • by Scarlett Litton on March 13, 2013, at 7:32 pm EST

      Everyone in your party should be able to convert. Still no word on how FASTPASS Plus will work for AP’s. We will keep you posted as we know more.

  • I’m assuming if you have the Premier pass, you aren’t eligible? Would they give you one pass for WDW with RFID and one without? While it would be nice to have it for my next trip to WDW, the new pass wouldn’t do me a lot of good at my home park (DL).

    • by Scarlett Litton on March 13, 2013, at 7:32 pm EST

      Not sure how Premier Passes will work. I will let you know when we find out more.

      • We just switched our Premier passes over to the new RFID cards. You do not have the option of picking a character card and it is 99.9% the same the only way to tell that it has the RFID chip in it is by looking in the upper corner (the side where your name is on) and there will be a tiny mickey emblem.

  • So what happens to passholders who are going down after May 19th and do not need to renew to until August? Is there a location for us to get the new type of pass?

    • by Scarlett Litton on March 13, 2013, at 7:33 pm EST

      I would guess that you will be able to upgrade your pass at Guest Relations and they are just using the Odyssey for a couple of months to try and get the bulk of passes done.

  • Hysterical timing. Our old APs expire on 3/20!

  • I’m renewing mine this Saturday…because we’re avoiding Easter crowds at all costs. I wonder if I’ll get the RFID version or the magnetic stripe version.

    • by Scarlett Litton on March 13, 2013, at 10:43 pm EST

      I know someone who renewed today and got the old version. I think they are waiting til the 20th for any RFID AP’s.

  • I’m torn. On one hand, I’d like to be able to use the new entrances if they really are “better” and faster. On the other hand, I plan on clinging to the old fast pass system as long as possible.

    Any tips from the Touring Plans team? My husband uses a 10-day no expiration ticket, so if he can’t convert his, it’ll be a no brainer for me to keep my paper ticket anyway since we’ll want to enter the parks together. Thanks for the updates, Scarlett!

    • I think the new RFID APs have to have magnetic stripes for the time being because the old FP machines are still in use and they have no way to scan RFID.

    • I can tell you my experience this week with my rfid 3 day park hopper pass. YES! Better at the entrance gates. For fastpass for right now, they work the same as always. Put ticket (which was a plastic card) into fastpass machine – out came fastpasses.

    • by Scarlett Litton on March 13, 2013, at 10:44 pm EST

      The upgraded tickets should still work in the old style turnstiles as well, so it’s really up to you if you want to upgrade. It won’t make much of a difference, but it might be cool to get the new, fancy ticket.

      • I’m sold! Looks like there’s no disadvantage to upgrading to RFID. I’ll be in Epcot on the 24th, so I’m taking the plunge! Now the question is, will they RFID my husband’s non-expiration ticket that he’s been using since 2009??

  • The current RFID tickets work in the fast pass machines right?

  • Where is the Odyssey Center in Epcot?

  • Now if they could just figure out how to speed up the bag check line!

  • Remember that AP’s with RFIDs can’t use conventional FastPasses. They will only be allowed to use FastPass+ limited to one park.

    • by Scarlett Litton on March 13, 2013, at 10:48 pm EST

      Actually, based on the fact that they will still work in the old turnstiles I believe the RFID passes will have the magnetic strip just like the RFID tickets currently given out to day guests. Since FASTPASS+ isn’t up and running yet AP’s should still work for FASTPASSes.

  • If I’ll be down May 10-13 and this will be the last trip for these APs, and not planning on renewing, is it worth taking time out of our limited trip to upgrade our APs? And to confirm another post, these new APs don’t work with the regular FP machines?

    • by Scarlett Litton on March 13, 2013, at 10:49 pm EST

      It all depends on how long it takes to convert. If it is something quick, it might be worth it for speedier entry into the parks. I’ll let you know how long it takes when I update my pass on the 20th.

    • Assuming the RFID tickets given to Passholders are the same as those given to other Guests, they do in fact work with FastPass machines. I visited a few days ago with family who had one-day RFID tickets and they worked with no issue.

  • I remember a year ago or so, EPCOT had the RFID test where they put a small Mickey sticker with RFID chip right on the regular AP card. So, I don’t think there will be much of a visual or size change to the new RFID passes.

  • by Cheloconnell on March 14, 2013, at 5:59 pm EST

    Does anyone know if the RFID AP’s will still be paper? We are so hoping for plastic cards so we don’t need to worry about how fragile they are….

  • Soooo then, is May 20 the target date for them to start issuing Magic Bands for AP holders?

    • You don’t want a Magic Band yet (not that they’re available yet) – FastPass machines would become troublesome in their current incarnation w/ a Magic Band

  • What about the Magic Band? Passholders don’t get a Magic Band?

    • This announcement has nothing to do with MagicBands. No one has MagicBands yet. Those are coming later. Disney execs have already said that yes, AP Holders *will* be getting Magic Bands.

  • With the new system what is to stop a family from letting friends and family use their passes. The bio scan identified the person to the pass.

  • I’ve seen people use the new system and they just hold the card up to the scanner and enter the park. No one checked to see if they were the owners of the pass.

    • Watch this video carefully – you’ll see people in a couple scenes scanning their RFID and then giving their fingerprint like normal. The exception is children. They have never been required to give a fingerprint – even w/ the old style tickets.


      Maybe you saw during a busy time when they didn’t have the fingerprint scan on. Even w/ old style tickets in the past, Disney would occasionally turn off the fingerprint scan to move guests through the turnstiles faster.

  • With the new card passes will they be able to locate lost grand parents in the park or only if they use the card?

  • Changed my AP out last week. No problems entering the park using the new electronic readers. The new card was quickly “read” by the updated devices, and the attached fingerprint scanner was simular to those located in the existing turnstyle entries. I like the fact that the AP card is now plastic!

  • Is it just us or does it seem Disney does not care about returning guests? Amid we just got back from our yearly trip and the scanning entrance was not too bad. 25 years of going and staying on site 8-10 days and can’t even get any room in one of 5buildings, even booking a year in advance.