When Disney invests a billion dollars (yes, really) for a new addition to the parks, you know that it's going to be a cutting-edge, game-changing experience for guests – and that's just what Disney is hoping they've tapped into with MyMagic+. It's a new digital management system that will provide guests with all the tools they need to build the ultimate PLAN.
A few years ago, Walt Disney World announced that they were working on some next-generation technology that would change the way guests could experience the parks. The system is named MyMagic+ and throughout 2013 it’s being introduced to resort guests – it includes a special bracelet that will replace the Key to the World card and will interact with a new digital app called My Disney Experience.
Get your MagicBand scanned - Photo courtesy of Disney Parks Blog
Initially, the MyMagic+ program will be available only to Walt Disney World Resort guests, but there are plans in place to extend the service to Annual Passholders in the near future. It’s possible that off-site guests will be excluded from the service, so that it can remain a perk for resort guests and annual pass holders. (But that hasn't even been hinted at yet, by anyone other than Dad.)
While MyMagic+ will provide guests with a new way to touch-to-enter and touch-to-pay, it also provides some major benefits to Disney’s internal operations. It will help maximize guest spending, allow better management of guest trafficking and labour distribution, and assist strategic planning. To address privacy concerns, MyMagic+ will be an opt-in system guests can choose to use.
Magic Bands - Photo by my friend Sherri at the PinkHumdinger.com
The MyMagic+ system will say goodbye to the Key to the World Card and say hello to a new technology: the MagicBand. The bands are water resistant, adjustable in size to fit each member of your family perfectly, and are embedded with an RFID chip (radio frequency identification) so that you can simply hold up your wrist to gizmos all over Walt Disney World to enter, pay, get a FastPass, track advanced dining reservations, and more!
MagicBands will be available in a variety of colours (red, orange, yellow, green , blue, purple, pink, and grey to begin with) and there may be “designer” or “character” bands available in the future. There are also accessories for the bands like fabric sleeves, character “buttons” and more.
My Disney Experience
MyMagic+ and the MagicBand work with the online platform called My Disney Experience – a website at mydisneyexperience.com and the My Disney Experience app available on Apple and Android smart phones and tablets. Don't worry – you don’t need a smart phone to use MyMagic+ and your MagicBand, only to use the app!
MyMagic+ has lots of features to begin with, and the new technology will allow for more features to be added over time. The MagicBands will become an essential part of park touring, and My Disney Experience will help you make your best PLAN yet!
All of the Disney World Hotel rooms on property are being outfitted with new RFID locks, replacing the old card-swipe system. Many hotels are complete and the rest will be done by the end of 2013. You’ll now be able to hold up your MagicBand the lock on your door for easy access to your room!
Your park passes, including park hopping or waterpark fun and more options will be programmed into your MagicBand. All the same rules apply regarding ticket usage as have in the past.
Your Advanced Dining Reservations will be programmed into the MagicBand as well, making check-in a breeze. When you use the My Disney Experience app you can even look up restaurants and make a reservation on the fly (if available). Some of the more popular quick-service restaurants (like lunch at Be Our Guest) may even allow pre-order or FastPass style reservations.
FASTPASS is getting an upgrade with MyMagic+ too. The current system allows you get a ticket from a kiosk that tells you when you can ride an attraction, you can get FASTPASSes in multiple parks, and you can have as many FASTPASSes per day a you are able to secure. FastPass+ will allow you to book up to 3 FASTPASSes per day for one park only (they must be 3 different attractions). You can book your favorite attractions online in advance through the My Disney Experience app.
There is lots of speculation around the other features Disney may add in the future. MyMagic+ may allow you to experience interactive queues differently, pre-order at quick service restaurants, or gain entry to special viewing areas like fireworks and parades.
I'd love to hear in the comments which features you'd like to see added!
Would you like some help?
Dad's partners over at Destinations to Travel are experts in everything Disney and we are always keeping up with the latest from MyMagic+. Give them a shout and they will help you get everything ready for a Perfect vacation.
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Dad's Bottom Line
MyMagic+ is certainly proving that Disney is at the forefront of what technology can accomplish, but it remains to be seen how this affects vacationers, annual pass holders, and day-trippers – not to mention those with different comfort levels with technology!