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NEWS: Disney reveals details on Walt Disney World MyMagic+


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http://disneyparks.disney.go.com/blog/2013/01/taking-the-disney-guest-experience-to-the-next-level/

 

At Walt Disney Parks and Resorts, we continually push the boundaries of creativity and innovation to deliver the best possible experience for our guests. We’re always looking for ways to take what we do and do it even better. Over the past few years, we’ve devoted considerable time and resources to create a more immersive, more seamless and more personal experience for each and every guest who spends time with us. I know there’s been significant speculation about these efforts among our fans, so we’re pleased to give you a glimpse into the work we are doing to take the entire Disney guest experience to the next level.

 

Some of these initiatives are more apparent and can already be seen by our guests – like our interactive queues at Walt Disney World Resort and the Enchanted Art on our cruise ships – while others are more behind-the-scenes and are focused on “how” visitors plan, access and enjoy their experiences with us. Over the next several months, we’ll be rolling out a collection of tools at the Walt Disney World Resort called MyMagic+ that will give guests more opportunities to customize and personalize their entire visit.

 

Like most people who visit Walt Disney World Resort, my family and I have our “must-do” attractions, and as the father of three boys, those attractions often end with the word “mountain.” Now, rather than dashing as a group, or even splitting up to gather FastPasses, imagine booking guaranteed ride times for your favorite shows and attractions even before setting foot in the park. With MyMagic+, guests will be able to do that and more, enabling them to spend more time together and creating an experience that’s better for everyone.

 

A major component of MyMagic+ is the new My Disney Experience website and mobile app, which gives guests planning their trip the latest information on all Walt Disney World Resort has to offer. We know that some people like to plan every aspect of their Disney vacation in advance while others like to plan very little, letting their day unfold spontaneously. No matter where guests fall in that spectrum, My Disney Experience gives them the flexibility to plan as much or as little as they’d like to create the exact Disney experience they want. They can book dining and other experiences and reserve times for their favorite attractions, shows and more through an enhanced FastPass system, FastPass+. Once they arrive, they can use their smart phones to spontaneously change their plans in the moment, exploring our parks at their own pace and getting the most out of their visit.

 

Linking the entire MyMagic+ experience together is an innovative piece of technology we developed called the MagicBand. Worn on the wrist, it will serve as a guest’s room key, theme park ticket, access to FastPass+ selections, PhotoPass card and optional payment account all rolled into one. We’ve began testing certain aspects of MyMagic+ in Florida last month and the early reactions we’ve gotten have been fantastic.

 

This collection of tools is another step forward in the ongoing evolution of our guest experience, giving us even more ways to help friends and family create the unforgettable Disney memories that they want most. We’ll be testing, adjusting and adding features to MyMagic+ and My Disney Experience over time and will continue to make improvements based on our guests’ feedback. We look forward to sharing more with you in the months ahead!

 

Tom Staggs, Chairman, Walt Disney Parks and Resorts took the time to answer additional questions posted in the comments section of the original announcement post on the Disney Parks Blog.

 

I see there are several questions concerning Annual Passholders. Our Annual Passholders are very important to us and we’re taking extra care to provide access to all the features and benefits of MyMagic+. Stay tuned as we are finalizing our timeline and we’ll keep you posted.
We’re working to make MyMagic+ available to all Walt Disney World Resort guests over the next year, starting with guests staying in Walt Disney World Resort hotels. In order to deliver the best possible experience to every guest, we are rolling out MyMagic+ over several months.
Guests staying at Walt Disney World Resort hotels, and Annual Passholders will receive a band, as well as those guests who purchase a photography package. Guests who stay at non-Disney hotels will receive a ticket with features of touch to enter the park, touch to redeem FastPass+ and touch to pay. These guests can participate in My Disney Experience and purchase a MagicBand if they wish.
Guests will be able to engage as much or as little as they would like, but we think they are going to love the benefits and option of being able to plan the vacation they want in advance. However, if guests would rather have a spontaneous day with us, they can certainly do that too. MyMagic+ is designed to make the Walt Disney World experience better for everyone.
The process is similar to what happens today if a guest loses their Key to the World Card. If a guest loses their MagicBand, they can report it to any Guest Services Cast Member to have it disabled and replaced. With MyMagic+ guests will also have the option of disabling the MagicBand themselves through their My Disney Experience account.
Ensuring the security of our guest’s information is obviously very important to us and no one is more focused on this than we are. Everything is opt in and guests will have the opportunity to choose what information they share with us. Nothing is more important to us than protecting that information. Guests should also know that the band does not store personal information.
It’s true. There will be future opportunities to further customize your MagicBands. Stay tuned, as we have this information we will continue to share with you.

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MagicBands will function as a room key, ticket and more.

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A young guest tapping her MagicBand at a sensor to get into an attraction at Walt Disney World.

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Edited by robbalvey
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We spent the last three days going around the parks quite a bit with some WDW Virgins...the "MyMagic" stuff is everywhere and we saw testing in limited areas and amounts happening. I seriously can't wait till I can leave my money at home and just have a band tied to my credit card and pass, this is going to be an exciting time at the parks for sure as they really get this rolling.

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I know that one of the gripes that some have about Disney is being forced to "plan" everything out, thus killing their "spontaneity." If this system can provide for both "planners" and "spontaneous people," then it's a win for everyone involved.

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I am eager to see how the FP lines will be affected, mainly in the early mornings when people are getting FP's for later allowing others to hit a few attractions quickly with minimal wait. I too like the idea of leaving everything at home and just taking the band, but seeing how we often get to the parks and realize our APs are sitting on the kitchen counter, it might be difficult.

 

I do hope they have different bands with different characters. Can we say up charge???

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This whole new generation of tech at Disney is very, very exciting, I can't wait to see it in action with my own eyes, plus I can't wait to get my own band as a passholder!

 

I know that passholders will get their own but, with resort guests, will they just recyle and re-appoint bands from person to person? I hope they are made of some clever polymer, else they could get quite scuffed up and dirty, especially the kids versions.

 

I'm sure they aren't cheap to produce either but my goodness it's a cool idea, plus for me carrying lots of little pieces of paper get's fustrating quickly in the rain. Good work Disney, leading the way again!

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Looks great! I really cannot wait until I am able to fly to Orlando and go to all the parks without having to worry if I have all my tickets packed.

 

I guess if you have the Non-Expiring Park Hopper tickets they will just load your information onto one of the wristbands. I still have several park hoppers days left and a full load of fun visits, so I will probably be using those for years.

Edited by ernierocker
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Guests already try to pay every time by touching their room key to Mickey at our Be our Guest QSR kiosks, though we haven't added that functionality yet. I feel that this technology will catch on very seamlessly.

 

The way I figure pre-appointed Fastpasses will work is that it will just reserve a certain amount of them during every hour of each day for online users and take those out of the total number of fastpasses given out in the current system.

 

This will definitely make getting fastpasses different. In the end, probably more difficult for those who don't have wristbands. Many users will be grabbing them from their phones on the go, which is easier than physically walking to the machines but is also subject to phone connectivity. Disney WiFi is not perfect yet, just like the meh cell phone service around the resort.

 

Warning to parents: Never ever let your little kids wristband have room charge payment activated. Haha.

Edited by Solid Gold
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This is really exciting to me, now that I have a smartphone. I won't have to worry about carrying who-knows-how-many tickets and/or Fastpasses in my pockets anymore.

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After the website "upgrade" all my reservations are lost and the "re-Link your reservations" site gives me a 500 error. I complained friday and got no response so far...

 

Gladly I've printed all my reservations and surely hope that all is fine - otherwise I need to talk to some head of IT-Operations there and give him a good hot seat grilling...

 

Honestly I think it's quite bad they aren't able to put your reservations back in after a website upgrade. Looking at Amazon I never lost anything when they updated their layout. I mentioned that in my complaint e-mail and suggested that they should maybe send their IT-staff to some courses to Amazon...

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As a cast member on the Great Movie Ride, I found that this system is quite an advancement. It had some tech issues, but Disney seems to always work out the kinks one way or another. Alot of people ask us why the Great Movie Ride (and several other high capacity attractions) even need a fast pass; The reality is that we can get lines last up to an hour during busy time of the day. I love the idea behind fast pass simply because I know that everyone will be able to experience our show, even if they don't have enough time left in the day to wait for an hour for it. I hope you all enjoy it !!!

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After the website "upgrade" all my reservations are lost and the "re-Link your reservations" site gives me a 500 error. I complained friday and got no response so far...

 

Gladly I've printed all my reservations and surely hope that all is fine - otherwise I need to talk to some head of IT-Operations there and give him a good hot seat grilling...

 

Honestly I think it's quite bad they aren't able to put your reservations back in after a website upgrade. Looking at Amazon I never lost anything when they updated their layout. I mentioned that in my complaint e-mail and suggested that they should maybe send their IT-staff to some courses to Amazon...

Yes, something happened to your reservations, and that sucks, I get it... BUT... in my experience with customer service, I've always felt there it a "right" way and a "wrong" way to your approach when you have a valid complaint. Do you want them to just fix your problem, or "take care" of you?

 

I think if you go in there with less of an "I need to give someone a good hot seat grilling" attitude and more of a "Hey, this happened, and I'd really appreciate it if you could make sure this gets resolved", I think you'll find people are more than willing to not just fix the issue, but really make sure you're looked after and taken care of.

 

Just my advice....

Edited by robbalvey
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As a non-US resident this seems like it would penalise non-US citizens.

 

My thinking behind that comment is that data roaming charges on mobile/cell phones are far too high to leave on waiting for a fastpass update.

 

Likewise, due to the cost of using cards abroad I would be skeptical about the payment method when I would have had to change money to Dollars for all my other spending.

 

That said the idea as a whole seems neat in its ease for people who can easily link everything.

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What I wonder is how spontaneous people will be able to be if all of the Fastpasses are sold out in advance. I was just at the Tokyo parks, and by mid-day all of the fastpasses at either park were sold out. For the newer rides, they were gone in an hour. And this was on slow days in the off-season. Will they now be sold out before the park even opens? This is already happening with the more popular restaurants. A friend of mine went to WDW last month, and tried to get reservations about a month early, only to find that one or two ofd the restaurants he wanted were completely booked for the entire trip. Will this happen with Fastpasses?

 

This is the kind of thing that will be great for most of us on ofrums like this, because we're smart enough and knowledgable enough to plan a good day way in advance. But I wonder if casual park goers will get left behind, and not be happy about it.

 

And is this the phase where they're going to implement different levels of Fastpass availability, based on how much you're spending at the resort, with those at premium hotels getting more passes than those at the budget resorts, who get way more than those who don't stay on property? I imagine that it won't be long before you'll be able to buy extra Fastpasses either, alhtough I'd definitely make use of that!

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My thinking behind that comment is that data roaming charges on mobile/cell phones are far too high to leave on waiting for a fastpass update.

 

That's why Disneyworld has introduced free Wifi into the parks.

 

Honestly I think it's quite bad they aren't able to put your reservations back in after a website upgrade. Looking at Amazon I never lost anything when they updated their layout. I mentioned that in my complaint e-mail and suggested that they should maybe send their IT-staff to some courses to Amazon...

 

Maybe this is a little more intensive than "updating their layout".

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^^I just never buy that excuse of "nothing I wanted was available". We have first timers in town who wanted to play things by ear. We got into all but one of the restaurants they wanted (4 out of 5) with a two day to 20 hour notice!

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^I've always wondered about that myself. People are always like "you need to reserve restaurants six months in advance" or whatever, and I've thought that sounded wrong. Seems like people will cancel/not show up or whatever, and you can get in, right? I guess people just like to over react to stuff...

 

dt

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^^ He did manage to get one reservation at the last minute, but he had a travel agent checking several times per day for him for cancellations and openings. But he's also a pretty knowledgeable Disney park enthusiast and was staying on propery for over a week, which allowed him some flexibility. (He admits he put off making his reservations too long, because he was too busy.)

 

I wonder what people just showing up at the park, who don't know about this system will think about it, if it becomes harder to get on the rides they want to ride without waiting a long time.

 

Still, as I said, this will be good for enthusiasts like us, who will be forewarned, and will get advice from even more knowledgable enthusiast friends. We'll know enough to make good choices and good plans. But at what point does taking a vacation start to become more work than fun for casual park-goers? It remains to be seen if they'll appreciate the benefits they can get from the system, or become frustrated with it.

 

It will also be interesting to see how flexible the system will be with changes. If I book my trip very early and plan out my days, and someone decides to join us, will it be easy to add him to our plans, or rearrange things together? Or will we be splitting up several times per day because we all have different Fasspass times?

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I think a lot depends on what time of the day you want to eat, too. I've never had a problem grabbing an early supper at a WDW restaurant without a reservation. And I agree that a number of people who make those insanely early reservations tend to "wash out" for various reasons.

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I was unable to get T Rex at all for dinner on any of our 5 nights back in October 2011. I tried booking it for our June 2013 trip and could only get dinner at 9 at night or later. I always go on as soon as they open reservations, though I believe it was via phone in 2011. I also tried for Ohana on multiple nights for our 2011 trip and it was always unavailable with not even an option for late night or early dinner. We tried standby 2 nights and they were not taking anybody for standby. I will say that we easily got Via Napoli as well as Primetime Cafe for this summer. It isn't really that upsetting to me as I don't think any of the food is that great.

 

I would LOVE to be able to buy more FastPasses, especially since we are staying offsite this summer.

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As a non-US resident this seems like it would penalise non-US citizens.

 

My thinking behind that comment is that data roaming charges on mobile/cell phones are far too high to leave on waiting for a fastpass update.

 

Likewise, due to the cost of using cards abroad I would be skeptical about the payment method when I would have had to change money to Dollars for all my other spending.

 

That said the idea as a whole seems neat in its ease for people who can easily link everything.

You say this as though in the last 6 years of development, Disney hasn't thought about this.

 

Why don't you let them roll it out, tweak and adjust, use the system for yourself, and THEN become an "expert" on what is right and wrong about it?

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