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NEWS: Disney reveals details on Walt Disney World MyMagic+


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I guess people just like to over react to stuff...

 

Disney fans? Over react? NEVER!!

 

I love reading all the comments on the Disney Parks Blog from APs who are freaking out. Guess what? Resort guests pay A LOT more money than an AP does, so IMO they should be getting better service.

 

It's the age old Disney AP philosophy: "I want the parks to be maintained perfectly. I want the parks to always be expanding with new attractions. I will scream bloody murder if I have to pay any more money for this to happen."

 

I also never understood all the complaining about dining reservations at WDW. I have never had a problem finding a reservation within a days notice, or even "day of". The only restaurants that I've had to really book months ahead of time were large group Ohana visits, or T-Rex, holidays, etc.

Edited by Swimace
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How will this work for some of us locals who like to hit up the parks sponatniously. I feel like on busy days even the fastpasses will not be available for us to use.

 

Have they mentioned how/when Annual Passholders will get their armbands?

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It's the age old Disney AP philosophy: "I want the parks to be maintained perfectly. I want the parks to always be expanding with new attractions. I will scream bloody murder if I have to pay any more money for this to happen."

Did you read my rant on my personal FB page today?

 

I also never understood all the bitching about dining reservations at WDW. I have never had a problem finding a reservation within a days notice, or even "day of". The only restaurants that I've had to really months ahead of time were large group Ohana visits, or T-Rex, holidays, etc.

Same. And we've done T-Rex so many times with no problems. If you're willing to go at non-peak times, split up a larger group, etc, we've never had an issue with any restaurants. I don't quite understand why a "party of 12" always needs to sit at one table during dinner. Honestly, are the people at one end of the table going to constantly talk with the people at the other? Split up 6 and 6, or 3 groups of 4. You have a MUCH better chance of getting in.

 

And I've always found that if you're not having any luck online, CALL! Talk to a human if it's THAT important for you. Sometimes talking to a human, especially if you get someone that actually knows what they are talking about and works at the location, can give you some tips on how to get a better chance at securing a reservation.

 

Case in point, Yak & Yeti was "not available" online the other day, we went right to the restaurant as soon as we got to the park at 4pm, and we got a reservation for 7:15 that evening. And this was during the busy holiday period!

 

You DO need to go in with some "backup options" with restaurants you'd like to do just in case. But I just have to believe that if someone is really having so many problems getting reservations, they must not be doing something right. And all this new system is going to do is HELP people do it right.

 

--Robb

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Isn't "Fail" the opposite of "Win?" (I can't keep up with internet jargon any more...)

 

Anyway, this wristband thing sounds like a great service improvement, and I don't even want to know how many ways I'm already being tracked by my phone, my computer, my bank, the black helicopters over my house, yada, yada. Might as well have Disney know what I'm up to at all times at their parks.

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I find this new technology in the parks exciting.

 

As someone involved in IT I am wondering what sort of security measures are being put in place in the wristbands? If they are using RFID technology then the information/data from the wristband could be copied to another device when a person is within a certain range of the wristband (which isn't terribly hard in a crowded theme park). I know that they said it requires a PIN for purchases over $50 but that just means several smaller purchases could be made throughout the day (and if someone copied your wristband data you wouldn't really realize it since you still have your wristband on your wrist).

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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.
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So will this be the end of the current fastpass system as we know it? Or will this be an option? I am a little confused. I love this idea about using your cell phone to book your rides for the day, I just hope my phone battery holds up...lol.

 

As far as dinner reservations go, I have always found it hard to get reservations in the past at "certain" restaurants. A few examples would be cinderellas royal table in the castle, 50's prime time, chef mickeys, and England (in epcot). It also has to do with the time of year you are going. If your going in sept, you should not have too much of an issue. But if your going in Dec for example, good luck.

 

We went last july, and I booked all my dinning in advance because we already knew where we wanted to eat. The only bookings that were somewhat hard to get was in the cinderellas castle, and chef mickeys. We were able to book them, just not at the times we wanted. With the exception of the few restaurants I listed, you have a 50/50 chance of getting into any restaurant on the day of your trip due to cancellations and no shows. It was a lot harder to get into some restaurants before Disney added the fee for reservations that were not cancled 24 hours in advance for some of the more popular places.

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As someone involved in IT I am wondering what sort of security measures are being put in place in the wristbands? If they are using RFID technology then the information/data from the wristband could be copied to another device when a person is within a certain range of the wristband (which isn't terribly hard in a crowded theme park). I know that they said it requires a PIN for purchases over $50 but that just means several smaller purchases could be made throughout the day (and if someone copied your wristband data you wouldn't really realize it since you still have your wristband on your wrist).

 

Most of the banks in Australia (including the one I work for) have rolled out RFID-enabled credit cards over the past few years (no PIN required for anything under $100). Probably 80% of stores now have the terminals in place to process 'contactless' payments, and the rate of fraud is significantly lower than that of the old magnetic stripe cards (those could be 'skimmed' and copied, whereas RFID-enabled cards cannot). Due to various security protocols they are pretty much impossible to duplicate and even if someone was able to 'copy' the RFID signal they wouldn't be able to do anything with it.

 

TL,DR: unless someone steals your wristband (something you'd definitely notice happening) then the risk of fraud is almost nonexistent.

 

I think the Disney system is great - as a foreigner I hope there is an option to load up your wristband using cash, as the transaction fees can add up quickly!

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

 

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.

 

Just get a credit card which doesn't charge to use abroad. There are a number of cards for UK residents that actually have better rates of exchange than most Bureau de Change and Travel Agents, as well as not charging to use them - Halifax Clarity being one example.

 

I really like the idea and can't wait to try it out on my next visit.

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Some folks assume that the creation of fastpass+ means that all of a sudden, the regular fastpass service will disappear. That is 100% false. Disney is working to make the parks more streamlined. To avoid the "dad is going to run to Everest to get fastpasses then meet the family at safaris." Instead fastpass plus enables guests to book attractions in advance. To plan out their attractions and to organize their day.

 

To those who do not use it, fastpass plus will not affect them as a balance is put in place between the fastpass plus users and the guests using regular fastpasses. Now granted, the fastpass is used as often as possible to help the attractions themselves to understand the demand for an attraction at a specific time. That way, the waits are less miserable and much shorter. It also makes planning easier for shows and other smaller attractions. If you would rather not be as planned, fastpasses for the larger attractions are available without worrying about other smaller attractions. Its that simple. It allows you to customize your vacation. I know a ton of people who would love to show up at Toy Story Mania at 5pm and already have their fastpass ready to go, not dealing with a standby line because they weren't there at park opening.

 

Also, if you use the fastpass plus system, its actually very easy to be flexible with the times. During the original fastpass plus test at magic kingdom, they had several machines set up so that guests could access a record of their attractions and switch them if they needed to or wanted to.

 

Also, the ability to have your child wear a wristband instead of carrying a key around for the room? Talk about a blessing. If the Kid can go grab something from the room and not have to worry about losing a card, its genius. They can use the disney dining plan and everything with the wristbands. Its a fantastic idea.

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Some of my own personal feelings on some mentioned concerns.

 

Restraunt Availability - Making reservations isn't some new concept. If I'm going to New York, I would never expect to just walk up to Gordon Ramsey's, Wolgang Puck's, or any other popular restaurant and expect availability. Some of those places are booked up to a year in advance. People who think they can visit the worlds most popular vacation destination and just walk up and get a seat at the most popular restaurants aren't living in the real world. This coming weekend is the marathon. Guess what, all the Italian restaurants are fully booked, as is Be Our Guest. If I decided not to check earlier for availability that's my fault. There's no secret code or handshake to get reservations. You just have to book early.

 

Foreign Visitors - When I was going to visit Europe I did my research and found out that the Capitol One Master Card had the best exchange rate. It was actually cheaper to use my credit card than go to my bank and exchange for cash. It may take some research, but when a foreigner visits the US they will have to exchange their money somehow, and some places require the use a credit card. If they do the research, they can find a low cost solution.

 

Fast Passes - I highly doubt they would allow all Fast Passes to be distributed before the park is even open. That wouldn't allow people to be 'spontaneous' as Disney said they keep in mind. But even if they did, there will still be other rides available. Just because one ride doesn't have a Fastpass available doesn't mean you can't ride it. There are still single rider lines at a lot of the rides, and if it's that important to you then wait in the long line, or spend the extra money to stay on site!

 

Purchasing - For the past few years they haven't even required you to sign for anything under $30 for a credit card, so I don't see how the $50 limit with no PIN is that different. I sign the back of my credit cards, and also write "SEE ID," but only about 1 in 10 clerks even ask to see my ID. I'm sure they will have some fraud protections in place (I'm kinda sure that this has crossed their minds). Also, my current debit card already has an RFID, when I'm in Japan my Suica card has RFID, and many other things have them in there. A responsible person would know that they can be cloned, and will put them in an RFID blocking wallet. It's like anything else in this world, if you don't pay attention you will be a target for fraud.

 

Planning - I've never been on a vacation where I didn't have to do extensive planning. If you're spending a massive amount of money, and not willing to do the research you will end up getting burned. With all the information available on the internet there really is no excuse on why you can't do some research. Especially for a place like Disney World, where there is so much information available. I found TPR while trying to find information about Japan theme parks.

 

AP's - It's amazing how entitled some AP holders feel. I have a Premier Pass, and just the fact that I can get into any Disney park in the US is a massive deal in itself! The food/room/merchandise discounts are a nice bonus, but the pass itself is a huge deal. Have you ever thought about why they even offer AP discounts? It's because most visit a lot and don't spend anything! They end up using a ton of the operational budget, but don't give anything back. So they offer discounts to try and get you to spend more money. Look at it this way. The couple who just spent every single day of 2012 at Disneyland ended up being a little marketing event for Disney, but look at the costs involved. They paid approximately $1.78 a day to visit Disneyland. It doesn't take a genius to see how much Disney is losing on that every day. Let's say they spent $40 a day a the park. That would be $14,600 total. Added together that's about $41.78 per day they spent. Still a great deal. Now look at a traditional guest. Even with the best deal as of today (5-day park hopper special price of $260) if extended throughout the year it would equal $18,980! That's without food or merchandise! Even if I add in just $20 a day for food and merchandise (Regular guests pay usually pay way more than AP holders), the total spent per day is approximately $72. Compare that to the average of $41.78 and you can see why they care more about non-AP guests. Yes, I'm absolutely aware that going everyday is the extreme, but it is actually what you paid for! It is absolutely true that AP holders are cheaper than non-AP holders. I mean, that is exactly why anyone would get an AP, to get the same amount of days for less money. By virtue of getting an AP, we are cheap! I really can't stand a lot of AP holders (Just a general rant, not directed to anyone in particular).

 

On-Site versus Off-Site - I can get a hotel room for about $35 in the Disney area. The equivalent at Disney is the All-Stars for approximately $75. If I'm willing to spend extra money, I should definitely get more out of it. For an additional $30 some odd dollars a day I can get up to 3-4 hours extra in the park, more Fastpasses, free transportation to/from the airport, and free transportation around the park! That's a great deal. It's a balance that you have to pick and chose. Would you rather have a better hotel without any benefits, or, would you rather have a lesser hotel with a bunch of benefits for the same price. I don't see how this is any different than everything else we purchase in our lives.

 

Personal Information - I really don't care if they track everything about me. It's private property, they can do what they want. They already track my purchases, they can see everything I do because they have cameras, and they know what things I like to do. Having it consolidated in one card doesn't bother me one bit. In fact, I'm all for it! They will get better information that they can use to bring more foods that I like, more rides that I like, better queues, better employee coverage, and more! If you're scared of people tracking you, you shouldn't go to Disney to begin with. Also, one thing I think could be a benefit is for lost kids. Imagine how easy it could be to locate the parents of lost kids. When a cast member finds a kid, they can scan their location and when the parents scan their's they can instantly know the whereabouts of their kids.

 

Well that's my 'rant' for now

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Some of my own personal feelings on some mentioned concerns.

 

Restraunt Availability - Making reservations isn't some new concept. If I'm going to New York, I would never expect to just walk up to Gordon Ramsey's, Wolgang Puck's, or any other popular restaurant and expect availability. Some of those places are booked up to a year in advance. People who think they can visit the worlds most popular vacation destination and just walk up and get a seat at the most popular restaurants aren't living in the real world. This coming weekend is the marathon. Guess what, all the Italian restaurants are fully booked, as is Be Our Guest. If I decided not to check earlier for availability that's my fault. There's no secret code or handshake to get reservations. You just have to book early.

 

 

Well that's funny, I used to be able to do that before ADR's happened at WDW., apparently I wasn't living in the real world.

 

I don't like this new setup at all, there's a LOT of issues they are going to have with it from everything I've seen from insiders.

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^Some restaurants still sold-out, and the popular ones sometimes had waits for over an hour.

 

Attendance since 2005 is estimated to be up by about 8 million people, and the number of on-property rooms have increased by over 1700 since 2007! I'm pretty sure that has more of an effect on availability than the fact that they allow reservations.

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I don't like this new setup at all, there's a LOT of issues they are going to have with it from everything I've seen from insiders.

 

Who are these amazing "insiders"?

The voices in his mind.

 

Seriously, if you're making assumptions or complaints before the system is even rolled out, tested and adjusted. You're dumb.

Edited by robbalvey
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I don't know why everyone keeps talking about how foreign phone users will struggle with this, I recently did a japan tour and Singapore and I never had a problem. universal had an app and when my stubborn Korean phone wouldn't connect to check line times there were lots of staff to help me get what i wanted done and there was plenty of wifi everywhere, even when my phone refused it someone helped show me on my park map where I could find line times ( i realize looking up ride lines is different from booking fast-pass but my point is that a park will always have alternatives and friendly staff to assist you).

 

I like to be spontaneous but i would welcome a chance to plan some of my fastpasses, due to extenuating circumstances the day before that i'll try and cover during my trip report, Tokyo Disneysea was packed with people the day I visited and even though I managed to get fastpasses and was happy I got everything done, i found that at 2-3 points during the day i literally had an hour- an hour and a half each time where I couldn't do anything because i was waiting for a fast pass time and was worried about joining any line for fear of missing my fast pass window. I'd have been more than happy to have been able to plan even a little and then been spontaneous for the rest of the day. Although to be fair DIsneysea was one of those parks where you can just walk around and admire everything.

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I don't like this new setup at all, there's a LOT of issues they are going to have with it from everything I've seen from insiders.

 

Who are these amazing "insiders"?

The voices in his mind.

 

Seriously, if you're making assumptions or complaints before the system is even rolled out, tested and adjusted. You're dumb.

 

No, but a couple of them (not all) have lots of interesting info over on the magical WDW message boards.

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