MyMagic+ Set to Roll Out at Walt Disney World

Earlier this week Chairman of Walt Disney Parks and Resorts, Tom Staggs, offered fans a glimpse into the future. The details of the $1 billion NextGen program have been much speculated over the past few years, but it's about to begin a major roll out to the public and "push the boundaries of the [Walt Disney World] guest experience."

More Information Right to You, Anytime You Need ItMore Information Right to You, Anytime You Need It

Disney is "focused on 'how' visitors plan, access and enjoy their experiences" while in the Disney Parks and Resorts says Staggs. As guests we're already experiencing the foundations of the program in Parks with value added moments that come in the form of interactive queues, turnstile-less gates, and added capacity programs. Photo Pass has been enhanced; with plused options offering unlimited photo opportunities from "additional attractions and dining destinations." Resort rooms have been upgraded with RFID based keyless entry, and touch to pay stations have been popping up in greater numbers. Online we've been introduced to the new My Disney Experience Website and Mobile App, which Staggs explains, "gives guests planning their trip the latest information on all Walt Disney World Resort has to offer."

The best however, is yet to come for over the "next several months" MyMagic+ is going to tie it all together, creating a "more immersive, more seamless and more personal experience for each and every guest" that visits Walt Disney World. Mr. Staggs tells us that

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.

One Touch to Unlock the MagicOne Touch to Unlock the Magic

Here's what Disney tells us that MyMagic+ is bringing our way:

  • More information on all Walt Disney World Resort has to offer, from resort hotels and attractions to dining and merchandise.
  • Flexibility in designing the overall Disney experience, planning as much or as little as guests wish.
  • Make dining and other reservations and FastPass+ selections from home, or on the move in the Parks through My Disney Experience Website and Mobile App.
  • Connect with family and friends to coordinate plans and share photos.
  • Disney FastPass+ service. Guests will be able to select FastPass+ attractions and entertainment experiences through My Disney Experience before they leave home and make changes on the go.
  • For the first time, guests will be able to reserve firework and parade viewing areas, shows, Disney Character Greetings and more, in addition to their favorite attractions.
  • For guests who don't know where to start, Disney will recommend FastPicks " a set of three FastPass+ selections that serve as a starting point " and give guests the option to customize their selections.
  • Disney FastPass+ service is included with Theme Park admission.
  • MagicBand. Worn on the wrist, the colorful MagicBand is an all-in-one device that effortlessly connects all the vacation choices guests make online with My Disney Experience.
  • Guests can use their MagicBand to enter their Disney Resort hotel room, buy food and merchandise, and enter Walt Disney World theme parks and water parks. Plus, the MagicBand provides FastPass+ access to all the experiences selected and serves as the connection to Disney's PhotoPass.

FastPass+ Can Be Reserved at Home or On the GoFastPass+ Can Be Reserved at Home or On the Go

For those worried about sharing too much personal information with Disney, Brooks Barnes of the New York Times offers this after interviewing Staggs "Guests will not be forced to use the MagicBand system, and people who do try it will decide how much information to share. An online options menu, for instance, will offer various controls: Do you want park employees to know your name? Do you want Disney to send you special offer when you get home? What about during your stay?"

Barnes also questions, "What happens if your MagicBand is lost or stolen?" and reassures us with the knowledge that "Park employees will be trained to deactivate them or guests can use the My Disney Experience app, a Disney spokeswoman said. As a safety precaution, Disney will also require guests to enter a PIN when using the wristbands to make purchases of $50 or more. 'The bands themselves will contain no personal identifiable information,' Mr. Staggs said."

Touch To Pay with MagicBand or RFID Enabled Key To The World CardsTouch To Pay with MagicBand or RFID Enabled Key To The World Cards

For the time being MagicBand will be available only to select WDW Resort hotel guests and guests purchasing specific products. But the future is coming fast and it's only a matter of time before My Magic+ is fully integrated for all Disney visitors. Until that time, other guests will be able to use their standard ticket media to access the benefits of MyMagic+, such as making FastPass+ selections on My Disney Experience.

Tom Staggs finishes his glimpse of the future on Disney Parks Blog by telling us "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." That's good to hear, because with an estimated 121.4 million admissions a year there's bound to be a few snags.

Are you looking forward to the My Magic+ linking together all the NextGen projects? How do you feel about the RFID data mining? Leave a comment and let us know if you think that will be a truly magical addition to your vacation experience.

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Jacky wrote on Wed, 01/09/2013 - 15:56:

Jacky's picture

This is pretty cool. It sounds just like the world card, but on your wrist. No need to put it in a pocket and worry about it falling out.

I like the fast pass feature the digging around for your card to get the fast pass, no digging around later to find the fast pass.

Scott McKinley wrote on Wed, 01/09/2013 - 16:32:

Scott McKinley's picture

My hesitance is with the wristbands. My questions are Is it waterproof? Between sweat, pools and water rides there are going to be a lot of wet bands. Secondly are these single use bands? I will not wear a band that was previously used. And thirdly how customizable are they? I don't necessarily want the kids bands to have room key or charging access. And perhaps least important is the idea that I just don't like wearing wristbands but I suppose I would get use to it.

Judy Pierson wrote on Wed, 01/09/2013 - 17:22:

Judy Pierson's picture

I think this is awesome and will only make our WDW vacation better!
Thank you.

Kat wrote on Wed, 01/09/2013 - 21:55:

Kat's picture

I really like the concept of the devices, especially the personalized trip experience and fast passe in advance! I'm not too worried about security issues: I'm sure they'll be very vigilant about having them de-activated if lost/stolen, and privacy-wise, Disney already isn't a very private place with security cameras, etc. in most locations so if I was so worried about that I probably wouldn't be at Disney! The only thing that actually does bother me is the fact that it's a wristband: I hate wearing things on my wrist and don't even wear bracelets or watches, and wish it would all be integrated in a card (like the Key to the World card already was, only using the new technology as well). Oh well, I'm sure if they do end up having the wristbands when I visit in May that I'll get used to them!

Kristen K. wrote on Thu, 01/10/2013 - 14:53:

Kristen K.'s picture

Scott - The interface to be used to customize the amount of information you can control hasn't been released to the public yet, but I look forward to seeing it. As far waterproof, I think that they will be. The casing appears to be a combination of sealed plastics. Here's a link with some more details about the patent for the band. They casing also says "non-transferable" on it, so I do not believe that they will be reused.

Kat - I'm with the "don't like wearing things on my wrist" crowd. It really bothers me. I believe that the NY Times article that I sourced said that if guests opted out of wearing the band, that the technology would also be in the key to the world cards.

disneydreamer wrote on Thu, 01/10/2013 - 22:10:

disneydreamer's picture

I am on the fence with this. Some of it sounds great, other areas not so much. I am with some of you on wearing something on my wrist my whole trip. Not really a fan of that. I guess I will find out when I go in 2014.

Danyale wrote on Fri, 01/11/2013 - 22:06:

Danyale's picture

I can't wait for these magic bands to come out. We have been AP holders for 2 years now and I have so many issues with the flimsy cheap paper passes we are given. I have season passes for Hershey Park and Dutch Wonderland in PA as well and they are like credit cards with my picture on it. They don't get demagnitized or damaged nearly as easily as my disney one and they are a 1/4 of the price. As for the fast passes doesn't bother me either way since none of our parks down here give out free fast passes, Hershey has that option for the rollar coasters but you have to pay for it and its not that cheap for something that just gets you out of line.

Nancy1 wrote on Wed, 01/16/2013 - 00:41:

Nancy1's picture

I don't particularly care for this idea. What's wrong with the guest cards that do all this now? "If it isn't broke, why fix it"? If this was a feature to help keep track of children, I would be more open. Also, I don't like to wear this type of band around my wrist, especially for a length of stay which for our family is usually a week. If given the option, I will choose the card. We have reservations for December, 2013; hopefully, they wont be in place yet.

Jason wrote on Fri, 01/18/2013 - 12:25:

Jason 's picture

Scott - They should be waterproof. It wouldn't make sense if they weren't. In an email received yesterday it stated that these would be "colorful keepsakes" so they will be single use.

I don't really like wearing things on my wrist either. Haven't wore a watch for years. Don't like getting the watchband tan and will probably get it with these. On the other hand. I am hoping to get them on our trip in 6 days. While as Nancy1 said they have the RFID KTTW cards, the wristbands will allow me to not have to carry the families cards on me at all times. Having to pull them all out, put them all away. One down side is in order to get fastpasses the day you are at the park (and this is still speculation because i don't know how in park FP distribution will work with these bands) i would either need the whole family there to scan their bracelets OR i would have to take all 4 wristbands with me to get the fast passes as you can only schedule 3 or 4 fp per day via the MyMagic+ app when it comes fully online.

Nancy1 - from the email i received it sounds like they plan on having this fully functional sometime this year so I would say they will definitely be in place for your December vacation. As far as the option, i would assume they have to give it because of medical issues some people may have with wearing the bands. But another thing stated in the email was that only people who stay on property will get the wristbands. If you stay off property you will get the RFID KTTW card. I would guess they will use this also as a way to decipher who is who for extra magic hours also.

Kristen K. wrote on Mon, 01/21/2013 - 15:04:

Kristen K.'s picture

Thanks so much for the updates Jason!

BowlingFamily1998 wrote on Sun, 03/03/2013 - 20:45:

BowlingFamily1998's picture

We are staying at CBR in 2weeks. We have purchased resort and theme park admission through my husband's work. We have already received tickets so his could that be added onto.the wristbands?

Kristen K. wrote on Mon, 03/04/2013 - 13:46:

Kristen K.'s picture

Hi BowlingFamily1998! MyMagic+ and the MagicBands have not rolled out yet, so there are no bands to have things added to at this point. There are still a lot of logistical questions with the program but it seems like if it did roll out before your arrival that you would continue to use the ticket media that you have already received.

Kristen K. wrote on Wed, 03/06/2013 - 19:47:

Kristen K.'s picture

Renee, you've got two more months, it could still happen :-) I'll keep my fingers crossed for you!

Stephanie0117 wrote on Wed, 03/27/2013 - 01:38:

Stephanie0117's picture

Great Wolf Lodge has been using these for a long time

Kristen K. wrote on Wed, 03/27/2013 - 12:18:

Kristen K.'s picture

Stephanie - I know that Disney has the patent on these, so it's won't be quite the same as at Great Wolf Lodge. It could be similar though. I'm really excited for this to start happening!

Jim W wrote on Sat, 12/28/2013 - 23:42:

Jim W's picture

Just down to WDW & this RIFD system only works 100% where they want to sell you something. Otherwise it's hit & miss. My wife never could get into the room & it worked - 50% of the time for her to get into any park. For WDW spending + 1billion so far it's not reliable or dependable at all. And nowhere does it say at any park that you don't have to use it & no staff are saying it either. And they're requiring everyone to use the fingerprint readers; so much for it being voluntary. It's not! Every WDW inpark guest that I saw, irregardless of what resort they were staying at, was wearing a RIFD bracelet. So it's not confined to a select few resorts; every resorts using them. You must work for WDW to spread this bs around.

Kristen K. wrote on Tue, 12/31/2013 - 13:04:

Kristen K.'s picture

Hi Jim!

So sorry to hear that you had a difficult time with the MagicBands. I assure you that WDWFG is an independent fan site, however the source material for this article was the first press release for the MagicBands that came out last January. As with all things Disney information and experiences can change without notice, but we do the best we can to keep up with the latest information.

Patti D wrote on Mon, 01/20/2014 - 15:41:

Patti D's picture

We used the magic bands when we were there in November. I was a little hesitant at first, only because I am not good with change, but we loved them. Waterproof, can wear them in the pool and on any water rides with out worrying. They are customized with your name on the inside and they are yours forever. You keep them. They don't recycle them at all.

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