Buzz and I were finally able to reunite for Spring Break; after months of not seeing each other we were able to return to WDW our home away from home. And I’m sure that all of you would love to hear about all the details about our spring break, this article is actually regarding all things MyMagic+. When Buzz and I left after finishing our College Programs Disney was just beginning to test MyMagic+. And now almost a year later Disney has rolled out MagicBands, Fastpass+, and the My Disney Experience app. So Buzz and I decided that we were going to take on Magic Kingdom as full-on tourists.
We booked a 2 night stay at Pop Century Resort, had a 1 day ticket to the Magic Kingdom, and customized our MagicBands ahead of time! About 2 weeks before our arrival date, Buzz received our MagicBands. However, because of her school and a little bit of miscommunication in the mailroom, the MagicBands were lost. I called Disney regarding the MagicBands, and they immediately sent out new ones and cancelled out our old ones. Funny enough the mail room found the first MagicBands an hour after we called to order our new ones.
A few days before our trip we decided to switch resorts from Caribbean Beach to Pop Century. Once again, Disney made this transition extremely easy and we were able to keep our MagicBands. We had done online check-in before we had arrived, which made check-in super quick and easy. Disney resorts no longer encode Key to the World cards, so everything is now on MagicBands when you are staying at a Disney resort. This includes charging privileges, room key, park tickets, photopass, and FP+. After we checked in we went to our room and dropped off our stuff— good news our MagicBands worked!
Once we left our room we headed over to Art of Animation to grab a quick bite and explore the resort. In terms of decoration, Art is definitely my favorite themed value resort; it’s a great place to walk around and you feel exactly how Disney wants you to, like you are in the movie with your favorite Disney Characters! And if y’all haven’t seen Art of Animation yet, I would definitely recommend heading over and just walking around the resort. After our stroll we decided to head to Downtown Disney. With all the new construction for the parking garage and the upcoming revival of DD into Disney Springs, it was difficult to find parking. However, once we did find a spot we checked out our favorite shopping district. Team Mickey had already been closed and was under refurbishment to become the new Marketplace Co-Op (click here about the new shops coming to Disney Springs). But all of our favorites were still there, yes Basin White, Earl of Sandwich, and Trend-D, I am talking to you!
Once we had sufficiently wiped ourselves out we headed back to the resort and decided to buy some refillable mugs. For those of you who don’t know, all the mugs on property and just regular cups as well, have RFID tags in the bottom. Meaning, the mugs and cups had chips at the bottom that the drink machines can read, allowing you to refill your mug/cup for a certain amount of time. We did have a few issues when we tried to buy the mugs. Apparently, buying a mug is a very technical process now. Once I reached the register I told the Cast Member I wanted to buy a 3-day usage for my mug, just an FYI it was about 10 at night. The Cast Member was a little distressed about this only because she wasn’t sure if by buying this option so late at night if the cup would work on our last day, so she made sure that I knew to keep my receipt in case anything happened. I used my MagicBand to buy my mug and then went to fill it. Once I reached the drink station the machine kept telling me my mug was expired, which I knew wasn’t right seeing as how I just bought a few days for it. So I went back to the Cast Member where Buzz was waiting and the CM said that she forgot to code the mug. So she placed it on a sensor and coded it. Once I went back the mug was able to be refilled for another 14 days. I don’t know how that happened, and there isn’t an option to have the mug be refillable for 14 days so I just went with it. Funny enough the same thing happened to Buzz, but when she tried to pay for her mug it wouldn’t work. The CM forgot to set up a PIN for Buzz when we added her credit card on the transaction, and since I already had one set up mine worked, but she never had a PIN under her name before. So I bought the mug for her since we didn’t have our wallets with us because our MagicBands were our wallets at that moment.
Once we filled our mugs we went back to the front desk and set-up a PIN for Buzz. The Cast Member was extremely helpful and ensured us that there wouldn’t be any issues with our MagicBands and their PINs. I don’t blame the Cast Member’s at all because this is still an extremely new program and there are a lot of steps to take to ensure that every part of the MyMagic+ experience is seamless for guests.
The next day was our one and only day in the parks, and that day would be spent at the Magic Kingdom! We woke up mighty early and grabbed breakfast at the Pop Food Court, and went to the bus stop an hour before park open. When we arrived at the Magic Kingdom our bus stopped at the new MK bus stop. I just have to say it doesn’t look new at all, which I love it is themes exactly like the other stop, and there aren’t buses everywhere trying to get around each other which is fantastic. Anyways, I made sure we had our plastic tickets with us in case our MagicBands did not work. Luckily, we didn’t have any issues with entering the park with our bands and were able to get into the park far more easily than we would have with the old paper and plastic ticket machines.
We arrived so early to watch the Opening show, which in my opinion is totally worth getting to the park before opening.
We were figuring out our game plan for the day because we had three FP+ set up for the day: Space Mountain, Peter Pan’s Flight, and Big Thunder Mountain Railroad. So we decided to hit Adventureland and ride Pirates of the Caribbean and Jungle Cruise, after that we just wandered the park and rode all the rides we wanted! It was busy so we did have to wait in line for most of them, but the lines were not too bad. Then the moment of truth came and it was time for our first FP at Space Mountain. We headed over and there was a small line of people getting ready to scan their MagicBands for their FP’s as well. The system actually worked far better than I expected, and almost all of the guests knew exactly what to do, which surprised me. After touching our bands to the Mickey poles we got the green light to go and started walking down the queue. We definitely noticed the difference between the old FP line and the new one. There were hardly any people in the FP queue when just a year ago you would have to wait in line for a couple of minutes for Space Mountain, even if you had a paper fastpass. Once you reach the end of the queue you touch your band to another pole, and it reads that you used your fast pass. I will admit that it was weird not holding anything in my hand, I kept thinking I was forgetting something, but fear not everything you need is on your wrist.
Following our first FP+ adventure we headed to other rides and then utilized our other two fast passes throughout the day. Overall, they were efficient and easy. You don’t have to go searching for your fast pass in your wallet or pocket because it’s on your wrist at all times. And if you ever do want to change your times or rides for your FP’s, you can do so on the My Disney Experience app (which is advertised everywhere) or by waiting in line at a select location so a Fastpass+ Cast Member can help you make selections.
We finished our day at the Magic Kingdom when the park closed and checked out the day after. Your MagicBand expires when you checkout, and since we did express checkout I believe our bands expired at 11 a.m. So make sure you have everything out of your room and bought everything you want with your band or else it will no longer work for you.
My overall impression as a full-on guest staying on-site for vacation and utilizing the MagicBands is that Disney definitely has something going for them. We used our bands for everything you could use them for, except for Photopass. There are definitely some kinks, that I believe they will need to work out; ie. PINs, multiple bands per person (I already have 4 bands altogether), and FP+. They worked wonderfully for us, and I did notice a difference in line wait times. The fast pass lines are no longer extremely long and the stand-by queues short, giving a false impression of a short wait time to guests. It will be more difficult for guests to abuse the system, which if I’m completely honest is likely a major reason why fastpass+ works how it does (this is my opinion). I do believe that more options need to be available to guests in terms of the amount of FP’s you receive and what rides you can choose. At Magic Kingdom you can choose 2 high level attractions, and 1 lower level (think Mad Tea Party or Mickey’s Philharmagic). Yet, at Epcot and, I believe, DHS and DAK you can only choose 1 high level and 2 low level attractions. I personally find it frustrating that you are limited to only 3 FP in one day and CANNOT park hop. However, I am hoping that once MyMagic+ has gotten more stable and the technology for it has been tested and tested until the folks at Disney start pulling out their hair, then maybe they will add FP’s per day and allow park hopping with them. But until that day comes, Disney has created a game changer once again, and I can’t wait to see where it goes from here.
Have you tested or used any of MyMagic+? Did you have a great or lousy experience with it? Let us know in the comments, on Facebook, Twitter, or in an email!