One of the new experiences I was most looking forward to during my recent visit to Walt Disney World, Florida, was getting my hands on the new MyMagic+ system. Disney have rolled out some seriously good WiFi across all their parks and resorts, and, quite apart from the fact that it’s ridiculously useful for Instagrammers *cough*, the accompanying technology is pretty mindblowing.
Before you travel:
While you’re still at home, you can use the new My Disney Experience website to sort out your entire holiday: you can book FastPass tickets for your favourite rides, deal with your resort reservations (reserve dining, etc), invite other members of your group to join you and book and plan your stay together… the list is endless. The site will even suggest attractions suitable for you, based on the demographic within your group. You start off with three FastPass+ tickets at one park per day for each day you have park admission, but can change, or add more later.
When you arrive:
The My Disney Experience app really comes into play. You’ve already got all your information loaded, so using the site-wide WiFi, you’ll be able to look at interactive maps, check out show times and wait times for rides, view your wish list items and favourites, see the character experiences… The app is tremendously useful. I think the only downside of the FastPass system before was that you did find yourself zigzagging across the park, using your FastPass+ ticket on one attraction, then rushing back for your FastPass time on the next one – with the app you can plan all your FastPass+ tickets and timing, saving you valuable time and letting you cram much more in to your stay. And once you’ve set your favourites, the app will keep updating with wait times, show maps to get you to your next attraction, and you can even get the Disney photographers to ‘blip’ your photos straight on to your account. Amazing.
FastPass+ ticketed attractions have now more than doubled too. You can book FastPass+ tickets for the fireworks, for character meet and greets, even to book special VIP viewing areas for the parades.
In addition to the app, guests now receive a MagicBand, which not only stores all your information, but also acts as your resort room key and park entry. Guests not staying at a resort have the option of purchasing a MagicBand too, but it’s by no means compulsory. Basically now you just ‘blip’ your MagicBand against your door, or against the new turnstiles at the resort, scan your finger, and you’re in:
One of the most exciting aspects of it for me (and I’m basically a big kid so I suspect this will be the same for most of the younger guests) is the way you can customise your MagicBand with all sorts of different goodies. You can buy Magic Sliders (like the cupcake and skull above) that just slide onto the wristband, or – my favourites – these fabulous Magic Bandits that pop into the unused holes of the MagicBand:
They make a great souvenir to take home with you and obviously next time you’re in Walt Disney World, you can take your little Magic Bandits with you and customise your MagicBand all over again!
We tried the system for the whole five days and found it informative, highly customisable (the app, not just the bands!) and I think overall it made our visit hugely more personal and immersive. If you decide you want more FastPass tickets, you can add those to your account and your MagicBand will be updated instantly. Security-wise, all your personal information is hidden on the band (it’s useless to anyone else if they pinch it, and can be quickly disabled if lost or stolen) and it makes faffing about with tickets and room keys a thing of the past.
Now all you need to do is book that Disney holiday!!