MyMagic+ roll-out is slower than expected, but "going well" at Walt Disney World

Posted Monday, December 16, 2013 9:28 AM | Contributed by Jeff

Though the rollout is taking much longer than the company hoped, a top Disney CFO Jay Rasulo says the implementation of MyMagic+ at Walt Disney World "is going well."

Read more from The Orlando Sentinel.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013 7:53 AM

I guess they are still testing it according to this little card on my table, but my MagicBand is working great. I did the online stuff to connect our annual passes to our room reservation and make FastPass+ picks in advance. When we checked in, the MagicBands were just ready to go, we didn't have to do anything else.

For annual passholders who stay on Disney property, only having one "key" for a stay has been a long time wishlish item, and at least for my family this week, has worked well thus far.

One area that is still having issues is the Pirates Adventure. A cast member suggested we use our annual pass card, as the RFID readers were not picking up the bands consistently.

Also, it appears a physical ticket of some kind is still required to get regular FastPasses in the park.

--edited for spelling and grammer

Last edited by WhyBoblo, Tuesday, December 17, 2013 7:54 AM
Tuesday, December 17, 2013 8:31 AM
Jeff's avatar

They've had one "key" for years... it was just a plastic card instead of a wristband. As a passholder, I don't want the band, the card does just fine. Let me open a folio account to it, and we're good.

All tickets are plastic cards with RFID tags in them now. You can't use a paper ticket. Those are what you use to get paper Fastpasses.

Jeff - Editor - - My Blog - Silly Nonsense

Tuesday, December 17, 2013 10:04 AM
rollergator's avatar

Should've hired Jeff Zients...? ;~)

Tuesday, December 17, 2013 10:51 PM

Jeff, maybe we are talking apples and oranges, but as a passholder, I've always had a room key for room entry, dining plan, room charges and for extra magic hours, and a separate annual pass to get into the park and reserve fast passes. I'd asked about the ability to combine them several times over the years, and all I ever got was that the then current system could't handle it.

I had an RFID room key back in January this year, and got our annual passes switched from paper to RFID plastic during an April visit, and still had to carry both cards on those trips this year.

This is the first trip where the room opening "key" was also my park admission "key"

Wednesday, December 18, 2013 12:53 AM

We will be at Grand Floridian in February and I assume we'll have the bands for everything we do. My concern is this- how far in advance will I have to schedule reservations and advance fast passes? Or, does the new fast pass system even allow you to do it from home before you go?

As a frequent visitor I'm no stranger to the reservation system and it's importance for a hassle and disappointment-free time, but is Magic Band changing things drastically? This trip will be a little different in that there's a convention involved, we dont yet know what that schedule will be like, we're there for a full week, and hopefully plans will include other parks and things around Orlando. I don't want to set our schedule so much in stone, especially at this point in our planning. On the other hand, I don't want to miss out on certain rides and restaurants, that's for sure.

Can anyone here (Jeff?) who's either used it or is familiar with the concept ease my mind over this?

Wednesday, December 18, 2013 8:02 AM

I stayed at Caribbean Beach the first week in December, so there's my reference point.

I found that there was no change in the reservation system. If you needed to make reservations well in advance for a specific place you still will, but if you could wait until day of you still could. One day, I played with their app around lunchtime and was able to choose from several places at Epcot for reservations that evening. Please note, I don't normally make the dining decisions in my group, but this was my experience and also based on what those who do make the decisions told me as well.

As far as the advance fast passes go, I only had a problem with Toy Story Midway Mania when I tried to make a fast pass at night for the next day and they were used up. I don't know how far in advance they were booked but if I remember correctly it was available 3-4 days in advance at one point. I had no problems with other rides selecting my fast passes either the evening before or that morning before I went to the park, although one person with Guest Services told me that some of the bigger attractions besides Toy Story do fill up early mornings or sometimes the day before.

I received my band about a month before my trip and could have made advanced fast pass reservations as soon as I got it.

Note that you only get 3 fast pass + choices per day, they all have to be at the same park, and there are some restrictions beyond that. For example, at Epcot you can only get one fast pass for either Soarin or Test can't get both. At Studios, you have a choice between Toy Story, RNR Coaster, or Fantasmic. Only one of the three. There may be other restrictions that I don't recall.

If you get a card when you check in in addition to your band Disney does not have anything in place yet to prevent you from using that to get additional traditional fast passes (at least as of my trip), although I was asked nicely not to.

I hope that helps.

If I were more clever, something funny would be here.
Wednesday, December 18, 2013 8:34 AM
Jeff's avatar

I suspect the restrictions and scope are fluid, and will change. Hard to say what to expect in February. I think until/if they eliminate the paper passes, you shouldn't have to worry.

Jeff - Editor - - My Blog - Silly Nonsense

Wednesday, December 18, 2013 10:23 AM

As a long time WDW visitor, and now having two trips under my belt under the new “MyMagic” program, I stand by my original opinion on the initiative. That is you basically have to plan out a good portion of your trip well in advance, and for spontaneous travelers like my wife and I, the new paradigm just doesn’t work for us. I’ll give you a few (of many) examples:

1. On my most recent December trip, one of the days was hot and sunny and we wanted to go to Blizzard Beach that day. But we had FP+ selections for HS that day including Toy Story. We ended up skipping the water park so we wouldn’t feel like we “wasted” a prime Toy Story FP+. We really wanted to go to BB that day.

2. We typically park hop during the day and end up at Epcot each night for a few drinks and Illuminations. Currently you can only get FP+ at one theme park per day, so when we got to Epcot, we couldn’t grab a FP for Soarin like we typically did in the past (and walk up paper FP for Soarin were still available).

3. We ended up losing $20 on an Epcot dinner reservation no show because we weren’t able to get into Be Our Guest at MK until around 2:30pm for lunch. Our dinner reservation was for 6:30pm, but since we ate lunch so late that day, there was no way we were going eat again at 6:30pm, so we had to eat the $20.

In the end, I don’t like planning my WDW vacation weeks or months in advance. I often have no idea what I will be doing on any particular day until the morning of; that’s what makes a WDW vacation fun for my wife and I. Factors such as weather, how we feel and how hungry we are at any particular time plays a huge role in how we go about our day.

I really don’t like where this MyMagic stuff is going and my wife and I are simply going to have to decide if there are other vacation options that will better suit our spontaneous style.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013 4:49 PM

Thanks for all the information, guys. And H n' B, your experience is exactly why I'm nervous for this upcoming trip. I've done the well-planned Disney trip before and didn't mind, in fact it took away a lot of anxiety. However, it worked out best the time I went with a friend who was going to the parks for the first time- we had four parks to do in four days. It was much easier to decide in advance what park we'd visit each day, then plan our dining options accordingly. Done.

This time is different, though, and I know it'll be inconvenient to be tied to such a strict schedule. I think I'll follow Jeff's advice, being that February is rather slow anyway, and try to grab FP's and reservations closer to time. A must do for us is California Grill, so that will be one instance where we'll probably want to go ahead and decide in advance and just make sure it happens.

I'm still a little confused about the limited FP's with the Magic Band, but I'm hoping, once again, due to the fact that the parks won't be so busy that it all turns out to be about the same anyway. I think I'll see what Disney says about it. A must-do FP is Toy Story, but I have no idea what day we'll be at the Studios or how long we'll be able to stay.

Thanks again.


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