'it's a small world' at Disneyland Park

Taking the Disney Guest Experience to the Next Level

posted on January 7th, 2013 by Tom Staggs, Chairman, Walt Disney Parks and Resorts


At Walt Disney Parks and Resorts, we continually push the boundaries of creativity and innovation to deliver the best possible experience for our guests. We’re always looking for ways to take what we do and do it even better. Over the past few years, we’ve devoted considerable time and resources to create a more immersive, more seamless and more personal experience for each and every guest who spends time with us. I know there’s been significant speculation about these efforts among our fans, so we’re pleased to give you a glimpse into the work we are doing to take the entire Disney guest experience to the next level.

“Haunted

Some of these initiatives are more apparent and can already be seen by our guests – like our interactive queues at Walt Disney World Resort and the Enchanted Art on our cruise ships – while others are more behind-the-scenes and are focused on “how” visitors plan, access and enjoy their experiences with us. Over the next several months, we’ll be rolling out a collection of tools at the Walt Disney World Resort called MyMagic+ that will give guests more opportunities to customize and personalize their entire visit.

Like most people who visit Walt Disney World Resort, my family and I have our “must-do” attractions, and as the father of three boys, those attractions often end with the word “mountain.” Now, rather than dashing as a group, or even splitting up to gather FastPasses, imagine booking guaranteed ride times for your favorite shows and attractions even before setting foot in the park. With MyMagic+, guests will be able to do that and more, enabling them to spend more time together and creating an experience that’s better for everyone.

“Guests

A major component of MyMagic+ is the new My Disney Experience website and mobile app, which gives guests planning their trip the latest information on all Walt Disney World Resort has to offer. We know that some people like to plan every aspect of their Disney vacation in advance while others like to plan very little, letting their day unfold spontaneously. No matter where guests fall in that spectrum, My Disney Experience gives them the flexibility to plan as much or as little as they’d like to create the exact Disney experience they want. They can book dining and other experiences and reserve times for their favorite attractions, shows and more through an enhanced FastPass system, FastPass+. Once they arrive, they can use their smart phones to spontaneously change their plans in the moment, exploring our parks at their own pace and getting the most out of their visit.

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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.

This collection of tools is another step forward in the ongoing evolution of our guest experience, giving us even more ways to help friends and family create the unforgettable Disney memories that they want most. 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. We look forward to sharing more with you in the months ahead!

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Filed: My Disney Experience, MyMagic+, Walt Disney World Resort

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220 Comments 8 Replies

1

Benjamin on January 7th, 2013 at 5:30 am

The MagicBand sounds awesome – can’t wait to try it out! I’m assuming that you’ll be able to use an iPhone app to book FastPasses, etc?

2

James from Channel Islands on January 7th, 2013 at 5:34 am

I’m from the UK and booked my package through a travel agent. Will I still be able to take advantage of all the features including FastPass + before leaving home?

3

Roger on January 7th, 2013 at 5:42 am

Sounds interesting! I really can see the potential for this type of system.

I do however hope that there will eventually be alternative choices other than just a wristband.

Looking forward to trying this out soon.

4

Lucia on January 7th, 2013 at 6:19 am

What about Florida Residents/Annual Pass Holders? will our tickets change to the wrist band too?

Also, we use a guest assistance pass for our son who is Autistic, will we still be able to use that? or will we have something else?

Thanks.

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Dan on January 7th, 2013 at 7:05 am

How is this going to work for Annual Passholders? So far it sounds and looks like something to give Disney hotel guests a leg up on the rest of humanity. I would love to be able to arrange my day at any one of the parks. Everyone should be equal when it comes to being in the parks!!!!

 

Tom Staggs on January 7th, 2013 at 2:15 pm

Thank you for the comment, Dan. 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.

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Patty on January 7th, 2013 at 7:06 am

I’m excited about the program for many reasons- but not liking the planning of FP in advance. Not liking it AT ALL. Plans change- and if I am locked in and cant find an opening for the same ride at another time- I’m stuck in standby! Will there still be the option of using the traditional FP system? Please tell me there will be! :)

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Jeffrey on January 7th, 2013 at 7:19 am

Hey! This is awesome, I have been really excited about this concept, but as a local annual pass holder, what options will be available to me? If I have friends or family from out of town visiting, how will it affect the amount of rides/guest experiences that I can join it? I can’t wait to hear more!

8

Alex on January 7th, 2013 at 7:29 am

This sounds amazing and another reason why Disney Parks and Resorts is always finding ways to make magic for vacations!

I can’t wait to see the full effect this system will create!

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Thomas from GA on January 7th, 2013 at 7:47 am

While I applaud the effort, I’ve got concerns about the FastPass+ system.

Just like the dining plan, unless I book my dining way in advance of my trip, I stand a good chance of not being able to get the reservations I want. Personally, I don’t know months in advance what I want to eat.

I’m afraid the FastPass+ system is going to end up the same way. Unless I book my FastPasses months in advance, I may not be able to find an available time to ride specific attractions. To some degree, this happens today. Just look how many times you try to get a FastPass to an attraction like Soarin’ and find out there aren’t any.

Perhaps I’m just missing something in this but for me it’s a bit of a concern. And it’s going to take away a bit of the carefree spontaneity that has long contributed to the fun of a Disney vacation.

Tom

10

Lucine from RI on January 7th, 2013 at 7:58 am

When can we expect them to implement these awesome wristbands/MyMagic+ ??

 

Tom Staggs on January 7th, 2013 at 2:16 pm

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.

11

Kelly on January 7th, 2013 at 8:01 am

I have been waiting for this post!!! I am a Fl resident and have annual passes. The past couple of visits I have notice the seperate park entrance for guests with room keys. I would like to ask the same-ish question as Jeffrey: will I be able to use the MyMagic+ or fastpass+ even though I don’t have a room key?

12

Kathleen on January 7th, 2013 at 8:10 am

Hi! As an AP holder who travels with folks on regular tickets, will we still be able to book our FP+ times together? Also – will the wristbands have a strap like a watchband so I can take it off at night? Or whenever it starts to drive me crazy since I can’t stand things on my wrists?

13

Todd on January 7th, 2013 at 8:18 am

I’m also very curious as to us AP holders. Will we get our own MagicBand? Can we attach a card for tap to pay? Can we pre plan our FastPasses? We’re huge fans and want the full experience too!

 

Tom Staggs on January 7th, 2013 at 2:17 pm

Hi, Todd. 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.

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Daniel on January 7th, 2013 at 8:20 am

This all looks very interesting and I can’t wait to try it out first hand!

15

Autumn from VA on January 7th, 2013 at 8:42 am

Tom- We were at DW in December. We had the privilege of testing FastPass+ and LOVED it. We were some of the first people to hear the FastPass+ noises from the scanner at the Mansion (great addition!!) We also had the honor of talking to some of the tech testing crew in the Electric Umbrella, and at the gate at Magic Kingdom to tell them how much we loved the tech (heck you may have been the gentleman we spoke to!), to voice some security thoughts, and to ask a few questions. In standard Disney policy they couldn’t discuss the bracelet concept because it had not been officially announced, which we understood..
BUT, we had asked if these bracelets would work for Annual Pass holders and if they could just be reprogrammed for those of us DVC-ers and frequent visitors who live out of state with AP’s that come down a few times a year and stay on property so that we wouldn’t have to still carry an AP and get a new bracelet each trip. Because they couldn’t discuss the bracelet they couldn’t answer this… So can you tell me.. How will this work with AP’s?? :)

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Benedict on January 7th, 2013 at 8:48 am

This sounds fantastic, a way for guests to seamlessly plan as much or as little as they want in advance, even from thousands of miles away. I very much look forward to hearing more about MyMagic+, FastPass+ and more in the future!

 

Tom Staggs on January 7th, 2013 at 2:17 pm

You’re correct, Benedict. 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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Chris on January 7th, 2013 at 8:55 am

It sounds like a lot of good can come of this. As a local annual passholder, how will this effect how I tour with my friends and family from out of town though? If they schedule FastPasses in advance, does that mean I have to wait for them outside while they ride? Or we will have to watch shows in different areas?

18

Jerusha on January 7th, 2013 at 8:59 am

I’m excited for the system… Just don’t forget us Windows Phone 8 users! So far, us Windows Phone folks haven’t been able to use your mobile apps. :(

19

Jerome on January 7th, 2013 at 9:01 am

we Are Here At WDW Right Now….LoveThe New Entrance Turnstiles!

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Diane on January 7th, 2013 at 9:03 am

This sounds great,I think it will be a great way to enhance your visit to Disney, but does it work if your a local Annual Passholder? I would love to try it, is there a way to try it before it becomes available to everyone?

21

Evan on January 7th, 2013 at 9:09 am

If I buy my tickets, say, from AAA, a few weeks in advance, will I be able to reserve FastPasses in advance, too? I would hope so. We are local visitors, so we rarely book a hotel, but don’t visit enough to justify buying an annual pass. Thanks! Can’t wait to head back!

22

Kristin from IL on January 7th, 2013 at 9:33 am

Does the introduction of FastPass+ mean the current FastPass system will be going away or will they be used together? While scheduling your “must” do rides in advance seems like a great idea in theory, what happens when you want to ride it twice in the same day, as you can now by getting multiple FastPasses as available? The fine print seems to indicate that you will only be able to use FastPass+ one time per attraction, per day. It also says it is only available in only one park per day…what about those who park hop?

23

Don on January 7th, 2013 at 9:46 am

This looks really interesting. Although I love a lot of the idea, I am wondering about 2 things:
1. if you do not stay on property, does this still apply? It’s kinda unclear, since the wristbands can be used as room keys, but it’s implied that everyone will eventually use this system
2. will the traditional fastpass system still exist? my family usually gets 4 or 5 fastpasses a day (happily using the little-known 2-hour rule instead of only waiting until after we use our previous fast passes), depending on how early we arrive. I don’t think we would enjoy being limited to only a couple advance fastpasses. Also, wouldn’t having everyone choose fastpasses simply make the fastpass lines longer, since not everyone currently uses the system? or would fewer fastpasses be available at the rides to make up for the ones already given out?
Thanks!

24

Loye on January 7th, 2013 at 9:47 am

We’re annual pass holders, too, and I can’t figure out if there will be a way to visit the parks while enjoying it with our friends staying at the resorts. Hopefully, they have thought that through, but are starting with the basics.

I know the reason we are issued paper tickets for annual passes is because so many of us (me included!) forget our passes and have to be issued new ones. I don’t know if they would want the expense of replacing wrist bands.

As far as getting stuck with what you chose months ago for fastpasses, I think the article said you can make modifications on the fly, but of course, there would be no guarantees…

25

Ana from TX on January 7th, 2013 at 9:52 am

I’m all for planning but I’m really concerned about this concept. I hope the current FP system does not disappear because then, I don’t forsee this working out well for everyone. Also, what if someone doesn’t have a smartphone? How will that work?

26

Rochelle on January 7th, 2013 at 10:00 am

Are there interactive queues for guests in ECVs? Believe me, I’d prefer use of my ankles and standing in lines to arthritis. I’d really like to enjoy some of these interactive aspects. Which do you think are available to guests with nees such as mine?

27

Patty on January 7th, 2013 at 10:11 am

Another question- what if you plan to park hop? Will you be able to pre plan your FP at multiple parks? I’d hate to pay for park hoppers and then be limited in my FP use to just one park! Our family gladly pays the additional for PH to be able to go back and forth as we choose. Please don’t take this part of WDW away!

28

Alicia from MS on January 7th, 2013 at 10:12 am

My big concern is that those without smart phones will be left out.

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Julianne on January 7th, 2013 at 10:14 am

I’m an annual passholder as well, and was wondering about the wristbands for passholders. As for the new FP+ system, I don’t see why it’s needed–my family has been going to WDW at least once a year for the past 8+ years, and have gotten and used 4-5 fastpasses a day (sometimes for all of the same attraction–we love Tower of Terror). This system, it seems will take away that flexibility and force us to wait in more lines than we are used to.

30

Tim on January 7th, 2013 at 10:41 am

Veteran Fastpass uses would often use more than 4 Fastpasses per day at the Magic Kingdom, or be able to acquire multiple fastpasses for the same attraction on any given day in the other parks. It doesn’t seem like this is possible under the new system.

More importantly, will people that are unwilling or unable to plan which ride times they want in advance be at a disadvantage? There is alaready a shortage of things like Toy Story Mania and Soarin’ Fastpasses under the current system, will this be a greater problem under MyMagic+ and Fastpass+?

31

Thomas from ON on January 7th, 2013 at 10:47 am

I’m just wondering if your a resort guest do you have to use the wristband, or will you still be able to get a normal room key?

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Cynthia from UT on January 7th, 2013 at 10:51 am

Will you be able to book multiple stops at a specific attraction? Sometimes we come back for another fastpass for an attraction that we like a lot. I’m hoping the traditional fastpass system will remain in place as well to allow for a little spontaniety.

33

Diana on January 7th, 2013 at 10:52 am

When might we get additional information on this and a possible rollout date?

34

Nathan on January 7th, 2013 at 10:54 am

This sounds AMAZING! I really hope to use this in the future, however my wait times will all be for the Haunted Mansion and Pirates, I need to ride those rides atleast a dozen times each visit! Great job WDI.

35

Mary from MN on January 7th, 2013 at 10:56 am

Add me to the bunch wondering how this will work for AP holders and those who don’t like every single second of their vacation planned out.

Mary

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tom on January 7th, 2013 at 10:56 am

We have been DVC members and AP holders (since 1994)and we also want to echo the concerns that other folks have voiced about how it will affect us moving forward in the hopes that you will be able to provide us with more specific information pertinent to our group(s).

37

Melinda from OR on January 7th, 2013 at 11:00 am

Wow—and I always thought the Key to the World system was high tech and organized! Sounds great, we were just at WDW in December, but we’ll enjoy this for our next trip.

38

Alice from OH on January 7th, 2013 at 11:04 am

Sounds like a great new system. I wonder how people without phones will be able to schedule things?

39

terrence on January 7th, 2013 at 11:09 am

I thought I read somewhere early on that Ap/PAP/FRP will get so many FP+ per quarter and you can plan them accordingly . I also heard they will have stations around the parks that you can make changes to if you don’t have a smartPhone . I think once they get this rolling it will replace the current FP system .

I think just like current ADRs there is a possibility of getting locked out (current FPs are the same)but the more people get use and cancel one for another things will open up . We haven’t done ADRs in 4 years and still once on-site have been able to eat everywhere we want as long as we have some flexibility .

40

Ashley on January 7th, 2013 at 11:23 am

As an AP who comes roughly once a week (and usually spontaneously) I wonder how this will work for us. Will we be issued bands, which in theory sounds neat but, I think carting them around 24/7 will be a pain(a card version sounds perfect, it can be worn on a lanyard and stored in a wallet) . How will this system work for those without smart phones or international guests? will they have to lock in months in advance only to be stuck when something comes up? Will some attractions become like some restaurants and require a on the dot 180 day early reservation. Will this mean preferential for resort guests? I think that would be awful.

41

Chad from MI on January 7th, 2013 at 11:30 am

As others have commented, I suspect this will make it difficult to get a FastPass, just like dining reservations. For example if you want to make a dining reservation for Cinderella’s Royal Table, you need to do it at the 180 day mark or you won’t be able to get in. The post mentions being able to schedule while you are in the parks too, so it sounds like this issue may be addressed. Also I DO NOT want to wear a wrist band, I’d rather carry a card in my wallet. I’m afraid the new FP+ may fall under the category of “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”.

42

Tobi from OH on January 7th, 2013 at 11:34 am

I have to admit, just like ADR’s and the dining plan, this looks to me like something that is going to inhibit the way I normally do WDW. I don’t plan things that far in advance (sometimes even the trip) and by the time I get to making plans, nothing is available. As others have noted, it’s anti-Park Hopping (why pay the extra for Hoppers if you’re only going to be penalized for Hopping?) It also bothers me that people without smart phones are apparently going to be forced to stand in yet another line if they want to make changes. It just seems to be aimed at one certain demographic. I guess if that’s your biggest demographic, you go for that, but it doesn’t make me want to plan a trip to WDW right now…

43

Elizabeth on January 7th, 2013 at 11:38 am

I am hoping that the regular FP system will see be in use.

One of the wonderful things about a Disney vacation is the flexibility and spontaneity that the on-site transportation and park hopping allow. If I have to plan out what attractions I want to see months in advance, the stress of that will probably cause me to visit Walt Disney World much less than I currently do. I do enough planning with resort accommodations and the occasional ADR…please don’t make me book attractions times in advance as well!

The current FP system works wonderfully for both relaxed and adventurous touring styles.

44

Kara on January 7th, 2013 at 11:39 am

What about those of us that stay off site? How is this going to work? We will have paper tickets that will need to be converted? What will they be converted too? A plastic card with RFID in it, or a wristband? Or will we still use the old FP system? Very confusing, lots of questions…but no answers here yet?

 

Thomas Smith on January 7th, 2013 at 6:07 pm

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. All other guests 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.

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Stephen on January 7th, 2013 at 12:46 pm

Just to jump on the bandwagon – we are Annual Passholders who are members of the Disney Vacation Club. When we stay at WDW, we have separate RFID enabled room keys and non-RFID annual passes. Will there be a way to merge these two into one wristband?

So excited to see the new functionality. I just hope that the guests who spend the most money with you don’t get left behind.

46

Michael from AZ on January 7th, 2013 at 12:53 pm

Is there a plan in place that covers loss or theft of the bracelets?
It would be tragic if someone stole one and could break into a guest’s hotel room or purchase anything with one.

 

Thomas Smith on January 7th, 2013 at 9:57 pm

Great question, Michael. The process is similar to what happens today if a guest loses their Key to the World Card. If a guest loses their MagicBand, they can report it to any Guest Services Cast Member to have it disabled and replaced. With MyMagic+ guests will also have the option of disabling the MagicBand themselves through their My Disney Experience account.

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Matthew from PA on January 7th, 2013 at 1:00 pm

Hopefully more details to come. It certainly sounds intriging and has many possibilities. I, like many above, have concerns regarding availability of being able to get Fastpass+ for attractions. Dining reservations at WDW are sometimes impossible to get at the most popular restaurants unless you book 5-6 months out, which is always frustrating as we don’t always plan our trips that many months out. I’m hoping the same doesn’t now happen with Fastpasses. Hopefully Fastpass+ availability will be spaced out/saved and that there will be fastpasses available on the day of a visit.

I too am interested in learning more about how this will impact AP holders as well.

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Matthew from PA on January 7th, 2013 at 1:01 pm

Also, several papers are reporting on this today and mention privacy concerns with the data being used and collected. Can you elaborate more on what data is being collected and how will it be used? Can you opt out of your personal information being used for future marketing?

 

Tom Staggs on January 7th, 2013 at 10:18 pm

Ensuring the security of our guest’s information is obviously very important to us and no one is more focused on this than we are. Everything is opt in and guests will have the opportunity to choose what information they share with us. Nothing is more important to us than protecting that information. Guests should also know that the band does not store personal information.

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Shannon on January 7th, 2013 at 1:02 pm

I think this is a great idea. My family goes to Disney every other year to ever 2 years. We have a great time sitting down as a family and planning our trip ahead of time. From where we are going to eat to what park we want to hit each day. Plus the long list of must do attractions. We always recommend to friends to plan ahead that way you are sure to able do what you want. This system will help to keep us organized and on track. I think it definitely has potential.

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Amy on January 7th, 2013 at 1:17 pm

We have a tour booked for our stay later in the year… as of right now the my disney experience is only linking dining and room reservations…any chance all reservations made for WDW-related items be linked under the new system?

Also as cast members how will the new system work as we normally use our “gate pass’ to get ourselves and our guests in?

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220 Comments