Silly Symphony Swings at Paradise Pier

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.

“A

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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220 Comments 8 Replies

51

Heather from MN on January 7th, 2013 at 2:02 pm

OK – let’s try this again…

1. Is it really feasible to change a ride reservation while in the park? If it is anything like ADRs I doubt it.
2. How will grandparents of the world manage this?
3. I hope FP AND FP+ are available to all who enter the park, not just those who can afford it.
4. I am a super planner down to ride itineraries, but I am flexible. I question the ability of this to be all that flexible – see item #1

52

Diana on January 7th, 2013 at 2:25 pm

Oh and what about the regular FASTPASS (now you seem to stylize it as “FastPass”) system? Can that be used in conjunction with FastPass+ and MyMagic+?

53

darren on January 7th, 2013 at 2:29 pm

No need to reply, I just wanted to add my 2 copper:

As a Florida res and AP holder, please dont leave us out :)

54

Robert from FL on January 7th, 2013 at 2:30 pm

I’m an excited annual passholder – when can I have my band and can I choose the color?

55

Ingrid on January 7th, 2013 at 2:34 pm

Since MyMagic+ in WDW parks, what happens to those Fps when the rides go down (101)? Can they come back at another time to use it?
I have APs for Disneyland Resort here in CA. When are you planning on bring MyMagic+ to DL and DCA? Cell coverage is not the best throughout the parks. I had a heck of a time trying to use my iPhone during Leap Day celebration and when the shuttle Endeavour flew over.

56

Melanie on January 7th, 2013 at 2:35 pm

Are they Waterproof.

57

Sam on January 7th, 2013 at 2:40 pm

Really lame question, but will wifi be made available for users of these bands?

I doubt this will be up and running in time for our honeymoon in April, but we’re travelling from the UK and definitely won’t be able to afford the crazy roaming fees our networks charge for use abroad.

58

Kimberly on January 7th, 2013 at 3:01 pm

We are traveling to Disney in March this year is this something that will be available then? Also because we are a millitary family we had to purchase our room and dinning seprate from our tickets. We have always purchased it all as a package in the past but were told we had to buy our tickets seperate this time. We hope they will allow us to add our park tickets to our room keys so we only have one thing to keep up with.

59

Paula on January 7th, 2013 at 3:09 pm

Sam, we were at WDW in November and found all four parks now have WI-FI, which helped us immensely because we have an iPad and iPods, but not smartphones.

I’m curious as to another possible use for these bands and the information stored on them: if children wear them and are separated from their parents, will cast members be able to use them to quickly obtain children’s identification and access contact information to reunite them with their parents?

(And, like so many others, I’m also itching to know if the current FastPass system will stay, because we also have used four FastPasses in a day and don’t particularly like the thought that anyone willing to put in the planning and legwork would, under the new system, be stuck waiting in long lines beyond their allotted FastPass+ tickets.)

60

Erik on January 7th, 2013 at 3:21 pm

Hello mr Staggs; Happy New Year:-)
I just ordered ParkHopper-tickets (10)from Norway. Are staying in Beach Club (next to EP and DHS – fore that reason) from middle of Feb:
What about newly purchased ParHopping?
Will this roll out before we arrive?
What about my Lenovo-tablett (win8)?
Is it wifi in all the parks?

61

Sam on January 7th, 2013 at 3:28 pm

Brilliant, thanks Paula! :)

62

Nathan on January 7th, 2013 at 3:31 pm

Tom,
Will they still have regular Fastpass machines for those guests that decide to have spontanious days and decide to park hop? Thank you.

63

Carol from PA on January 7th, 2013 at 3:52 pm

Looks good. We are AP holders from PA, who will be staying on property in Feb…..happy to help with the test, if you will still be testing then….
Interested to see how this will work for those of us that visit several times per year, always on staying on property, who have AP’s, but don’t necessarily plan out every minute of our trips. Lots of questions, but lots of potential, too

64

anna on January 7th, 2013 at 3:56 pm

we are planning to visit in late august early september, will the bands be given out in the hotels from this point?

65

Michelle on January 7th, 2013 at 3:57 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.” – Michael from AZ

I would assume (hope!) that the bracelets will be like the current key cards which do not have anything on them to identify the room number or even resort on them, for security reasons. As for charging to the room, bracelets would have no greater risk than the cards as well, as long as they can be worn securely.

66

David from NY on January 7th, 2013 at 3:59 pm

I wish Disney Vacation Club would provide a bigger perk to reduce waiting..that would really get people to join!!

67

Jordan from CA on January 7th, 2013 at 4:13 pm

Hi Mr. Staggs,

I’m very excited to see these exciting changes coming to Disney Parks. Do you have a timeline on when these changes will make it to the Disneyland Resort in California?

68

Stacie from NC on January 7th, 2013 at 4:50 pm

Overall, I am looking forward to this. We come to Disney in different ways… ie, We’ve been with siblings who are DVC members, we have exchanged through RCI into a DVC resort and we have done the packages. So, I too am curious as to how this will work for those that have reservations onsite, let’s say through RCI at a DVC resort, but are purchasing tickets either through Disney or through a “Disney Selected Seller.”

69

Danyale from PA on January 7th, 2013 at 4:51 pm

I am an AP holder we are heading there in 2 weeks, missed out on testing the new fantasyland any chance we’ll get to test out the new magic bands. I hate the flimsy paper tickets we have now.

70

Lauren on January 7th, 2013 at 5:03 pm

Yay! No more fumbling around with 8 different photopass cards/ room keys/ park tickets. I think this is a GREAT idea! I think the wristbands are cuter and more inconspicuous than a lanyard anyway. I hope the rumors are true about being able to customize your wristband with different colors etc. So excited for our next trip!

 

Thomas Smith on January 7th, 2013 at 9:58 pm

It’s true. There will be future opportunities to further customize your MagicBands. Stay tuned, as we have this information we will continue to share with you.

71

Sally-Ann on January 7th, 2013 at 5:15 pm

As a new DVC member who took advantage of the AP at reduced rate, I will not be picking my ticket up until my trip in October. I am at a lost to see how it is going to benefit me as I won’t have a valid ticket until then. Can you clarify at all? Also I presume the wristbands are waterproof!

I do think this has the potential for being a good idea, but I am worried about the security aspect. What is to stop the band being cloned? Disney T&Cs that I have read about RFIDs make it clear any unauthorized use through cloning, theft or loss is the holders responsibility so before I go yippee paperless Disney I want to know how safe it is.

72

Brooke from WA on January 7th, 2013 at 5:56 pm

Wow does this sound cool! I’m a DVC member planning my next WDW vacation for spring ’14, so it sounds like this will be up and running! Wow is this going to change the way we do Disney World! Love, love, LOVE the idea of being able to “book” places to view parades/shows so you don’t have to waste all that time holding a spot! I’m only 5’1″, so being near the front is important so I can actually see!

73

Danielle from CA on January 7th, 2013 at 6:00 pm

I hope the parks plan on adding to the WIFI capabilities in the parks and adding cell towers everywhere. The worst/slowest place to use a smart phone is in a Disney park!

74

Timothy on January 7th, 2013 at 6:06 pm

Coming on Feb. 21 would love to be able to start booking fastpasses today. Will this be up and running for my trip?

75

Wolfgang from Rheinland-Pfalz on January 7th, 2013 at 6:32 pm

Makes me think of the short promo film for Tokyo DisneySea in which a guy almost ruins his and his girlfriends vacation by planning everything in advance…

76

Heather on January 7th, 2013 at 6:36 pm

I’m reserving judgement until some more concrete information is revealed. As of right now, I’d say my most pressing query is this: We know that MyMagic+ guests will only be able to reserve a set number (I’ve heard 3) of FastPass+ experiences per day in advance, and that participation in the FastPass+ program makes said guest unable to use the traditional paper-based FASTPASS program. Does this mean that MyMagic+ guests will ONLY be able to have that pre-set number of FastPass+ experiences? Or will they also be able to acquire on-the-fly FastPass+ reservations the day of their visit? For example, let’s say I’m panning on visiting the Magic Kingdom for a day, and pre-book FastPass+ times for Splash Mountain, Space Mountain, and a viewing of Wishes. The day of my visit arrives, and during the afternoon I decide that I’d like to ride Peter Pan at some point, but don’t particularly fancy waiting in its notoriously long line. Would I be able to go onto the My Disney Experience app and reserve a FastPass+ for Peter Pan for later in the evening, much as one would do with a traditional FASTPASS? Or am I limited to the three experiences I pre-booked 60 days in advance? Some clarification would be much appreciated.

77

Jose on January 7th, 2013 at 6:45 pm

How about a Windows Phone app?? All of my family uses them!

78

Mona from BDA on January 7th, 2013 at 7:26 pm

This is such a relief for families like mine. 3 children, not all being able to go on all rides! We are always running to get fastpasses, now we get to plan ahead of time :)
To make things even better my wish is to have a central fastpass. It would be so much easier to have a bunch of machines all over the parks and you get to choose which ride you want it for rather than running to each separate ride to get fastpasses every couple of hours… :)
Can’t wait to go back!
Thank you!

79

Kim on January 7th, 2013 at 7:26 pm

As a mom who loves Disney AND technology, this is a thing of beauty. We’ve never been to WDW parks (we’re DL visitors) but I look forward to getting to experience this special and unique touring option!

80

Joel on January 7th, 2013 at 7:27 pm

We will be at Disneyworld in 13 days, how can we try out the magic band and fast pass+?

81

Alicia on January 7th, 2013 at 7:28 pm

I see many people asking about Annual passholders, but I have a Seasonal Pass. Would I get any benefits from this new technology or am I stuck?

82

Luke from Victoria on January 7th, 2013 at 7:42 pm

Tom, this is all well and good. But how does this make it easier for international visitors.

When i visit WDW, i cant use my mobile phone as it costs me around $15 per megabyte for data used. So keeping my phone on me is just not possible. Also even if you book your holiday direct through the website, Disney Travel don’t send things to Australia. Whilst i think its a great idea, i don’t think it will help for anyone who lives outside of north america.

Do you have a plan for this?

83

Tommy from SC on January 7th, 2013 at 7:45 pm

I have the same question as several other posters, do I have to wear a magic band if I stay at a Walt Disney World Resort? I have no desire to wear a wristband while on vacation.

84

Erin from SC on January 7th, 2013 at 8:02 pm

We routinely stay at Disney Resort hotels, but never purchase tickets in advance- always buying them at the gate. Will people in our situation be able to book fast passes in advance of our trip. I had read online that only those guests who book hotel and ticket packages would be able to plan ahead. I had understood that preplanning your fast passes would be limited to those guests who stayed on property, but if I have to buy tickets in advance as well the concept loses some luster for folks like

85

Carol from FL on January 7th, 2013 at 8:32 pm

As annual passholders and live in the Orlando area, I don’t want to have to carry a wristband for me and my family at all times. We put our cards in our wallets and have them whenever we may want to to to the parks. A wristband isn’t something that a man is going to carry in his wallet and it can easily be left at home. There needs to be another option. Stick with just using our annual pass for everything.

86

Steven from FL on January 7th, 2013 at 8:53 pm

MyMagic+iPhone=FastPassbook!

87

Sara on January 7th, 2013 at 9:14 pm

My family buys military tickets through our local base. Will we still be able to get wrist bands?

88

Barbara from MI on January 7th, 2013 at 9:25 pm

I feel like technology is leaving me so far behind. I don’t have a cell phone so many of these great updates are unavailable to me. I might not even have a computer if my laptop dies on me. For all of the steps forward please make sure you are not leaving people behind.

89

lisa on January 7th, 2013 at 9:55 pm

This sounds amazing we will be there this Sunday 1/13/13 is it part of the visit now in WDW FL? Love Disney and anything it does to make the experience more fun and interactive!!! I have been toying with the My Disney Experience and can’t wait to go back again to see its full potential and we haven’t even left for this trip :)

90

Chrissy on January 7th, 2013 at 11:14 pm

I am excited for all of the interactive options. My main concern, however is the MagicBand. My son is on the Autism Spectrum, and I worry about his sensory issues {where even a loose thread in a shirt can cause a meltdown}. We also opt for the GAC on our trips, in the event that he needs one {we have only used it twice}. Will that be loaded onto the MagicBand??? Will accommodations be made for Guests with different needs??? I foresee that I will be carrying my son’s band as I would his KTTW card.

91

Zachary on January 8th, 2013 at 2:39 am

I’m an Annual Passholder to the Disneyland Resort. Will we see the MagicBand here as well? Or will it just be exclusive to Walt Disney World?

92

Ruthie on January 8th, 2013 at 3:11 am

I also have questions as Amy # 50 stated what about CMs AND no Smart Phone either I love jumping in the car last minute on a day off and be a guest too grabbing FPs and having fun

Thanks

93

Jennifer on January 8th, 2013 at 5:55 am

What about those who are staying DVC – are they considered onsite guests or will they be lumped in a different group?

94

michael on January 8th, 2013 at 6:33 am

Looks great. My concerns are as a Florida resident and passholder. Many times, our visits are not planned many months in advance. It is or easy impossible to reserve times at our favorite hotel restaurants. By allowing once or twice in a lifetime guests to pre book fast passes, we, your loyal Florida residents, will now be unable to ride rides when we want? Hopefully you have some sort of provision for this.

95

Daniel on January 8th, 2013 at 6:36 am

Hi Tom,
Great to hear this news! You mentioned that the new features would be rolled out across all Walt Disney World Hotels, would this include the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin? And how would the new ticket system effect UK visitors using 14 or 21 day Ultimate tickets?
Many Thanks!

96

Matthew on January 8th, 2013 at 7:56 am

What a great idea. My question is will the bracelets be water proof? I know rides like Splash Mountain will get you soaked :)

97

Chad from MI on January 8th, 2013 at 8:19 am

Tom,

You commented that guests at non-Disney hotels will receive a ticket with features of touch to enter the park, touch to redeem FastPass+. As an Annual Passholders will I have the option of getting a ticket with the touch features rather than getting a wrist band? In addition to being an Annual Passholder I always stay in a Disney hotel, but I would much rather have a card than a band.

98

William from PA on January 8th, 2013 at 8:28 am

@Heather, we did get to test the FastPass+ features last month and the number of rides/attractions you can schedule is different for each park (Magic Kingdom was 4, Hollywood Studios 3) and I was changing ride times on my phone while on the bus going into MK just before lunchtime.

99

Dave from AB on January 8th, 2013 at 11:02 am

I think this is a great step forward in Enhancing the Magic of Disney.
I just wonder if you could reuse them over and over again each time you come.

100

Cheryl on January 8th, 2013 at 11:30 am

We’re going to Disney World at the end of Jan for our first trip with children. We’ve been planning our trip and enjoy the new website and app.

Would the bands on the children be able to give the cast member information like our cell numbers in case a child is lost? With six children, safety is important to me.

220 Comments