Halloween at Walt Disney World Resort

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

220 Comments 8 Replies

101

Andrew on January 8th, 2013 at 11:38 am

My high school band and chorus of 400 students will be traveling to Disney World from Thursday March 21st to Sunday March 24th. I was wondering if anyone thinks that they would offer this MagicBand to us at that time, or are we too large of a group? Thanks

102

Robin on January 8th, 2013 at 1:03 pm

I like being able to book the 3 or 4 rides in advance, However will you be able to book more rides with RFID once you have entered the park? We are AP and DVC members and all of this is very important to us. Thanks!

103

frida from FL on January 8th, 2013 at 2:14 pm

Do we get the bracelets upon check in at our Disney hotel? Also when can you make your fast pass reservations for the attractions?

104

Tobiatha from OH on January 8th, 2013 at 2:17 pm

I am intrigued by the technology being used, but so far the information I have heard about it does not really excite me.

1. Planning in advance/park hopping: Not everyone can/wants to plan ahead of time. I may know which park I am starting but there is no telling which one I will end in.

2. Bands: Things on my wrist are annoying after more than a few hours. If the option for the “magic” cards is given, I might not have as big of an issue.

3. Security: How easy would it be for someone to skim these devices? I am not worried so much about privacy, but I doubt I would want to attach a credit card to my band.

105

christina on January 8th, 2013 at 3:25 pm

Correct me if I’m wrong, people who are staying in Disney World resorts have this wristband today.

106

Austin on January 8th, 2013 at 3:27 pm

Hey!! You probably have already answered my questions above, but short for time at the moment, I didn’t really have a moment to go through, so please pardon if I repeat ask something you’ve answered. First, we are coming in June and can’t wait!!! yay!! Do you know if the bands will be out then? Also, if they are, how does that work? As in, would we just get them when we get to the hotel check-in? Would we put the information in before we get there or at the same time? Will they be available in different colors (as it is my daughter’s concern that we would get them confused with each other’s if we take them off at night)? And I assume they are waterproof for water rides correct? Thanks so much!! And can’t wait until June!!

107

Greg on January 8th, 2013 at 4:08 pm

My comments on MyMagic+ – The FP+ system sounds good but here is my 2 cents – the limit of 1 park and 3 per day is a problem. Like many, we usually get 5 or 6 and then we will park hop to get another one. I would suggest allowing more than 1 park if you have the park hopper.

108

James from OK on January 8th, 2013 at 6:07 pm

ParkHopper, parkhopper, parkhopper – there MUST be a way to allow FP(+?) at multiple parks on the same day. It sounds great otherwise, although I think my family will personally be losing some of the benefit we have gained from years of experience with the current FP. We really work that thing. :)

109

Kathy from SC on January 8th, 2013 at 6:35 pm

If I decide to get FastPass+ and get the MagicBand are they removable? I would not want them if we can’t take them off. Also if I don’t want to do all this planning ahead of time will regular FastPass still be available?

110

Steve on January 8th, 2013 at 8:23 pm

As an annual pass holder & one who likes to plan but also likes to be spontaneous,how do I benefit from fast pass plus on a spur of the moment trip & when can I expect to see magic bands in use?We have a trip coming in june.

111

John from NJ on January 8th, 2013 at 8:48 pm

As DVC members and frequent visitors of WDW, we’ve learned how to make the most of the FP system, using 5-7 per day. A limit of three FP+ per day will surely change the way we tour the parks, and most likely result in spending less time (and therefore less money) in the parks. We’d choose our resort pool over a long stand-by line wait.

112

Gail from NJ on January 8th, 2013 at 9:03 pm

I keep reading comments that off-site guests can purchase the bands – is there an extra charge involved for these bands, above and beyond the parkhopper/room charge?

113

Jackie on January 8th, 2013 at 9:15 pm

My mom and I love this idea! My mom said it’d be great for dad, because he has a seizure problem, and sometimes short term memory from that, so with the wristband he wouldn’t need to worry about forgetting anything. I love the idea that this would put an end to turnstyles , this will make visiting Disney Parks even better for Pooh sized guests.

114

Regina on January 8th, 2013 at 9:29 pm

Is there going to be any issues using these new features (MagicBand FastPass+) if I buy the military park hopper tickets through Morale, Welfare and Recreation? We’re planning on staying on-site for our trip in May and would love to be able to use this feature.

115

Stuart from CA on January 8th, 2013 at 9:56 pm

No more finger printing. Guess that is good and bad in a way.

Good, as I don’t have to worry about those people before me washed their hands or not. So many go to the restroom and leave without washing their hands, or someone picking their nose just before entering. It will be more sanitary. It probably makes it faster to enter the gates with a swipe of a bracelet.

Bad, well what prevents these people selling off their multiday bracelets? As an AP at Disneyland, I see cast members going up and down the entry lines yelling out make sure your tickets are signed, and have your photo ID out for verification.

The bracelet concept looks very interesting, and can’t wait to experience it. I assume credit cards are stored on the servers still, and not on these RFID bracelets.

Guess I better bring a caribeaner with me since I hate wearing things around my wrists.

116

Kelly on January 8th, 2013 at 10:51 pm

Dear Mr. Staggs,

How do I send you a private message or email regarding this new service Disney is betta testing?

Thank you

117

krystina on January 9th, 2013 at 2:31 am

We’re heading there in 10 days and I can’t figure out how to select the fastpass now as part of the fastpass+ program. Is that something that’s not implemented yet or am I missing it? Also, are all guests given the opportunity to participate in this now? I have had MyDisneyExperience on my phone for months and I’ve been learning it and watching how quickly fast passes are gone by noon on popular rides. Coming from the westcoast and expecting jet lag for the first few days we’re not sure we’ll make it to the park before noon on most days. This sounds like a great thing for our family so we’re sure to get the opportunity to ride some of the rides my kids are looking forward too. Thanks for any help you can give :)

118

Jason on January 9th, 2013 at 5:08 am

I think the wristband itself seems like a great idea. However, I don’t like the FastPass+ idea at all. I know plenty of people have already mentioned it, but I don’t want to sit down and schedule out every ride I’m going to go on ahead of time. I want to go to the park and get whatever FastPasses I can that work for me at that time. I can make changes to my FastPass+ on my mobile device? Wow, that’s great, just what I want to do when I’m there. Just spent 10 days at WDW and my least favorite part was the fact that I had to plan out all my dining reservations a month ahead of time. I look forward to bringing that same experience to all of the rides as well.

119

Jason on January 9th, 2013 at 9:48 am

We are visiting the first week of March…will this system be live by then? What about reserving Fastpass+ times online?

120

Angela on January 9th, 2013 at 10:43 am

I am actually looking forward to this since they started enforcing the FP rules last year. I will be there in the 1st week of April at Art of Animation. I really want to participate in this? Do you know how we can find out if we will be eligible to participate based on when your going? (I know you get a lot of question’s but I cannot find this answer anywhere!)

And from what I’ve read (a lot) it seems as though the regular FP system will be up and running as well and you can easily change your plans day of. I’m hoping that it’s not like dinning and fills up easily. So I say pic the 3 post popular rides or attractions first and see if other FP are available for later.

121

Andrew on January 9th, 2013 at 10:53 am

Hey, John from NJ! Can you spread your wisdom on how you get so many fastpasses? I tried my best to watch my time to cut as many lines as possible and I could only end up with 4 in one day. That would be really helpful! Thanks!

122

Jessica from ND on January 9th, 2013 at 11:04 am

Will Shades of Green guest get the bands?

123

Kristin on January 9th, 2013 at 11:12 am

When will the Android update be out for the My Disney Experience app? We don’t even have the capabilities of seeing our dining or resort reservations yet :(

124

Christopher on January 9th, 2013 at 11:25 am

We are DVC members and since our accomodations are covered by our points one of the ways we budget our trip is we purchased our tickets one at a time over a 4 or so month period before our vacation date and when we check in we just have them connect the tickets to our key to the world cards. Will we still be able to do this with the wrist bands?

125

Misty on January 9th, 2013 at 11:44 am

We stay at WDW resorts but use our Salute to Military tickets will these be able to be combined onto the magic bands?

126

Lisa on January 9th, 2013 at 12:58 pm

We are leaving next Friday and would love to be a tester–with a younger, ‘tween, and 3 teenagers in tow it might really provide a lot of excitement and make the trip a little more smooth. We always look forward to our trips to see what is new and exciting. Participating in this AND seeing the new Fantasyland would be great. Where can we sign up?

127

Vanessa from FL on January 9th, 2013 at 1:16 pm

Another Floridian, DVC-owning, annual passholder here with many concerns about how this will work for me in each of those capacities. We often go to WDW for a day trip with no advance planning – will we be able to get the new version of Fastpasses for any of the headliner attractions with no advance reservations? Also, are the wristbands mandatory; if one is sensitive to items on the wrist and/or allergic to the materials used in it, or just plain doesn’t want to wear one, will there be a card alternative that one can easily slip into a wallet or pocket?

128

Barbara from MS on January 9th, 2013 at 1:16 pm

Tom – we are members of the DVC but purchase our tickets through either Shades of Green or the military base. We are coming in November and it seems like this will be in place during that time. Will there be a way for our tickets to be connected the MyMagic+ bands, and will be purchasing our tickets for Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas though straight from Disney along with a photopass, are these all going to be interlinked so that we do not have to keep up with several different bands while on our trip. It sounds like an awesome program.

129

Danelle on January 9th, 2013 at 2:35 pm

We ware scheduled to be in Disney this February. Can you confirm if we need to call and add this to our package or will it automatically be given to us when we check in? Thanks!

130

Mark on January 9th, 2013 at 3:26 pm

So in theory, its possible that a popular ride could sell out of fastpasses before the park even opens?

131

Cindy from KY on January 9th, 2013 at 3:37 pm

Pick me, Pick me! I arrive April 2nd!! I want to try it out too!

132

Joanna on January 9th, 2013 at 6:07 pm

I’m cautiously optimistic on this. I stayed at the Art of Animation resort last year and got to try out the “tap the room key to open the door lock”, and that was pretty cool. (Come to think of it…wasn’t that Mickey-in-the-circle icon on my door lock? Makes sense now…) If it means I can actually ride on Toy Story for once, I’m for it. And I’m going to be looking around to see how exactly the characters know my name.

I’m hoping Disney already looked into the RFID security concerns and has that figured out. Considering how much this project has cost them, I wouldn’t be surprised if they developed new technology and security measures to facilitate it…technology I would imagine I’ve already used without realizing it–while playing Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom, perhaps?

133

Tricia on January 9th, 2013 at 7:21 pm

I too am cautiously optimistic on this, heres hoping for our stay at AOA in late May/early June this will be ready for us. I really like the idea of booking viewing for parades and meet and greats as well as rides. I am looking forward to seeing some more information coming through to answer the many questions we all have (particularly around hopping).

134

Douglas from MD on January 9th, 2013 at 9:33 pm

We are also excited about the new program. I understand that FP as we know it will be ending, but will there be in park options to obtain FP+ in addition to the initial 3 pre-reserved FP’s?

Our next trip isn’t until November, so we’re hoping the new system will be implemented and perfected by then!

Can the MagicBand be saved and used for multiple visits? As DVC members we are in the parks at least once per year.

135

Halli on January 9th, 2013 at 9:48 pm

I’m a former WDW Cast Member planning my honeymoon in WDW. I am SO excited about this new system, but I do have one question: will this eliminate the need for biometric scanning? I worked as a Park Greeter and I know that many guests were concerned that we were “fingerprinting” them as they came into the parks. Will this new system eliminate the need for Biometric readings?

136

Wendy on January 10th, 2013 at 6:58 am

We just had the pleasure of spending 10 fun-filled days with you ending December 20th. We also were part of the “test group” for the new fastpass+. I understand one person’s comment where he is concerned that getting the early reservation for the ride he wants when he wants it may be difficult once the system is live and being regularly used. We have sometimes struggled with getting the optimal dining reservation even though we faithfully book at 180 days. Nonetheless, this time it worked GREAT. It was fun to know that no matter what, we had our certain rides that we were scheduled to ride regardless of wait times. My small children and myself are not early risers and do not get to the parks before 10 or 11am. This is a problem when trying to get fastpasses for certain popular rides. So being able to schedule those online beforehand will be a pleasure. With the need to schedule dining so far in advance, scheduling ride times is a natural extension to that process and a way to get me in the park earlier (my husband thanks you…lol). The light-up Mickey head is a fun feature. Unfortunately, we were not able to use the “tap and pay” feature as it began the day after we arrived and our room key was not programmed to work for that. I’m not sure that I like the wristband idea and hope that I can still use something similar to the lanyard I wear around my neck with my card in it. Thanks for your continued efforts at improving the “Disney Experience”, we look forward to our next visit and the surprises we will encounter then.

137

Marcio on January 10th, 2013 at 8:19 am

Hi, I’m from Brasil and will arrive at Disney parks at may 13. I’m excited about the chance to experience this new way of fun. Please, let me know what I need do to be one of the first to use!!

138

Claudio on January 10th, 2013 at 8:47 am

I would like to support the introduction of these brands in Disney Parks. Especially regarding the discussion of right to privacy.

I agree that the right to privacy is something that can not be harmed. It is a right and shall not be violated.

That is why it is so important for the visitor be able to choose which information should be provided to Disney.

It is also important to have in mind that we live in a world where privacy is something rare. Every where you go you are being filmed. Some people are very frightened to have their privacy violated by providing information stored in these brands, but, as said before, privacy is something relative these days.

In my opinion it is also important to improve the experience in the parks.

I went to Disney/Florida for the first time in 1992. Since then, I have visited Disney/Florida 4 more times (the last time was last year).

My first experience, in 1992, was something out-of-this-world. I saw and lived experiences that i did not think possible. It was really amazing.

Last time I went to the parks, I realized that 20 years had passed and the atractions were basically the same. Back in 1992 those atractions were incredible. Last year i did not think them that incredible. the technology that lies behind the attractions does not seem like something out-of-this-world.

That’s why i think that these brands will provide a different (and why not, better) experience in Disney Parks.

139

Chad from MI on January 10th, 2013 at 10:04 am

Now the wheels in my head have been turning… And right now I’m evolving a plan… Will the existing FastPass still be there if we choose not to participate in MyMagic+

140

Nicole from MA on January 10th, 2013 at 10:28 am

It sounds like Disney resort guests might have extra privileges – if that is the case, I will never stay anywhere else again!!

141

David on January 10th, 2013 at 11:46 am

I really don’t like the idea of wearing a wristband. I find them very uncomfortable and distracting. Is there an alternative to the MagicBand that gives the same functionality? Can you take a MagicBand off? Most special event wristbands have those tamper-proof buttons, and you have to cut the wristband off with a scissorss, forcing you to wear the band for your whole stay. I would find it very uncomfortable to wear a band for a whole week. I would much prefer a card.

142

Nancy on January 10th, 2013 at 1:23 pm

This sounds like a good idea for people who use iphones as a life support system.Many people can’t go more than 5 minutes without looking at it anyway. I realize that society is changing,so it’s fine for those guests. We are in a very “can’t wait” society in the 21st century. It’s just the way it is.
For others that just want to walk through the turnstyles and go with the flow,and find fun as they go..that option will always be there.
It’s the difference between “having fun”,and “getting things done.”
I feel that some guests take Disney too seriously.

143

Kimberly on January 10th, 2013 at 1:54 pm

This sounds so awesome! My family and I have visited many times over the years. We will be returning this April and were wondering if it might be available by then?

144

Laura on January 10th, 2013 at 2:17 pm

Sounds great, I’m visiting from the UK in August will oversea’s visitors be able to enjoy mymagic+ too?

145

Katherine from FL on January 10th, 2013 at 3:28 pm

I’m an annual passholder and had two questions. 1) will i need to visit guest services to exchange my paper ticket for a band? and 2) will this replace the current fast pass program? I make frequent day trips and that doesn’t leave me with the option to pre-plan my day. can i still arrive in a park and get a fast pass the day of? thanks!

146

kevin on January 10th, 2013 at 5:38 pm

if i want to buy one how much is it??????

147

rebecca on January 10th, 2013 at 5:57 pm

I am an annual passholder planning a trip at Easter. Do we have the oppurtunity to plan our trip before we arrive and get band?? Will this be explained before we arrive via letter or email?

148

rebecca on January 10th, 2013 at 6:02 pm

I am annual passholder and planning another trip at Easter. When will I get band? Will that be at guest services after we arrive? Will there be fast passes available if you do not pre-plan?

149

Stephanie on January 11th, 2013 at 11:43 am

I am really excited and hope it is place when we visit in late August/early September. We are Premier Passholders but will be staying on-site since we live out of state. My only concern is my soon to be 5 year old not wanting to wear his all day long.

150

Todd on January 11th, 2013 at 12:10 pm

Can you help me understand the degree to which you will store data obtained from our use of the band? Also, if I choose to stay off-site, will this service be an additional expense beyond the stated cost of the band?

Have to say, on the face, I’m not thrilled with the system – it seems to exclude many/all of those who are not tech savvy and remove much of the fun and spontaneity associated with WDW trips…

220 Comments