Monday, October 14, 2013

Our Disney Magic Band Experience

By: Nick

Back several weeks ago, our friend Jennifer shared her Magic Band Experience in an excellent article here on Disney Musings.
We had the pleasure of using them on our recent trip, and I thought I'd briefly share our experience.


First off, I'd had a concern that I wouldn't be able to stand wearing a band on my wrist to begin with. It turned out to be a non-issue, as I actually would forget I had it on. Unless I was looking for the time, in which case I'd find myself looking at it like a watch. This happened frequently, and was somewhat annoying, but that's no fault of the band, just my brain.

I chose to wear mine the traditional way:


While Barbie chose to wear her's with the RFID facing down:


We had "discussions" throughout the trip as to which method was more practical, with no clear winner. Sometimes my way was better, other times her way was, so it is a personal choice based on what you are more comfortable with.

As for use, we had very few glitches, and these occurred early in the week. Really, it was amazing how quickly things were hashed out. Let me explain.
We started using the bands immediately, at the airport, for Magical Express. This was very smooth, and we were on the bus in minutes.

At the park, we used the bands as room key, park pass, and credit card. You would simply punch in a code that you selected each time you made a purchase. These pads were available at every register, including every food booth at Epcot's International Food and Wine Festival!


I noticed that early in the week that the pads seemed "stiff", and that you would very forcefully and deliberately have to punch your code into the machine or it would not register, and you'd have to start all over.

By the end of the week, it appeared that ALL the pads had been replaced! I asked a Cast Member and she said it had virtually happened overnight, and that they were constantly updating the technology!

As for the FastPass + feature, well, that is about the best invention since sliced bread! Several times during the trip, I would go on my smartphone, into the My Disney Experience App, and change around my selections, sometimes within the hour I was assigned for another ride!
There were a few times the system was slow, or even unavailable, but within minutes, this would be resolved.

Another great thing about FastPass+, I didn't feel the need to make it to every rope drop! Don't get me wrong, I was still up at the crack of dawn because I was too excited to sleep, but on a couple of mornings we had breakfast at our resort, and arrived later than I would have otherwise because I didn't have the urge to get to the parks before the masses. So, while some are saying scheduling every moment of the trip takes away spontaneity, I actually found it more relaxing!

Of course, there are still bugs to be worked out. Friends told us a story of waiting for several hours to work out an issue they had, and we heard of similar issues from random guests that we talked to, but honestly, we absolutely loved them, and look forward to using them on future trips.

15 comments:

  1. Thanks for sharing your experience!! It sounds great!

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  2. Good review. Yours is the first one I took the time to read. I don't know anything about Fastpass + though. I will admit, I've been a little too Deprivation Disney Depressed to seek out new information. Ha.

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  3. How far in advance did they tell you that you'd be using these instead of the cards? Did you hook up your park pass to it before you went or while in the parks? We have annual pass vouchers we have to turn in when we get there for the real thing, so we're unable to link it to the bands til we get there and are wondering how much of a pain that will be

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    1. At first I didn't hear anything. Then I happened to discover that we were to be part of the testing by chance, when I read on Facebook people saw notifications on My Disney Experience online. After I got the bands in the mail, I was notified by email that we'd be selected! Little late there. I'm not sure how it will be with APs not yet activated. I assume that they can link it at guest relations when you do activate the passes, but I'm sorry I'm not sure. A friend who lives down there said it sounds like the bands will be property wide in a couple of months. We will be dealing with the AP situation ourselves in January.

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    2. That's when we're going, January! The guy I talked to on the phone said it would be property-wide by then and that we'd link our APs after we turn in the voucher..Sure hope it goes smoothly for all of us!

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    3. Excellent, we'll be there the 18th-24th. Hopefully out paths will cross!

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    4. Aww man, we leave the 18th in the afternoon. Rats. Well, we're staying at Boardwalk if you happen to see 4 very depressed adult children waiting for the Magical Express

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  4. I figure these will be in full use by the time I go to WDW in May. The problem for me with Fastpass + is that I don't have a cellphone.
    Can I reserve the fastpasses I want before I leave on vacation? Online of course. And if I do reserve them, is there a list or form I can print off to take on my vacation?

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    1. Yes, you can reserve them online at My Disney Experience. That's where I set all mine up initially. A Facebook friend said there should be kiosks set up to make changes, but don't know the details. I would guess that the resort concierge could print out your itinerary, but I'd call to make sure first.

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  5. nick...do you know if you just want to charge to the room and not charge to the credit card? can you still do that...that is what we used to do with the card. It helps us to control or spending and know where we are at money wise...thanks..and great article!!

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    1. I charged to the room with the band, it was a $500 limit

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  6. Aw Tink, I'm sorry we'll miss you!

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