Everything You Wanted to Know About Magic Bands and FastPass+….but Were Afraid to Ask: Part One

Magic Bands…..My Magic Plus…..Fast Pass Plus…..My Disney Experience……if you have been reading any Disney blogs in the past few months, you have undoubtedly heard about Disney’s brand new program for integrating virtually every aspect of a Disney vacation with the latest in technology, with the goal to make every family’s vacation as smooth, stress-free, convenient, and easy as is possible.

So what are Magic Bands? These cool and colorful wristbands are an all-in-one accessory that connect you to pretty much all aspects of your trip. For example, you can use MagicBands to:

  • Enter your Disney Resort hotel room with just a touch.
  • Enter the Walt Disney World Parks (valid Park admission required).
  • Access the FastPass+ attractions and shows you’ve selected.
  • Purchase food and merchandise at select locations.

As for FastPass+….well with this new service, you can reserve access to select attractions and shows in advance before you even arrive!

All of this is still in “test phase”, so things are being tweaked and changed as Guests offer their feedback, and Disney determines what needs to be changed and improved along the way. Many Guests have had a chance to try some or all of this new program, and many more will have the opportunity in the coming weeks.

Having said that….are you wondering how it all “really” works? So glad you asked!!! :) Several of our wonderful writers and their families, have had the chance to test this program over the past few weeks, and have been kind enough to share their thoughts about how it all works with us. Each of them were provided the same questions, and they each have honestly responded about their experiences.

So whether your next Disney vacation is in a few days, weeks, months or longer, read on to learn everything you wanted to know about Magic Bands and FastPass+…but were afraid to ask! :)

Joining us today are: Tina, Ellie, Julie, Abbie and Jess’ mum, JoAnn. Now let’s see what they have to say….

Before Your Trip

  • When did you visit Walt Disney World and how did you find out you were eligible for Magic Bands and Fast Pass +?
    • Julie: Our visit to Disney World was from September 23, 2013 through October 5, 2013.  The resort we were staying at was the Port Orleans Riverside and it was chosen as a testing site for the MagicBands during our time there.  We were notified though our My Disney Experience and also through the mail (after we had already gotten our bands! Lol!
    • Tina: We visited WDW from 10/17 to 10/21.  When I signed onto My Disney Experience about 3 weeks before the trip, there was a pop up window that said we could choose our fast pass + options.  A day or two later I got another pop up on that same website that said that we could choose our magic bands.  I clicked on the MagicBands link on My Disney Experience and started ordering them.
    • Ellie: We were notified when we logged into our My Disney Experience about 50 days before our vacation which was scheduled from 10/20 thru 10/24.  About 30 days before we were notified that we were able to make our Fast Pass+ selections, this notification was also done through the My Disney Experience website.  After we got our Magic Bands we received an e-mail that we were selected to test them and to go pick them out on the MDE website. Seriously!
    • JoAnn: Visited October 11-15th, Columbus Day Weekend.  About two months before hand we found out we were eligible, through My Disney Experience app.
    • Abbie: We visited WDW October 2013.  We randomly found out we were selected to participate in MB testing through exploring my Disney Experience on the iPad.
  • How far in advance of your trip did you order MagicBands and how long did they take to arrive?
    • Julie: We were notified of our eligibility for the MagicBands about two months before our travel dates and once we signed on and accepted the terms and registered our names and picked our colors (mine was red, Henry’s was blue) they were sent to us one week later and we received them by FedEx one day after they were shipped.  We were given seven days from the date of our notification acceptance to add names to the MagicBands in case we changed our minds on the names.  We were able to keep up with the date timer though My Disney Experience.  There is also an option to enable or disable them on this site as well….so we kept them disabled until we arrived at DisneyWorld.  You also assign a personal pin number to your band that you will have to punch in when you are getting meals, etc.
    • Tina: The option to use Magic Bands came up 3 weeks before, give or take a few days.  It only took them 4 days from click to door!!  You can choose different colors for each member of your family.  We chose pink and blue, but I know there are gray, green and orange ones too.  There may be more colors than that!
    • Ellie: We were notified about 50 days before our trip and after we customized them they were scheduled to ship at the 30 day mark before our trip.  Afterwards they arrived at our door in 2 days via UPS! :)
    • JoAnn: About a month ahead of time we ordered and they arrived in about a week.  We needed to revise our reservation and we needed to order new ones and still got them again within a week.
    • Abbie: We noticed that we could personalize the MB about 2-3 weeks before our trip, we did that on My Disney Experience app and had the MB in our hands 3 day’s later.
  • How did you choose which Fast Pass + selections to make? Did you make any changes after you initially selected them?
    • Julie: FastPass+ was available to us within three weeks of our travel dates and we selected based on the policy of one park per date up to three FastPass attractions (note: on certain dates Disney offered a bonus FastPass+ for an attraction for a total of 4 for the given day).  Changes could be made to all or specific selections at any time with availability being the only problem.
    • Tina: We already had an idea of which parks we wanted to be in on each of our days, since it was such a short trip, so when I went onto the FastPass+ selection, I chose the park I wanted for each day.  There were multiple options for passes on those days, including the major rides.  For instance, we wanted to be in Epcot on Friday morning and our 3 favorite rides {Soarin, TestTrack and Mission Space} were all options for the FP+.  You click the attractions you want and then the website will give you different scenarios of time frames.  We chose the option to ride one at 9:40, one at 10:40, and one at 11:40.  I think that Disney tries to make it convenient for you, which is great.  Our times weren’t scattered all over the day, which was good because we like to park hop!  We did make changes after our original plans.  We planned to go to Animal Kingdom our last day, but then we changed our minds and wanted to do Magic Kingdom instead.  I couldn’t make the changes on my iPhone, I’m not sure why.  It just wouldn’t save, but when we got back to our room I made the changes on my iPad and those saved, but so did our AK choices.  So technically we had 6 fastpasses on that day.  The Magic Kingdom passes worked fine, and we didn’t try the AK ones, so I am not sure what happened there.  I’m guessing Disney is still working out all the glitches?  I thought we were only allowed to have 3 selections on each day, all at one park? 
    • Ellie: Being Disney Pros, making the Fast Pass+ selections was a no brainer.  We knew exactly what we wanted to FP+ immediately! :) Selecting was a breeze.  We did have to make some adjustments as we arrived a little later than we expected, but it was easy to do through the MDE app.
    • JoAnn: Friend chose what she wanted to go on through My Disney Experience.  We were able to change even on the day of use.  While we were on the Mexico ride we changed fast pass for Norwegian ride.
    • Abbie: It was very difficult to figure out the FP selection program.  We just wanted to make 2 selections and leave the other for when we got there to see what we wanted to do.  It kept insisting that we made 3 selections.  We did not know we could change them after making the original selections.

Sooooo, what happened once our writers got to Walt Disney World and actually started using their Magic Bands? Well, that is the subject of tomorrow’s post. :) See you then!!!

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Related posts:

  1. Everything You Wanted to Know About Magic Bands and FastPass+….but Were Afraid to Ask: Part Two
  2. Itineraries with Disney’s FastPass+: Magic Kingdom
  3. Magical Accommodations: Magic Bands and the Disability Access Service Card
  4. Disney with Little Ones: Our Picks for FastPass+ at Magic Kingdom
  5. Itineraries with Disney’s FastPass+: Epcot
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