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

Yesterday, our writers  TinaEllieJulieAbbie and writer Jess’ mum, JoAnn, shared their experiences with Disney’s new Magic Bands and Fast Pass+ before they left for their vacations. Today, they share how it all worked out once they got there…..

During Your Trip

What all did you use your Magic Bands for?

  • Julie: Our Magic Bands were used as room keys, entrance to the parks, dining, merchandise purchases and at locations such as the resort pools, laundry rooms and pool bathrooms.
  • Tina: Oh my…EVERYTHING!!  We used them to check onto Magic Express – it was so crazy.  They asked if we had them and if so, to put them on because the magic was starting right there!  We handed them over at the hotel so that they could make sure our credit card was linked to them, as well as our room.  We used them to get inside the room; get inside the parks; we used them to buy food, drinks, etc.  We were there for the Food & Wine Festival and everyone said that we should get those little gift card bracelets but we didn’t need to because we could use the bands for all our purchases.  We used them in the gift shops too.  SO easy!!!  You need to assign and use a pin (like an ATM) to buy stuff with it, and you can assign whose band can be used for purchases.  We also used them for the Fast Passes.  It was SO convenient when we went to the pool to swim because we didn’t have to worry about bringing cash or cards or anything for the pool bar.  We didn’t even get carded for drinks when we used them, so I am wondering if, at check in, they make some sort of note of age?  Anyways, every register now has a little machine with a Mickey outline on it, and all you do is touch the Mickey on your band to the Mickey on the machine until it turns green and then enter your pin.  It’s that easy!
  • Ellie: Our MagicBands, were our Room Keys, Park Passes, Fast Pass+ Passes, Photo Pass & our Credit Card. 
  • JoAnn: Room key, magical express to Disney, Photopass, Fastpass, charging, and park ticket and to hold Magic Band Bling. :)
  • Abbie: Our MB were originally going to be used primarily to enter our room and visit the F&W Festival with more ease in paying.

Did you run into any problems with the Magic Bands? Where did you go for help? Were your problems solved easily/quickly?

  •  Julie: On our initial day my Magic Band would not work for entry into the Magic Kingdom (Henry’s worked perfectly), but a Cast Member with an iPad was able to sync it right away and the wait time was maybe 1-2 minutes after which we had no further problems in the parks.  When we got to our hotel room that night, neither of our bands would open our room, so we used our Key to the World card to get in and Henry went to the concierge desk and had our bands synced.  We recommend doing this at check-in to avoid this after a late night in the park!!
  • Tina: The only time we had a problem was at a kiosk at the F&W festival, but they said to us that the whole system was down for a moment…even gift cards weren’t working so we just used our credit card.  That only happened that one time.  By the time we got to the next kiosk, everything was fine.
  • Ellie: Thankfully, we did not experience any issues with our Magic Bands during our trip.  The only problem was that they had some sort of issue with their Network on Monday, Oct 21st and several rides were down as well as the Magic Band scanners for a little while, but they would let us in to the rides that were working anyway. :)
  • JoAnn: One didn’t work, we went to guest relations and they fixed it right away.  No other problems.  Very convenient.
  • Abbie: We checked in to our resort and immediately headed to F&W.  We found out on our first stop to get food that the MB did not work.  The pins we had set up on each one did not work, only the pin for the reservation holder worked and then once we got passed that we were told that we had reached our limit on charging.  We had not even used our MB yet.  We were in the middle of the F&W and didn’t want to go mess with it.  

What did the Magic Bands feel like? Were they comfortable? Did you have small children in your group, and if so, how did they feel about the Bands?

  • Julie: The Magic Bands were remarkably comfortable and didn’t make our arms sweaty at all!  They are very lightweight and waterproof as well, so no worries in the pool or on water rides.  We had our 6 year old grandson with us and he had no problems with his band either…he wanted to wear his to Universal as well!! LOL! They can be programmed for children so they can’t make charges on them while you aren’t looking! :)  Kaleb knew his pin number and knew he could only use it while with us…so he enjoyed “paying” for dinner at some of the restaurants!  We give the Magic Bands an A+!!
  • Tina: They were very comfortable.  We wore them all day long, even when we were swimming!!  They didn’t get hot on our wrists or make us feel like we needed them off, like some bracelets or watches may.  The only time we took them off was while we were sleeping, but even that would’ve been ok!
  • Ellie: OMG we LOOOOOVED our Magic Bands!  They are lightweight and comfortable; sometimes we’d even forget we had them on.  I love that they are adjustable so you can make it arm candy along with your watch or bracelets or just wear it solo. They are water proof & water resistant so no probs with washing hands or anything.  We only took them off when we got back to the hotel room.  We think these Magic Bands are Disney’s best invention to date! :)
  • JoAnn: Lots of kids wore magic bands, they can take off part of the magic band to make it smaller.  They were very comfortable like wearing a bracelet or watch.
  • Abbie: The MB were more aggravating than I originally thought they would be.  I tried it on both arms, the opposite arm that I wear a watch actually felt better and it felt better once the bulky part had slid to the side of my wrist.  We had 3 kids with us.  Our oldest who turned 13 while we were there wore it the entire time.  Our 7 year old wore it most of the mornings, but by afternoon I had hers on my other arm.  The youngest, a 4 year old, only wore it a very small amount of time.

Did everyone in your group/family have Magic Bands? If not, how did that work out?

  • Julie: Our daughter stayed at Port Orleans French Quarter and that resort was not involved in the MagicBand testing at the time we were there.  We contacted Disney World before our trip to ask what we should do in our situation since we were doing our FastPass+ in advance of leaving.  They told us to go ahead and enter our FastPass+ selections and when we got to the rides to let the Cast Member know our situation and they would more likely than not be able to help us out…and they did!  They either gave Kristy a hand written pass or they just let her go right on through, so she never missed a ride with us the whole time!
  • Tina: Yes, it was just my husband and I on this trip and we both had them.  Both loved them.
  • Ellie: Yes, my husband and I both had bands.
  • JoAnn: Yes.

Did you also get a Key to the World card? Did you use it?

  • Julie: We all received the Key to the World cards as well and carried them with us “just in case” our Magic Bands didn’t work for some reason.  The only time we used them was to get into our room that first night.  The Magic Bands worked perfectly after that.
  • Tina: We did get a key to the world card, but never had to use it.
  • Ellie: We had the Key to the World, but never had to use it.
  • JoAnn: Yes you do get it just in case the magic band doesn’t work.  I didn’t need to use it though.  You were also required to carry around your park pass in case the magic band didn’t work as well.
  • Abbie: Yes, we did receive them.  Yes, we tried to use it when the MB wouldn’t work for charging.  We used it to get FP at the parks.

 Did you make any changes to your Fast Pass + times while at the parks? How?

  • Julie: The beauty of the FastPass+ was that we could preplan weeks in advance but change on the go if we decided to change our plans.  If you MISSED a FastPass, you could add another since the one you missed was not used.  This was a plus because of changes in the weather and travel to and from the parks…it never penalized you for not being able to make the appointed FastPass times.  A wonderful aspect of the FastPass+ system!
  • Tina: We did not, but I did see these little screens near some rides that seemed like they were for making changes to the bands.  If we wanted to make changes, I tried to do it on the phone or iPad…
  • Ellie: Yes, through the MDE app on our phones!
  • JoAnn: Yes in Epcot through the My Disney Experience app on the iphone.
  • Abbie: No, we didn’t know you could do that.

 Did you run into any problems with your Fast Pass + selections and times?

  • Julie: See previous answer….but no, we never had any problems! :)
  • Tina: In Epcot, Test Track was down for our time frame and after riding some other things and then coming back to it, we were way behind our time to ride it, but they let us on without any problems.  But, then when we tried to ride Mission Space, they told us we were almost 30 minutes late.  We told them it was because of Test Track being down and they let us right through :)
  • Ellie: Nope, just when the scanners were down, but they let us right on the rides anyway.
  • JoAnn: No.  Except when the app on my phone was not working.  I could not get onto My Disney Experience app and therefore could not check or change fast pass times.  Luckily someone else in my group had the app that was working. 

 Knowing what you know now, would you make different Fast Pass +    selections?

  • Julie: If you make FastPass+ selections ahead of time like we did….there are always situations that pop up that change the timing of your plans (like Kristy making it through on The American Idol Experience), but no to making DIFFERENT selections.  The ability to change on the go makes that part of selecting a moot point because you can change at any time to FastPass+ selections that are available. 
  • Tina: No, I would do it the same!
  • Ellie: YES, especially since you can now fast pass to see the Talking Mickey at MK!!!! I already have ours for our December trip! :) CAN’T WAIT!!! He’s sooo amazing!
  • JoAnn: No
  • Abbie: We didn’t care much for having to have our FP made in advance and being on more of a schedule.  It interferes with dining experiences and other things such as napping and breaks we may want to take.  It also interferes with things like being an AP and going to more than one park in a day.

After Your Trip

So, now that you are back home, what will you do with your Magic Bands?

  • Julie: First, we felt naked for a few days without our bands on…you get quite attached to them and it was strange not wearing them anymore…and sad! L  We have wondered if Disney will make them reusable for future trips???  But for now, we have them stored in the box they came in, in our Disney Memories Box.
  • Tina: I actually have no idea!!  Can I use them again?  I’ll probably hang on to them.  If we can use them for another trip, we totally will!
  • Ellie: I must admit, I refused to take it off during our drive home and even after we got home…I was wearing it for a little bit.  I have them here in our Souvenir box and I have already been notified for our December trip and selected our December Magic Bands.  Got a different color this time!!!  I’m just wondering when they will issue the permanent ones.
  • JoAnn: I can use it again for my next trip in March.
  • Abbie: We are hanging on to ours because the manager at Caribbean Beach Resort told us as AP we had to use those for the next 2 years. 

Additional Tips and Suggestions

  • Julie: Since the MagicBands can be taken off at any time, it is important that parents let their children know that they are not to be taken off as they can get lost or misplaced easily!! Also, with our FastPass+ it is important to have your My Disney Experience App downloaded on your Smart Phone so you can make changes on the go PLUS keep up with other members of your party if they decide to make a change to THEIR FastPass+…it will show up immediately on your App and the family can keep in sync with each other!!
  • Tina: Even after we were checked out, our bands still worked, which was great!  They worked that whole last day we were there without any problems. We really enjoyed the Magic Bands.  It made our trip so much easier and convenient and it even saved us time in some ways.  We kept joking that we wanted Magic Bands for everyday life!  Enjoy!
  • Ellie: None, great work Disney! :)
  • JoAnn: It’s handy, if you charge to the room, but you have to remember your four-digit pin number.

So, there you have it. Recent experiences with Magic Bands and FastPass+ from our writers and their families. While it is important to remember that this is all still being tested….and so glitches are to be expected…..for the most part, Guests are enjoying what this new technology offers. If you have an upcoming Disney vacation and will be able to order Magic Bands and schedule FastPass+, be sure to let us know on our Facebook page if you have any questions! And if you have already used them, let us know in the comments below, what your experiences were like! :)

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