Double Dipping with Disney’s MagicBands.

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We received this comment from Scott on the post “Part of Disney’s MagicBands Testing? Here’s Everything you Need to Know” and it seemed like a great idea to expound on this topic a little more:

I am assuming that for now the Magic Band is not being used as the room access credential and that all guests are getting room keys. Thus the room keys are useful for receiving standard Fastpasses. That assumes that all guests get a room key, and the master system doesn’t lock out standard Fastpasses for those with Fastpass+ reservations.

Can anyone comment?  We are traveling over Christmas and are doubtful this useful loophole will still be available. Thus we anticipate being locked to only three Fastpass+’s per day.

We’re hearing this question a lot. First, MagicBands are being used as room keys and the old Key to the World cards are being used as back-ups.  Just like in the past, in addition to being a room key, it will hold your dining credits, park tickets, and your credit card. Unlike the MagicBands, it will not hold your fastpasses.  We’re advising guests to bring their cards to the parks just in case their bands stop working.

The second part of Scott’s question is a little more complicated. In theory, you can use your room key to get additional fastpasses, adding to the three fastpasses you already get ahead of time with your MagicBands. This effectively lets you “double dip” when it comes to fastpasses.  Or at least it should.

Because a certain number of fastpasses are set aside each day for resort guests, the pool of fastpasses available to those without bands is now smaller and it gets smaller as more resorts are brought on line and more people learn how to use the system to order those fastpasses ahead of time.  While you can still get fastpasses with your Key to the World card–and these fastpasses are called, charmingly, “legacy” fastpasses–you’re competing with every other resort guest who’s already figured out how to game the system, resort guests who aren’t yet using the bands, and off site visitors who do not have MagicBands.  This means, predictably, that legacy fastpasses are gone very quickly most days, especially for the more popular attractions, often by as early as 10:00 am.

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The bigger issue, of course, is how all this will effect guests who don’t stay on Disney property, including annual passholders who live nearby and visit during the day.  Disney hasn’t officially said what that policy will be yet and I’m not going to speculate on that here. I will say that I think this makes staying on property more appealing and that there are a number of interesting implications that arise here, including the possibility of decreased discounts if–and I want to stress that I’m just speculating here–MagicBands are the only or at least the easiest way to get fastpasses.

Scott, I hope this answers your question and gives you some guidance for your upcoming trip. If you’ve used the bands, I’d love to hear from you. I’d also like to know how you think this will effect fastpass use in the future.

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About Christina Wood

For more travel planning articles by Chris, check out her Disney travel blog, Everything Walt Disney World. Chris is also a member of the Mouse Chat podcast team and an authorized Disney travel planner with Pixie Vacations, and visits the parks about 55 days each year. To get free planning and assistance with your next Disney vacation, please call her at 919-889-5281 or email at ChrisW@PixieVacations.com. You may also fill out a quick Disney Vacation Quote form here.
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20 Responses to Double Dipping with Disney’s MagicBands.

  1. Actually I spoke to the Disney’s MagicBand department and got confirmation that they already implemented the MagicBands to be only thing you will get. No more KttW cards to get regular paper FP. So that means everyone who are guests at the resort with MB will get only 3 FPs for the day at only 1 park.
    You would have to wait in line for everything else. Even if you have the park hopper option. So expect to wait in line once you finish up your 3 FP+

  2. Elizabeth says:

    I just had a relative visit over the weekend and he told me he had a horrible time getting the traditional fastpasses… I told him about how the magicbands work and he said felt that resort guest are getting a clear advantage over off property guest. Makes me feel bad for visitors who can’t afford to or have chosen to stay off property. The key to the world card brings a whole new issue in.

  3. Chris Webb says:

    We returned from WDW yesterday and can confirm we were able to use FastPass+ on the bands (3 per day per guest) and we were still able to use our park ticket cards to get additional paper Fastpasses. We were also given Keys to the World cards as not all locations accept Magic Bands right now, but it did not occur to us to try and use those as well.

  4. Kim says:

    In the past, if you did not scan your card to get into the park, that card would not work to obtain a fastpass. So, even if they had both a magic band and a KTW card, they could not “double dip”. Once we came to a Halloween party and did not scan our regular passes to get in. When we tried to use our cards to get a fastpass, they would not work and we were informed it was because we did not scan to get in. So, unless something has changed….

    • Matt W says:

      We were there early October, didn’t enter the park using our KTW’s. We carried them only as backups. But, they DID work for obtaining the paper fastpasses, without being first scanned at entry. Worked at MK and Epcot.
      Matt

  5. Caballero says:

    Me and my husband went in early October for our Honeymoon and it was way more crowded than I ever remember it being that time of year and very difficult to get fast passes. We only live an hour away and are seasonal passholders. I have been a passholder my whole life but with the “slow seasons” not being as slow anymore and now with the FP+ giving more advantage to some I really am considering not renewing next year. I get the reasons behind these things from a business standpoint but I just think maybe it’s not for me, which makes me sad.

  6. Christina says:

    I was at Epcot with my MagicBand yesterday, and I arrived at the park around 5 pm. I was able to get a fastpass for Soarin’ from 7:05-8:05 pm using the fastpass+ kiosk, without booking anything in advance. This system seems to work out much better than the paper ticket fastpass system, in my experience. Regarding annual passes, WDW will soon be linking MagicBands to those, so APs will be able to book fastpass in advance, as well as getting them at the park upon arrival.

  7. Pants Mahone says:

    I got to Toy Story Midway Mania at 9:16 this past Saturday morning. FP return time was 5-6 pm and the wait time was 55 minutes. I am an annual passholder and I can’t help but think this new system has eliminated rides like TSMM and Test Track for most APers. I’m not going wait in line for an hour when I just got to the park.

  8. Ryan U says:

    Old KTTK cards do not have to be swiped at front turnstiles to be active for FP in the parks. As a matter of fact there no longer exists any traditional turnstile to which to run them through at most parks. Also Party or hard ticket events are anomalies because traditional FP is shut off for all regular park guests at a certain time.

    I have seen a friend who had magic bands and FP plus reservations use a handful of old KTTK cards and his plastic AP to get multiple FP tickets at one time. He managed to get 16 Tower of Terror FP’s at one time. This is an epic fail for locals like me who pay for a premium AP but get nothing special and can barely get a regular FP anymore.

    • They are already implementing the next stage of testing. They won’t issue KTTW anymore with guests who have magicbands. That means no more regular FP and you are stuck with only 3 FP+ at 1 park for the day.

      Hoppers who goes into another park have to wait in the regular lines.
      The CM on the phone told me to just give feedback at the end of the Trip.

  9. Renee G says:

    I am getting more and more turned off by Disney’s new methods. We are a large family and more often than not stay off property. We have not been in nearly 4 yrs and I’m not excited to return since we would be considered 2nd class citizens (at best) by staying off property. If I return to FL for a vacation, I think I’ll check out Universal and a return visit to Sea World

  10. Heather says:

    We just returned from WDW. We had MagicBands & Key to the World cards. We used BOTH to get FastPasses throughout the day. While I liked the FastPass+ it was not always as convenient as people think. The return times we were given to choose from often were during ADR times or close to them & across the park. Also, as another person stated not all traditional FastPass attractions are set up for MagicBand access. You have also, always been able to get multiple FastPasses throughout the day & more than one for the same attraction within the alloyed time frame for receiving a new FastPass. While we were there one of our FastPass+ attractions went down during our return time. When I spoke to the Cast Members working the FastPass line & they told me I would receive an email that the ride was down, THAT never happened, & told to just come back once the ride was up again & return to the FastPass line. “Baby swap” is also still available. We needed to use this a few times because our 2 yr old could not ride many of the more popular rides. Overall we were very happy with our MagicBand experience. Oh, & one more thing, the FastPass+ uses the exact same FastPass entrance as the traditional FastPass users use.

  11. Red says:

    @Kim. It’s true that you can’t get FPs with a ticket that was not used to enter (you used a Halloween ticket to enter and not your MYW ticket).

    However, a Magic Band isn’t a ticket. It’s linked to your ticket. So entering a park using a Magic Band would “activate” the ticket for use at the FP machines.

  12. Justin says:

    We went over Columbus Day weekend, and we had the magic bands. We did double dip at times, mostly in cases of opportunity. I typically took my band off if I was getting paper fast passes. At Toy Story Arcade, employees were turning away people trying to get paper Fast Passes while wearing Magicbands. Other times, the stand by lines were longer than the paper FP return times. We used paper FPs for Dinosaur and Jungle Cruise in these situations.

    I assume that Disney will close this loophole soon, but I was willing to exploit it for my family.

  13. Laura B says:

    We used both our MagicBands and KTTW cards last month. Got the typical 3/4 FP+ reservations (given bonus surprise pass at MK), and then got legacy FP for one ride at MK. One of the days we were there, we missed our FP+ window for a ride, and I just went to the MDX app and swapped it for a new one. I loved having the MagicBands, as it kept me from having to run back and forth for FPs while I was there. Everything was already scheduled, and I just had to show up.
    That said, using FPs, in general, was different for me. I normally go 3-4 times a year, but during the lighter seasons. It’d been years since I’d last used a single FP. I went when I did b/c I found out I could test the program. It was worth it for the experience.

  14. Tommy says:

    I used the MagicBand system back in August and my main concern was the limit of 3 FPs a day and only at one park. The fact that I could get traditional FPs with my room key card put me at ease. However, after having used the FastPass+ system, I couldn’t help but worry about Disney’s future plans for the system and how awful I imagine it could be.

    Personally, I didn’t like the FP+ system at all. Only being able to use it at one park per day felt very restrictive. The fact that the majority of times that were offered were on the hour (6 PM, 7 PM, 8 PM, etc.) was also not always ideal and the fact that times could no overlap really made it hard to plan your day — especially if you wanted to park hop. You sometimes could be faced with the dilemma of staying at one park longer than you wanted to just use that one remaining FP+ or to give up on it and go to the another park. The shame of it is, it’s not like you can transfer that one FP time to the park you are going to next. I also have to say that I probably didn’t use 30% to 40% of my FP+ FPs because I was forced to schedule them for times that weren’t ideal or became too inconvenient to utilize when the time window occurred. But if I only had 3 in a day, I’d kick myself if I missed using one of them.

    The other thing is that 3 FP+ (or 4 when at MK) was too little if you were spending an entire day there. Maybe their data says otherwise, but I would think that guests get and use more than 3 or 4 FPs in a day if they spend an entire day in one park. There are lines I cannot fathom waiting in and while I know there are always people who are willing to wait 100 minutes for Space Mountain or 70 minutes for Peter Pan, there are plenty of people who would not — and I am one of those people. If when MagicBands becomes the norm and if the FP+ system only allows 3 FPs a day, it literally would be a deterrent to return to WDW in my eyes. I cannot imagine spending the majority of my day waiting in Standby lines.

    In short, I think the system is terrible — or at least what I think the system will be once they nix the ability to get traditional FPs. This new system puts someone who knows how to maximize their park time and wants to experience as many attractions as possible in one day on the same level as the family who casually goes on 5 or 6 rides in an entire day, spends half of their time meeting princesses and spends 4-hours in the afternoon back at the pool. A customer is a customer in Disney’s eyes, but every individual / family’s Disney experience is NOT the same and the current FP+ system does not account for that.

    • John Frost says:

      Great comment. Some of your complaints, I think Disney sees as a feature not a bug (no park hopping). If Disney does yield management correctly, the 3 FP a day limit will actually be a benefit. All the Standby lines on popular rides will be shorter on average than they are now as fewer people will be issued FP each day. But it does mean the days of getting a FP for Big Thunder at rope drop and again right after you get off it are gone. So there will be an adjustment once the Legacy system goes away.

  15. maegan says:

    I was in the parks yesterday and got 3 FP early in the day for Hollywood studios. Tower, rocking and midway mania. We ended up leaving there and taking a boat to Epcot. I logged into my account from my phone and was supprised to see I could add 3 more fp’s for Epcot that night! Maelstrom, test track and soarin’. There were 3 in our party and I was able to add them for all of us. We did notice a few glitches at test track our time mysteriously changed. I had to pull up our reservation and show the cast member on my phone ( a bit of a pain). Also at Midway the reservation said the time but the ride name was gone… Its annoying that again we held up the line while I tried to pull up the reservation. Different cast members were more lenient with letting us pass through if one of the bands wasn’t working. Overall I think everything worked well. Also as a side note I have really small wrists and was able to pull out the middle of the band and use that and it fit a lot better!

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