The business behind Disney’s MyMagic+ MagicBands

MyMagic+ Takes the Guest Experience to a New Level with MagicBands

A long deep dive into the business behind Disney’s multi-billion dollar MyMagic+ project by Austin Carr has been published by Fast Company. It’s a well written piece with a lot of sources and some “in the room” insights about the project that I’ve never heard before. This new information has helped me solidify some thoughts on exactly where MyMagic+ and Fastpass+ goes wrong, changing the Disney theme park experience in ways that aren’t better for guest experience.

It started with this bit of insight as to the reason behind the project:

— In the mid-2000s, however, Disney executives had reason to worry about the future of the business. Disney World, Parks’ crown jewel, seemed to be losing its luster. According to multiple sources, certain key metrics, including guests’ “intent to return,” were dropping; around half of first-time attendees signaled they likely would not come back because of long lines, high ticket costs, and other park pain points. Simultaneously, the stunningly fast adoption of social media and smartphones threatened the relevance of the parks. If Disney wanted these more tech-oriented generations to love it as much as their parents, who had grown up with fewer entertainment alternatives, had, it would have to embrace change now. “We were failing to recognize key consumer trends that were starting to influence how people interacted with brands,” says one former executive. Inside the company, Disney World became known as a “burning platform.” As the former executive explains, “If we miss out on that next generation of guests, suddenly our burning platform is fully on fire—panic mode.” —

Panic mode. That explains a lot. The result of that attempt to put out the potential firestorm of dwindling guest attendance at the parks is what we now know as MyMagic+ and its child progeny Fastpass+.

The park planners behind MyMagic+ had the right idea. The “Next Generation” technology that makes MyMagic+ work is closely tied to the future of theme parks and the type of connection and engagement future guests will demand on future vacations.

However, my concern after reading the whole article, is that some of the ‘pain points’ Disney was reacting to, were only perceptions by guests, not actual pain points. MyMagic+ actually does little to address those perceptions, it just shifts them slightly to different pain points. You can make the argument that in customer service, perception equals reality. However, in the long run, you’re almost always better off addressing the root causes of that “mis”-perception than trying to fix problems of a non-reality-based problem.

For instance, one of the key ‘pain points’ guests reported was a perception that lines were too long. The reality for most of the year, is that crowds are unevenly distributed throughout the day and that lines that are long now may not be long later. This mis-perception leads to the guest doing a cost benefit analysis similar to this:

I want to ride Space Mountain and I’m in Tomorrowland right now, but the wait for Space Mountain is 90 minutes long, if I’m in line for 90 minutes, that’s time I’m not doing other things in the park that I want to do, therefore the line is too long.

The correct perception is “we’re in Tomorrowland at the wrong time and should come back when the line are shorter.” The way to move the mis-perception to the correct perception, would be to time-shift that guest. Disney knows that after 7pm the lines for Space Mountain drop to an average of 25 minutes. If it could somehow tell that guest to not wait 90 minutes now when they could come back at 7pm and wait 25 minutes, the pain point would have been relieved.

There are any number of ways to solve that. For example, MyMagic+ style technology and a little gamification could reward guests for preplanning and listing the 3-4 must-ride attractions on their trip. MyMagic+ knows when they’re in the park and alerts the guest when the attraction’s wait reaches a reasonable length. The informed guest would know that if they want to go on Space Mountain, they should consider taking a mid-day break at a hotel (gamification would reward them with a discount on a hotel lunch or a meet and greet with a rare character as extra incentive) so they can go the distance and stay later in the evening at Magic Kingdom.

Instead, Disney created Fastpass, which as we know, actually creates longer standby lines full of those not savvy enough to efficiently use the system. But it does address the mis-perception that the wait is too long for the big attractions by creating a system that lets a subset of guests cut the lines.

Imagineering had a different solution to this problem. Starting with Roger Rabbit’s Toon Town Spin and Indiana Jones Adventure, Imagineers proposed that if you make the wait something guests want to experience, it would change the pain point equation to something more like this. Space Mountain has a 90 minute wait, but I can spend half of that time playing an interactive game and engaging in the story of the attraction, so the wait will really only feel like a more reasonable 30-40 minutes. That’s an analysis that would make more guests happy, but may actually increase the waits for attractions that have the next generation queues.

In today’s Walt Disney World system, you’re not waiting long for the few attractions you can Fastpass+, but you can’t get FP+ for the rides you really want and have to wait longer for those. Worse, the experience of those attractions hasn’t been upgrade to match the new longer wait times. The end result is the perceived value decreases per attraction experienced.

wdw-ticket-mediaHere’s a key pain point MyMagic+ doesn’t address — Planning. First, there is the local/visitor dilemma. if you’re visiting from out of town and want to go on a ride with your family who lives in Orlando? Good luck coordinating your Fastpassess, if you can even find availability for the same attractions.

Second, are the guests who don’t like to plan ahead (or just can’t for whatever reason). A vacation for them is best when it’s unstructured and plans can be made ad-hoc. All MyMagic+ does for this group is create one big pain point after another.

Every time I visit a Disney theme park, I walk by long lines of people who are buying their tickets for the day at the ticket booths which, in Disney speak, are now called Vacation Planning booths. That is a bit of Orwellian Doubletalk, because, if you are a guest buying your tickets at a walk-up window on the same day you plan to enter the park, you obviously haven’t done any vacation planning. You won’t be getting any good attractions on your Fastpass+, won’t get many good dining reservations, and are paying the highest market price for your admission media (it’s cheaper to buy ahead online). Disney should really be staffing these booths with grief counselors ready to apologize for the third class experience these guests are about to ‘enjoy.’ Heck, Disney should offer a discount for walk-up tickets to make up for it.

Prices, another perceived pain point, definitely haven’t decreased at all. In fact, they’re higher than ever. Even multi-day passes don’t do much to lower the pain involved in a 3 or 4 day vacation. At $77 a day without park hopping, that’s $1232 for a family of four for 4-day tickets. When you add in the increase in dining prices that the Disney Dining Experience has mandated (in short prices were raised so DDE purchasers feel like they’re getting a value), the pain point of paying for a Disney vacation rises again. Finally, there is the ‘tax’ you pay for staying on property. it costs considerably more to stay at a Disney Resort than for the same class hotel just down the street.

Disney has admitted, a large motive to spend all this money on MyMagic+ is to provide another reason for guests to stay on property. The ability to plan your three Fastpass+ 60 days ahead means they’re the only ones getting the full benefits of the system. With around 32,000 rooms on property, that’s a lot of guests who are now effectively standing in line in front of you at every Disney attraction if you’re a local or staying off property.

In the past, park admission meant no matter what you paid to get in the park, you were treated the same as every other guest (VIP tours, being an understandable exception, of course). Disney has quietly created a new class of guests, those who can afford to pay the toll to stay on property. This is beginning to sink in to more and more guests who aren’t staying on property creating a new ‘pain point’ that Disney will have to figure out how to address at some point.

JF-MagicBand

I’ve said before, that while the technology behind MyMagic+ is fantastic and will let Disney take storytelling in new directions (meeting the needs of more tech savvy younger guests), the Fastpass+ improvements should have been the cherry on the top, not the leader. Something Disney could roll out when everything was working wonderfully and guests felt immersed in the magic to unprecedented levels.

The unspoken problem in this Fast Company article, and similar articles, is that demand has increased (there are something like 5 times as many “middle class” families in the world now than just 25 years ago) and capacity hasn’t kept up. Whether you believe the announced cost of $1.2 billion or the rumored price of $2.6 billion, it’s clear a larger portion of that should have gone to capacity building. Fastpass+ actually has the exact opposite effect. It reduces capacity by moving people from queues to walkways, restaurants, and stores.

Now, Disney execs have said that MyMagic+ has actually increased the capacity of the Magic Kingdom by 5,000 people. This may be true, but it’s not because there are new experiences to hold those guests, it’s just that on the peak attendance days, they don’t have to close the park quite as early in the day because MyMagic+ means 5,000 more people are in two queues at once. True capacity building comes from actually adding new shows, rides, and entertainment.

I also find it interesting that the sidebar to the article blames fans on the internet for ruining the original Fastpass; causing longer lines by learning how to game the system. I prefer the term optimal usage and I promise you any longer lines were the result of how Fastpass works, not from guests using the system efficiently. After all, an attraction can’t give out more Fastpass per hour than it’s programmed too. That sort of “Blame the Guest” for our bad program design is another example of Disney reacting to the wrong things and ending up fixing something that was never broken.

Honestly, parts of the article feel like a hit piece on Walt Disney Imagineering. For example:

“Imagineering is an incredible organization but it has become as institutional as the rest,” says a former high-level Disney leader. “They dream of building these big icons of their creative expression, but when a capital budget shows we’re going to invest in changing the established guest experience rather than spend on a big fixed asset, that doesn’t get met with love.”

That might be because Imagineering was able to see that it would be more effective to correct mis-perceptions than to build a multi-billion dollar system that would just shift the pain points around.

It’s interesting to point out that almost none of the MyMagic+ experience has made its way beyond the borders of Walt Disney World. Some is on the way to Disneyland Paris to help unify the hotels and theme parks under one magicband like device, but notably, it is still not even testing at Disneyland over in Anaheim, CA.

Here’s my advice to park managers at Disneyland, Tokyo Disney, and Hong Kong Disneyland. Don’t implement advanced reservations with Fastpass+. Instead, focus on the next-generation part of MyMagic+ for those parks and tie everything into increasing capacity through better story-telling and creating new attractions that have the technology built into its bones. This is where Imagineering can really help. Attractions, don’t even have to be $100 million roller-coasters, it can be a walk-around animatronic that knows guests names because of MyMagic+ or a new stage show where guests can interact via MyMagic technology in the seats. The possibilities are nearly endless.

Despite everything I’ve written above, I’m optimistic for the future at Walt Disney World. While development on MyMagic+ has been slowed down by recent layoffs in the divisions that created the the program, the technology is now core to the Disney experience. That’s a sign that the parks will be here for at least another generation or two to explore.

What we don’t know is the opportunity cost for not building capacity as demand grows. Walt Disney World (and Disneyland) are both way behind in adding capacity to keep up with demand. I know there are a few projects in the works to fill that need, some we’re hoping will be announced soon. Expansion not come fast enough for the liking of fans like me, but it will come. In the meantime, we guests must learn to make the best of a system that never really manages to address the our problems because it only addressed perceptions, not the root causes behind them.

What grade would you give Walt Disney World and it’s MyMagic+ and Fastpass+ systems?

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18 thoughts on “The business behind Disney’s MyMagic+ MagicBands

  1. Ed Adams

    Great column and I agree. My wife and I visit every February. I’m also on the IT biz. The potential of the magic bands and Fastpass misses the mark. We’ve been enough times, and know some park tricks, that we often do better without a FP and that’s just odd for a system that is supposed to optimize processes.

    Also, I feel there is a huge customer gap for those of us who stay on property. I’m not looking for exclusivity or creating classes of guests, but it’s a problem that people who stay with Disney cannot make the reservations they want 180 out. We shouldn’t have to work so hard to plan what is supposed to be an expensive, relaxing vacation.

    And don’t even get me started with the poor Disney hotel reservation system. As just one example, we’d like to stay at a few resorts over a 12 day stay. Sounds simple enough, but Disney has your room, tickets and dining plan tied to a single hotel only.

    Anyway, thanks for your columns. Very much enjoyed.

  2. Susie-Q

    We have used magic bands and really dislike them. Why should I have to decide 90 days in advance what attractions I want fast-passes for? It is difficult enough to plan the trip without having to make my attraction choices and pa 14K choices thAt far in advance. I cannot even sure what park I will be at, unless I have an ADR for a particular restaurant and plan around that… Magic bands have been a HUGE FAIL for Disney. Bring back the cards. And for goodness sake, DO NOT spread this poorly executed technology to the other parks…..

    We shall see where the lawsuit over the patent goes as well…..

    GET RID OF THE MY MAGIC+ AND MAGIC BANDS, PLEASE, DISNEY…..

    1. Ethan

      If you think Disney will get rid of MyMagic+ and MagicBands you are delusional. They are here to stay for a LONG time in my opinion. You need to just accept that and try to find a way to enjoy the parks still.

      I hate to break this to you but…. It will never go back to the old way. Ever.

  3. Patricia

    I totally agree! I’ve been lucky enough to visit Disney over 20 times in my life and have wonderful memories of it, but this pre-planning Fastpass nonsense is the pits. I didn’t mind the MagicBands themselves, as it streamlined my need to carry multiple items with me in the parks all day. However, like the above poster, how am I supposed to know 90 days in advance what rides and parks I want to visit each specific day?? This last trip was my SO’s first time to Disney ever and I wanted to show him an amazing time, but it was complicated by long lines, lack of Fastpass flexibility, and (the biggest of all) the “technical difficulties” with all the rides in the magic kingdom. Over two days, Poohs Adventure, Peter Pan, Space Mountain, Splash Mountain and Pirates of the Carribbean ALL had technical difficulties when we attempted to go one the rides, and we had to waste extra time waiting for these rides to get up and running because I didn’t want him to miss them! These are major attractions and for someone who is here for the first time, it’s an important part of the experience. Overall we had a good trip, and I didn’t mind the bands, but this Fastpass pre-booking nonsense needs to stop. They also need to invest in upkeep of their attractions.

  4. MegaZone

    My wife & I live in MA and we go down to WDW a few times a year on average, and to Disneyland maybe once a year or so (we’ll be there for D23 Expo this year). We’re Premiere Passport holders, so we have annual passes to both parks. As such we were also beta testers for MyMagic+ as they had passholders using it before they rolled it out to general attendees.

    WE LOVE IT! I love MyMagic+ and FastPass+. I think FP+ is far, far better than the old paper FP system. The old system meant trying to get to the parks early, running around to kiosks to try to get passes for the rides we really wanted, and then dealing with whatever times we managed to get. Now we’ll book our FP+ well in advance for our ‘must see’ attractions, and I’ll play with the system to get the times to ‘flow’ so we can have a nice day in the park and move in a logical pattern and not feel constrained by the FP times.

    And MyMagic+ in general is great – having one band as the roomkey, park pass, payment method – very convenient. My only real gripe is that it isn’t intelligent enough to recognize when you have a passholder discount and automatically apply it – and I think it should. Obviously the system knows what kind of passes someone has, and it would be simple to check for applicable discounts. The fact that it doesn’t feels a bit like a cheap trick to hope you forget to ask and miss your discount. And it means we have to still carry the actual Premiere Passport cards around to show to get the discounts we’re entitled to.

    I was looking forward to it since I first heard about the plans, and I personally wish they’d roll it out to Disneyland. Now Disneyland feels kind of backwards to me in comparison to WDW – behind the times. Not having the full power of the apps and MyMagic+ does detract a bit from the experience. Since it is a much smaller park, even including California Adventure, it isn’t *too* bad. But going back to the old paper FPs and kiosk hunting is a drag.

    I’m also in IT, and I’ve read quite a bit about the system just because I’m a geek and I like to know how these things work. I’m 44 and I’ve been going to WDW since I was 2 – my parents took me in early 1972, shortly after it opened. We had relatives in FL and it was our annual spring family trip; I went pretty much every year until I left for college. For a while I stopped going regularly – college, then new career, moved to Cali for a bit – but I’ve been going regularly again now for the past decade or more. And I introduced my wife to WDW shortly after we met – and we were married in Epcot and had our honeymoon there & on a Disney Cruise. :-)

    I want them to do MORE with the MagicBands – and roll them out to everything – parks, cruises, etc.

  5. Disney Mike

    Wow, it seems nobody understands the real reasons for the MagicBands and Fastpass+. First, it is a myth that Fastpass+ has increased standby wait times. Overall, standby wait times have decreased, when averaged. This is because Disney uses FastPass+ to distribute traffic throughout the parks more evenly. If there’s a time of day when Space Mountain usually has a 90-minute wait, more FastPasses are made available for other times of day, standardizing the standby wait times throughout the day.

    Second, it is a TOTAL myth that pre-planning your FastPasses makes your vacation less spontaneous. With the old system, you were far more a slave to the FastPass system. If you got a FastPass for Soarin’ at 10:00 a.m., your return time could easily be between 5:00 and 6:00 p.m. You’d be stuck at Epcot the entire day, with no option to park hop unless you wanted to give up your FastPass. When you select a FastPass+ for a particular time, you just show up at that park at the set time, and then you’re done. You are free to do whatever else you want after that. No need to hang around for hours and hours to use your FastPass.

    Third, there is no way anyone can say that the wristbands are less effective than cards and paper FastPasses. No digging through pockets or wallets. No fumbling with anything. Just hold your wrist up and tap. Room key, theme park admission, payment, FastPass, and nothing to pull out of your pocket. If touching your wrist to something is more trouble than digging a wallet out of a pocket, finding your card, using your card, putting the card back in the wallet, and putting the wallet back in your pocket. there is something very wrong with you.

    Remember, none of this stuff was not designed to appeal to the guests’ need to use social media or technology. It’s about data. Tracking peoples’ movements. Traffic flow is far more valuable — and ultimately more beneficial to the guest — than appealing to their desire to use their smartphones more. Disney has been able to effectively make the guests’ experience more consistent, with less time spent waiting, because they are able to very carefully and precisely manage traffic flow in the parks.

    1. John Frost Post author

      Your decreased standby wait time (which btw, Touring Plans found that wait times on the most popular wait times did increase, by a small amount, but not insignificant when multiplied by every standby rider over a day) at peak times is my increased wait time at off-hours. For instance, I used to be able to go to Space Mountain during the last two hours of park operation and ride it multiple times, now I’m lucky if I get in one ride with a 50 minute standby wait.

      1. MegaZone

        The good of the many outweighs the good of the few, or the one.

        Disney is more interested in trying to make sure the ‘average guest’ has a better experience, that the overall waits are reduced and the load is spread out, than they are in making it easy for us ‘experts’ to game the system. I’m OK with that – I’m willing to accept a tradeoff so that more ‘newbies’ have a better experience. For a lot of people it is a once-in-a-lifetime trip, whereas I’m there several times a year.

        First impressions matter a lot – both to the guest and to Disney. A rough first trip may make it a last trip – whereas a good experience may create a repeat guest, and good word of mouth. I still know ways to optimize my experience after so many trips, so I can take a little hit if it makes the average experience better.

    2. Patricia

      Sorry Disney Mike – I understand the idea behind the Fastpass+ perfectly mostly because I have a functioning brain, but in my opinion it’s execution sucks. Yes it is better to have the fast passes connected to the MagicBands, but to get a decent Fastpass “plan” you have to choose it 3 months ahead of time. Does that sound spontaneous to you? And have you tried changing your Fastpass while actually on your trip?? Almost impossible to find anything convenient or for the rides you want, because all the Fastpasses were booked light years before. Kim sure some people love it – maybe those with lots of little kids… But for me personally, it’s just not how I roll.

      1. MegaZone

        I’m sure experiences will vary, and it probably depends on which attractions you’re trying to get on, and what time of year, etc. There have been trips I haven’t gotten around to booking the FP+s for until the day before we left, just because I was procrastinating. While it did restrict us more due to reduced slots, we were able to book what we needed without hassle. And I’ve changed & canceled FP+ slots while in the park – from my phone. I’ve never used a FP+ kiosk – I do it all from my PC, tablet, or phone.

        I had a lot more trouble with the old paper system. You wanted a FP for Soarin’? Sorry, those were all gone by 11am – try again tomorrow. And forget it if you want to hit one park for a bit in the morning, then spend most of the day at another – by the time you get there the FPs are out. Or just the fun of waiting in line to get to the kiosk to get a paper FP to let you wait in a line for the ride.

        I still run into that a Disneyland and California Adventure. Radiator Springs Racers? If you don’t hit the kiosk as soon as the park opens, good luck. You’re better off using the Single Rider line if you’re willing to split up your group.

      2. Disney Mike

        We’ve been to WDW three times since the FastPass+ system was put into place. We were able to park-hop FAR more easily — thereby being more spontaneous, not less — with this system. By preselecting FastPasses and scheduling them around a dining reservation in the same park, we could do our “must ride” attractions in a limited window of less than three hours.

        With the old FastPass system, you could NEVER get three attractions in in less than three hours. You were stuck in that park all day if you wanted to use FastPass to ride more than one attraction.

        As for changing FastPasses, we did that almost every day of our trip. We’d decide we didn’t want to be in the park quite as early as we had originally planned, so we’d just select a time later in the day for a FastPass+. We’d decide we weren’t in the mood for Space Mountain, so we’d switch the FastPass+ to Peter Pan. Couldn’t have been easier. And it certainly couldn’t have been done under the old paper FastPass system.

        If your idea of a more enjoyable vacation is to have to run to the FastPass distribution area for Toy Story Mania when the park first opens, just so you can get a FastPass to come back and ride it eight hours later, then I guess you’ll miss out on all that fun now. It makes my vacation FAR more relaxing to know that I already have my FastPasses set up and that I don’t have to criss-cross the parks to visit each attraction twice: once to pick up the FastPass, and once to ride the attraction.

        I suspect people who are complaining about the system are simply complaining for the sake of complaining. For the most part, people who have complained the loudest are the ones who have never actually used the system, or who simply lack the understanding of how great the advantages of the system are.

        When all of your FastPasses are grouped into a relatively small window, you have so much more room for spontaneity that you did when you had to hang around a park for hours waiting to use your FastPass under the old system. And why do people complain about a lack of spontaneity when it comes to riding rides but not when it comes to dining reservations? Dining is half the fun of going to WDW. Do the “spontaneous” people just not dine at any of the good restaurants? A trip to WDW without a meal at Le Cellier or La Hacienda de San Angel simply isn’t as enjoyable an experience for our family.

  6. Diane

    Excellent article. It seems to me the difference in guest perspective can be easily illustrated in the difference between the comments of Susie-Q and Disney Mike, above. I tend to fall in the camp with Susie-Q. Perhaps it comes down to an age thing, but those of us who remember what it was like when a trip to WDW was easy and relaxing are not fans of totally pre-planning a trip (down to rides and meals) that is supposed to include the feeling that you’re switching off your daily grind and letting the desire for fun and discovery lead you around the next, lushly-landscaped corner to a new experience, whether that was a ride, a show, or, incomprehensibly now, a roving character to take spontaneous pictures with. Seems to me that the MyMagic+ technology is as much about making it easier for Disney to run their business (lucratively) as it is for “meeting guests needs for technology.” I love my memories of Disney; unfortunately I probably won’t be making any news ones.

    1. MegaZone

      I’ve been going to WDW for 40+ years – pretty much since I was born as I’m 44 – and I remember before it was a ‘one admission’ park (A-E Tickets) – up through today’s MagicBands and FP+. I remember when before and after the paper FP, and before and after FP+ – and for me the current system is the *most* relaxing of them all. I can book FP+ slots and not worry about will I or won’t I be able to get a paper pass in time. I don’t have to worry about picking up a FP only to be scheduled for 12 hours later. Or to get paper FPs and have to bounce back and forth across the entire park.

      I know enough about the rides to know which rides you really need a FP+ for and which you don’t need to waste one on. And we have our ‘must see’ rides that we love going on over and over. So I’ll book FP+s for just those rides, and set it up so that it flows in a logical way. And I can manage them ahead of time so we can spend the day in Magic Kingdom, and still confidently book dinner reservations in Epcot because I know when the FP+ times are so I know we’ll have time to make it from one park to the next. The old system made it hard to plan dinner reservations, or book a show, etc.

      I find the new system is less stressful and we have a more relaxing trip because there is no last minute planning and shuffling, and no disappointment when you find the FP you got conflicts with your dinner plans, or means you can’t make it to another park for the fireworks, etc.

  7. Maureen

    Great article. I’m a huge planner so, yes, I like the Fastpasss + system. That being said, we had a lot of trouble with it once we were in the parks. Trying to add additional FPs on-site was virtually impossible and the lines at the kiosks were chaotic and really took you out of the magic. We were at DLR for spring break and really hated having to go back to the old system. Too much anxiety and needless running around.

    I do think it’s interesting that after identifying the high cost of tickets as causing a drop in guests, they raise the prices! I just priced a WDW trip for next February and my jaw fell. We’re die hards and have been going once a year for the last 10 years, but we may have hit our pain point.

  8. The Lost Boy

    I laugh to myself every time I am expected to have sympathy for those who either don’t know about the FastPass system or those that are unwilling to unable to plan. Formerly detailed information about the Disney Parks was really only available from travel agents, now with the internet, sources of information have increased a couple orders of magnitude. As with the rest of life if fail to you inform yourself of and/or don’t take advantage of available advantages, how is that the fault of those that do or those that offer them?

    My wife and I were part of the MyMagic+ beta testing and the only controversy was from the people who saw us using the system and could not obtain it for themselves.

    From my experience those that have a quarrel with the new system are a very negligible minority. What these experts in theme park operation need to do is open their own chain of parks and put Disney out of business. MyMagic+is very popular at Disney World and I expect it will be rolled out the other parks in the future.

  9. Ethan

    I think this article is making a LOT of assumptions without sound evidence to back it up. You talk about queue lines becoming longer on the FP side, but is that because you just observed it? Or did you get these numbers directly from Disney? And you state that “some of the ‘pain points’ Disney was reacting to, were only perceptions by guests, not actual pain points”. I have a hard time believing Disney would spend north of $1 billion without doing solid research about guest perceptions and actual park pain points.

    I live in Florida, 5 minutes away from the Magic Kingdom. I have visited many times when it was FP and many times after now that it’s FP+, and I must say that our experiences are a 1000% better with FP+ and MagicBands. Being a local, I’m not getting up at the crack of dawn to do rope drop or to run to Toy Story Midway Mania…. I’m not a tourist! This allows me to book some attractions the night before (or many a few weeks prior) and actually not have to wait in line. And I can pick up my kids from school, head straight for the parks, hop on three booked rides, and be home in time for dinner. Never before was able I able to do that without some kind of line waiting. As a local, isn’t that what we want? Is MyMagic+ perfect? No. But then again, nothing is. I feel like the fear is MyMagic+ (which seems to come mostly from long-time hardcore Disney fans only) is just simply a fear of change, nothing more.

    Sometimes hardcore Disney fans like ourselves think of Disney as just the Imagineering department, but they’re so much more than that. If the world was filled with just creative people only, it’d be a chaotic place to live. MyMagic+ was created from the business side to drive revenues and bring some order to a place that was becoming unmanageable as crowds increased. People of course want more attractions, but that’s like making a parking lot bigger because there are more cars.

    Technology helps solve expansion issues… After all, why do you think Walt Disney pushed People Movers and Monorails so much? Not because they were fun, but because they were a new way to solve an old problem. And that’s what MyMagic+ is, just the next evolution of crowd control. At least Disney decided to include the guest experience in the project!

  10. Mitch

    I despise this new fast pass system.
    I cannot and will not plan what day I go to what park and what rides I will go on, 90 days in advance. For me, the FP+ decreases my likelihood every year of going to WDW.

Comments are closed.