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MyMagic+ – NextGen Rollout Questions, Answer, and more Questions

If you missed the news, Thomas Staggs has made Disney’s most clear statement to date on exactly what NextGen will bring to the parks. The guest will encounter it via the MyMagic+ program. There’s a fairly good write up on the program by Brooks Barnes in the New York Times.

There was also this bit officially released by Disney:

With MyMagic+ Walt Disney Parks and Resorts is taking another step forward to evolve “how” guests experience Disney Parks and is using technology to make it easier than ever before for guests to make the most of their Walt Disney World visit. Many of these efforts fall under the umbrella of MyMagic+, which has the ability to connect nearly all aspects of the guest experience and make it better for everyone, at no additional charge.

A new website and mobile app called My Disney Experience provides a one-stop shop for all things Walt Disney World throughout every phase of a guest’s vacation. It will enable guests to:

  • Get more information on all Walt Disney World Resort has to offer, from resort hotels and attractions to dining and merchandise.
  • Design the overall experience they want, planning as much or as little as they wish.
  • Make dining and other reservations and FastPass+ selections.
  • Connect with family and friends to coordinate plans and share photos.
  • Disney FastPass+ service. Guests will be able to select FastPass+ attractions and entertainment experiences through My Disney Experience before they leave home and make changes on the go.
  • For the first time, guests will be able to reserve firework and parade viewing areas, shows, Disney Character Greetings and more, in addition to their favorite attractions.
  • For guests who don’t know where to start, Disney will recommend FastPicks – a set of three FastPass+ selections that serve as a starting point – and give guests the option to customize their selections.
  • Disney FastPass+ service is included with Theme Park admission.
  • MagicBand. Worn on the wrist, the colorful MagicBand is an all-­‐in-­‐one device that effortlessly connects all the vacation choices guests make online with My Disney Experience.
  • Guests can use their MagicBand to enter their Disney Resort hotel room, buy food and merchandise, and enter Walt Disney World theme parks and water parks. Plus, the MagicBand provides FastPass+ access to all the experiences selected and serves as the connection to Disney’s PhotoPass .

The MagicBand is initially available to select Walt Disney World Resort hotel guests and guests who purchase other specific products. Other guests will be able to use their standard ticket to access the benefits of MyMagic+, such as making FastPass+ selections on My Disney Experience.

Like any offering, MyMagic+ will evolve over time based on guest and Cast feedback. Additional features are in development and will be introduced in the future.

There are still a lot of questions left, including when non-resort guests will be able to start using MyMagic+ (MM+). But I’m left wondering whether one should upgrade or if prudence is the better part of valor here. I’m speculating a bit here, since we don’t yet know all the details of the plan. However we have the broad strokes.

What I’ve decided is that I’m going to wait a bit and see how MM+ works operationally. If a large percentage of day-of FPs are being snagged by MM+ users then you really have no choice but to be assimilated. What I’m hoping for, is that the additional venues added to MM+ means that fewer people will be in the old FP network at any time meaning that standby lines will move faster and FP of any sort becomes less vital. If that’s the case, I’ll stick with day-of option as long as I can.

A small exception to the rule: if there’s a really great show or parade option added to MM+ that you can’t get via the day-of network, then you might be forced to assimilate in order to take advantage of that.

What’s probably going to happen is that the top 2 or 3 attractions for each park will essentially be ‘pre-booked’ by MM+. That means you’ll have to arrive at rope drop for any chance of day-of FP if you want to ride those, but the lower-tier FP attractions will benefit with faster standby and more availability for day-of FP. This is because the 3rd and 4th MM+ reservations will be for shows and parades for the most part.

There remain a lot of unanswered questions. For instance, what about mixed groups. What happens when half your group (visiting family for instance) opts for MM+ and half decides to stay on the old FP network. Does that mean we can no longer ride attractions together without having to wait in standby for everything? Will there be a way to synchronize our FP?

How will the system work for Annual Passholders? I’ve heard that they will be limited to just 20+ Fastpass+ a quarter. That may work okay for an AP who only visits two or three days a quarter, but not for someone who comes for 2-3 weeks at a time and owns an AP because it’s cheaper than a 10 day park hopper. Why would Disney want to punish either group when day guests are getting 3-4 or more FP+ each day.

One thing that Disney will get from MM+ is a lot of data. They’ll be able to sift and sort all manner of ways. There will never be a question about the average value of once every three year visitor versus an annual passholder. They’ll know not only what you bought, but what stores you visited and didn’t buy from. They’ll be able to personalize a reward system for you based on your exact spending habits. How much of your privacy will be you be giving up for an enhanced theme park experience?

Finally, what is the time frame for rolling all this out? How long will the transition phase where both the day-of Fastpass and new MyMagic+ system are working last?

Do you have questions about MyMagic+ and FastPass+? Ask them here and we’ll work on getting you an answer.

12 thoughts on “MyMagic+ – NextGen Rollout Questions, Answer, and more Questions”

    1. You’re still held to the hour window. However, if you know you’re going to miss a FP time, you should be able to use your My Disney Experience App to reschedule.

  1. The only part of this that I’m really interested in is the bracelet! It would be so handy to have my hotel key and photopass card on my wrist! I wish you could get that without having to deal with the Fastpass+. Doesn’t Fastpass+ itself have a charge, which would then make this MM+ have a fee, since it requires it, correct?

    1. “Guests can use their MagicBand to enter their Disney Resort hotel room, buy food and merchandise, and enter Walt Disney World theme parks and water parks. Plus, the MagicBand provides FastPass+ access to all the experiences selected and serves as the connection to Disney’s PhotoPass ”

      In other words, FP+ is included in the park ticket, so no, MM+ is still going to be free.

  2. Tink,
    There currently is no charge for fast pass. It’s offered to all guess on a first come first served basis. The new pass will give preferential options to Disney resort guests, particularly helpful during peak Disney travel seasons.

  3. I am not thrilled with this plan. I can see some benefit, but overall I think it will ruin the Disney experience for a lot of people. When I go on vacation, I don’t want to have to plan every aspect before I even leave home. The dining is bad enough, that you have to plan where you will be on what day to make sure you will be able to get into the restaurants you want, but now even planning the fast passes before leaving. It has actually made the thought of planning our trip even more stressful. We booked for Sept. during a trip there in Nov., before this news, now I have anxiety about getting days planned in advance. My husband and I go to relax and decide day by day what parks or restuarants we wast to visit – the relaxation of this vacation is being stolen from us.

  4. On my last visit in December we were given the ability to test FP+. While I have never been a fan of planning every minute of every day at the park, I have always enjoyed using some FP to make sure my family gets to ride the more popular attractions. FP+ was great on the trip, as we used it for a few rides, character meet amd greet and fireworks viewing. We were only allowed to use 3 attractions a day at MK and HS. Having a cap I think ensures everyone will get to still pick the rides they want to ride and not caise back log. I thinks its definately an interresting idea.

  5. I agree with Susan. As someone who used to go every year for 6 years I stopped going when I could no longer get a simple dinner reservation at some of the better sit down establishments. Not just for a particular day but sometimes the entire window of the dates I would be there there was just no reservation at all. I don’t want or need to plan my days Before I go on a vacation. Who knows where I will want to be on any given day? Who knows what the weather will be like that day? What if I booked a prime reservation & FF+’s for a day but that day turned out to be bad weather. I would most likely stay at the resort and hope the next day was better. The problem with the reservation system is I’d more than likely not be able to get a new dinner reservation and IF any other ‘reserved’ options I planned ahead for were not available I’d be hosed yet again. So yes, the last thing I would want for a Convenient, Stress Free & Hassle Free Vacation, is yet one more thing to plan ahead.

  6. My wife is handicap (wheel chair), We do not plan anything because we like to do things off the cuff, I do not know how long we have together and off the cuff is more fun for her. When we go to the shows, parades, fireworks, I’m usually bushed pushing her around and get our spot for viewing early. We try to avoid the reserved HC sections because they are so crowded. So with this in place we find our viewing spot 1 or 1 1/2 hours prior to the show, does this mean we will have to move and find another spot just before the show because someone has the spot reserved where we are ? How is this going to work for parades, fireworks and so on. Is there a marked space on the ground to signify everyones spot ? Will people that did not reserve a spot be forced to move ? How will that work for customer satisfaction ??

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