Walt Disney World guests will soon be introduced to the project that’s been secretly under development and gently rolling out for the past few years across its theme parks and hotels under the banner of NextGen. It’s called MyMagic+, first officially detailed in a New York Times article, then further revealed on the Disney Parks Blog. Combined with the My Disney Experience website and mobile app as well as RFID-based wristbands called the MagicBand, Disney intends to offer new levels of trip planning and interactivity for its visitors through high-tech, but easy-to-use devices.
In the articles, Disney Parks & Resorts chairman Tom Staggs offered new details surrounding this initiative, which is said to roll out “over the next several months.” Guests wearing colorful MagicBands will have the opportunity to take part in a variety of activities and experiences that only new technologies installed on a mass scale like this can offer.
On Disney’s official blog, Staggs wrote, “Now, rather than dashing as a group, or even splitting up to gather FastPasses, imagine booking guaranteed ride times for your favorite shows and attractions even before setting foot in the park. With MyMagic+, guests will be able to do that and more, enabling them to spend more time together and creating an experience that’s better for everyone.”
Here is a summary of the offerings that will be available through MyMagic+, in conjunction with MagicBand, FastPass+, and My Disney Experience:
- Guests can schedule 3 FastPasses before arriving at the parks for rides, shows, parades, fireworks, or to meet characters (more on that here)
- MagicBands can be set up prior to visiting, linked to the Disney account
- MagicBands will be rubber, not paper, to allow reuse across multiple visits
- MagicBands will be used as room keys, park tickets, FastPass+ access, PhotoPass, in interactive
- MyMagic+ will be available to tourists as well as park regulars, including annual pass holders – offering access to FastPass+, though usage will be different across ticket types (more information here)
- MagicBands will be free / included for guests staying in Walt Disney World hotels, annual pass holders, and anyone who purchases a photography package. All other guests can purchase a MagicBand if they choose, but can otherwise still take part in My Disney Experience, including FastPass+, touch-to-enter, and touch-to-pay, via RFID-embedded park tickets.
- Disney will separately sell MagicBand accessories and special designs as collectibles and to offer the ability to uniquely style each wristband, such as the “Pirates of the Caribbean” band seen in the photo below
- MagicBands will offer turnstile-free access to the parks with a quick tap for entrance
- Guests may choose or limit the amount of information shared when registering MagicBands online
- Using the information on the MagicBands, characters will “magically” know guests’ names before meeting them, also being able to note registered celebrations, such as birthdays or anniversaries
- Rides and queues can use MagicBands for a personalized experience – with the example given of Scuttle in “Journey of The Little Mermaid” queue in New Fantasyland may soon be able to converse with guests
According to Staggs, Walt Disney World hotel guests will be among the first to experience MyMagic+, rolled out to all guests “over the next year.”
The new experiences won’t be forced on any guests, as everyone wants to plan their vacations in different ways. In his blog post, Staggs added, “We know that some people like to plan every aspect of their Disney vacation in advance while others like to plan every little, letting their day unfold spontaneously. No matter where guests fall in that spectrum, My Disney Experience gives them the flexibility to plan as much or as little as they’d like to create the exact Disney experience they want.”
It’s easy to imagine that regular interactions with talking Mickey Mouse aren’t far behind. Having previously only made a few special appearances, he could certainly soon have an intimate conversation with every Disney fan who wants to meet him in the parks when coupled with the MyMagic+ program.
Of course, amidst all these new and exciting features MyMagic+ and MagicBand will offer, there are some safety, security, and privacy concerns. If lost, guests can have their MagicBands deactivated by Cast Members or by going online and Disney claims no personal information can be retrieved from a lost or stolen wristband. Likewise, purchases totaling over $50 will require a PIN to support tap-to-pay.
Related: No, MagicBands Aren’t Going Extinct!
(Photos by Kent Phillips/Disney)