In 2013, Disney World rolled out a new program called MyMagic+. This included a re-design of the popular FastPass system and the much-talked-about Magic Bands.
Let’s get this out of the way right at the start – yes, the new system uses RFID and Bluetooth technology to track your every move while you’re on Disney property. So why shouldn’t you be worried? Because they’ve been doing pretty much the same thing for years. This new system just makes it somewhat easier for them to customize your park experience. If you are extremely concerned about perceived privacy, Disney Parks are not the vacation destination for you – we suggest an RV tour of Alaska.
Now that we’re over that hurdle, on to how MyMagic+ works and what it means to you. Although each part of this new system works together, we’ve split things up to make it easier to understand each component. The entire program is called MyMagic+; My Disney Experience, Magic Bands, and FastPass+ are components of that system.
My Disney Experience (MDE)
MDE encompasses the new Disney World website and the app that’s available for iPhone and Android phones. If you have booked a trip and haven’t done so already, go here https://disneyworld.disney.go.com/plan/ to sign in or create a MDE account (users who have a Disney.com account will need to sign up for MDE using that same account information).
The goal with this new site/app is to bring all facets of your Disney World vacation together; room reservations and park tickets, Photopass photos, along with dining, FastPass+, special tours and party reservations. If you are staying on-site, you will enter basic information about every member of your party, and you will be able to schedule things specific just to certain people in your party. You can also invite people to join your group by sending them a Family and Friends invitation – this way more than one family can plan dining and FastPass+ reservations together, even if they aren’t staying in the same room or at the same resort.
All parks and Disney resorts now have free wi-fi to make accessing MDE easier.
Magic Bands (MB)
These are wristbands that take the place of the old Keys to the World (plastic hotel room keys), but don’t think of them as an actual “ticket”, Magic Bands are like a smart watch – they are simply a way to access your information – nothing is stored on the band, it’s all stored in MDE and accessed with the band. A Magic Band allows you access to your park ticket, room key, charging privileges, dining plans, and FastPass+ reservations.
If you have Disney resort room reservations entered in MDE, placing an order for Magic Bands occurs automatically. You will get a notification when you sign in to your MDE account sometime after you have entered your resort information, or sometimes by mail/email (timing and how you are contacted are somewhat random). If you have room reservations at a Disney resort and you don’t customize and order your MB, an order of generic gray bands will still be sent to you. MB are mailed to guests living in the US, and will be waiting at your resort if you do not receive them in the mail.
Annual Pass holders also receive free Magic Bands.
Off Site visitors can purchase Magic Bands, but the regular plastic park ticket also works just fine for park entry and FP+.
FastPass+ Eligibility: Disney Resort guests can book FP+ reservations online up to 60 days in advance of their trip. Off Site visitors can book online up to 30 days in advance.
Park tickets purchased through Disney and other vendors are eligible for FP+, even if you don’t have the actual tickets in hand, your verification documentation will allow you to register the tickets online. If you meet the qualifications, and haven’t done so already, go here https://disneyworld.disney.go.com/plan/ sign in to MDE and link your resort reservations and park tickets by following the prompts.
How FastPass+ Works:
Undercover Tourist has a great article on how the system works, you can see it here: https://www.undercovertourist.com/blog/fastpass-plus-mymagic/
Fastpass+ Tips and Tricks:
Best use of FP+ will be different for every group, depending on what your group wants to do, how your day will be scheduled, and if you have Park Hoppers. Create your daily touring plan first- then choose where/when FP+ will be most needed/most beneficial. The EasyWDW Cheat Sheets are a great tool for this http://www.easywdw.com/category/cheat-sheets/ . If you’re unsure of how well your plan will work, post it on the forums here http://www.easywdw.com/forums/forumdisplay.php?8-Theme-Park-Touring-and-Strategy for expert advice.
Using FP+ for shows doesn’t help much since it only guarantees you a seat, not that it will be in a good location. In most cases, showing up at least 30 minutes before showtime will get you a good seat with or without FP+.
FP+ seems to work better for Magic Kingdom’s nighttime fireworks display (Wishes) and night-time parade (Main Street Electrical Parade), as these get you into a designated area.
If this system is still frustrating and confusing, you might consider hiring Help Around the Mouse to create your touring plans and make your FP+ reservations. Although I’m all about saving money, I’m also all about making the most from your vacation time, and these gals really know how to do that!