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Magic Bands and Fast Pass Plus Review

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As most of y’all know, I love Walt Disney World.? I love going to the parks and experiencing all the attractions. And I mean ALL the attractions.? I consider myself a park commando with the philosophy that I paid a lot to get into the parks, I’m going to get a lot of magic out of it!

I’m fully aware this is not the style for everyone.? I’m the person who had the FastPass plan down to a science and we easily held 6-8 a day, depending on the park.? I employ this technique most effectively with adult only trips, but my kids are on board with the process as well.? And now that they are finally old enough to act as the Fast Pass Runner, man, it’s GOLDEN.

Okay- right there.? I see it.? I lost some of yall.? What the heck is a FastPass and a FastPass Runner and what do you meeeeaaaannnnnn Shenanigans!? Fair enough.? I get a little excited over my park touring plans and therefore talk too fast and assume everyone can follow along.? First point:? this is ONLY happening at Walt Disney World.? Disneyland does not have the FastPass+ technology or Magic Bands.

Some basic terms

Disney Fastpass:? According to Disney Wiki is a virtual queuing system created by The Walt Disney Company. First introduced in 1999?(though the idea of a ride reservation system was first introduced in world fairs), Fastpass allows guests to avoid long lines at the attractions on which the system is installed, freeing them to enjoy other attractions during their wait. The service is available at no additional charge to all park guests.?

FastPass Plus or FastPass+ 😕 A new way to secure FastPasses to attractions months in advance.? That’s right. Months.? This either really appeals to you or doesn’t, depending on your planning level comfort.

FastPass Runner: When one member of your party collects all Keys to the World cards or paper tickets and heads to the FastPass machine of choice.? For example: I send Luke over to Indiana Jones to collect FastPasses while the rest of us stand in line and take pictures in Town Square.? He doesn’t care about Minnie like I care about Minnie, so we multitask to condense time.

Magic Band: This is the next generation in technology for Walt Disney World.? A Magic Band is a simple bracelet worn on your arm that works just like your Keys to the World card once did: it opens your resort door, acts as your theme park admission, and allows you to pre-select and use the FastPass+ options.? You can also use it to pay for meals and merchandise.

Alright- now onto the review.

Magic Bands:? Loved them.? They felt good, didn’t bother me, and I liked that they came in colors.? I liked not having to fish in my pocket for tickets or room keys or credit cards to pay for anything.? I’m a minimalist at the parks (which is why I almost always wear a Sparkle Skirt- the pockets rock!) so I loved this aspect.? But the day I took it off I noticed it bit me!?

Small issue, but wanted to make sure people knew this could happen.? Watch out for your kids or elderly guests as I think they may be more sensitive.

I had two bands on this trip: one for my first night at Animal Kingdom Village and a second one for my three nights at Port Orleans French Quarter.? Why do I need two?? I have no idea and no one was able to give a good reason for this.? But I got two.? I chose yellow and green.? This picture shows how I had both on at the Expo- I wasn’t sure if the 2nd one was activated for purchases yet so I chose to sport both at the same time.

No big deal, but I looked like a hospital patient.? Just needed something that said I was Type O+ and I would be good.? Though, I bet Disney already knows that about me.? This technology while very interesting is also a bit creepy.? More on that later.

Despite maiming me and my delicate skin (ha!) I give the Magic Bands two thumbs up.

FastPass+
As soon as I could schedule my FastPass selections online, I did.? Luckily I had no issues with linking my Premier Annual Passport or my husbands 3-Day Sports Park Hopper Ticket.? I saw numerous reports online about issues with non-traditional tickets so I was a bit concerned mine were going to cause problems.

Once I linked the tickets, I also attempted to link my friends who were staying with me at the Animal Kingdom Village.? This was a huge fail. I’m not sure Julie ever got completely added, but since it was just one night we didn’t make a big thing about it.? Okay, I didn’t.? Because by the time we figured out the issue I was pretty much OVER the website and I gave up.? I think she ended up talking with a great Cast Member who explained a lot of the ins and outs of the process.

Basically- you need to send an email to your friends and link accounts.? If you don’t do this, you will not have them added correctly for FastPasses and hotel rooms.? The exception can be with family:? my kids and my husband do not have a My Disney Experience account.? I was able to add my husband without linking his account… because it doesn’t exist.? But know that when you link up with other people, they will have access to some of your information.? You can adjust this, but just we aware of it if you have privacy concerns.

If you are sharing a room or traveling with friends and want to get FastPasses together, then you must link up!

Scheduling attractions took a very long time.? There were more steps than I expected in the process.? The website itself also took a long time to load and I encountered many errors.? Many.? Like Obamacare website amount of errors.? It was just stupid.

Sorry, Disney, but your websites need some major help.? I cannot imagine people who are less comfortable with technology having the patience to continue trying to make their FastPass+ selections.? Yes, you CAN wait until you arrive at the parks and someone can help you at the kiosks.? However, you WILL have much less choice in attractions if you do this.? It would not be my recommendation to guests.? Just like I suggest booking your Advance Dining Reservations at 180 + 10, I’d suggest booking your FastPass+ at the 60 day mark.

At the parks, the pre-selected FastPasses worked fine for us.? The only issues we had encountered when trying to change anything on the app:? yep, my tech woes continued.? The app would not connect while in the parks.? I tried wi-fi, I tried over the cellular network.? Either way, I was a no-go.? Grumble grumble grumble…

I actually didn’t mind sticking to the schedule I ended up with for my FastPass+ selections. But I had to work on that website for a very long time (talking hours here) to make some of the attractions fit around my dining plans.? It took work and was not effortless or easy.? What I did mind about the FastPass+ was standing in more lines than I normally do since I could only use THREE FastPasses a day.? I can’t get over that part.? It hindered the way I would normally tour the parks and I rode much less attractions than I normally do.

If the web and app ever get streamlined and actually work, and if we are allowed more FastPass+ selections OR the option to schedule three in the parks, but then pull additional FastPasses as needed, I’d be a very happy Shenanigans with the Magic Bands and FastPass+.? But as it stands now, I’m not happy with how my FastPass+ experience played out.

Final Thoughts
Okay- remember when I joked about Disney knowing my blood type?? This picture tells a lot.

You can clearly see Mr. Shenanigans in the 2nd row.? I’m not there, right?? That’s because we rode Rock ‘n Roll Roller Coaster via the single rider line.? My point here:? no FastPass+ selected.? Walt Disney World should have NO idea that Mr. S and I were ever on this ride.? However… both this picture and my picture showed up in our Disney PhotoPass cart.? And we did NOT purchase the ride pictures option.

You can clearly see his Magic Band in the picture.? I’m not complaining about getting some bonus ride pics on my CD, but I am a little weirded out by this turn of events.

Yep.? That Magic Band… is magical, y’all.? Or creepy.? You decide.

What are your thoughts about Magic Band and FastPass+?? Have you encountered any issues with the process?

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JENNIFER KENDALL

Sunday 16th of March 2014

Three fast passes a day is not enough. We are a family of six. There is no way to do a park in one day. This is clearly about money and forcing people to buy extra days. What a disaster Disney! I'm a long time fan who is absolutely disgusted. Shame on you. Your website sucks. The rides and general maintenance is suffering. And cast members are frustrated and kinda rude - probably from listening to everyone complaining all day long. FIX IT!!!!!!

Anonymous

Wednesday 5th of March 2014

Fast Pass Plus may be Disney's worst creation ever. Long lines to make your 3 selections. I used to have 3 fast passes long before lunch. It is a major step back from the old system.

Anonymous

Thursday 20th of February 2014

We have been a regular Disney World for a while but after experiencing Fast Pass + this February 2014 I don't think we will return, at least not as often as we use to. My problem with Fast Pass + is:

Fast Pass + forces families to spilt up!

With a limit of 3 fast pass per person there is no way to experience the parks as a family together, especially if you have a family with kids different ages (we have 2 teens and 2 under 6) I'm sure the situation would apply to families that have both girls and boys. For example in our vacation our teens wanted to ride Space, the younger kids can't ride that ride and wanted to ride Peter Pan, young kids can't ride the rides alone (obviously) so the parents are forced to forfeit a Fast Pass to ride the kid ride. I know, you're thinking "just get a riders swap for the big rides" Problem with that is we were denied rider swaps a couple of times, the Disney workers would say "we aren't giving out swaps at this time, the wait time isn't long enough" (what does the wait time have to be to get a rider swap?) While the wait wasn't that long when I asked for the swap by the time 1/2 of our family went through the ride and came out the wait times had increased significantly. At Big Thunder we were given a rider swap that was for ONE person <-- like anyone wants to ride the ride alone after waiting with the small children while the family rode the ride. Back to the Peter Pan ride --- my teens would have loved to ride that ride with their younger siblings and us to have that bonding experience unfortunately the teens couldn't because of the 3 Fast Pass per person limit.

Fast Pass + doesn't make anything better or easier on the customers. The limit of 3 passes person and the tier system doesn't help Disneyworld Guest at all. Disneyworld is too expensive to have a family vacation where the family is forced to spilt up.

Gluten Free Vegan's eat what??

Wednesday 29th of January 2014

We just cancelled our plans for Disney in August. We are pros at the traditional fast passes and are always able to get on every ride we like at least 3x before park hopping to another park. Guess those days are over! We calculated it out and if we follow their new fast pass system, we will be paying over $300 per ride per person per day. Looks like our annual Disney trip is no more....

Anonymous

Tuesday 21st of January 2014

I fully agree with your review of the Disney Magic Bands. I have been a pass holder for many many years and will probably not renew. I can't believe it has come to this but I almost want to mail my Magic Band back to Disney. In the past when we arrived at the parks, we had a chance to go on all the rides we wanted with minimal wait. Sometimes we arrived too late to get a FastPass to one of the highly sought after rides, but if we wanted it bad enough, we could get there on time. Now, once you choose one ride in a tier, you can't get another. My kids love Test Track. I can't ride it because of a back issue. I love Soaring. They like it too but not love it. Now, we have to choose one or the other because they are in the same tier. Sure, I could go on Soarin alone but try to explain to a 5 year old that Mommy is going on a ride without him. That certainly would not make for a fun day at the park. The other day we were at Hollywood studios. There were no more fastpass plus passes for Toy Story Mania. Our remaining choices were Rock N Roller Coaster, Fantasmic, and Beauty and the Beast. I have two young boys and we were leaving before Fantasmic so that and Rock N Roller Coaster were out. Boys! Boys! Beauty and the Beast is not Fastpass worthy with boys. There were no options and what made it worse, there was a 70 minute wait for Star Tours and the Fastpass distribution area was showing availability for an hour from then. Had we been using the old system, we could have gotten more passes. Since we had already been on the ride, we were not permitted to sign up for it again. Between my husband, mother, and whomever else was with us, we used to get our boys on Star Tours, their favorite ride, multiple times. Now, once. This is awful and not worth the money for annual passes or the 1 1/2 drive for a day at Disney. So disappointing! I can't believe I have already been pricing out other theme parks for annual passes when these expire. I never thought this day would come. Just not worth it.

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