Saturday, May 3, 2014

Disney World: Magic Bands

Note: This is the beginning of a couple weeks worth of Disney posts!  I spent 8 days on the Walt Disney World property, and it was a wonderful trip.

I am a child at heart sometimes.  So when a work conference being held at a DisneyWorld resort landed on my calendar, suddenly I managed to expand my trip into an 8-day extravaganza!  Dan had never been to Disney, so I was overly eager to plan a long weekend there with him before my conference.  Since we'd be staying at the Grand Floridian Resort on the property, it qualified us for the new(ish) Magic Bands program.  Disney is taking "arm parties" to a whole new level!

Disney Magic Bands are such a neat idea.  Using radio frequency technology, they store a bunch of data on you and allow you to use a wristband to do a number of things.  Before our trip, I had our airport shuttle, room reservation (the band opens your door!), dinner reservation (at Be Our Guest!), and park passes all pre-loaded.  I even chose the colors for our bands.  Sure, it may be a little creepy that a wristband can have all that info, and theoretically Disney can track your every movement like a Family Circle cartoon, but the NSA already has all the information anyways so who cares.  I'm kind of in the boat that if the information they collect allows me to have a more hassle-free and customized experience with little-to-no work on my part, it's a step in the right direction.

Up to 60 days in advance, you can also load FastPass+ reservations to the bands, allowing you to skip the Standby lines.  You can only choose three attractions at a single park at a time, so you have to plan ahead, but it's a great idea.  I added some to our plans, without a true commitment to keep them but hoping to try.  I also heard that you could load your official park photographs to the bands to look up later.  It just seems like such an environmentally-friendly and tech-savvy way to do things, right?  If you don't pre-order/set up your Magic Band ahead of time, you'll get a generic grey one at check-in.

In practice?  I have to admit I like these bands.  They're even waterproof.  They don't give you an option not to use the band if you stay at the resort, so you just embrace it.  We had to get Dan's reset at the beginning because of a reservation SNAFU, but we found it very easy to use them.  I know they must be collecting tons of data and signals from us, but I don't feel uncomfortable about it.

Spot the yellow Magic Band?

We used the bands as a room key, payment method, FastPass+ holder, and PhotoPass collector!  I'm a fan of them, minus the risk of tan lines.  You just hold hold it up to the scanners and wait for a green light.  All too easy.  And you don't have to carry much with you!  I think it's awesome, and I really like the My Disney Experience app too.

Thanks to Meghan at Hayes Days for always answering my e-mails with Disney questions promptly and kindly!  She's my Disney Guru!!!  She did a post on Magic Bands in January.

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  1. Thanks for the shout out Aubrey! I'm so glad we're blogging friends. I'm glad you utilized the magicbands! I think the more they work the kinks out the better the program is getting.
    Just remember to use the same finger next time you go to Disney because (yes, it's creepy) they're storing your finger print too.

  2. I think it's definitely improving. The problem we had was that we added a guest to the reservation, so somehow Dan's pre-shipped Magic Band no longer worked, and we had to get a new one for him. Also, since I activated my Annual Passholder card after I got my resort Magic Band, they're shipping me ANOTHER one.... I want to know why they can't just send the cute little doo-dad for passholder and keep using the same one, you know? It confuses me.


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