Monday, 23 October 2017

Walt Disney World - What's What: My Disney Experience/Magic Bands

If you have been considering a Disney trip or even so much as glanced at a Disney planning website or forum you will have undoubtedly heard about the legendary Magic Band.  You may have heard of MyMagic plus or have been told to download the MyDisney Experience app. Sounds confusing, overwhelming...stressful?! It really isn't or at least it doesn't need to be.

A Bit of Background on My Disney Experience/Magic Bands 

MyMagic+ was conceptualised nearly a decade ago now as part of a regeneration in Walt Disney World to make the guest experience easier and seamless, though we guests didn't really see anything of it until 2012 when the magic bands began testing throughout the parks and finally launched after many teething issues in 2014.

Magic bands and Mymagic+ got a bad wrap from a lot of hardcore fans who felt it spoilt the magic and took away any spontaneity from a visit to the most magical place on earth however I think you would find that nearly 5 years on, the vast majority now wouldn't have it any other way.

So whats what here? Which should you use? MyMagic? A Magic Band?

Let me try and make this whole mumbo jumbo as simple as possible for you here,

MyMagic+ - The software/system Disney uses within the App and Magic Band. You might as well forget about this one to be honest with you. Yes you will be using it but you will never physically see it if you know what I mean. If you do see a website or forum mention it just think of it as;

My Disney Experience - This is basically an app which you can download to your phone, your tablet or simply access through the Disney parks website. Here you make your fastpass+ reservations, dining reservations, you can see your park tickets, dining plan information if you have it and anything else you have booked as part of your Disney trip.

Magic Bands - As you probably will have seen, these are the physical bands you wear on your wrist or round your bag strap etc for the duration of your holiday. All your reservations and tickets etc from My Disney Experience are stored within the band.

I really hope that makes sense, or at least makes more sense for you now!

Using My Disney Experience

Every member in your group will need to either sign up and create a log in OR have an account made for them by you (within your account). This is so that you can all get the same fastpasses and dining reservations if you are going to be doing things together.

Don't worry about everyone needing an email address or having a device to download the app, you only need one person with an official account, but if more people want to be involved they can be.

You can 'invite to connect' once you have created their account but you don't have to.

For example if you were travelling with your grandparents or little ones, it would probably be easier to just do it all for them. You can select to 'manage all plans for this guest' (see below). They probably aren't going to be checking the wait times on the app whilst queuing for space mountain!

Once everyone who wants/needs one, has an account you are ready to go!

You don't have to all have the same reservations, for example if one day you are all going to different parks, but the app makes it easy to make sure you are all on every dining reservation and every fastpass+ if you wish.

You can use the app to make your dining reservations 180 days before the day you are travelling. I know this sounds a lot but trust me some restaurants get booked up on this day.

You can make your fastpass+ reservations 60 days before the day you are booking for, only if you are staying on Disney property. If you aren't staying at a Disney hotel you can make them 30 days out. You can find out how to book your fast passes here.

You can also use the app to check opening times, wait times, ride details, menus and much more so its a really useful planning tool as well as a booking tool.

What Does My Band Do?

If you are staying onsite your Magic Band is quite simply everything you need on your trip apart from sun cream! You could quite easily go to the park with nothing but your band and be good for the day.
If you are staying offsite, then not all of the following will apply but the easiest way is for me to just list them, so here we go

-  Your MB is your Disney resort room key, you simply tap it against the entry pad outside your room

- Your MB can act as a payment card across the entire of Disney property and be linked to your own payment card when you check in so you needn't carry cash or cards. You set up a pin if you want to use this feature so it is safe and secure.

- Your MB contains all of your dining plan credits for you to use at any time if you are on the Disney Dining Plan

- It also has all of your dining reservations on it. Lots of restaurants will now get you to tap in rather than checking your name off a list

- Your MB is used to check in for your Fastpass+ reservations at all attractions. You simply scan the band at the fastpass+ queue when it is your allocated time and away you go

- Your MB is linked to your Memory Maker account (most U.K packages include this). Your ride photos will automatically load onto your band when you get off a ride. No need to see a cast member or go to a kiosk!

When Will I Get My Magic Band

Magic bands are free to anyone staying at a Disney Hotel. You may have seen some posts or forums mentioning that their Magic Bands arrived in the mail. This feature is currently only for US residents. 
I have been hoping for years they would bring this over to the UK but it doesn't look likely, as I think they would have done it by now if they could. 

If you are staying on Disney property and from the U.K, you will receive your Magic Band when you check in at your Disney resort. All your info and reservations from My Disney Experience will already be on it. It is then yours to keep! 

If you are staying offsite you will have purchased tickets either through Disney, your travel agent or perhaps a park ticket specialist such as Orlando Attraction Tickets (who I highly reccomend!). 

In this situation you will receive a ticket in the post (time dependant on who you purchase it from), which looks a bit like a credit card 

When you receive your tickets you will need to link them to My Disney Experience yourself so that your fastpasses etc are linked to the card. 

Purchasing/Customising Magic Bands

Now the last few years have seen the Magic Band go from being a detested strap people had to wear to a bit of a fashion icon. As I mentioned, initially people weren't keen on this new concept of planning and organisation however people now actually spend big bucks on these things, and you can too. 

If you aren't staying on Disney Property you wont get a Magic Band as part of your vacation but you can purchase one either in advance from the Disney Store online or buy one when you are in the parks. 

Like your ticket/card thingy, you will need to link this to your account so that you can use it to enter the parks and access your reservations etc, using the band ID located inside the band (see pic of my really old and slightly gross band) 

Even guests staying at a Disney Resort may wish to purchase additional seasonal or limited edition Magic Bands. You can choose the colour of your band before you arrive however there are LOADS of themed and limited edition bands you may prefer to buy in the parks such as Haunted Mansion themed ones or character bands. 

Alternatively I have previously bought removable skins for my magic band for considerably less money from Magic Your Band. Their prices start from a couple of £ and they offer FREE shipping!!!

Now I know this is an awful lot of information on one topic and it can be a lot to digest at once but if you have any further questions or need help linking your tickets etc please do not hesitate to contact me via the form below or on Instagram @the_foolish_disney_mortal. I will ALWAYS get back to you!

Happy Planning!

K x


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