*Photo credit: That is Disney’s official MyMagic+ logo, found on Wikipedia
If this is your first time visiting the parks, or you haven’t visited in a few years, you might want to hear about this. MyMagic+ is a free of charge system that came into play around early 2013. Through MyMagic+, you can perform multiple actions that will assist you in planning for your trip, like booking dining reservations and Fastpasses. With MyMagic+ comes the My Disney Experience App, where you can access the two actions listed above. Too much to take in? Don’t worry, I’m about to talk about each thing listed in depth so that you can have a better understanding.
The My Disney Experience App
I personally believe that this app is essential for all visitors to the parks. The app is completely free of charge, however it does require a strong internet connection at all times, so watch out for your cellular data usage. This app has practically everything you need to get through your day at the parks, including real-time wait times for each attraction, a full list of characters that you can meet, a full list of all shops and amenities and digital maps of the parks. Through the app, you can also access FastPass+ reservations and Dining reservations.
Online and on the My Disney Experience App, you can make dining reservations for any of the sit-down restaurants in the parks.
Online, Simply tap on a restaurant from the dining list, choose “Find a Table”, then enter your party size. From there, all that’s left is to select the date and choose your preferred time from what’s available.
On the app, Swipe up on your profile picture, choose “Reserve Dining” then enter your party size. Then, select the date, choose a restaurant from what’s available and select your preferred time.
Disney does accept walk-ins for some of their restaurants, however you might have to wait 15 to 45 minutes before you can get a table. With a reservation, you will mostly get a wait of 10 minutes or less, or you might even get in immediately! Personally, I have experienced both 10 minute wait times and immediate entry with Dining reservations for multiple restaurants. At the end of the day, it really depends on how busy the restaurant is.
Alright, here comes the big explanation. If you have visited the parks previously (or you have been to Disneyland in California), you may recall the paper FastPass system, in which you go to a printing machine and receive a physical FastPass ticket for a random time. Walt Disney World did away with this system when they introduced MyMagic+, using FastPass+ as their main selling point. FastPass+ is a new system, in which you can book FastPasses up to 30 days before your trip (or 60 days if you’re staying at a Disney Resort Hotel). You are allowed to book in advance 3 FastPasses per day, and for now, those three must be in the same park. Similar to the Dining Reservations, you can select the time best suited to you and your plans, depending on what’s available of course. When your FastPass time rolls around, you will have a one hour period to ride that ride. To use the FastPass, simply tap your park ticket or your “MagicBand” to the the Mickey Turnstiles (They look just like the ones at the front of the parks when you first enter. You will, unfortunately, only be able to ride the attraction once using the FastPass. Once you have used the FastPass, you will have to line up in the regular line.
So, what happens if the ride breaks down during the time you selected? Disney has that covered. If a ride temporarily closes during your FastPass time, they will send you an email notifying you that it’s closed. The rule in these situations is that if the ride reopens, you can come at any time to use the FastPass. Or, if you don’t want to ride it anymore, then included in the email will be a list of all the rides you can go to instead, and the same rule applies. Whichever ride on the list you want to do instead, go over at any time you want and hop into the FastPass line. Keep in mind that FastPasses don’t only apply to rides, you can also book FastPasses for Character Interactions and Shows (including Parades, Fireworks and other shows in the parks. These FastPasses will allow you access to a special viewing area).
*Photo credit: Disney Parks Blog
Alright, I know I mentioned these above and I still haven’t told you what they are yet. Magic Bands are like the Swiss Army Knives of Walt Disney World. They can hold your ticket information, your dining reservations, your FastPasses, your photos taken by Disney Photographers and (if you’re staying at a Disney Hotel) your room key! Plus, they’re waterproof! MagicBands are available to all guests, however you do have to purchase them. They can be purchased in the parks, at Disney Springs or online on the Disney Store website. Alternatively, if you stay at a Disney Hotel or you are an Annual Passholder, you can get one for free. The MagicBands come in various different colors and are all adjustable. Accessories are also sold separately for the MagicBands, adding a unique touch to your band. Here’s my Magic Band with some of the Minnie Mouse accessories:
Now, things are going to get a little complicated here. The Magic Band pictured above is the first model of MagicBands. However, very recently Disney has unveiled “MagicBand2”, a newer model of the MagicBands. These newer models have the same purpose and the same features, but they now feature a removable puck, to give guests the option to have the puck in a keychain or lanyard rather than wearing it on their wrist. As far as I know, these have now become the complimentary bands for the Annual Passholders, however I do not think that these are now the complimentary bands for Hotel Guests as well. As of right now, the bands have not yet been fully released to all guests, only the Limited Edition ones are available. I will update this post if I gain new information. This is a picture of the new models below:
*Photo credit: Disney Parks Blog
UPDATE: The MagicBand2 and accessories are all now available for all guests and are sold in the parks, this includes the bands featured above.
UPDATE 2: The MagicBand2 is now the default MagicBand for Hotel Guests.