Saturday, January 26, 2013

Disney Parks Magic Band

Disney Parks Magic Band
MyMagic+ and Fastpass+

Picture from the Disney Parks Blog

For the past couple of years rumors have bounced around Disney Fandom about a new system of Fastpass and Disney Park experience. For a while it was called XPass or XGen. Now Disney has formally announced it and revealed its proper name, MyMagic+ with Fastpass+.
Simply put this is a new system to allow guests a more “seamless experience” at the parks. It will be everything from your ticket to the park, room key, payment system and Fastpass. It will also allow a more “personal and interactive experience” while in the park.
Would you like to see your name on a tomb stone in the Haunted Mansion’s grave yard as you walk through the line? Do you like the idea of Scuttle talking to you directly and calling you by name as you walk past on your way to the Little Mermaid ride? When you or your child walk up to your favorite character would you like them to call you by name and if celebrating a birthday wish you happy birthday? They this system is totally for you!
The way they are talking you signup online at and fill out just the information you wish to share. You can share your full information yet decide to limit what you share about your children. You may not like putting your credit card information on the system or you may love it. It is your choice to do it or not at this time. You can then pick and choose the experiences you wish. You can also download an app for your smart phone to help you plan and keep track of your chosen FPs and ADRs.
Once you have signed up and have made your reservations (you can make them from this site or with the smart phone app or link existing ones you do with a TA) you can tell them what days you plan on being in what park and select Fastpass’ and make dining reservations.
Here is a listing of what is available to do on the site:
Get Ready!
Find Things to Do
Make dining Reservations
Book a Resort
Link Existing Reservations & Tickets
Pre-Arrival Checklist
Make the Most of Your Experience
Link reservations to your account.
Find things to do.
Select a park and plan activities for each day.
Make dining reservations.
Purchase park tickets or passes.
Browse Special Event tickets.
Guests at WDW Resort hotels may also:
Check-in online up to 60 days before arrival.
Just think! No calling at 6am EST the day ADRs are available for the restaurant of your choice! No getting up early while on vacation to run to the park to grab a Fastpass. All you have to do is click on the computer or your phone app and it is DONE from home months in advance!
All of your reservation information is put on a rubber bracelet with a RFID (Radio Frequency ID chip) called a Magic Band. This Magic Band becomes your room key, park ticket, Fastpass holder and even your wallet acting as your single swipe credit card! You simply hold your wrist up to your door to unlock it. Tap your wrist at the park entrance to validate your ticket for entrance. Tap at the Fastpass entrance to use your Fastpass and tap at the checkout to pay for items.
This all sounds so wonderful but I have concerns. This technology has the ability to tell Disney where you are in the resort at any moment. Yes they have cameras all over the place so you could say your privacy is a moot point anyway. But think of this. Besides your location (remember I said it can tell the HM to put your name on a tomb stone or tell a character your name?) it keeps track of what you purchase, food and merchandise, what characters you choose to see and those you skipped.
You would not think twice about limiting the information a company gathers about you online so why do you think it is on in “real life”? I’ve actually seen people post reply’s about this topic on various online forums and social networking sites saying, “What are you worried about? It’s Disney and Disney would do nothing to hurt us!” Really?? As much as I love and trust Disney I’m not that trusting or stupid!
There is no privacy statement as of yet for these Magic Bands telling guests exactly what information is gathered and if it is shared outside of the Disney Family of Companies. No I don’t think Disney has a nefarious plan to take us over I just don’t feel it is wise to give any company too much personal information.
Disney is run by people and it is a fact of life that no matter how well any company screens the people it hires some bad and downright dangerous ones will be hired by mistake and oversight. Would you like some creep that just happens to work for Disney to be able to know where you and/or your child is in the resort at any time?
I’ve had problems with a stocker before so I think about things like this. It turns out my stocker was a cashier at a market I regularly shopped at and would get my phone number and address when I used a check to pay or when I gave him my phone number for ‘club’ discounts. Before we figured out who he was and how he got the information even moving and changing phone numbers did not stop him. He did show up at my home one night and had to be dealt with quite forcefully. If this could happen 20+ years ago without the technology of RFID and lose privacy on the internet I shudder to think of the added ‘risk’ with the RFID. I’m sorry as I said before, “I’m trusting but not that trusting.”
Here are more things to think about. I’m an Annual Passholder at DLR (MyMagic+ is only at WDW at the time) and if this system were to come to DLR how would it effect the APs? Full information is not yet out on how it will affect WDW APs and yet it starts to roll out in the next couple of months. Would we have to get Magic Bands to use the Fastpass system? Usually we don’t plan our trips months in advance. We just hop over for a day when we wish. We usually don’t schedule visits more than a couple of weeks in advance and often don’t know we are going until the night before. Would we no longer be able to get Fastpass’? Would the guests booking months in advance clean out all the FPs for the most popular rides?
I’m a planner but I don’t schedule every moment of every day. I’ve been to WDW once and when I went I did not know what day I’d do each park. I just went with what we felt like doing when we woke up. That would be harder fully using the Magic Bands. I’d have to decide weeks if not months in advance what parks I’d be going to on what day as well as what rides I’d go on and where I’d eat. How do I know what I want to eat on a day a year in advance? I’m sorry I don’t. What if the weather is cool on a day I planned to go to the water park? Darn! I can’t change my precious schedule because I’d lose out on my Fastpass! I need to have flexability.
I’m going to give this a wide birth at this time and watch to see what happens. I’m going to watch what is going on with Congressional bi-partisan Privacy Caucus demanding answers from Disney on what information they are gathering. I’m going to listen to the chatter from other fans on how they like it. I want to hear from WDW APs on how it is working for them. I will withhold final judgment for now but say I’ve got concerns.
I’m in the process of planning a trip to WDW and DCL in 2014 so I’m looking closely at this information to help me make wise choices. I’ll keep you all updated.
Here are some links for further information on the subject:
Disney Parks Blog:

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