Disney continues to roll out technology and information on their NextGen project. The latest comes in the form of a post by Tom Staggs, who is the Chairman of Walt Disney Parks and Resort.
In is blog post, Staggs announces MyMagic+. Now I follow Disney pretty closely, and I had to read the announcement a few times to understand how all the different terms fit together: My Disney Experience, MyMagic+, Fastpass+, MagicBand, etc.
So here’s the deal on how I understand all the pieces:
It seems that MyMagic+ is the name for the overarching Disney program that allows people more flexibility and control over their Disney vacation. This seems to be the official term for NextGen, which was an internal working title for the large changes Disney is making to guest experiences.
My Disney Experience
Part of the overall MyMagic+ design includes a web site and mobile app, both of which seem to be called My Disney Experience. These allow for advanced vacation planning that includes resort stay, park admission tickets, and attraction and event reservations.
The specific part of MyMagic+ that allows for attraction and event reservations is called Fastpass+. It’s similar to the old FastPass in that you make reservations, but there are key expected differences between FastPass and FastPass+.
- Instead of getting your FastPass reservation via a paper ticket at a station inside the park, you can instead get your reservation using your smart phone or website (My Disney Expereince).
- Instead of only getting your reservations on the day of your visit, inside the park, you can also make your reservations before arriving at Disney World.
- Instead of having a single FastPass reservation at a time (typically), you can make multiple FastPass+ reservations for a given day
- Instead of getting only reservations for only the day of your visit, your FastPass+ reservations can span multiple days.
This is the name for a new piece of technology that Disney has now officially announced. We reported that Disney had submitted the MagicBand to the US Federal Communications Commission for approval some time ago. This regulatory approval was needed because the device transmits a wireless signal using a technology called RFID (Radio Frequency Identification). The MagicBand is a wrist band that contains your identifying information and acts as your room key, your on-site credit card, and your FastPass+ ticket.
When Is It Coming?
Staggs mentioned that the project was rolling out over the next several months. Today you can visit the My Disney Experience web site and download the mobile app. You can also see FastPass+ stanchions at the entrance to many Disney World attractions as well as at portions of the entrance locations of the theme parks. You can see Mickey-shaped pay stations near many cash registers. It seems that all these pieces are starting to come together.
What About Privacy And Security?
Disney will allow you control over how much or how little personal information you chose to reveal. For example, you might enter that your child is having a birthday in your MyMagic+ reservation, and that could enable a Disney Princess to wish them a happy birthday by name. Or you could skip that. Disney will also allow you to deactivate your MagicBand. And purchases over $50 will require that you enter a PIN.
But What About…
There are still plenty of questions about the details. Assumptions include the fact that the MagicBands will be reusable, that the MyMagic+ program will be available to all park guests (and not just those staying at a Disney Resort hotel), and that Annual Passholders will still be able to use some type of FastPass+ / reservation process. But we don’t know those things for certain yet. We will see how all these events unfold over the coming months.