Over the next few months you’ll be seeing a few guest posts pop up here and there. I’ve asked friends from both my past and present to help share their adventures, idea and thoughts on everything from Disney, travel, food and everything in between. I hope you enjoy!
Without further adieu may I present Veronica’s, Something More Than Planned, guest post about the Magicband system and Fastpass+
First things first, the magic bands are REALLY COOL. I love the concept. It was fun getting to pick out our own colors. I choose yellow :). I think they look really cute with the mickey icon, and the material they are made out of was actually pretty comfy to wear. And this coming from someone who dislikes wearing bracelets.
Aside from appearance though, what I really LOVE is that the bands contain your hotel key, park tickets, fast passes and as well, your cash for your stay if you choose to put a credit card on the account. To me, this is a no brainer. I so enjoyed not having to carry around different tickets and really loved being able to leave my cash and credit card in the hotel safe. Stress free time in the parks when it came down to being concerned for my cash. You can be rest assured that every where around the Walt Disney World Resort took the magic bands so there is absolutely no issues in only taking the magic band.
Now I feel that I should add a bit of a disclaimer here, and that is if you are like me who takes their receipts and tracks them at the end of the day, then you will be fine with using the magic bands and not getting a surprise bill at the end. If you have troubles keeping track of your spending, then be warned ahead that those pops and mickey treats can add up quickly! The hotel puts an automatic $1500 cap on your account, but still, $1500 is a lot to keep track off if you are not diligent.
At the end of your stay, you don’t have to pay with that particular credit card either. The night before we checked out, I got my balance and paid it off with the cash that I had and then the remainder on my cc. So overall this system worked so fantastic for me.
It was also kind of magical getting to scan the bands on your entrance into the park. I still repeat “Mickey to Mickey!” to myself and smile, remembering all the cast members saying this upon entering into the park. I found it so adorable.
Now onto the Fastpass+ system itself.
When I first heard of this system I was annoyed. But it’s not so much that it was all switched to online and attached to the magic bands, that part is okay. What annoyed me was the fact that you had to make the decisions about which fast passes to use WEEKS in advance of your trip, to get any hope of your first choice while creating a schedule for your day. So now, how it works, is basically at the 60 day mark (if staying on property, 30 days if not), you can go online to you’re my Disney account, and pick out your fast passes for the park. Which now almost every ride has a fast pass, along with character meet and greets and shows. So for each day, you can pick up to three fast passes initially. You don’t get to choose all the rides specifically you want, as all the rides are grouped into certain groups, and so you can pick one ride from each group for up to three per day. You have an hour time slot allotted to use the fast pass. Finally, once you have used one fast pass, you can get attempt to get another one but in some cases all the options run out early on in the day.
What I did not like was that a) You were limited to your selection of rides, b) I had to make decisions way to early about what rides I wanted to ride in the morning vs afternoon. What if I wake up and don’t want to ride Tower of Terror first thing? I don’t want to have to make those decisions 60 DAYS IN ADVANCE. Of course you can wait, but then your ride selections start to limit as most people are jumping on this system right away. What I also really did not like was that we wasted a portion of time either a) trying to connect to WIFI to access our app or b) in line at the only few kiosks located in the parks when we wanted to see our fast passes or make a change or add new ones. As well, there was a glitch with one ride that we got a fast pass at a kiosk for, and then it turns out it did not actually save onto our bands. This glitch would not happen with a paper copy, just saying.
I just feel like it added a level of pressure and time sensitivity to my time in the parks that was unnecessary. When only a few select rides offered fast passes, I barely gave it any thought because we would just pick one and then go along with our day. Now I felt this pressure that indicated if we didn’t have a fast pass for a ride, good luck getting on it at all. Which was ridiculous because most of the wait times were reasonable, but knowing that there is a fast pass option made us want to wait to use the fast pass or wait for one to become available, so in turn we flitted between rides or shows while waiting for a fast pass…when really we could have just waited in line, as we wasted time waiting anyway.
I do like to be organized when travelling, I like schedules throughout the day, and before this online system, I used the fast pass paper copies. However, the difference to me from what I used to do, is that I would make my schedule for the day, day of. The old system allowed you to show up to the park, enjoy the magic and pick a couple rides to use fast passes for, spur of the moment when you saw the long lines but you could easily go about your day not obsessing over the fast pass system at all. Which is why I think this new system takes away the magic from Disney, I really do.
The one new addition that I did enjoy was being able to use a fast pass for character meet and greets. That is one new part of the system that worked REALLY WELL. Getting to literally skip the 70 minute line and walk right into meeting Anna and Elsa was so joyous. I would use the fast pass system for character meets and greets over rides any day.
I realize that Disney probably is not concerned with my opinion and if the majority like this system then great for them. But personally, I would go back to the old Fastpass system in a heartbeat. Keep the character options for fast passes and sure keep it on the bracelets to keep it fancy. But instead, have a fast pass kiosk for the few most popular rides like old times, scan it onto your bracelet and call it a day BUT only have people make those decisions on the day they are actually in the parks.
Otherwise I feel like Disney is getting too carried away with online reservations. I don’t want to have to make decisions like that so ahead of the time of my trip and have so many details worked out before I am even at the parks. It leaves very little room for change of minds or surprises.
It made me feel like what is going to happen is that you will show up to the park and be handed a personalized itinerary, stating your entire day hour by hour. And while that sounds like a dream to an OCD planner (which I have been accused of before), I feel like it completely takes away from the magic of Disney. Part of the magic is running onto your favourite ride, or running to meet your favourite character spontaneously, with no pre conceived idea that in 60 days at 9:00am I will be riding Pirates of the Caribbean. I find it way more special to show up at the parks, walk through those gates (now hearing Micky to Mickey!) and get to wander around, take in all my favourite things and then go from ride to ride, occasionally picking up a fast pass for the big ones, like Splash, while spending majority of the day just ride hopping around and not being tied down to an already created schedule. To me the magic is in the surprises that I find at Disney. Not in the schedule.
Hope this makes sense, I am curious to hear others opinions of this new system.
Thanks for reading =)
– xoxo Veronica
Categories: Words From Friends