Wednesday, November 20, 2013

My Fastpass+ and MagicBand Review

Boy do I have so much to share with you all!

I got back from Walt Disney World last Thursday and I have found some time to tell you about my trip. Let's get to the part you guys really wanna hear about... Fastpass+ and MagicBands!

I am VERY happy to report that my mom and I did not have big issues with the MagicBands. They were comfortable to wear, even when the weather got up in the 80's. I admit that I LOVE them to get into my hotel room. It's so much easier than having to find my Key to the World card. Like, way easier. Not until the 2nd to the last day did we realize that my mom's band wasn't set up to be able to get into the room. It wasn't a big deal since we were always together, but if we needed it to work, we would have had to go down to the lobby and have them fix it. An issue like that could happen with a KTTW card, so it's not some "MagicBand Only" problem.

As far as using the MagicBands to get into attractions with Fastpass+ reservations, it was really easy. The only issue I forsee happening is that there are 2 places along the queue in which you need to touch the censor thingy. Once is when you enter the queue, and another before you board. I know on Maelstrom they didn't have someone watching the second censor post. I walked by it without noticing until I turned the corner. Not sure why there are two and how that affects using Fastpass+, but that is just something I noticed.

Using MagicBands to get into the parks was the only area I saw a problem. It's more of a user issue that guests will have to learn and adapt to. You know how with the card readers you'd just pop your card in and get your finger scanned usually using your right finger because you'd only enter your card on the right side of you? Well, the new entrances have censors on BOTH sides of you. This makes things tricky. Make sure you remember whatever finger you initially use. My mom and I both screwed this up. Our first park was Magic Kingdom and we didn't pay any mind to what we were doing. When we went to get into Epcot the next day, I believe I used a censor on my left instead of my right, which threw me off in terms of what finger I needed to scan. While I quickly did it again with the other finger, my mom wasn't so lucky a few days later. The cast member working the entrance kept having her try again and again. It was a slow process. Finally, another cast member with an iPad came up to her and asked her what finger she used and all that jazz. In my opinion, they needed to step in much faster, especially RIGHT at park opening when there was a long line behind her. I also did not like how no one was totally sure when they were supposed to take their wrist off the censor and proceed to have their finger scanned. I just kind of waited until the white light started spinning quickly, but I don't know if I could have done it sooner. I think that needs to be explained somehow.

Onto Fastpass+. My summary in one sentence is this... While we had no issues at all on this visit, I can still forsee a lot of potential problems. Pretty much everything I spoke about before as a concern, is still a concern. Fastpasses fly like mad (really, they do), guests without smart phones have a huge disadvantage, and park hopping is now almost pointless. In terms of lines, we waited no more than 10 minutes for anything. Ever. I understand that long lines for Fastpass+ can build, however, I believe we timed our Fastpasses really well. My best advice is to get those reservations done well in advance to ensure you're going to save some time standing in line.

I didn't think that we would need to change any of our Fastpass+ selections at all during our trip. I was very sure of my decisions. However, when my mom had a medical emergency Saturday evening, the next few days changed our schedule quite a bit. On Sunday, we didn't even get into a park until 5:00 or 6:00 in the evening. I had three Fastpass+ reservations made for the morning and early afternoon that we would have missed if I didn't get to change them using the phone app. I actually changed them all twice that day. At first we thought we'd be in a park by noon, so I made reservations from 12:30-3:00, but my mom became ill again and we stayed at the resort until about 5. I changed them again in the afternoon before we left for Epcot. This was a great help. I wasn't looking to get into popular rides that night, so we were fine with getting whatever we could.

My BIGGEST complaint about the new system is actually the My Disney Experience app. It ran horrifically slow, even when my WiFi was strong. It was embarrasing really. While I liked being able to change my Fastpass+ selections on a whim, actually doing it was a huge pain in the butt. Sometimes, the app would freeze entirely and not save my changes. Sometimes, it would save my changes, but the app would freeze, so I didn't know if I actually had made changes or not until I got out of the selection window and went back to look at my confirmed reservations. It's like the app is a mini version of the Disney website... slow and annoying.

I still need to share with you other details of my trip, but this is good for now. :) If you have ANY questions about MagicBands or Fastpass+, feel free to ask!


  1. Is it true that one everything is up and running for real, for have to choose between regular fastpasses or fastpass+?

    1. Actually, everyone will be using Fastpass+. There will be no "legacy" Fastpass anymore. It's almost totally phased out right now.