written by Debi Mitchell, specialist in Disney Destinations from O’Fallon, IL

Last month I had the opportunity to test Disney’s new Magic Band program at Walt Disney World.  I was really excited after helping clients with it for the last few weeks, and I wanted to experience it myself.  When I logged into my Disney World My Experience account one day, a pop up box came up that told me I could “customize my Magic Bands”.  I consulted the kids to see what colors they wanted and if they wanted a nickname or character name to personalize it.  We all picked a different color.  Two days later I had a Fed Ex delivery on my door, and there were our bands!  With our trip less than two weeks away, we were very excited!

The fun with the bands started on the airplane.  I decided to put the bands on the boys so they could start getting used to them.  Our youngest son needed to separate the outside section to make the band smaller for him.  It was really simple to pry off the outer section so it would fit him better.  Good thing we already had our bands on, because when we got to the Magical Express we were able to use our bands to “tap” and board the bus.  When we arrived at the resort, check in was easy too, we tapped our band to set our 4 digit pin code, tapped to get in our room, and were amazed at how convenient it was.

Since our tickets were not purchased as a package with our room, they had to be linked to our Magic Bands.  I entered the ticket numbers onto my online account and linked each person’s bands to the corresponding person.  Just to be safe we took the actual tickets to the park, but we never needed to use them.  Each time we entered a park we just tapped our band on the machine, did our fingerprint confirmation, and the machine would turn green verifying it was a match.  I think it is easier for the Cast Members to move people through the line into the park because they can do a couple of people at a time, and easily see it turn green .

There were many things I didn’t even think about that were beneficial, such as not having to dig in my bag for my card.  I was forever losing the room key/Key to the World Card that they give you. This way everything I need is on my Magic Band and always on my wrist and in sight!  Also, the kids always had theirs on too. If they wanted to walk ahead of us to the room or step out to go to a vending machine, we didn’t have to remind them to take a key.  They always had their Magic Band on them.  We loved using them while swimming.  It has always been a concern of mine to worry about “hiding” my key in my towel or shoe while at the pool.  No more! My Magic Band was safe on my wrist the entire time.

As the months go on, I think we will see more and more being programmed onto our bands, even the Photo Pass pictures.  Right now the benefit of getting to choose your Fast Passes ahead of time with the Fast Pass Plus program is so efficient.  This way you can plan at least a few of your favorite or must-see attractions so you know for sure you will get to do them.  It’s always disappointing to get to the park to find out that the line for Toy Story Mania is 60 minutes long and the Fast Passes are gone.  Well now you can have your Fast Pass for that ride set up ahead of time so you can show up during the designated time.  Most families choose those Fast Pass Plus rides and attractions prior to arriving at the park.  However if you download the My Experience App, you can change those Fast Passes right from your Smart Phone.

Make sure to ask your Wish Upon a Star Agent which rides and attractions they feel are the most beneficial to use with this new time-saving system.  As we learn more and experience it ourselves a few more times over the next couple of months, we will be putting together more suggestions on which Fast Passes to obtain early.  Always feel free to ask your agent any questions you have too.  If you already have a reservation with one of our agents, you can go to www.StartYourDisneyExperience.com to register and sign up for the new My Experience program which includes the Magic Bands.

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