January 29, 2017
This Week’s Ask Ashley Question
One of the questions this week came from Carl from Savannah, Georgia. Carl asked:
I am familiar with the MagicBands at Walt Disney World. Recently though, I’ve been hearing about a new version. Can you tell me what is changing? When can we expect to start receiving #2? Any expectation to see the MagicBand at Disneyland?
Ashley’s Answers: Everything You Need to Know About WDW’s MagicBand 2
Thank you so much for your question Carl! I remember using the MagicBand for the first time back in 2013; I loved it! There’s something about the ease of having everything you need on your wrist!
Unfortunately, Disneyland hasn’t shown any sign they will be introducing the MyMagic+ system to their parks. Instead, they have implemented a MaxPass Paid Digital FastPass. Check out a future blog post for more information on how their new option will work.
For now, I’m ecstatic to share the features of the MagicBand 2! But, as some readers may not be familiar with the MagicBand at all, I will first describe what the MagicBand does and then I will discuss the changes guests can expect with the MagicBand 2 and when they will first have the chance of using them. Let’s get started!
WDW and Innovation: MyMagic+
In order to understand where we are with the MagicBand 2, I believe its important to know how it came to be. I’ll give a brief history:
The development of the MyMagic+ system began in 2008 to address the various issues that guests encountered throughout the WDW property that affected their likelihood of returning over and over again, including getting into experiences faster. At that time, WDW wasn’t doing the best job recognizing key consumer trends like the increased use of social networking and smartphones either.
The new system would incorporate RFID technology, allowing the band to serve as a contactless smart card to consolidate numerous functions for guests while at the same time helping Disney track guests for park traffic management. Additional concepts included digital reservation systems and personalized experiences. Disney even wished to be able to deliver pre-ordered meals to guests’ tables and even have the characters greet guests by name!
As a result of the digital reservation system that we know today as FastPass+, attractions are now equipped with RFID readers embedded within specially-designed posts, which are recognizable by the Mickey Mouse symbol indicating for guests that their bands can be used at that location. Then, guests walk up to the post and touch their MagicBand face to the Mickey Mouse symbol. That’s it!
It was on January 7, 2013, that WDW officially unveiled the MyMagic+ platform. In addition to all of the upgrades across the property, Wi-Fi was also installed so that guests and cast members would be able to use the My Disney Experience App. To help with the related loss of battery life, Disney has incorporated FuelRod stations throughout the parks. They’ve thought of everything!
MyMagic+ will truly allow guests to personalize their WDW vacation like never before. It allows guests to experience the magic by giving them a plethora of opportunities!
WDW Introduces Wearable Tech with the MagicBand
What an Incredible video; it really shows the connection between MyMagic+ and the MagicBand! With the MagicBand guests can actually become a Disney Vacation Superhero! The MagicBand lets guests:
- Enter the 4 Theme Parks and 2 Water Parks (with park and/or water park admission)
- Access your FastPass+ reservations
- Open the door to your room (when staying on WDW property)
- Make purchases
- Automatically link your photos to your My Disney Experience Account
Now for a little humor! I remember coming back from my first WDW trip after using my MagicBand; I kept thinking my Fitbit was my MagicBand. No such luck! What an inconvenience to go into my wallet for my method of payment! I was so spoiled at WDW!
What new features can guests expect withe the MagicBand 2?
- New Design
- As the pictures above show, the MagicBand 2 will be slightly larger. Similar to before, the bands will be adjustable by removing a layer for smaller wrists. In addition, the bands will also be lighter, making them more comfortable in warmer temps.
- Removable Disc
- On the back of the band, there will be 2 screws (Disney will provide guests with the screwdriver necessary for removing the screws; it will be included in the box with your MagicBand 2). By simply removing the screws, guests will be able to pop out the disc and insert it into accessories including lanyards, key chains (called MagicKeepers), etc. If you prefer to not wear your band, you may opt for one of these alternatives.
- Additional Surprises
- As discussed above, this version of the band will introduce guests to food being delivered to your table at restaurants such as Be Our Guest. In addition, rumors have been stirring about characters greeting guests by name and cast members at merchandise locations knowing what size a guest may need.
MagicBand 2 Shipment Times
Great news! The MagicBand 2 is now being sent to guests for their upcoming trips to WDW! I’m looking forward to hearing of everyone’s opinions as they begin using them.
Until then, are you looking forward to receiving the new MagicBand 2 for your next WDW vacation? How do you feel about the overall MyMagic+ system? Do you like it better than the original ticketed FastPasses?