Quiet mutterings about the Walt Disney Company’s “Next Generation Experience,” known among mouse-eared circles as the “NextGen” project, have been going on since 2010, when word had it that more than $1 billion – roughly the cost of building two Disney Cruise Line ships – had been committed to something very hush hush.
Further whisperings pointed to a major technological initiative aimed at radically transforming the way guests enjoy access to the parks while in the parks, leading enthusiasts to believe that radio-frequency identification – like that used in wireless devices – would be used in wristbands.
And they were right.
Called a “more immersive, more seamless and more personal experience for each and every guest who spends time with us,” by Walt Disney Parks and Resorts Chairman, Tom Staggs, MyMagic+ technology will be rolled out in phases over the next several months.
So here’s what you need to know:
Since MyMagic+ is all about letting guests better customize their vacation at Walt Disney World, MagicBands, as the wristbands are officially called, will be your room key, theme park ticket, PhotoPass card, and optional payment account. The bands will also provide FastPass+ access, so don’t lose yours.
Guests staying on-property at Walt Disney World Resort hotels, Annual Passholders and guests who purchase a photography package will automatically get a MagicBand. Guests who stay off property at non-Disney hotels will get a ticket with touch features that will provide park entry, allow for redeeming FastPass+, and touch to pay, but no MagicBand. That being said, if you want one, you will be able to buy one.
A smartphone app called “My Disney Experience,” is the major component of MyMagic+, and accessing it will let you make plans – think dining reservations, booking experiences, choosing FastPasses, getting the latest Walt Disney World Resort news – before and during your stay. That means you can be spontaneous or plan ahead.
“We know that some people like to plan every aspect of their Disney vacation in advance while others like to plan very little, letting their day unfold spontaneously,” Stagg says. “No matter where guests fall in that spectrum, ‘My Disney Experience’ gives them the flexibility to plan as much or as little as they’d like to create the exact Disney experience they want.”
Photo credit: Disney Parks
Travelhound Pilar wouldn’t mind being at Walt Disney World eating the ears off a Mickey ice cream bar right about now. But, since she can’t be at her “second home” year round, she curates happy thoughts on Disney Social Media Magic, a virtual springboard where breaking news and other Disneyfied thingamabobs are shared. For more mouse-minded geekery, join Pilar on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram and personal site, One Mom Media.