Upcoming Enhancements to the Disney World Experience

The New York Times had an article today that outlined upcoming enhancements coming to Disney’s theme parks:

Imagine Walt Disney World with no entry turnstiles. Cash? Passé: Visitors would wear rubber bracelets encoded with credit card information, snapping up corn dogs and Mickey Mouse ears with a tap of the wrist. Smartphone alerts would signal when it is time to ride Space Mountain without standing in line. Enlarge This Image

Fantasyland? Hardly. It happens starting this spring.

Disney in the coming months plans to begin introducing a vacation management system called MyMagic+ that will drastically change the way Disney World visitors — some 30 million people a year — do just about everything.

This is something I have been anticipating for years1, and I am excited to see how Disney implements these changes. Part of the process will be a new “MyMagic+” experience that includes a website, a mobile app, and RFID bracelets:

MyMagic+ will allow users of a new Web site and app — called My Disney Experience — to preselect three FastPasses before they leave home for rides or V.I.P. seating for parades, fireworks and character meet-and-greets. Orlando-bound guests can also preregister for RFID bracelets. These so-called MagicBands will function as room key, park ticket, FastPass and credit card.

It sounds like a really impressive ecosystem2. Of course, such a drastic change will probably result in a changed experience for Disney’s guests. The Disney Blog gives a pretty good analysis of what this new experience probably will probably be like:

What’s probably going to happen is that the top 2 or 3 attractions for each park will essentially be ‘pre-booked’ by MM+. That means you’ll have to arrive at rope drop for any chance of day-of FP if you want to ride those, but the lower-tier FP attractions will benefit with faster standby and more availability for day-of FP. This is because the 3rd and 4th MM+ reservations will be for shows and parades for the most part.

On the plus side, that could mean I finally get to go on Soarin’ for the first time in about 4 years3.

I look forward to more information as the new MyMagic+ system rolls out.


  1. I assumed it was inevitable once the Fastpass system was started 

  2. For a fuller breakdown of the technology, check out Skitch Kingdom’s breakdown of a recent Disney Patent Application 

  3. Seriously, I have not seen a Fastpass return for this ride that was within 4 hours of when I went to pick it up.