August 23

Disney2014: MagicBands and MyDisneyExperience

I woke up this morning in a sweat, but that was great because it was the end to my fever.

So!

Back to Disney2014.

I wrote that we’d discuss the food next.

But.

Before I talk about anything yummy, I need to mention two things that improved our Disney extravaganza.

First:  I think I mentioned the RFID wristbands (“MagicBands”) before, but let us talk about them again.

You receive this box with your wristband when you check in.

MagicBand Box 1

MagicBand Box 2

 

People keep complaining about it being uncomfortable, but as long as you fit it properly onto your wrist, I didn’t see a reason for all their whining.

In fact, by the end of the trip, I missed wearing it.

MagicBand

 

Half of the strap is detachable for kids, so that they don’t have to deal with a big chunky doubled-up wristband.  Knobby thought it was hilarious when he ended up making mine child-size, too.

At first we thought every park visitor got one, but that didn’t seem to be true as we saw a whole lot of paper tickets.  Paper.  Ha.  How antiquated.  Get with the RFID, people!

(Ah:  They are just for resort guests and passholders, but you can buy your ticket if you are neither of those and buy them — they are inside nearly all the shops.  Also, they are apparently shipped to you ahead of time, unless you are like us and made last-minute reservations.)

These wristbands did everything.  They were your room key, they were your park ticket, they were your FastPass entry (you schedule three rides from your Disney phone app and you zoom to the front of the line), and you used them to pay for all your purchases and dining while on Disney property.

For example:  Park Entry Scanners.  Mickey’s head and the ring around it glow neon green when you are granted access to something.  To enter the park, you touch your band’s Mickey to the Mickey there, it reads it and glows white, then white circles appear next to the fingerprint scanner beside it.  When these match successfully, they glow the neon green and you’re waved through.

MagicBandScanner2

(Picture courtesy of DisneyTimes.com via the Googles.)

I thought we’d be presented with a bill upon checkout (a GIGANTIC bill) for all the shopping and dining . . . but Knobby was right (hey, he is right SOME of the time) — they charge as you go, so no ugly surprises.  Whew.  Nothing like dread for no reason.

Second:  The Disney app — “MyDisneyExperience” — was great as well, although . . . we witnessed several people in the park that were using the app on their iPads.  And that gets a big ole’ “WHY????” . . . but . . . whatever floats your boat, I suppose.  I don’t really know why you’d elect to carry around an iPad all day with you, or why you’d want to use it to take pictures . . . because my phone’s camera wins hands down compared to my iPad’s camera, and it’s so much smaller . . . but . . . again.  Whatever floats your boat.

ANYWAY.  The Disney app.  Hallelujah.  Not only did you use it to schedule your FastPass rides.  It had a map that would show you all the attractions, or all the dining, or all the Ladies’ Rooms (ultra hallelujah) in whichever park you chose, and included the “You Are Here” arrow which was surprisingly accurate . . . most of the time.  It listed all the ride descriptions per park, and all the dining per park . . . WITH menus to peruse and price levels ($ to $$$$). . . and allowed you to make reservations via the app.

MyDisneyExperience and the MagicBands:  For.  The.  Win.

Disclaimer:  (As long as the network was working.  Sometimes, but not TOO frequently, we’d have to restart in order to get it to work.  And the wi-fi was an incredible disappointment . . . so much so, that we found it was easier to just turn it off before UltimateFrustration, and use our phone data.  Although.  That was a super-vacuum for our data usage (especially with having to use it in the Villas as well for email and other basic internets), so:  Don’t plan on Disney wi-fi being worth a plugged nickle.  Do plan on using ALL your monthly data allowance (and probably going over your limit).)

Next:  We will FINALLY get to the delectable Disney dining.  Promise.

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Posted on Saturday, August 23rd, 2014 at 5:28 pm. ComputerNerd, DisneyWorld2014.