The His­tory of My­magic+

WDW Magazine - - Content - BY KARYN LOCKE

It re­ally took some think­ing for me to re­mem­ber a time at Walt Dis­ney World with­out My­magic+, even though it’s only been three years since its roll­out. For most of us, the tran­si­tion was pretty seam­less (sure, there were a few bugs in the be­gin­ning, but that can be said for any new tech­nol­ogy!) and the ben­e­fits, plenty. The abil­ity to not have to race across the park to score pa­per Fast­passes has spared our legs and feet, and the all-in-one ben­e­fit has made our pock­ets a bit lighter.

Here’s the story on My­magic+ in a nut­shell, in­clud­ing its his­tory, how it’s evolved into its cur­rent fea­tures, and what we hope for the fu­ture.

As a gal who hits up all of the Dis­ney news she can get her hands on every day, I was elated to learn of My­magic+, and the po­ten­tial for a new, im­proved theme park ex­pe­ri­ence when de­tails were first re­leased in 2013. Yes, I could cer­tainly deal with a hotel key, credit cards, cash, and pa­per Fast­passes in my pocket, but the thought of all of these op­tions in a cute, col­or­ful band was so ap­peal­ing to my fam­ily and me.

We had the plea­sure of try­ing it out while it was still in its early re­lease phase and I adored it even with only a cou­ple of fea­tures: Fast­pass+ and re­sort door keys on a Mag­icband. With each WDW va­ca­tion that we took, more and more fea­tures were added, theme park kiosks were pop­ping up, and the My Dis­ney Ex­pe­ri­ence app rolled out to of­fi­cially be­gin the fun.

Tweaks and up­dates have made the tech­nol­ogy bet­ter than ever, with the only ma­jor changes to oc­cur be­ing im­proved or added fea­tures, in­clud­ing link­ing a credit card to your Mag­icband to pay for pur­chases while on site or charg­ing to your re­sort room.

Sim­i­larly, im­proved app speeds (Thank heav­ens! That was ba­si­cally my only beef with the tech.) and abil­i­ties let me now re­serve Fast­pass+ se­lec­tions with no hes­i­ta­tion, make din­ing reser­va­tions, and even check out my Pho­topass pictures and videos al­most im­me­di­ately af­ter they’ve been taken. Side note: Want to keep the kid­dos en­ter­tained while wait­ing in an at­trac­tion queue? Let them scroll through your Pho­topass shots. Works every time!

The orig­i­nal al­lowance in MM+ was a manda­tory three FP+ reser­va­tions when you planned each day’s sched­uled at­trac­tions. If you only wanted one or two, the app would au­to­mat­i­cally

sched­ule three that could be tweaked with re­gards to times. You also had to sched­ule the same FP+ se­lec­tions for every mem­ber of your travel party. For my fam­ily (teen girls), this never posed a prob­lem, but for fam­i­lies with broader age ranges, I could see how this might’ve been an is­sue. One may like thrill rides, but the wee ones don’t meet the height re­quire­ment, so a choice had to be made. But, no longer! Fam­i­lies and trav­el­ing par­ties can cus­tom­ize how many ini­tial FP+ reser­va­tions they’d like to use (up to three to be­gin) and who in their party wants to use them. This way, Mom or Dad can take younger kids on rides that suit them, and older kids, teens, or adults who love a thrill can hit the coast­ers.

One of my fa­vorite new fea­tures with My­magic+ is its al­lowance to re­serve a Fast­pass+ ex­pe­ri­ence at an ad­di­tional theme park af­ter the first three se­lec­tions have been used up—per­fect for folks with Park Hop­per Tick­ets and An­nual Passh­old­ers. It’s so re­fresh­ing to be able to jump to an­other park on, say, a high crowd level day and se­lect a FP+ reser­va­tion while sit­ting on the Mono­rail!

So what’s next for My­magic+? There’s a cool, new for­mat for Mag­icbands for one! Called Mag­icbands 2, they have a cen­ter puck that can be un­screwed and popped out to keep the amount of Mag­icbands to a min­i­mum (We have so many in this house that I’ve con­sid­ered mak­ing Christ­mas gar­land out of them!), I’m lov­ing the cus­tom­iz­a­ble op­tions, in­clud­ing adding

the cen­ter to a lan­yard, key­chain, or fob. The cen­ter puck is not as stream­lined as the orig­i­nals, but the bands are, in­deed, lighter and more flex­i­ble, al­le­vi­at­ing some of the beef that folks had with the first edi­tion.

If you had the plea­sure of vis­it­ing the parks last April, you may have seen some test­ing on a few at­trac­tions in Magic King­dom that per­son­al­izes each guest’s ex­pe­ri­ence, called Sto­ry­maker. The in­ter­ac­tive fun in­cludes say­ing good­bye in your coun­try’s lan­guage on “it’s a small world,” and hav­ing the Hitch­hik­ing Ghosts call you out by name via a sign at the end of Haunted Man­sion. I just hap­pened to be in the park at the right time and caught a glimpse of it for a few days and just as quickly as it ap­peared, it was gone. I can only hope that the bugs are be­ing worked out and it will reap­pear soon. Still work­ing its in­ter­ac­tive magic is Mickey Mouse in Town Square: this month a fam­ily from Brazil was queued up di­rectly ahead of us and Mickey greeted them with a hello in their na­tive lan­guage! I loved the looks on the kid­dos’ faces (and they looked too com­fort­able with the Main Mouse, as well!).

Now that you know the his­tory, what’s here at present, and what’ll be rolling out soon, are you a fan of My­magic+, or do you miss the old-school Dis­ney? I, per­son­ally, dig the cus­tomiza­tion and lighter pock­ets, and can’t wait for what’s on the hori­zon!

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