So you’ve booked your vacation, and now it’s time to get ready for your trip! So, what exactly are MagicBands and My Disney Experience – and how do you use them?
I’m not a “whiz kid”, by any means, but I do a pretty good job of keeping up with technology. So I’m always thrilled when something new and amazing technologically is introduced at Disney. There is already so much technology to experience. The interactive queues like the one at Haunted Mansion, the touch screens in Seven Dwarf’s Mine Train, even Crush’s super fun, interactive show is a example of the amazing technology that can be found all over Disney property.
In this article, I’d like to talk about, more specifically, two of my favorite things … MAGIC BANDS and the MY DISNEY EXPERIENCE app!
It starts with the excitement of “I’ve booked my Disney vacation!!” You are then prompted by your travel agent or a Disney Cast Member to set up your My Disney Experience online and the app. For those of us with Smart Phones, you’ll understand when I tell you that I was downloading it before she finished talking!! You can go to your app store, and search for “My Disney Experience.” The app looks like this:
Once downloaded, please follow the steps below.
Once downloaded, please open the app and set yourself up. I found it easier to set myself up online on my computer first. The screen on the PC was bigger, and I type faster on a full-sized keyboard. Then I went to the app on my phone with my sign-on credentials and proceeded to enjoy the magic there.
TO SET UP:
- Go to: https://disneyworld.disney.go.com/plan/my-disney-experience/
- Click on the big green button that says. : “Sign In or Create Account”
- You will then click on the words, “Create Account” (You do NOT need your reservation number at this time—you will, only not yet…)
- Enter your information…Click the agreements, and then click “Create Account”
- It opens to a slide show of some of the magic you will see, but don’t linger too much, we must continue on. Do you see the words “My Disney Experience”? Hover your mouse over them. The menu will pop up (drop down). Go to “My Profile”
- OH MY, the fun is already starting. You get to pick a Disney character for your avatar. SO MANY CHOICES>>>>>>>>
- Make your choice, and then scroll to the bottom and click on the “done” button. You will then see your avatar.
- You can choose to fill out all the personal information now or later. This isn’t necessary information, but is part of the fun!
- NOW time to really start enjoying the magic.
Don’t forget to invite your family members—or friends—to view the itinerary. You would determine who was going to be “in charge” and then each of the rest of the family would set up an account. The main person would then invite everyone to see all the plans. The others cannot change anything, but they can have all the information at their fingertips as well.
This is useful—essential—for Fast Pass coordination, dining reservations—if the family splits up during the day—and for you PhotoPass pictures; all of the important “need to know” information for the day at Walt Disney World.
But I may be getting ahead of myself. To add friends and family, hover over the My Disney Experience menu and choose “My Friends and Family,” and follow the prompts to add a guest. There are several ways to add them, from the current reservation, you can manually enter them, or a previous connection. This sends an email to them to accept your invitation. Since this is probably the first time you ae setting up, you may choose the first or second way.
So after this is set up, as you can see from my list above, the possibilities are endless. It’s so cool!! You can link your resort reservation, link your tickets, link dining reservations—if you made them before setting up My Disney Experience; you can customize your MagicBands, you can make dining reservations, Fast Pass reservations, you can search wait times, and restaurants, and the dining faire at each restaurant. And even view your pictures!!
WHEW…—Sorry, let me slow down a bit—are you ready to learn how???
Ok—let’s get everything set up.
- Fast Passes
Hover over My Disney Experience on the right on the screen (again). You can choose each of the items one-by-one to set up.
In order for this to go as smooth as possible, I recommend that you link your resort reservation first. In “My Reservations and Tickets” you will see all your reservations and tickets. This eventually shows reservation numbers for the resort and dining as you add them. It’s all in one place for easy reference. This is also where you link everything together. However, if you make your reservations within the app or online through you’re my Disney Experience account, you need not link anything, it’s automatically populated here.
For the resort, click on “Link Resort Reservation” Enter the confirmation number & Last Name and click on next. Confirm all in your party and click done.
I think the most exciting part is the Magic Bands, so let’s set that up next (waiting for them to arrive is torturous, but setting them up and using them is FUN!!) You will choose “MagicBands and Cards” in the drop down menu. You will be prompted to confirm your mailing address. Confirm all that information, add or change anything you may need to and click “done” You then will see your family listed and all grey MagicBands.
Pick “customize” next to the one you wish to customize. You then can enter the name you want on your Magic Bands for each of you. For example, my name comes up “Cynthia” but I change it to “Cindi” or sometimes, “Princess Jasmine” LOL. Pick the color of the MagicBand, and then click “save.” It’s part of your memory, be creative and HAVE FUN!!! Simply remember who has chosen what name and color, and you are all set!
Next up we’ll look at Dining reservations.
In “Itinerary” you will look at what you have planned for that day. If you have nothing set up, you have the option to set it up right from that screen. (You can set up by individual day or by activity).
If you do need to link reservations, you would click on the “Link Reservations” button. Enter the confirmation number & Last Name and click on next. You will then choose who in your party are going to be at that reservation, and click “done”. It will show up on your “My Reservations and Tickets” page.
Continue with all your reservations. Or you can make a reservation. You would click “Explore Dining” for instance. This will take you to a list of all the restaurants. On the right of the screen, you will search for times. Once you choose a time, you confirm who all will be there and hit “Next.” The next screen requests a credit card number. THIS IS ONLY TO HOLD THE RESERVATIONS. Disney has had numerous “no show” guests, and it caused some issues, so they now require the card number. You will not be charged except in certain instances (Cinderella’s Royal Table and Spirit of Aloha Show are two of the exceptions. NO charge for anything if you have purchased the dining plan). Also, please remember that you cannot make dining reservation before you are 180 days from check-in.
This is also where you can link your Memory Maker. If you haven’t purchased it, you can call your travel agent or Disney and ask a cast member to add it to your package. You will save money if you purchase in advance. Link it here and view your vacation pictures, daily, and again when you get home.
Next up, maybe the most fun reservations you can make with My Disney Experience: Fastpass+!
Click on “Fast Pass +.” You can now go day by day and choose your Fast Passes. You would pick an attraction, pick a time frame, and choose that Fast Pass. This will show up in your reservations page. This will also help you NOT to overlap times. Be careful not to overlap dining times. The Fast Pass system doesn’t see those reservations, only other Fast Passes. Please remember that Fast Passes cannot be chosen before you are 60 days from check-in (assuming you are a guest at a Disney resort hotel – if you are staying off-property, these can be made at 30 days).
Back to the Magic Bands…These are your “Keys to the Kingdom!” They are your room key, can be used as payment (after linking a card at guest services), they are used for your Dining plan, and Fast Passes. ALL of this is linked through the My Disney Experience account. Another fabulous feature of the account and MagicBands, is that once your entire party is linked in the account, you can split up if you choose. No one will lose on anything. The credits follow the MagicBand. So say your family is made up of you and your spouse and your adult kiddos. You can all split up and enjoy the parks, eat snacks and go shopping separately. All with the convenience of wearing your payment for all. No need to carry anything else unless you choose to. A quick scan of the band, and BAM, all set to go.
Remember I mentioned that you could invite your friends and family to view the itinerary? That is so handy, not only at the parks, but after the vacation as well. During our vacation, when my family and my sister’s family traveled together, we could often be seen bent over our phones searching… for restaurants that didn’t have long wait times, or for the menu, and we’d tell the family what was to eat at different restaurants, and they would vote on where we were headed. (This was for the quick service choices as our table service reservations were all set!)
When your adventures are over in Walt Disney World, and you are home, you can view all the pictures that were taken by any Photo Pass person. There are movies from some of the attractions, and all of your character pictures are included. With your Memory Maker purchase you can have it all.
My Disney Experience is very “user friendly” but if you have any trouble at all or just want a little reassurance, there is always someone available to help – you can call your travel agent or any Disney cast member. Tech support is available for more difficult questions.
I hope you are not overwhelmed. It is a lot to take in, but once it’s all set up, the magic is endless. The amount of things you can accomplish and refer to in one place! So helpful. And with the addition of the MagicBands, it makes this tool more convenient, fun and fashionable!
For more on the ways Disney is integrating technology into guest experience at WDW, check out our February issue by clicking here!
By Cindi Arroyo
My love for Disney started very young and I’ve been going to Disney since before I can remember. The love I’ve always felt for Disney has now been intertwined with planning magical Disney vacations. By understanding the unique magic that these trips have provided for my husband, daughters, sister’s families and many of our friends I have become “Disney 911” for any and all of my friends and family.