Written by Jennifer Jamieson – Magical Tripcations Travel Planner
Congrats, you’re going to Walt Disney World! Or maybe it’s more along the lines of… congrats, you want to think about planning a trip to Walt Disney World but you’re feeling a little overwhelmed from the first website view. MagicBands, My Disney Experience and FastPass+, OH MY! But wait, what? What do these words mean? We’ve said it before that planning a trip to Walt Disney World involves several moving parts. Getting up to speed on Disney Speak can be challenging and confusing but, our team of travel planners are ready and able to walk you through everything you need to know about My Disney Experience, MagicBands, and FastPass+ so you can leave the OH MY behind. Here are some of our tips to tackling the top three Disney terms you need to know before you head to the most magical place on earth.
Top Three Disney Terms: My Disney Experience (MDE)
When planning your Walt Disney World vacation, you can build your itinerary online at MyDisneyExperience.com and access your plans from the My Disney Experience Mobile App on your smartphone. Once you link your tickets and reservations to your account, your resort and dining reservations appear in your plans. You can build your itinerary from start to finish online including Advanced Dining Reservations and FastPass+ selections and update your reservations on the go from your smartphone. You can also use the mobile app for park maps, current wait times, restroom locations and where to find your favorite Disney Characters. Traveling with a big travel party? You can connect to everyone in your travel group by adding them to your friends and family group first. Then, you will be able to share and make plans together including FastPass+ selections. As a part of our magical extras, your Magical Tripcation Travel Planner can help you set up your My Disney Experience account and answer all of your questions.
Team Top Tip: Set up your My Disney Experience Account as soon as you book your reservation so you can link your reservation and customize your MagicBands. Each guest will be able to select from a cast of Disney Characters for their avatar. New avatar characters are added from time to time and include classic characters to new characters featured in Disney movies. The number of days until your magical trip is also found in your MDE account. This is great to use to keep up with how many days until you are able to make Advanced Dining Reservations and FastPass+ selections.
Top Three Disney Terms: MagicBands
A MagicBand is a wrist bracelet that you use to access the plans and vacation choices that you’ve already made through your My Disney Experience account. One of the first things you will do on your way to planning your Magical Tripcation is to customize your MagicBand by picking a color for each person in your travel party. This is done in your My Disney Experience Account.
Team Top Tip: Multiple guests in your travel party may choose the same color MagicBand. There will be no confusion as to the rightful owner because each guest’s name is stamped on the inside of the MagicBand. You are notified through your MDE account as to the deadline for customizing your MagicBands and when they will ship (about 2 weeks from your check-in date). It’s a VERY exciting day when your MagicBand package comes in the mail so be sure to capture the excitement by snapping a picture!
With a simple touch to a sensor, these colorful, waterproof bracelets will unlock your hotel room; gain you entrance into the theme parks; check-in at FastPass+ entrances and dining reservations. If you choose, you may tie a credit card (and PIN) to your MagicBand and use it for purchases in souvenir shops, snacks and more. You will automatically receive a complimentary MagicBand if you are staying at a Walt Disney Resort hotel or purchase an annual pass. If you are not staying at a resort hotel, you will receive a plastic Disney themed card when you purchase tickets and use it for park and FastPass+ admission. You can purchase MagicBands in many of the gift shops and they can be linked to your tickets. However, you will be unable to link a credit card to it for in park purchases.
Team Top Tip: If flying to Orlando International airport, don’t pack your MagicBands in your checked luggage because your travel party will need them to check-in for the Magical Express which will whisk you away to Disney World!
Top Three Disney Terms: FastPass+
Paper Fastpasses are a thing of the past at Walt Disney World (but still in use at Disneyland). Gone are the days when someone in your party had to make a fast dash to a popular attraction like Toy Story Mania, feed each guest’s plastic park ticket into the Fastpass machine and gather all of the dispensed paper tickets. Whatever automated time that printed on your Fastpass ticket indicated when you would return and you couldn’t gather any other Fastpass tickets until a certain amount of time had passed. The old system left you with no guarantee that you would be able to snag Fastpasses for the super popular attractions if you didn’t time your day right.
Today, the system has evolved into FastPass+ and as with all new advancements in technology, selections are now done on-line before you ever leave home giving you much better odds that you will experience your top attractions or Disney Character meet and greets without spending hours in line.
Disney’s FastPass+ service lets you reserve access to select attractions, character meet and greets, entertainment and more before you leave home. Think of it as holding your place in line or saving a special spot to view a show or parade. With the purchase of a ticket or annual pass, you can make up to 3 FastPass+ reservations per day 60 days in advance with a Walt Disney World Resort hotel reservation or 30 days in advance if staying off property. And the best news? There is no additional charge for this complimentary benefit.
HOT OFF THE PRESS! Disney just released news as of April 10, 2016 announcing enhancements to how guests will make FastPass+ selections. FastPass+ selections are made in your My Disney Experience Account online:
- You will now be able to choose individual FastPass+ experiences and times, and will no longer need to make all selections for the same day at the same time. You can search for a FastPass+ option by time. Previously, Disney would provide the times for you. Then, you would have to go in and manually change the times for something that works better for your schedule. Now, you can search for the attraction AND the time window at the same time giving you increased flexibility for planning your day!
- You will continue to be able to select up to three experiences in advance. Now, you will be able to book fewer than three selections, if desired.
- In addition, when you have used your first three FastPass+ selections, you will now be able to make an additional FastPass+ selection via the My Disney Experience mobile app, in addition to in-park kiosks. Once you’ve used the fourth, you will be able to select another, and so on. This is a great enhancement for park hoppers!
- You will now be able to remove an individual member from the FastPass+ reservation or cancel a single FastPass+ reservation.
Team Top Tip: If reading through this information has you a little concerned…what do I pick? How do I know which attractions have historically long waits? What attractions don’t have huge wait times? As a magical extra, your Magical Tricpations Travel Planner can make suggestions and even make your selections for you!
Download our free FastPass+ printable to help you plan your FastPass+ selections or to get an idea of which attractions and experiences are available for the FastPass+ Service. You can download it here: FastPass+Options_April 2016
Bonus Tip: Planning a Magical Tripcation to Walt Disney World doesn’t have to be overwhelming or labor intensive. Allow our travel planners the honor of helping you plan a magical Disney vacation. We have years of experience and knowledge that we will share with you so that you get the most out of your time in the parks and can make magical memories with your friends and family. Our team stays on top of the latest Disney Parks news and information and pass that along to you. You will work hand-in-hand with your travel planner from start to finish. Curious to know more about working with a Magical Tripcation Travel Planner? Click here.