March 13, 2014 – If you haven’t visited any of the four Walt Disney World parks lately (Magic Kingdom, EPCOT, Hollywood Studios and Animal Kingdom), then you’re in for quite a surprise. Disney has gone high-tech by investing over a billion dollars in its MyMagic+ project, an attempt to unify (and track) all facets of its guests’ experiences on Disney property. Gone are the magnetic swipe cards (used for admission to enter a park) and, more importantly, gone are the paper Fast Passes (used to gain access to certain rides or attractions and to bypass the standby line or queue).
After two decades of use, the so-called “legacy Fast Passes” were retired by the end of January, 2014, at all four Disney parks in Orlando, Florida. Everything is now unified and controlled by your RF-implanted Magic Band. And I do mean EVERYTHING: park admission, FP+ (Fast Pass Plus) access to attractions (i.e., rides and shows), Disney dining reservations, hotel room access, and most all purchases.
The Walt Disney Co. has spent over a billion dollars (Yes, I said A BILLION DOLLARS), and there have been a fair number of bumps, snafu’s and disappearing reservations along with lots of complaints from guests. But I suppose that’s to be expected with such a revolutionary new way of processing and guiding millions of guests and transactions.
The FP+ testing and roll-out started last fall or winter for select guests, including on-site Disney resort guests. But not until today (March 13, 2014), were Annual Passholders like myself finally invited and allowed access to the FP+
So far, sign up has been relatively easy. First, you have to set up an online Disney account. Second, you then link the account to your pass number. Third, you order the Magic Band (see photo below), which will be your RF-device to access all of the activities mentioned above. Annual Passholders can plan their visits and make reservations for FP+ for up to 7 days during a 30-day window.
No doubt there have been some concerns, such as a potential loss of privacy (Disney can now track your every move, purchase and location) and the glaring fact that Disney will now limit you to only 3 Fast Passes per day at a single park (i.e., no more multiple park-hopping). But we are entering a brave new world, and I’m hopeful MyMagic+ is as successful for the guests as it is for Disney’s corporate bottom-line.
So what does this all have to do with Star Wars? Well, as I’ve preiviously posted here and here, the odds are good-to-great that Disney will eventually construct and open a “STAR WARS LAND” segment at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. And you can only enjoy the entire Star Wars Land experience if you’ve made reservations through the MyMagic+ project. The future has arrived.