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Vote of the Week: MagicBands or Magic Wands?

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Published: May 16, 2014 at 9:55 AM

This summer's offering plenty to excite theme park fans. The two biggest theme park resorts in America will have completed major new themed lands, giving fans some great choices for their summer vacations.

Over at Walt Disney World, the Mouse House will have completed its ambitious New Fantasyland at the end of the month, as the heart of that new land, the Snow White-themed Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, opens to the public on May 28. Disney World's also completed implementation of its new MyMagic+ reservation system, which allows all advance ticket holders — on-site hotel guests, annual passholders, and day guests who buy and register their theme park tickets in advance — the opportunity to reserve three ride, show, parade, or character meet-and-greet "Fastpass+" times for each day of their visit, in advance of their visit.

Wicked Witch on the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train

Disney's hotel guests and annual passholders can use their free MagicBand RFID-enabled wristbands as their park and Fastpass+ tickets, tapping their way into the park and bypassing queues for their reserved experiences.

Up the road at the Universal Orlando, the resort will welcome reporters to a media preview of The Wizarding World of Harry Potter - Diagon Alley on June 17-20. We've been all over Diagon Alley all week — heck, we've been all over this story since we first leaked the detailed plans for its centerpiece Gringotts Bank thrill ride in December 2011. Diagon Alley promises the theme park industry's most immersive themed experience, with a level of construction, dining, and storytelling detail that exceeds even the original Hogsmeade-set Wizarding World at sister park Islands of Adventure.

Gringotts goblin

In addition to riding the Hogwarts Express between the two Wizarding World lands, visitors will be able to use next-generation interactive Magic Wands to trigger special effects throughout the lands, helping to create a unique "magical" experience for each visitor.

So what will you be rockin' this summer: MagicBands or Magic Wands? It's time for the Vote of the Week!


Please tell us in the comments about your summer theme park travel plans, wherever they might be taking you. And, as always, thank you for being a part of the Theme Park Insider community.

Readers' Opinions

From Bob Rumpke on May 16, 2014 at 10:50 AM
Universal has just turn the tables on Disney. UO has become the premier theme park in the country.
From Brandon Townsend on May 16, 2014 at 11:38 AM
Both. They are equally great in their own ways. Will be in Orlando next week for 5 days of WDW and 2 of US.
From Nick McKaig on May 16, 2014 at 12:08 PM
Based on the question of "Which new offerings do I prefer", I would say that hands-down the answer is Diagon Alley. If the question was "which overall theme park/resort experience do you prefer" I don't think I would be able to answer as readily, but if all we're talking about is 7D/MyMagic+ versus Harry Potter I don't think it's even a question.
From N B on May 16, 2014 at 12:14 PM
No need for Magic Bands where we go... and I agree, USF has just taken immersion to a new level.
From 65.61.89.149 on May 16, 2014 at 1:14 PM
Robert, have received any insider info on what the interactive wands will do. Are we talking about creaking doors, moving signs, making an animatronic owl flag its wings? Just curious what sort of things I'll undoubtedly be spending my money on for my 4-year-old son in November.
From Rob Pastor on May 16, 2014 at 1:30 PM
Leaving tonight for 9 days at Portofino Bay Resort, Universal . Then we'll be at Cabana Bay & Royal Pacific for 2 weeks in September. My wallet has voted convincingly. Five years ago that money would have gone to WDW for the most part.
From David Brown on May 16, 2014 at 2:01 PM
I don't see how this vote makes any sense. You are asking us to decide whether we prefer a new theme park land or a system designed to enable access to theme park lands.... It's not even chalk vs cheese.

Each have their own strengths so I voted both but asking me to pick one over the other is like asking me to choose whether I'd prefer a week in the Maldives or a first class flight to the Maldives.

From James Koehl on May 16, 2014 at 3:18 PM
I agree with David. At least we did get to vote for "Neither". Not that I wouldn't like to go there this summer, but not everyone lives in CaliFlorida or can afford to go there every year. My vote? Platinum Pass to Cedar Fair parks. Right now I'm planning on hitting Cedar Point, Kings Island, Canada's Wonderland and probably Michigan Adventure.
From Robert Niles on May 16, 2014 at 3:57 PM
The simple way to look at this question is: Are you going to Disney World or Universal Orlando this summer? Or both? Or neither?
From N B on May 16, 2014 at 6:45 PM
Robert, that is exactly how I took the meaning of the poll... it could could easily be worded "Disney or Universal".
From TH Creative on May 16, 2014 at 8:56 PM
Voted "both" ... Blessed to live in Orlando.
From Anon Mouse on May 16, 2014 at 9:25 PM
Just went to Disney World only. I have to say I am truly impressed with MagicBands. It was a great flawless experience. Exceeded my expectations. The major problem is signing up for all these services. It takes so many steps. There should be one-stop shopping to get everything done whether online or by the call center. They should offer customers a bargain or incentive if they order the full package of rooms, tickets, and dining.
From 68.58.203.160 on May 16, 2014 at 11:10 PM
Question for Rob Pastor, just curious...

How do you spend two full weeks at Universal? It seems to me that both the Parks and City Walk could be fully and exhaustively explored in less than half that time.

I cannot imagine anyone wanting to sit through Shrek, Beetlejuice, Fear Factor, Sinbad or even the Terminator multiple times.

Or walk through Poseidon or endure that tedious Twister pre show, over and over again.

Even the story humor generated by The Simpsons and Despicable Me would quickly grow repetitive.

From 93.209.28.215 on May 17, 2014 at 4:06 AM
I´ll be at WDW - but I´m *not* going to use the magic handcuffs.
From James Koehl on May 17, 2014 at 4:15 AM
Robert, I got it...I voted for "neither". I'm just glad that we had that choice. Often with votes my first choice isn't available, which means that either I vote for something that isn't my first choice or I don't vote at all.
I just wanted to point out that "Magic Bands or Magic Wands" isn't a choice for everyone. That's like asking a Libertarian if they're voting Republican or Democrat.
From James Rao on May 17, 2014 at 5:47 AM
As much as it pains me to admit it, I voted "neither". Will be headed to Kings Island in August (see you there, Mr. Koehl!), but Disney and Universal will have to wait until I save up a few more Knuts, Sickles, and Galleons.

Ask me again in 2015 and I'll probably say "Both".

From Mark Hollamon on May 17, 2014 at 8:01 AM
How can you not live in Orlando and feel totally stoked about both?
From N B on May 17, 2014 at 7:45 PM
Mt brother in law and I had a conversation about Disney vs Universal today. He has a young daughter and wanted to know about both. I told him she would have more fun at Disney with the character meals and she would be able to do a lot more at Disney until she is about 48" tall. At that point, he should consider Universal.

TH Creative would have been so proud of me.....

From James Rao on May 18, 2014 at 4:25 AM
^At LEAST 48 inches tall, you mean. And even then, she would be missing out on Hulk, Non-Dueling Dragons, Dr. Doom, and RRR (although the latter two are pretty much skip-able anyway). Also, some of the shows and attraction themes are close to PG-13, so make sure you let your friend know the details. I once sent someone over to Universal just based on their kids both being around 48" tall and I got blasted when they returned for the reasons I just cited (they missed several headliner rides and watched a couple of shows/visited a couple of attractions they did not think were kid-friendly). No good deed goes unpunished, I guess.

***Updated to please the Spelling Police*** ;)

From James Trexen on May 18, 2014 at 8:56 AM
^Maybe we'll just punish you for misspelling "cited." ; )

Since I don't know for sure what my travel plans are this summer, I abstained. Six Flags Great America and Dollywood are for-sures, but right now, Universal Orlando for August is only a possibility.

From James Rao on May 18, 2014 at 4:24 AM
^Fixed. And, teknickly it wazn't mizspeld, it was just the rong word.

Butt thanks neway.

From James Trexen on May 18, 2014 at 8:55 AM
Turns out it takes one to know one since I had to go back and edit "may" to "my." Not sure how that big of a blunder could appear. In the words of the all powerful Genie, "I feel sheepish."
From N B on May 18, 2014 at 9:48 AM
Grammer Knotsy's....
From James Rao on May 18, 2014 at 10:37 AM
Just trying to keep each other onest.

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