disney magic bands

Walt Disney World: My take on the magic bands and from several forums is that if you're staying off site you have no chance on good rides like SOARIN or TOY STORY

From paul drumm
Posted November 28, 2013 at 6:10 PM
It is appearing to me that WDW is creating 2 classes of park guests- those who are staying at a WDW resort and those that stay off site. My wife and I stayed at the Caribbean Beach Resort in 1997 for $117 a night. Nothing amazing or fantastic about our room and found we had to wait for buses to get us around after already long days at the parks. The SIX times we've gone since with our 2 daughters we've stayed at Fairfield Inns, Marriots and hotels of this nature for at least half if not a third of the price of a WDW resort hotel. My point after all this is with WDW resort guests able to pick multiple fastpasses before even stepping in the park, now I have no shot at the "good rides". Let's be honest- at Hollywood Studios Toy Story is the busiest ride. I've talked to friends that go to WDW 2 or 3 times a year and they said this last trip they got to Hollywood Studios at park opening and the fast passes were ALREADY gone for the day. With the old fast pass system everyone that entered the park had a fair shot at fast passes. Not now. Most of the feedback I'm seeing is from people that have the magic bands, but there are lots of people that stay off site and are now going to be screwed. Disney is forcing you to stay on site with this move as a money grab plain and simple. To be clear, I CAN afford to pay $200 a night for a hotel room but have found I spend very little time at the resort. You're up and at parks all day so why spend the money unnecessarily. A typical disney trip for my family already costs over $5000.

From N B
Posted November 29, 2013 at 1:58 AM
Some of the Disney moves baffle me and this is one of them. There are a lot of families that budget every penny to enjoy the Disney experience by staying off-site, which is a smart move.

I think the plan is to eliminate the paper FP all together. What is the point of having them in the parks if they have all been reserved online and there are none available when the park opens?

The new "reservation" system doesn't make a lot of sense to me. Yes, some people can now enjoy going straight to a ride without having to wait in another just to get a FP, but this leaves a whole lot of people with nothing.

Our last Universal trip was four nights and five days at the Hard Rock with 14 day 2 park tickets, breakfast at the Three Broomsticks, and complimentary tickets for Sea World, and all those other perks we really don't use for CityWalk. We came in at around $3000 plus unlimited in/out valet at $24 a night.

It sounds a little expensive for the time we stayed, but you have to understand exactly what you get for your money. Those all day visits we had at Disney with maybe getting 5-6 rides in, including Extra Magic Hours can be condensed into 2-3 hours at USF.

We could literally go to IOA for early entry to HP and hit every ride in every island by 10AM, grab lunch and a swim, then go Universal at around 2PM and do the same thing. By 4 or 5, we have just done everything in both parks and rode multiple times in some cases.

All of this without ever getting into a bus or our rental. The water taxis arrive about every 20 minutes, but we could walk to IOA from our hotel in less than 8.

My point is, no matter how much money you spend with Disney, getting your money's worth is hard to do when it comes to riding. Four days minimum to visit all of their parks from open to close, and there is NO way you can ride everything and visit every attraction during peak season in a single day at MK. The sheer amount of guest vs ride capacity / hr is mathematically implausible, even with using FP, which is not available for every ride.

You do spend more time in your hotel room at USF because it is always within walking distance. The best part is, my 16 year old and love to ride while my wife and 12 year old like to relax and swim. We pair off and plan on meeting up by the pool in a couple hours.

A few times, we would all grab a quick nap in the middle of the day before heading out for dinner and our night time park visiting.

There is this sense of security because you know your hotel is close by and you can always head back and lay down for an hour if you are overheated etc... We would hit our room a few times a day.

At Disney, we felt trapped at the parks and there was no chance we would go back to the hotel, then return to the park for any reason. If our child had an upset stomach, or my wife got overheated, which she does at least once per trip, the day was essentially over.

I know I always sound like a Universal brochure, but you have to try staying at the resort at least once to see what it's like. Three days / 2 nights is actually overkill for most people. We, on the other hand can't get enough. You definitely come home with a sense of getting your money's worth.

From Anthony Murphy
Posted December 1, 2013 at 10:01 PM
I don't think that the Magic Bands are really cutting into the Fastpass times. Of course, one of the reasons being is that guests are having difficulties with the MyMagic+ App.

Two classes of guests? If you believe that, then that split happened decades ago. Staying at a Disney resort has its perks. Free Parking, Magical Hours, Transportation, etc. Fastpass+ is just another perk that quite honestly really hasn't changed anything. I haven't seen anybody suddenly decide "oh, I got to stay at the resorts because of this now!".

Fastpasses are really a nightmare for three attractions: Soarin, Test Track, and Toy Story Mania. That's it... There are hundreds of other attractions to enjoy as well. Those are going out because of Fastpass+, its because everybody is running to get fastpasses or get in line of these extremely popular attractions.

Just like everything at Disney, Fastpass+ does have a catch: You must pick three attractions (no more, no less). Sure I want to go on Soarin, but I must also go on Captain Eo and Spaceship Earth. The beauty of Fastpass+ is if there is a couple of rides that you saved for years to ride, Disney is going to let you. It doesn't even have to be popular rides.

While it is totally understandable that Disney Resorts are expensive, there are a few options from your description: Stay at a "partner resort" (double tree, etc), a value resort, or get the DVC. I know, I know, DVC is expensive, but its an investment that will pay itself off in the future. All three options get the Disney perks.

From Russell Meyer
Posted December 2, 2013 at 8:08 AM
I think what we're seeing here is the typical paranoia that is a reaction to change. MyMagic+ is going to represent a different way of visiting WDW for many guests. For others, they don't use Fastpass, and probably won't use the new system either.

The biggest thing to remember is that eventually, MyMagic+ will be rolled out to ALL guests, not just those staying on site. Currently, the system is testing using on-site guests to make sure it works with all systems (hotel rooms, room charges and delivery, etc...), since off-site guests will probably only use the system for Fastpass+ and Photopass. So if you somehow think the system is creating 2 classes of guests, then you're gravely mistaken. Now, it's been reported that Disney does eventually plan to offer additional perks to guests through MyMagic+ who book on-site hotel rooms, and the level of those perks will be dependant upon the type of room booked. However, at this time, there's no definitive information about any differences between on-site and off-site guests once the system is fully rolled out.

For those guests that are arriving at Toy Story Mania in the morning with all Fastpasses gone, it's not because of MyMagic+, it's because you're late. Fastpasses for the ride (along with Soarin') have been running out in the first 15-20 minutes on busy days since those rides opened. I would recommend to those guests to arrive at the park at least 15-20 minutes before rope drop (30-45 minutes ahead on busy days), and head straight to those attraction. MyMagic+ did not eliminate FastPass, and Fastpass+ reservations do not take all Fastpasses (it's supposedly in the 25-30 percent range), so if you get to the attraction first thing, there will be Fastpasses available. You can also elect to wait in the standby line, which you're essentially doing already when getting a Fastpass.

From Mark Fairleigh
Posted December 2, 2013 at 9:48 AM
I think to say it's creating two tiers of guests isn't accurate. It's quite the opposite. If you read the DIS boards for examples, it's the long-time Disney resorters that feel the most put out by Magic Band and FP+ because the playing field is being leveled out by the FP+ Tier system.

True, you're going to have a harder time getting FPs for specific rides but at EPCOT for example you have to choose either Soarin' or Test Track as an FP option. You can't do both with the Magic Band. So long time Disney Resorters who are used to playing the system are incensed right now.

Plus if rumors are true the long-term plan is for Disney to offer the Magic Bands to off-site guests. If that's true, then it's wide open.

Also, I haven't heard that Disney plans to increase the number of FPs offered per day, so the biggest change is that FP will now be a Ticket Master type scenario where does who have the fastest mouse click will get the FPs.

From Anthony Murphy
Posted December 2, 2013 at 5:22 PM
As a long time Disney resorter, I actually think I am a bit of an advantage. I can use my band for Soarin and my paper fastpass for Test Track.

Then again, long time resorters (like that title) usually are lucky enough to go at least once a year. If I miss Toy Story Mania one year, its not going to ruin my time. I just come back another trip!

From paul drumm
Posted December 2, 2013 at 6:01 PM
I appreciate the responses. As I stated I've been to WDW 6 times in 10 years and also did Universal Studios every time. The comments that one responder made about Universal made sense - we often enjoy our days there because you can do all the rides you want in a half day (usually). I expect days at Disney parks to be more hectic, but what I don't expect is to be behind the 8 ball before I even walk in the gate. Let's be honest, at epcot there are 3 good rides soarin, test track and mission space. If resort guests prebook 2 of them and get paper passes for the third I'm beat. That has to be obvious. At MGM you can guarantee toy story and aerosmith rollercoaster will be prebooked by most with a paper pass for star wars or tower of terror. At MK I guarantee space mountain will be prebooked. The comment one of you made that if you go to a WDW park and can't get on a ride this time you'll get it next time seems a touch unrealistic. I drive 20 plus hours and spend $5000 to $6000 on our family trips to Orlando and can tell you I don't do this to go to MGM and skip toy story mania but have a fantastic time watching the Muppets. As I stated, I've been to Orlando multiple times and CAN afford disney resorts, but I know many people that plan disney as a trip that they are only doing/can only do once and these people are going to be in for a shock. The other comments about having to be at the park at rope drop is creating a mental image for me of having a mass of humanity trampling children and the elderly to get to the good rides to get fastpasses. I hope I'm wrong and they do make these passes available to all, but until they do I'll remain skeptical.

From Russell Meyer
Posted December 3, 2013 at 8:40 AM
Once the system gets out of the testing stage, every guest will have a Magic Band. Every single guest, aside from those silly enough to purchase admission at the gate, will have the advantage of pre-booking Fastpass+ reservations.

I think the eventual (long term) plan is to eventually eliminate regular Fastpass, but they're not going anywhere for at least 3-5 years (probably more like 10). Every theme park has an "early bird gets the worm" component, and Disney and Universal are no different. Speaking of
Universal, perhaps the reason that guests are able to see every major attraction in a half day is because the parks are still young, and there aren't as many attractions, or there just aren't as many guests. If it's the later, we should be applauding Disney for developing technology to make visiting their park and experiencing all of the major attractions that you want easier.

The bottom line is that many people are making assumptions about MyMagic+ that are speculative or simply untrue. While the system will change the way guests will visit Disney, I think it represents a positive change to make line waiting more fair and easier.

From Robert Niles
Posted December 3, 2013 at 11:13 PM
I agree that, long term, no problem.

However, in the short term, assume that you're getting one paper Fastpass for Epcot if you arrive first thing in the morning on a non-Magic Hours day. Don't count on FPs being available for both Soarin' AND Test Track after that. Disney's working out the math, and yeah, things can get glitchy.

Given Test Track's single-rider line, I'd go for the FP for Soarin', then ride Mission: Space, then do single-rider for Test Track, then come back for my Soarin' return time.

From Mark Fairleigh
Posted December 4, 2013 at 7:35 AM
I've also heard the long-term plan is to do away with paper FPs, so it'll be FP+ or standby lines. Word is in the last month, Disney has been guinea-pigging Pop Century guests allowing them Magic Band FP+ access only...no paper FP capability.

My gut feeling is that Disney will incentivise the FP+ system. If you want 12 FPs per park per day, then you can stay at a Deluxe resort. But that's just a guess based on the principles of business and greed. ;P

From Rachel Andrade
Posted December 6, 2013 at 8:21 AM
I am actually at a Disney Resort now with my kids and We are having a great time. We are 1st time annual pass holders and the Magic Bands are great. *Here Comes the Rant-Fuled by Bad Behavior I Have Consitently Witnessed in the Parks*
First I have to say that I was surprised to read so much paranoia and negativity from sources all over the web.
What most people thought of as "cons" were the very things that I credit with my improved satisfaction over my visit 6 months ago (pre-magic band FP's) and staggering improvement over the trips I took when my kids were babies (5 years ago).
One major complaints was the 3FP limit per day at one park. It beats spending half a day in line or racing to a ride you can't go on for 4 hours. This to me was the real perk of the FP+ over the paper FP. Getting back precious vacation hours cannot be undervalued! I am more relaxed with the kids because I'm not trying to beat the clock. I got my room at the All Star Resort area for about the same as an off-site. Say what you will about the buses, it is far better than the slow boat to the parking lot.
Last year we had passes to Universal and stayed both on and off site quite a few times. They have some slick rides but the quality of the parks, customer service and environmental services is poor. The food is straight up disgusting with or without a meal plan. The on-site hotels are nice and friendly but the prices they charge are pretty silly.
While Universal Orlando does offer a Speed Pass option that guarantees a walk on every park experience with a hyper -inflated hotel stay or for off-site guests, a fee that nearly doubles the ticket price. Without this pass (except for the few off peak times) there is little hope of enjoying your day as popular rides regularly exceed 2 hours within an hour of opening. It's pretty hard to not feel screwed either way and the whole set up creates a "haves and the have nots" atmosphere that makes everyone uncomfortable. If you do have the Speed pass, you can do both parks in a day because they are really rather light on attractions. Just seems like more because the waits are so long. They want to make sure you see all those big spenders enjoying their day. As a big spender I often felt I didn't get my money's worth because in 2 days we rode everything a million times and there was nothing left to explore.
Getting FP+ service for free generates that same feeling of special treatment without creating a mini feudal system. I am not sure why anyone would be upset when they do not have to pay extra to use the benefit. Particularly if you were ever willing to pay at Universal. *You do not need a Magic Band to make advanced reservations on the app, just a ticket.*
Most families who have been to WDW can attest to the fact that it's a significant financial investment that justifies planning. If you decide to take a spontaneous trip to the parks with no plan at all and expect to spend the day on all of the most popular rides, good luck but fat chance. In fact, I would be willing to bet any regular visitor has a standing plan place if 3 FP's a day isn't enough. I found that FP+ required far less planning than I had done in the past because I didn't have to try to beat a bunch of rope drop commandos or 12 year old ticket runners out to get fast passes for every ride in the park by any means necessary. Honestly, it's vulgar and it cheapens the experience for everyone.
Then finally, this place is crawling with "personal data conspiracy theorists" who don't want to be "tracked". It must me contagious. Well, Hold on to your tinfoil mouse ears folks because they, and anyone else you've transacted with in the modern era, are watching you!
I hardly think my "data" is in any more danger here than it is at the multi-national banking institution that notified me of a recent incident that "May have"' compromised my account. In fact I want Disney to know what I like and how I spend my vacation dollars. At least they'll use it to provide me with something I want. The banks just giving my I data away.

From Anthony Murphy
Posted December 6, 2013 at 3:22 PM
I like Rachel's response and I totally understand how a resorter like me can rig the system.

The problems that happen at Disney really boil down to people rigging and taking advantage of the system. Thats why DVC members have lost some perks and the special needs rules have changed. I remember when Faspass kiosks used the have buttons on the back that would spit out extra fastpasses (I was honest and never used it).

For people who read my article and thought that I hated the Magic Bands, I really didn't. I wanted to give a objective review on the process and what worked and didn't work.

My family really tested and pushed the system to its limit to see how it would react. Did the problems ruin our time there? Absolutely not, but I think I would be pretty pissed if I was a first time guest.

I actually like the three fastpass+ system. It keeps you a little honest and lets you skip the line on pretty much whatever other attraction you want whether you need it or not. Skipping the line at Living with the Land is nice, but usually not needed.

From Rachel Andrade
Posted December 6, 2013 at 5:21 PM
This trip has been very smooth for me but it is clearly
Not working out for everyone. I have noticed a larger than normal amount of frustrated guests in heated discussion with hotel staff. Many people seem surprised that the MDE App didn't deliver all of the promised functions seamlessly. Truthfully it is not all that intuitive which can be difficult to accept for light tech users. Especially ones who have come to depend on the Disney magic. On the other hand, if you are tech savvy you would expect glitches and limitations in a new software product as part of the process and make use the workable parts while creating a mental wish list.
It isn't really fair to spring it on everyone without an alternate option for those who just want to enjoy their long awaited vacation without a software lesson.
It had to start sometime though and from a financial stand point, amusement parks are looking to the future for profits and my kids used a smartphone as a teething toys so the technology itself is as much a part of their childhoods as Mickey and Cinderella's Castle. As tomorrow's parents, they are the ones that have to be impressed. I'd bet there's a 7 year old in this very resort right now who is showing a parent or grandparent how to use the MDE app.
My hope is that it does restore some of the magic by crowd control and fair distribution. As I stated in my *rant*, I am frustrated by the lack of common courtesy I have noticed in the last few years. I still say hello to every cast member and smile as I remember almost everyone doing when I was a kid in the early 80's because they are truly nice and helpful. Pleasant manners have a magical affect on every environment. Lighten up, how many Disney days do you get in life? Being nice won't cost you a thing so offer your seat on the bus to someone who needs it more than you, hold the door, or on a more personal note, at least try not to ram me in the calves with your child's stroller. I want your little princess to enjoy the parade too but remember, she's watching you very carefully so be like the person you'd like her to be at least on those magical days.
I'm off the take in the Holiday Magic with my little prince and princess at the Epcot's World Showcase. :) Happy Holidays!

From J. Snow
Posted December 6, 2013 at 7:20 PM
As an Orlando Resident and Annual Pass Holder-we are waiting patiently for our Magic Bands. We were due to have them before the end of this year-but that is not going to happen. In fact the entire project is very late and according to many reports very over budget. So much so that there are reports that many projects at Disneyland and WDW as well as around the world are on a 90 day hold. Getting this *huge* project on track has become the number 1 priority for the Parks & Resorts division of Disney. Remember they originally budgeted $1bn on this project. That's a lot of money. This is Disney guys-they do know what they are doing-but like everything it's going to take some time. Patience! I saw Neal Patrick Harris this week narrate the Candlelight Processional at Epcot. At the beginning he made a joke; pressing his Magic Band up against the podium before he spoke-as if the Magic Band turned on the microphone. :)

From Tim Odom
Posted December 13, 2013 at 2:12 PM
I just got back from Disney, and used Magic Bands, and I honestly don't see the huge fuss about them for the future (but I see why people have an issue with them now.) Right now, with these things still in testing, there are many, many guests without them, and those guests can feel left out in the cold. This, along with Extra Magic Hours, can make staying in a Disney Resort almost mandatory if you want to ride certain rides (for instance, we walked right on Soarin' and Mission Space.)

Now, when these things become standard, I think people will like them. I am not a fan of scheduling vacations, but being able to say 'we will hit this, then this, then this' in an organized way is good, it helped maximize days where we had a tight schedule. Yes, there are still bugs (the app is still in need of work, and the bands themselves have some issues, like mine fell off on Space Mountain, not exactly the wildest ride.)

I really do hope Disney expands this program as much as possible, it really is nice. I had my doubts before, and still prefer the old Fast Pass system, but this is not as bad as I had feared.

From Anthony Murphy
Posted December 14, 2013 at 5:51 PM
I think for most people, the system works, but there is probably a larger than expected group that is having a tough time.

This reminds me of the Ventra card debacle that is going on in my home Chicago. The city (and the state) decided that they wanted to use one pass card that would work on a majority of the major public transportation in the city (the El, trains, buses, etc). Well, they had a bit of a problem getting the cards out on time and the system was buggy for a couple of weeks. I tried it tonight for the first time and it worked like a charm. In the long run, it will be a great change, but in the short term, its a pain!

From Tony Duda
Posted December 16, 2013 at 8:39 PM
Animal Kingdom is now removing all park fast pass machines and the only way to get FPs is with the FP+ kiosks in the park. Day guests, those without MDE magic bands, non-resort guest etc. all can get the daily FP+s at the kiosks once they get in the park. WDW resort guests can do advance FP+s as has become normal.

Strangely, this seems to solve the major problem everyone had with fast passes when they started over 10 years ago. Everyone wanted a centralized location to get FPs and not have to run to all the rides to get them.

From Kelly Muggleton
Posted December 17, 2013 at 2:28 AM
As someone who chooses not to stay on site (I can't be convinced - don't try), I am extremely keen to see how well the AK system works. Although I find it very odd they bring this in a few days before The Busiest Theme Park Weeks Ever, next week and the week after.
It would certainly make things more fair to the one/two dayers like myself who would not have the bands.
I wonder though, instead of lining up for multiple fast passes at rope drop, would it be beneficial to skip that and just hit up the standby lines early. Could I ride Everest 3 times at 9am in the time its taking for another family to get a Fastpass for it at 4pm? Which would obviously work well for the theme park savvy (that's us!).

Will be interested to know if anyone uses the new system at AK in the next few weeks!

From Tim Odom
Posted December 19, 2013 at 1:41 PM
Kelly, in my recent trip (last week, before they started with all the new kiosks in AK), we saw exactly what you describe. Except it was EPCOT for us. Let me explain.

We hit EPCOT at about 8:30 (they had the morning Extra Magic Hour, so we got in a half hour before everyone.) We took that opportunity to hit Soarin', which had a 10 minute wait. After that, though, my wife needed coffee and wanted her picture taken with some characters, so it took us a bit to get to the next ride, Mission: Space. We got there by 9-9:15'ish, and again, had a 10 minute wait (and it was not even that, we pretty much walked on.) After that, we did Test Track, and again, pretty much no wait (this time, it was closer to 25 minutes.)

So, yes, getting there early and hitting attractions you want will help you out, since the FP+ system seems to default to later in the AM or early afternoon. Maybe as the system is more fleshed out, it will work better, but right now, I would say the best bet for those without access to FP+ would be to get in the park early.

From Kelly Muggleton
Posted December 20, 2013 at 2:14 AM
Thanks Tim! Thats exactly what I suspected.
I really do hope they can iron out this system, I have been very wary of it, being someone who would visit for a day or two, and wondered if reports would say we shouldn't even other trying the parks with it.
Good to hear that rope drop still seems a sane option! Hope you had fun!

From Tim Odom
Posted December 20, 2013 at 8:35 AM
Oh we did. We used pretty much ever trick we could (the new FP+ system and extra magic hours) and saw just about everything aside from a ride here and there.

Truth said, I am not a 100% fan of FP+, I am not one for scheduling during vacation, if I am on vacation I just want to do things without schedules. But, there is some level of convenience. We used it on our Animal Kingdom and Magic Kingdom days, which helped a bit but was not 100% needed, for instance, we used Dinosaur as our 3rd FP for Animal Kingdom, but since we got there early, we would have walked on regardless of having a FP. A problem with scheduling early is you don't know if you actually need to get a FP for something. Sometimes, with a ride like Peter Pan, which always has a line, you need one. Other times, like with Everest for us, you can pretty much walk on. It is just nice to walk up to the ride, see the line, and say 'yeah, we can FastPass this'.

Also, I think the state of FP+ is in now is not what you will see in a year. Any discussions of it now, while it still is a work in progress, won't really hit all of the issues with it. Eventually, it looks like FP+ (and probably Magic Bands) will be for all guests, even those staying offsite like you. So, even when I say 'the system schedules you for afternoon times', that might not be accurate when it opens for all guests (then, the system might use the full park schedule, including the extra magic hours, which it did not seem to.)

So, if you go to the parks now, I would suggest going in for rope drop if you want to hit the busier attractions (though they still offer the old school paper FP's at most attractions.) Once the Magic Band and FP+ system is 100% implemented, I am not sure what will happen, I would guess rope drop would still probably work though (cause, really, who likes to willingly get up at 6am?)

I hope that novel helps.

From Kelly Muggleton
Posted December 20, 2013 at 9:30 AM
It must have helped as I nodded in agreement all the way through :-)

Unfortunately won't get to the parks until about September (I'm in the UK), but we usually go during the 'quiet' season anyway. Last year we were there around Sept 6th and in 2 weeks the longest wait we had was 20 minutes. Fingers crossed those sorts of trends can continue with the new system. I guess its a 'try it and see' situation really.

From Anthony Murphy
Posted December 22, 2013 at 11:18 AM
I actually liked that you had to show up to the ride to get the fastpass. This caused you to make a concerted effort that if you wanted to get that fastpass, you had to work for it a bit (aka walking). The one thing I do not like about the Fastpass+ is it causes guests to be a bit lazy and gobble up all the fastpasses to, say, Soarin, which is a bit of an adventure to get to.

On the other hand, it is nice that the Fastpass+ does take into effect dining reservations.

I also think they are testing it at Animal Kingdom because all their fastpass attractions are actually pretty high capacity (Everest, Kali, and Safaris). In other words, it can move large amounts of guests. I always find that fastpasses are not hard at this park.

From Tim Odom
Posted December 23, 2013 at 8:42 AM
Agreed, the big test (at least for me) will be in Hollywood Studios, as Toy Story Midway Mania runs out of FastPasses insanely quickly. And, when I went a couple weeks back, we ran right to it and the FP times were already around 7pm, with the queue line over an hour long. So, it does not seem to help the busy, low capacity rides like Toy Story.

From Tom Sinsky
Posted December 27, 2013 at 8:35 AM
Happy to write my first Theme Park Insider post! Big Robert Niles fan as a fellow theme park enthusiast and reader of his Online Journalism Review. (Has that been active since around June?)

And here's my first link--to a satire of Magicbands I wrote:


OK, that link didn't work, so here's the post--sorry it's so long. Future TPI posts will be shorter!

10 Features of Magic Bands 2.0 [satire]

ABC News has really swung for the Pulitzers in their stories about Disney’s Next Gen, $800,000,000 MagicBand bracelets that will be worn by those Disney Parks/One Disney World guests who opt in.

My friend Eric Blair at Cyberdyne Systems Skynet Division (which has worked with Thomas Staggs on his new next-gen bracelets) has let me in on nine of the ten new features of Next-Gen 2.0, expected to be rolled out in 2016.

These nine features will be absolutely OPTIONAL during phase 2.0.

1. Parenting Plus. Although I wasn’t spanked and chose not to spank any of my eight sons, many Disney guests choose to exercise their constitutional and biblical rights to use negative reinforcement when raising their own guest sons and daughters. (See Focus on the Family.) Minor electric shocks from the bracelets will teach your children to avoid danger and will make your kids more user friendly for your busy schedules.

2. Each land in each Disney park will contain a naughty (security) pole. Thin cables of braided steel will allow Disney’s friendly guest controllers to attach villains' MagicBands to these poles till Anaheim or Lake Buena Vista Police Officers can remove them from the property. Berms will protect younger guests from the naughty pole areas and kids will even be able to spray suspects with water!

3. Princess BM Training (Behavior Modification) Nobody, and I mean nobody, likes a sad princess. A voice recognition feature in each bracelet will reward little girls who say nice words like “happy,” “cool,” “churro,” and “swell,” by heating the bracelet up a cozy 75-80 degrees, while words that make them unhappy like “unhappy,” “sad,” and “no” will cause the bracelet to chill out to a cool 45.1 fahrenheit.

4. Disney Forever! These special bracelets cannot be removed and will cheerfully announce special Disney values and Disney news every half hour for your friends and co-workers to hear. Of course, during your pre-selected nine-nighttime hours, your bracelets will emit soothing Disney lullabies.

5. Family Guard: Ladies, don’t you wish GPS stood for Guy Patrol System? Now it does! Leave it to Disney to let you know where your husband is 24/7, and if he should enter a Dis-no zone (bath houses, strip clubs, and even entire areas like San Francisco, Madison or Greenwich Village), his bracelet will a give a little whistle that will get him on the straight and narrow path.

6. Ankle bracelet option!

7. Who’s the leader of the club that’s made for you and me? Let the world know! Whenever your bracelet passes within any image of Mickey Mouse anywhere in the world, your bracelet will cheer! All praise our great leader!

8. Future Guest Program. Bracelets of mommies at their most fertile will glow purple and emit a sexy saxophone rendition of “Cruella Deville,” whether you're creating your first Disney guest or your 101st!

9. Our most exciting feature will allow our cast members to give our guests the service they deserve. Bracelets of guests staying in our value resorts will have a red flashing light and will receive the same high level of service you’ve come to expect from WDW over the last ten years.

Moderate resort guests will sport bracelets that glow a comforting iron grey and can expect a few extra smiles from our cast members or a few more fries with their burgers. And your iron grey bracelet will even permit you to access certain public areas of our luxury resorts at special times on selected days!

And our luxury guests will be pampered with decadence during their entire stay, receiving an instant hug from any cast member when demanded. If Main Street’s sidewalks are a bit crowded, caste members will jump to the street when they see your green glowing bracelet coming their way! And green means “Fun Unlimited”! You’ll enjoy your own faster Fun Unlimited (F.U.) lines at every quick service restaurant, shop, and refreshment stand. And our trains, monorails, and boats (even on the Jungle Cruise) will all feature first class sections for all of you who join the green team. Your green bracelets will permit you to access almost all public areas of our luxury resorts. (Ask about our flashing green concierge level!)

10. [Restricted.]

From Tim Hillman
Posted December 28, 2013 at 8:44 AM
I think I just had a "Coming to America" moment there.

Prince Akeem: Sir, did you happen to catch the professional football contest on television last night?
Cleo McDowell: No, I didn't.
Prince Akeem: Oh sir, the Giants of New York took on the Packers of Green Bay. And in the end, the Giants triumphed by kicking an oblong ball made of pigskin through a big "H". It was a most ripping victory.
Cleo McDowell: Son.
Prince Akeem: Yes?
Cleo McDowell: If you want to keep working here, stay off the drugs.

(Quote courtesy of IMDB)

From Michelle Morgan
Posted December 29, 2013 at 3:21 PM
I love both Universal and Disney and both have their pros and cons as any place would. I really don't understand the new armband system, but we have been to the parks a few times lately for day trips, and didn't have any problems getting fastpasses. Of course we weren't there during really busy times and didn't go to DHS. I do know that the fastpasses for Toy Story Midway Mania were usually out with the old system by about 10:30 in the morning, on average anyway... so in that case, it doesn't seem as though much has changed.
As for a 2 class system, you could say the same for Universal, because if you stay onsite, you get an unlimited Express pass for your length of stay with the price of your room as well as daily early entry to Wizarding World of Harry Potter... and I daresay that they will probably offer the same when Diagon Alley opens at USF next year. Someone with that Express pass can easily go to a park and wiz through the attractions, whereas day guests would have to purchase their express pass and only get to use it one time per attraction or stand in the stand by lines if they couldn't afford to purchase it or chose not to purchase it. Both Disney and Universal have perks for staying onsite. I do like the closeness of the resorts at Universal and being able to easily go back during the middle of the day. When Disney first opened, it was the same case for them, as everything was accessible by monorail or boat... or in the case of the Contemporary, walking. The Epcot resorts are accessible by foot to both Epcot and DHS. It's just that Disney is a much bigger property with more parks necessitating bus systems, etc. Either way, both Disney and Universal give their guests staying onsite advantages over those not staying onsite. It is really a matter of which you prefer.

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