More NextGen roll-outs at the Walt Disney World Resort

December 16, 2012, 11:32 PM · The Walt Disney World Resort is rolling out more and more of its NextGen technology for managing visitors' vacations. Last week, Disney ran another test of its news Fastpass+ system, which allows selected on-property Disney hotel guests to reserve in advance specific ride times at a limited number of attractions. Disney's also rolling out "tap to pay" RFID payment stations at some of its merchandise locations. (You might have seen or used the same basic technology at ExxonMobil gas stations that allow you to wave a Speedpass keychain at the pump to pay for your fuel.)

With Disney, you're using your resort hotel keys to access the NextGen services. But the company's about to open up NextGen to more visitors. This week, the company debuted a new version of the Walt Disney World website, which includes a link to a new section, My Disney Experience. That's where visitors can set up a trip itinerary, which eventually will hook into the new Fastpass+ system for eligible guests.

New WDW website

Ultimately, I'd love to be able to enjoy a day in the parks without having to bring my wallet, and worry about it getting stolen, lost or soaking wet. Just slip on my waterproof NextGen wristband, and I'd be good to go - using it to get into the parks, access my restaurant and ride reservations and to pay for all my meals, souvenirs and snacks. I know my wife would really like to be able to ditch the purse.

Of course, parent with small kids will still need the diaper bag. And I imagine most of us will still want to bring in our cell phones. But anything that cuts down on the amount of stuff I have to haul around the parks for the day, hey, I say let's go for it.

Have you used any of the NextGen tech at Walt Disney World yet? (So far, all I've used is the ordering system at Be Our Guest.) If so, please tell us in the comments about the experience.

Replies (4)

December 17, 2012 at 10:43 AM · Does the 'tap and open' system on the resort hotel room locks come under the next gen banner? During our stay at Port Orleans Riverside in November our lock was changed from the 'insert card to open' style to a simple 'tap your card on the lock' to open. When you're juggling bags and stuff it's a lot easier to use.
December 17, 2012 at 4:02 PM · Yep, that's NextGen. And I agree, from a pure usability perspective, I prefer not having to play what had become a game of "figure out which way to stick in the card."
December 18, 2012 at 9:13 AM · We just got back from Disney and were part of the fastpass+ trial. It was awesome! We preplanned our trips to hollywood studios and magic kingdom before we even got to the park. We were able to schedule which rides we wanted and what time slots. We happened to go to the magic kingdom the night before and got on the winnie the pooh ride (waited about 5 minutes) so we were then able to log back into the fastpass+ website and change which experience we wanted to use our fastpass on. Before our trip they mailed us green credit card type fast passes and they have installed little mickey mouse "touch n go" type devices for all the fastpass rides.

It worked wonderfully! They also started using our room key (for resort guests) on a tap n go type system to enter the park as well.

December 18, 2012 at 2:12 PM · Just returned from WDW and was unable to participate in these NextGen because of being new annual passholders. I wonder how Disney will go about that, since we had the room card and then AP cards. I would have loved to have tried it out. Needless to say, I was surprised by the new tap and open for the resort rooms. It definitely made getting into our room and Bay Lake Tower a lot easier.

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