Disney update: New Disney World app, Electrical Parade extended

April 1, 2017, 10:15 AM · Here are a couple of news items from the Walt Disney theme parks. First, the Walt Disney World Resort has updated its official "My Disney Experience" smartphone app.

The new version brings the MDE app more in line, design-wise, with the other official Disney theme park apps in use for its resorts around the world. The new version opens directly to the park maps and includes a new "My Resort Dashboard" feature for people staying on-site at one of the official Walt Disney World Resort hotels. Here's the official overview of the new features:

Over on the west coast, the Disneyland Resort today announced that it has extended the run of the Main Street Electrical Parade at Disneyland Park.

The light parade now will close August 20, instead of June 18 as originally planned. That allows the MSEP to run through the entire summer season. It also means that the parade won't "glow away" again the week after the SoCal Select AP block out for the summer, but will run until the day before they come back. That should help with the crowd management quite a bit.

The SoCal Select passholders will all rush to see it before their blockouts, of course, but everyone else wanting to see the parade at Disneyland one last time can do so through the rest of the summer, when the SoCal Select AP holders won't be around.

Replies (17)

April 1, 2017 at 12:26 PM · What about PTN? I got so spoiled watching it multiple times for the Diamond Anniversary Celebration. MSEP just doesn't cut it for me anymore. I sure hope they aren't planning on shipping PTN down the 10 freeway!
April 1, 2017 at 2:50 PM · It'll be back in the fall, I hear. It's the MSEP that will make the cross country drive to WDW.
April 1, 2017 at 11:23 PM · The MSEP is going back to WDW? Any idea when? We are planning to be in Orlando at the end of October.
April 2, 2017 at 5:56 AM · TPI says MSEP to WDW, and PTN at DCA?


April 2, 2017 at 8:09 PM · After watching the Main Street Electrical Parade for the first time in 10+ years last night, I'm glad to hear that it will be sticking around for a bit (and hope it will remain indefinitely as an "off-season" nighttime parade). No, it is not the spectacle that Paint the Night is, but there is a lot more to it and it fits in Disneyland Park much, much better. I just wish they still had the classic soundtrack, as the current version is severely lacking.
April 3, 2017 at 4:36 AM · Paint the Night is such a great parade, was hoping it was coming east. Saw it last year at Disneyland.
April 3, 2017 at 8:14 AM · The last day for the SoCal Select AP is Thursday, June 8th.

The SoCal AP is also blocked from seeing the parade for the whole summer. That's what I own. The last weekend to see it is Sunday, June 25th. The last day is Thursday, June 29th. I expect the last Sunday will be quite crowded in the parks. Better to see it on Sunday, June 18th especially since the schools are over and no class on Monday.

April 3, 2017 at 9:40 AM · MDE is almost perfect. It doesn't integrate Disney Dining with Dining Reservations. You shouldn't have to confirm with a credit card if you already have Disney Dining. Assuming you have Disney Dining with a confirmed reservation, any cancellations for dining should be linked with the credit card from your confirmed reservations.

It requires linking to your reservations. It might be time to consider an account number so the linking is automatic. I'm sure the account number is a security issue that Disney doesn't want to deal with. Perhaps its time to further streamline the process like a temporary trip number linked with a person that changes each time. Airlines have the 6 digit confirmation number. It's easy to remember and make changes to itinerary.

April 3, 2017 at 11:05 AM · "You shouldn't have to confirm with a credit card if you already have Disney Dining."

I strongly disagree here Anton. In fact, I think it's even more important for those on the DDP to secure their reservations with credit cards, because there is rampant over-reserving of high-value/demand restaurants/experiences from value-seeking guests on the DDP not wanting to commit to a single reservation. There are companies out there that "sell" ADRs (actually just provide subscribers notification when ADRs they secure are released back to the open market), so it became necessary for Disney to put policies in place to try to tamp down this grey market activity.

Just because you already pre-paid for the DDP doesn't mean that you're going to show up. That is what the credit card is supposed to minimize (no-shows). Before the credit card requirement, guests would book a reservation at the edge of the 180-day window, and then try to get a walk up at a more desirable restaurant. If they were successful at the walk-up, they would no-show their ADR, creating chain reactions across the entire resort. Too many guests were using ADRs as place holders (I'll admit that we've done it before because of the scarcity of certain ADRs, but always try to lock in an itinerary at least 2 weeks in advance). If Disney would just get rid of this ridiculous 180-day policy, it might eliminate the need for guests to deliberately overbook ADRs.

Honestly, I think the deposit should be increased based on the value of the reservation (V&A's or CRT would be a $50 security, while a place like Maya Grill or Restaurant Marrakesh might only be $10), and should be applied to the cost of the meal (fully refundable if on the DDP when presenting Magic Bands at the conclusion of the meal). Assigning a cost to holding a reservation, and tying that cost to the value/demand of that ADR would minimize guests reserving placeholders, and allow Disney to better gauge restaurant demand.

I don't think it's necessary to link the DDP to MDE. DDP by itself is not something that guests really need to track or maintain on a continuous basis. In fact, some guests may choose to pay out of pocket for certain meals, while using DDP for others, so linking the 2 systems might hinder a guest's ability to do that.

April 3, 2017 at 12:30 PM · Russell: The abuses you mentioned can easily be remedied by having the DDP have the same restrictions for ADR and be linked up with the same accommodations reservation that was confirmed with the credit card like I already said. You can't get DDP without staying on-site. The added bonus and service is the restriction to trip stay and the limitations of DDP. They won't be reserving more than what they plan offers. I prefer DDP get priority over ADR. The standard plan has one table service reservation per day. That's all they will reserve per day. They can change it, but they lose their original reservation and start over. DDP should not be able to reserve ADR separately and you can track that via MDE. If you really care about abuses, let's restrict ADR if you don't have a pre-purchased ticket. Then they will know you're shopping around to different park restaurants or notice a scheduling conflict. They can say due to high demand, only one reservation per day per park.

I'm disappointed that you prefer more flexibility since that's the exact reason for the abuses. Tightening things up will actually open up opportunities for the day visitors who might not have made advanced reservations. I want more service and DDP was outside of MDE and ADR. Not a complete system.

April 3, 2017 at 12:40 PM · That's an interesting idea Anton, but could be complicated for large groups/families sometimes dining together and sometimes dining apart. Does everyone have to book ADRs separately, or can one "master" user on the MDE reservation book for the whole group? Can individuals in the group override the master user and book their own ADR? Also, what if a user has the standard DDP, but wants to book all 3 of their table service meals in a single day assuming they're staying on property for 3 nights? What if a user wants to book ADRs for meals beyond what they get on the DDP and are planning to pay out of pocket? If the DDP were an all-you-can-eat program like cruise ships and all-inclusive resorts, you could do what you're suggesting, but there are varying levels of the DDP, and the most basic version does not even include table service restaurants.

The way to exert control is to hit people in their wallet. My recommendation is just a slight tweak to what they're doing now by charging guests for the reservation, and applying that deposit to their final meal cost. Also, by making reservations to higher demand ADRs come with higher deposit amounts, you will limit ADR abuse. The DDP simply remains as a way to pay for the meal when the check arrives. I do like your ticket requirement, but the issue there is that theme park tickets become non-refundable 90 days out (not 100% sure on that number, might be 45), which makes things tricky from a PR standpoint. There are already built in advantages to guests with resort reservations, who can book beyond the 180-day ADR window (up to 10 days extra based on length of stay), would you give ticket purchasers and DDP buyers even more of a head start to make ADRs, or would you reduce the current 180-day window (I'm all for this BTW)?

April 3, 2017 at 1:11 PM · I'm no DDP expert. I assume most people who have the plan are traveling together with an all inclusive package. Reserve a large group outside of DDP and pay separately with DDP. This is an unique situation that requires calling the customer call center instead of using MDE and ADR.

DDP is pre-paid for everyone in your party. ADR can't always account for the number of guests who will arrive, thus I think they should have lesser priority over DDP. Yes, you should be able to reserve up to your allocation like 3 per day up to when you run out. You can't make further reservations until some are cancelled.

Tickets are not refundable period. You can't just get a refund on unused tickets. Thus, ADR without tickets should have lesser priority and should be treated as a day guest and should not be able to reserve more than one or two reservations per day and no more than X per month unless a ticket is entered into the system, which I expect them to do so if they wish to get FASTPASS. Eventually, Fastpass will force them to be more honest. The penalty for cancellation should be from the size of the reserved party like $10 per person. Dining reservations window should be similar to Fastpass (60 for on-site guests and 30 days for day guests), but DDP will have an allocation just for them.

April 4, 2017 at 5:03 AM · I think it is easier to reverse a credit card charge than reverse a meal credit. I know that sounds insane.

As for the App, it seems to be working better already.

April 4, 2017 at 8:50 AM · The penalty for DDP no shows should be the loss of that one dining credit. Currently, there is no such loss since DDP is not linked to reservations. If you wish to dine in more places without DDP, I assume this is possible since the standard plan only allows the equivalent of one table service credit a day in the length of stay.
April 4, 2017 at 10:36 AM · That penalty is far too stiff - loss of a credit. Sometimes stuff happens, and while you want to discourage no-shows, you can't take away the equivalent of a meal (in some establishments over $60). I think the highest you can go is $50, and only for the highest demand restaurants. Also, how damaging is that to a resort guest that got DDP for free as part of a promotion? A value-conscious person like myself would scrape every last penny of value out of something, even if it were given to me for free, but others don't have the same approach, and would gladly give up their credit to not rush to make a reservation for a meal they were getting for free.

My perception is that the DDP is not as popular as you might think. I don't have any published data to support this, but from my numerous trips to WDW, I'd say that only about 20% of resort guests use it, and an even smaller percentage actually pay for it. Disney has frequently used the DDP as a free perk to fill resorts during slower periods of the year, though that practice has become more infrequently over the past couple of years. I would love to see the actual numbers, but my empirical evidence would suggest that not a lot of people actually pay for it, which may explain why Disney is not in a huge rush to integrate it into MDE. For all I know, use of the DDP could be far more widespread than I can imagine, but if it were, I would think this link that Anton is suggesting would have been done long ago.

You can already make and manage dining reservations through MDE, so the inability to link the DDP is either a technical issue not easily solved or the simple fact it's not worth the effort because few people would use or benefit from it.

April 4, 2017 at 12:08 PM · I agree it's a severe penalty to lose a credit. An alternative is they show up when they can and the restaurant can try to accommodate them or find another equivalent restaurant. Otherwise it gets downgraded to a quick service credit so they can still eat. The thing is they can't just skip out of their responsibilities and fix the situation.
April 4, 2017 at 1:13 PM · That's why I think it should be a monetary deposit that is applied to the meal (only refunded if the guest is on the DDP). Hit people in the pocket, even DDP users, and make them show up.

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