This was my first experience with the Disney Magic Band during our trip. The Magic Band is a relatively newish part of the Disney experience in the last couple years at Disney World. So far the Magic Band and Fastpass+ is at Disney World and hopefully will remain only there. Disney may think the Magic Band and FP+ is great, but I actually have mixed feelings about the entire experience.
First off, the positives about the band is everything is now connected to one item. The Magic Band is your room key, park pass, FP+, and even a credit card if you want. This did make the experience in Disney easy because you didn’t have to worry about losing a paper ticket or room card, since everything was connected to a band on your wrist. When you enter the park or line up at a FP+ queue, you will just tap the RFID chip to a sensor in order to gain admittance.
The Magic Band is one size only, but a portion of it is removable for those with smaller wrists. The band is rubber and will glue to your wrist in the heat (one of the major annoyances with the band, especially when you don’t like anything on your wrist). The band does have a RFID chip in it that connects to virtually everything you may need during your Disney experience (basically Big Brother is watching your every movement).
Before you get to the park you can order your Magic Band online, which will then be shipped to your home. Make sure the address is connected to your home address and not a travel agency. There are multiple colors to choose from and your name will be on the back of your band. If you don’t do this ahead of time, you will just receive a grey band. In the park you can buy further items to customize your Magic Band, which know of us partook in at all.
Now the annoying part of the Magic Band is the FP+ aspect. I personally hated having to make FP+ reservations before getting to the park. If you are staying at a Disney World hotel, you can make reservations 60-days before check-in. If you aren’t staying on property, you can make reservations only 30-days before arriving. If you don’t make any FP+ reservations, it will be hard to actually get a Fastpass at the parks over popular times at Disney. The Disney phone app does allow you to change your FP+ reservation time, but when you are there in the high season there can be little to no flexibility in changing the FP+ time. This also means you have to plan out everything ahead, which to me lost the Disney Magic. I felt like we were on time constraints a lot because we knew we had to be somewhere at a specific time all day.
Another aspect I found frustrating is you could only make reservations for a FP+ in one park each day. For example I wanted FP+ in Animal Kingdom and Hollywood Studios for the same day, but was only able to pick one park.
Overall the system to me loses the Disney feel of spontaneity and forces you to plan out your entire experience in even more detail. We actually did not end up using a lot of the FP+ reservation times because we got tired of the rigid time schedules. I personally like the old system of getting a Fastpass when you are in the park and having to get them throughout the day.