Thursday, November 14, 2013

You know you’re a Disney nerd when you’re not sure what you’re more excited about: running the Wine & Dine Half Marathon or testing the new MagicBand.

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I didn’t even know I was getting one, so when the nice lady at check-in brought out the MagicBand box, I immediately whipped out my camera phone and started squealing like a kid on Christmas morning. Eeekk… so exciting!

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So what’s a MagicBand? It’s your room key, your credit card, your park pass, your fast pass, your meal plan, and some other things I’m sure I’m missing. Basically it’s Disney’s all-in-one ticket to all-things Walt Disney World Resort.

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They’ve slowly been rolling out the MagicBands over the last year. Currently you only receive a MagicBand as a resort guest, but rumor has it they should be making their way to annual passholders in the next month or so.

If I had realized I was getting a MagicBand, I could have logged onto the My Disney Experience App and selected my favorite band color ahead of time. If you don’t select a color, you automatically receive gray MagicBand at check-in. I debated asking for another color, but I didn’t mind the gray. Plus, it was easier to select “bandits” that didn’t clash.

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Yes, you have the ability to add some bling to your MagicBand. I looked for the “Bandits” all over Disney, but I could only find them at the store in my resort. I got 3 for $6.95, which isn’t bad for Disney standards.

The band was already loaded with my hotel key and I was able to connect it to my annual pass by adding my hotel reservation to the My Disney Experience App. The whole process was really easy and took all of two minutes to complete. They also connected my credit card at check in (however, the credit card option is currently only good while you’re a resort guest). For the rest of the weekend, the MagicBand acted as my hotel room key and pass into the park. I was also able to use it to get back in the resort’s parking lot, however, the parking attendants at the parks still aren’t equip to scan the band when you park at the theme parks (if you qualify for free parking).

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I LOVED the band. I felt like I could leave my hotel room with just my Magic Band and be fine. I didn’t have to worry about carrying a wallet or digging in my purse or pockets searching for my hotel key when I made it back to my room. It simplified everything and I never had a problem with it giving me an error.

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Probably one of the cooler perks is the ability to load FastPasses on to your Magic Band via your My Disney Experience App. While I was drinking mimosas in Megan’s hotel room, I was able to schedule my FastPasses for the day. The downside is you can only set 3 a day, but since I only had limited time in the park before I drove home, it actually worked in my favor.

I selected which rides I wanted a FastPass for and the app gave me a few options.

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Once I selected the FastPass schedule that worked for my time, everything was confirmed in my itinerary for the day.

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Then I hopped the treadmill to Magic Kingdom and walked right on Space Mountain.

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That part was pretty awesome. There was a little bit of a line to scan the Magic Band to get in the FastPass queue, but nothing crazy. I think that process will go a lot faster once everyone’s more familiar with the system.

The bands are waterproof and I’m happy to report the band survived the ultimate sweat test when I wore it during the Wine And Dine Half Marathon last weekend.

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Also, good news, it didn’t bug me at all during the run.

Have you used the the MagicBands? What did you think?

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