Planning your Disney World vacation is about to change—big time. While making your Advance Dining Reservations 180 days in advance will still be important, MyMagic+ is going to make it easier to pre-plan your trip and maybe even save your Disney dollars at the same time!
We’ve outlined the basics of the new Walt Disney World Resort technology below, followed by a healthy dose of Disney dining tips for making the most of the new system — including how it will change your Disney Dining planning, and how you might save money using MyMagic+!!
MyMagic+: The Basics
This past week, MyMagic+ — a new, tech-savvy planning process for your Disney vacation — officially rolled out across the Walt Disney World resort. Relying on RFID technology, this will create a “more immersive, more seamless and more personal experience” for guests, according to Disney Parks Blog.
A major piece of the MyMagic+ puzzle is the new My Disney Experience website and mobile app, which help guests plan their trip. The interactive tools allow guests to log in to book advanced dining reservations and ride times for popular attractions as well as parade and fireworks viewing locations with FastPass+. They’ll also make it easy to change those plans on the fly from any smartphone or Guest Relations kiosk.
All of that MyMagic+ data—including ride and meals times—will be encoded onto the new must-have Disney accessory: the MagicBand. These high-tech bracelets will replace the Key to the World card, becoming a room key, theme park ticket, PhotoPass card, FastPass and charge account in one.
Right now, guests saying at WDW resort hotels, Annual Passholders, and those who purchase PhotoPass will automatically receive a complimentary standard MagicBand. Upgraded wristbands, decorated with characters, will also be available for an additional fee.
Guests who stay off property will receive an RFID-enabled card, which will act as a park ticket, charge account and FastPass+ ticket, but they will have to purchase a MagicBand separately.
The new technologies will likely have a significant impact on your dining strategy, so we’ve put together a quick primer on how to make the most of MyMagic+:
Pay and Go
The most immediate and obvious impact of the MagicBand will be the ability to pay for snacks and quick service meals with the flick of a wrist.
Literally tap the RFID bracelet (or card for non-resort guests) against the sensor at the register to settle the bill on purchases of $50 or less quickly and efficiently. No more digging around for the Key to the World!
Schedule Your WHOLE Day
With the current system, FastPass dictates your return window based on how many FastPasses have already been distributed. On some days, it’s possible to arrive at Soarin’ at 9:30 a.m. only to be locked into a 6:35-7:35 p.m. return time. That presents a problem for those guests who’ve already booked a coveted Le Cellier ADR for 6:25 p.m.
With FastPass+, guests will be able to specify their own attraction return times and, as a result, pre-select complementary reservation times. The family who booked that Le Cellier ADR exactly 180 days before their trip will be able to set their Soarin ride time so that it doesn’t conflict.
This will give guests greater flexibility and the ability to plan their attractions around their dining plans.
Skip Rope Drop (and Sleep In)
If you, your teenager, or your sleepy spouse believe it’s not a vacation unless you can hit the snooze button a few times, you’ve likely experienced Rope Drop Anxiety: that awful, sinking belief that you won’t get to ride Toy Story Midway Mania unless you’re one of the first 100 guests through the turnstiles.
Erin Foster, our Disney Food for Families contributor, experienced the new technology first hand and shared her impressions about how MyMagic+ will help families eliminate the Rope Drop Anxiety:
The main benefit I saw for my family is that the judicious use of FP+ could eliminate the need to wake up to get to rope drop. If I can schedule my Toy Story ride for the afternoon, then I don’t have to get to the park at 9:00 a.m. This may have implications for when people time their meals.
Will resort breakfasts become more popular because people don’t have to get up early in the morning?
By allowing guests to pre-schedule ride return times without physically being in the Park, MyMagic+ may very well mean more leisurely mornings at the resort—and more resort breakfasts.
We expect that the new technology will mean bigger breakfast crowds at some of the lesser-visited but delicious spots, like The Wave, The Grand Floridian Café, and Pepper Market. Maybe it will even result in breakfast being served at formerly lunch-and-dinner-only spots, like Shutters and Boatwrights. It could open up a whole new world of Disney dining options!
Save on Food
All of these changes are great, but what will they mean for your bottom line? Here at Disney Food Blog, we’ve been thinking about how these changes may save you money.
Have More Inexpensive Breakfasts and Fewer Expensive Lunches
If you don’t have to be at the Park at 9 a.m. to get your FastPasses, as Erin points out, you could enjoy a late breakfast at the resort. Breakfast usually costs less than lunch and dinner at Disney restaurants, which means indulging in a big breakfast could allow you to skip lunch (or just have a small snack instead of a full meal), and pay less overall!
That pattern could result in significant savings over the course of a long trip to Disney World, and it will definitely mean we need to crunch some new numbers to determine whether the Disney Dining Plan is worth the cost.
More to Come!
We’ll keep an eye on the new MyMagic+ technology, so stay tuned to Disney Food Blog for our tips and tricks as the technology continues to develop.
What are your thoughts about the new MyMagic+? Will it change your dining strategy? Let us know in the comments section below!