It’s been a busy year at Disney World!
As the parks continue with their phased reopening, preparations have been taking place for the big 50th anniversary celebration! But among all the construction and excitement, we’ve seen some changes to everyday operations. And nope, we’re not just talking about safety procedures or price changes — there have been also some major technological advances.
If you’re visiting the parks in the next few months, these tech-y changes could catch you off guard! So we’re here to break ’em all down for ya.
Disney announced its new MagicMobile service in March, and it began to roll out onto Apple devices just a few weeks later (Android users, don’t worry! Your time is coming.). Essentially, MagicMobile lets your phone become your MagicBand — that is, you can access of all your MagicBand’s features from your smart device.
So what does this all MEAN?! Well, once you set up a MagicMobile pass on your smart device, you’ll be able to use your phone to tap into the parks, link your PhotoPass photos, and access the Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance virtual queue. And later this year, you’ll also be able to use MagicMobile to charge to your Disney hotel, just like you would with a MagicBand! Pretty cool, right?
What if you don’t want to use the MagicMobile service? Well, you’re not alone! 88% of our readers told us they’d prefer to stick to the good ol’ MagicBand. Luckily, MagicBands aren’t going anywhere. You’ll be able to use them interchangeably with your MagicMobile pass. And if you want to go entirely tech-free, you can opt to use a Key to the World card instead!
If you DO want to use MagicMobile, we’ve got a complete guide to setting it up, as well as a guide to setting your primary ticket to be your Express Pass. It’s pretty simple, and once you’ve got it ready to go, your entire Disney experience is right at your fingertips!
March was a big month for technology! Disney also announced that it would start testing facial recognition for theme park entry. These tests are taking place in Magic Kingdom and guest participation is entirely optional!
So how does it work? Basically, Disney captures an image of your face, converts it into your own personal number, and associates that number with your park admission. And voila — you’re in! It’s obviously a lot more complicated (in terms of how it works) than that, but we’ve broken all that down for you here.
We visited Magic Kingdom on the first day of testing to see exactly what the process is like! You’ll stand on the designated marker, scan your MagicBand/ticket on the tapstile, and then get your face scanned. Then you’re all done! Again, participation is completely optional. Guests who don’t want to go through this process can enter the park like normal through a different turnstile!
Right now, Disney is just collecting data. The testing is set to end on April 23rd, but it could be extended. Our readers are pretty split on whether or not they’re fans of this new tech, so we’ll see if it sticks around!
You probably know that Disney is currently limiting capacity in its theme parks — but it’s also limiting capacity in its stores! Previously, Cast Members have stood at the doors with a tablet to keep track of how many people were in each shop. Now, a nifty little device will do the counting for them. Introducing…the capacity counters!
We’ve spotted these machines in most of Disney World’s major stores, like Mouse Gear in EPCOT and Mickey’s of Hollywood in Disney’s Hollywood Studios. They’ll keep track of who enters and exits the shops at all times, so capacity can be regulated. Now that’s neat stuff.
Now, these devices aren’t operating at 100% just yet. We’ve seen Cast Members counting with tablets even in stores where the machines have been installed. And of course, they haven’t rolled out everywhere yet. They’re still absent in smaller stores — think the shops in EPCOT’s World Showcase.
But, this is the start of a cool way to make everyone’s lives a little easier. We’re here for this new tech! How about you?
If you’re visiting Disney World soon, you could encounter some of this new technology. But ultimately, it’s up to you how much you want to embrace it! If you’d rather roam the parks the good ol’ way, that’s just fine, too.
Let us know what you think of all this new technology! And stay tuned to DFB for more Disney news.
Are you a fan of this new technology? Let us know in the comments!