MagicBand Confidence Spurs A Fun New Promo!

With a dramatic upturn in the MyMagic roll out success, Disney are at last inching closer towards an RFID contactless experience for theme park and resort guests.
It has been reported to have cost as much as $1.5bn, so lets hope for Disney’s sake it fires up the engine, first turn!

Guests are already able to make reservations, purchases, open hotel doors, and now make Fastpass+ reservations with the help of the MyMagic Magicbands.  Soon, we suspect lots of new interactive experiences will be triggered by users, as they enjoy the attractions in the parks.

This week, a great promo video appeared, take a few minutes to enjoy it, we did!

For more information about MyMagic, visit our main article here!


New Universal’s Vacation Planner – Quick Review

Universal have released their new Vacation Planner to help guests make the most of a visit to their Orlando Resorts.  We take a very quick look at what it does and doesn’t do as Universal feel the heat from Disney’s MyMagic+ system that simply does everything!


What is Universal’s Vacation Planner?

Universal’s Vacation Planner really does two things.

  • It lets you select what sort of attractions your family is interested in and shows a list of suitable matches for the dates of your stay.
  • Additionally, in a few simple steps, the easy to use Wizard recommends ticketing options for your group.

The wizard doesn’t provide much to guests, but may be of some use to first time visitors to Universal that appreciate a very quick overview.
Thankfully, there is no ‘sign-in’ required to use the tool and if you see an attraction that you like, you can click on it for more detail without leaving the Universal Vacation Planner wizard.

The whole purpose of the Vacation Planner is all about buying a package or ticket bundle, which in itself isn’t too surprising, but a little more functionality would be helpful.
Little information is available about dining options for example.

More disappointingly, a number of the links (such as this Eighth Voyage of Sinbad) were broken and didn’t function at all.  The page looked like it had been hurried into service without any follow up checks.

Universal Vacation Planner Bug



Our Opinion of the Universal Vacation Planner Tool

There’s no doubt about it that Disney were caught napping by Universal’s drive in the theme parks in 2010, but Disney’s MyMagic+ system must have equally caught out Universal.  The Vacation Planner serves to show that Universal are miles away from rolling out any meaningful guest experience system within the next 5 years.
It will be interesting to see what kinds of experiences Disney’s MyMagic+ Magicbands will be providing us by then.


Sid Cahuenga’s Store in Hollywood Studios Closed Now

Sid Cahuenga's Hollywood Studios

One of our favorite Disney stores, fell victim of progress this weekend as Fastpass+ marched deeper into Walt Disney World.

The curiosity store is located was located just inside the park entrance on the left hand side and had a great collection of collectibles that differed from the usual Disney merchandize that the parks tend to suffer from.

Often you could walk around this pricey but cool cabin all on your own, thanks to the ‘oddness’ of the goods on sale and the awkward location that seemed too close to the entrance to make sense.

Sid Cahuenga’s store, adorable as it was, just didn’t seem to fit in with the location, and probably would have been a better fit over in the Backlot Tours area as a ride exit store, thanks to its historic Disney links.

Soon, the old Sid Cahuenga store will make way for a new MyMagic+ service centre as Disney step up their roll out of the RFID contactless vacation planning system that has had over $1bn of investment pumped in.

How ironic that Disney have cut precious retail store space in order to take care of a system that is there to help encourage you to buy?
That’s how important Fastpass+ is and that is how confident Disney are that it is really going to squeeze the dollars from your next visit!

Is Disney Losing Some Magic or Gaining It Through Technology?



Regular readers will recognise this image of Cinderella Castle in the Magic Kingdom.
It is one of our favorite shots, and all the work of our own photographer.

For us, this picture is much more than just a shot of the gorgeous castle.
Looking at it more closely, it totally sums up the Magic of a visit to Disney World.

To the left, we see a dad, holding his daughter’s hand as they make their way to grab a great spot to catch the parade that is about to begin in about 15 minutes time.  We love the fact that the dad seems more eager to get to his spot than her!  We bet he is a true Disney fan and his co-workers don’t even know!

On the curbside, families gather, taking a rest in the warmth of the February sunshine that day.  Of course, the ballon seller drifts silently by, her arm pulled constantly by those adorable Tinkerbell and Mickey Ear balloons.

I love to picture the kids walking proudly down Main St USA clutching tightly onto the cord of their chosen balloon, staring adoringly up, as they make their way to the park exit at the end of their vacation.  What will come of that ballon I wonder?  Will it fly away?  Or will it, as Mom desperately hopes, make that memory box back home?

The picture, is a favorite of ours for all of the above, but most of all the simplicity of the charm that we as guests bring to the most Magical Place on Earth!

As the parks step up a gear, our experiences change.  We want more form a visit, and the park owners, need more from our wallets to meet our expectations.
We, as guests seem to loath change, especially if it is the ‘loss’ of a favorite attraction, but what do we feel when they give us more?

MyMagic+ looks set to become Disney’s biggest parks project of the decade in Walt Disney World.  Set to roll out December 1st for all Resort accommodation guests, the Hi-Tech service is literally bursting with functionality to ensure Disney guests make the most of their stay in Orlando.
Being able to book restaurants, pay for meals, buy a Mickey premium, open your room door and even jump the lines, is all possible with the Magicband on your wrist.



2013-10-08 11.05.43Yes, the word; connected, has never seemed so appropriate since the arrival of cell phones as the Magicband.
The RFID account even allows your cell phone to help you to plan your day.
It can even suck money out of your wallet, even when it is securely tucked away in your room safe back in the resort!

Without doubt, the MyMagic+ system will make a visit to Disney a better experience for guests that love to embrace technology.  Lots of information, lots of functionality make for a more efficient day in the Disney parks.


Is efficiency what we really want?

Firstly, I think we ought to make it clear, that we are techno enthusiasts, that adore the advent of the Magicbands at Walt Disney World this December.
We can’t help wonder, however, if that feeling will pass the tests of time without scrubbing off some of the shiny Disney Magic from a trip to the parks.

As you read this blog, we are probably right in assuming that many of you are somewhat experienced Disney World guests right?
We would also be safe in assuming that your very first Disney visit was indeed the most magical of all of your Disney adventures?
If we think back however, to that very first time inside the Magic Kingdom, the Magic was all about that personal family time and the joy of discovery and surprise.  We don’t know about you, but the very thought of planning my first trip’s fastpasses online prior to ever even setting foot in the parks, simply seems unrealistic.

Even the thought of staring at a cell phone, instead of the smiles on the kids faces just dissolves away the biggest joys of a first visit to the Magic Kingdom.

Our confession is that we are IT fans.  We own a gorgeous website for example, but many, many visitors to Walt Disney World don’t embrace online technology in the same way and for many, they have good reason, others, simply struggle with small handheld devices, computers and personal accounts linked to credit cards.
As Disney roll out MyMagic+ beyond the 2013 trials, they may find that for some, if not many, the Disney Magic might not be quite as powerful as it could have been.

Take one last look at that simple image at the top of this page.
It has a Castle, a few balloons and us, eagerly awaiting the 3 o’clock parade.
No Magicbands, no thrill rides, no contacltess payments, just 100% pure Disney Magic!



Disney MagicBands Date Is Announced – Dec 1st 2013


While some Disney Resort guests have tried Disney’s new RFID technology for themselves over the summer, almost half of the Resorts are still awaiting the roll out of the MyMagic+ contactless payment and booking system.

That all changes in October as the remaining resorts all come online with the new system that Disney are rumored to have invested $1.5bn in.

The aim is to get you to spend more, stay longer and stay all during your vacation in the Disney Parks.  Early news will please the Disney Execs, as it seems to be working!

Once the last resorts get the system, on the 21st October 2013, November will be Disney’s last official ‘trial’ month at Walt Disney World Resort.
December 1st sees the official roll out of the MyMagic+ system for Resort guests.

As the resorts settle down over the winter, we are anticipating that Magicbands will prove to be immensely successful around the parks, leading perhaps to a broader roll out in 2014 to other guests including annual pass holders perhaps.

Disney have not yet made announcements about timings for Annual passholders to receive Magicbands, but, existing cardboard pass holders may request new hard plastic RFID cards and future passes will automatically include the RFID chips.

Our unofficial estimate is that by 2015, Disney may issue Magicbands to a wider range of guests that choose some of the larger multi day Magic Your Way Tickets.
While there’s an admin cost and hardware cost to consider, if this project does achieve the result each guest spending more time and money in WDW, Disney would be crazy not to expand the concept to their non resort accommodation guests.



Disney Playmation Products Under Development

Vinylmation PlaymationDisney have recently registered Playmation as a trademark for a hugely diverse range of products including toiletries, fragrances, jewelry, clocks, coins, watch bands, backpacks, luggage, books, party bags, shopping bags, kitchenware, household goods, linen, tableware, clothing, footwear, electrical goods, media players, toys, games, sporting goods aand much more.

So what might Playmation be?

Luxury Orlando Vacation HomesWell, one of the applications also includes the use of the Playmation trademark for use with RFID and cloud based technology.
If that sounds familiar, you’d be right.  The MyMagic+ Magicbands use the very same RFID chips to help guests communicate with Disney Park and Resort services in Walt Disney World.

Although the purpose of Playmation isn’t necessarily linked to the parks and resorts just yet, the brand definitely offers scope for Disney to do just that in time to come.
Being able to merge ‘off park’ and ‘on park’ experiences has been a long term goal as Disney seeks ways to benefit from its media and parks businesses.

For kids to ‘personalise’ their play within the home and the Disney parks would provide a very unique Disney experience with vast amounts of revenue potential for Disney.
While precise details of how or what Playmation will actually end up being, it wouldn’t be crazy to jump to conclusions and guess that Playmation extends the Vinylamation concept with an RFID functionality that provides extended gameplay and interactions with other similar devices and media devices.

While the Playmation name is brand new, the Vinylmation brand is very familiar to park guests and Disney store shoppers, although it is unclear as to whether the brands are at all linked.

We will bring more on this exclusive story as soon as possible!


Excerpt from the Disney Playmation Trademark application

IC 042. US 100 101. G & S: Providing temporary use of on-line non-downloadable cloud computing software for facilitating interactivity among consumer products containing RFID tags and computer chips; computer services, namely, cloud hosting provider services

Disney’s MyMagic+ System Goes Fully Live Soon!


After a few months of trials, Disney’s MyMagic+ system will soon be going live across all areas of Walt Disney World, with the Hi-Tech Magicbands at the heart of the $1.5bn project.

According to Disney’s CEO, Bob Iger, the ability for all park guests to benefit from the use of the wrist bands for dining reservations, fastpass booking, food and store purchases, will be available ‘fairly soon’.
While there’s no further information about what ‘fairly soon’ actually looks like on a calendar, Iger was speaking before a Goldman Sachs conference full of city analysts, suggesting that ‘very soon’ would literally have to be ‘very soon’ if Disney aren’t going to disappoint investors.
With that in mind, we’d hazard a guess, that MyMagic will be ramped up rapidly over October and November for a full roll out for the peak Christmas Holiday season.

Having invested an incredible sum on the Magicband project (Disney have spent more on Magicbands than Universal are spending on park improvements!), Disney are hoping for a huge return on their investment, by encouraging guests to enjoy the interactive fun that their Magicbands offer.
During trials, Disney have seen a marked increase in spending from the 200,000 guests that have so far tested the RFID contactless wrist bands at Walt Disney World.

For more information about Magicbands and what they can do for Disney guests, please check out our main MyMagic+ Quick Guide article on our main website.

Plastic Annual Disney Pass – Soon to include RFID Technology!

Plastic Annual Disney Pass – RFID Spy in your Pocket?


This year Disney introduce a lot of state of the art technology inside their flagship parks.  Many of us will be oblivious to some of the wizardry going on as we walk, play and spend our park time away.



Plastic Annual Passes now join MagicBands as part of Disney’s determined effort to gather every possible morsel of information about Walt Disney World Resort guests and their habits and preferences!

Disney announced that from between the 20th March through May19th 2013, guests may take their paper annual pass to the Odyssey Centre in Epcot if they wish to exchange for a plastic card.  Switching is not essential and valid paper cards will be accepted at all times.

One great benefit, looks like a faster entry into the parks with Disney’s ‘touch to enter’ areas for annual pass holders.

Disney Annual Pass

What will they use the info for?  It’s not exactly clear, and, we suspect, that includes the sentiment at Disney HQ.  As the technology develops alongside the piles of data, analysts will pour over the information with incredible statistical packages that will squeeze every trend out of every corner of your visit.

Don’t mistake our appraisal for negativity!  If this means that Disney send more funnel cake mix to the parts of the park that desperately need it, I’m all for it!  Equally, if the line wait data is more accurate and our Apps can reveal the best places to head to inside the park then ‘my oh my we’ll have a wonderful day!’

It’s true that Disney will offer lots of beneficial services that will make our experience better, but, so too will they work out how to market to you with passion with their new found info!

Imagine that like us, you are a ‘low user’ of the PhotoPass system, but, you have a history of succumbing just after you’ve had a Mickey Premium Ice Cream whenever you are in Main Street USA on an afternoon, don’t be shocked to have a PhotoPass photographer hovering around you with a Napkin as your ice cream stick hits the garbage can!

That’s the power of marketing data in action, and, we really aren’t kidding or running a conspiracy theory!

On the ‘upside’ imagine meeting Mickey and as your kid hugs him, he gets a personal greeting with his/her name!  Exactly, that moment is priceless and that data privacy exchange was worth every megabyte!

Further announcements are expected about MagicBands in the next few months.

For more information about Walt Disney World Parks, please visit our Website!