We recently returned from our latest trip to Disney World. We split our stay between Disney’s Boardwalk Resort and the brand new villas at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort. But first, since it’s so new and Disney is still within the testing phase, I thought I’d post a magic band and FastPass+ review.
The Magic Band
I know some of you are curious on how things went with our magic bands. I was pretty much dreading them. Truthfully, I hardly wore mine. A few employee’s noticed and told me not to worry. I got the feeling there isn’t a lot of love for the magic band just yet. I have to say after experiencing them first hand, I can’t blame those who are less than thrilled. They’re still new and in the testing phase though, so I’m hoping they get better. Here are some details about how it went for us:
So like I said we stayed at two different hotels, and because of this, we got two different sets of magic bands. Pointless and a total waste? You bet! We had four magic bands between the two of us. All of them needed to be activated. Disney wants guests to use them for everything. From the moment you arrive at the magical express counter at the airport, they want to see it. However, when we checked in we ALSO got a Key To The World card just in case one of our four magic bands didn’t work. Disney must have done a lot of testing in order to change their entire system this drastically, but I just don’t get it! I really, really don’t.
We never provided a credit card to tie to our bands. They are still so new that we didn’t feel like it would work most of the time, and we were right. Seriously, there was nothing easier than a hotel room key that sat in your wallet until needed. Alas, after this trip I’ve come to terms with the fact that I’ll personally never understand the Magic Band. I’ll use it, but I won’t ever get it. At the end of the day I felt the bands took away from a more personalized customer service experience. The first words anyone ever muttered was, “let me see your band,” or “scan your band.” It all seemed rather monotonous and impersonalized. Employees were so worried about the bands working that they didn’t listen to the actual problems guests were facing. Granted, most of them were caused by the new system, but still. I know for us, housekeeping didn’t come on our first day. It was blamed on the new system. Since we rented points we paid daily for housekeeping. We got it every day for the remainder of our stay, and they also never charged us. We ended up getting a lot of things for free because employees had so many issues with the new system.
The New FastPass System
Okay, so onto the new FastPass+. It’s sort of a hot mess and here’s why:
- We only got to pick three FastPasses per day, and only one “main” attraction. For example, you can’t fast pass BOTH Sorin’ AND Test Track. Luckily, Epcot has yet to get rid of their paper fast passes, so we used our FastPass+ for Soarin’, and made sure to get paper ones for Test Track. I’m sure this option will no longer exist VERY soon.
- Forget park hopping and making FastPass+ selections. You can’t do it for multiple parks in the same day. It’s a headache you’re definitely going to want to stay far away from.
- We went ahead and reserved specific times for attractions. This was annoying at best. We hated to plan out our day down to that little of detail so far in advance. Then, once in the park we felt like having to be on our phones to constantly check/update things took away from the whole relaxing/vacation aspect. And let’s face it, Disney isn’t exactly the most relaxing vacation to begin with. We reserved FastPass+ times months before our trip, but then day of when something didn’t work, in more cases than not it was too late to make any changes. Most of the times were already gone, so we had to either stick with what we had, or go without fast passes and wait in extremely long lines. There was zero convenience factor.
- The regular lines themselves were crazy long, but on the plus side, the FastPass+ lines were extremely short. When we did get to utilize FastPass+ we basically walked on. However, the reason for this is because right now, Disney only lets onsite guests pre-book FastPass+. Day of there seems to be very little availability, and people are so confused by it they don’t even try to get any. So right now if you aren’t staying on Disney property, you can’t reserve FastPass+ ahead of time. You have to wait until you get into the park, and for those offsite guests who want to try FastPass+, be prepared to wait in a LONG line just to reserve it, if you even can. By far the craziest lines I’ve ever seen. By mid-day all the FastPass+’s were gone, which, again, lead to very little to no flexibility later on in the day should you want to make changes.
- Lastly, you can’t FastPass+ the same ride twice. We used to do this all the time for our favorite rides, and the fact that you can’t anymore sucks. Seriously Disney, please change this! If I want to use up all my FastPass+’s on Splash Mountain just let me!
So at the end of the day Fastpass+ needs some major tweaking! It could work, and work well, if certain things are changed. Right now the limits are frustrating. It definitely made our days in the parks more stressful. It’s still new though, so I’ll hold onto my high hopes that it will improve.