Haven't been to WDW in 20 years

CynKno

New member
We're going on 9/19. We've got park passes and resort reservations. These Magic Bands things are confusing to me. What's the benefit since there aren't any Fast Passes? Are they free with our resort reservations? Do I purchase them in advance?
 

George

wishes he had a pink frolicing llama under his tag
They're not free. They essentially mirror all the information that's in MyDisneyExperience, including (when they're available) FASTPASSes. If you're a resort guest, they'll also unlock your room door, and, if you enable the feature, give you charging privileges to your hotel account. They're no longer free with a resort reservation. You can mail order them in advance, or purchase when you arrive.

FYI, the mobile app can do most of the things described above, including opening your room door and displaying park admission and FASTPASSes.
 

Mrs Darling

Well-known member
Without FP I don’t see a lot of benefits to magic bands. If you don’t want to use the app they can give you physical cards.
But regardless whether you want to use the app for keys & tickets, which would be the most convenient option, bring along a portable charger for your phone. You end up doing a lot refreshing to check for wait times under normal circumstances, but I’m sure even more in this case. Plus mobile order etc. You want to make sure the battery lasts the day.
 

DopeyRunr

the jeweled acrobats only perform amazing stunts f
Without FP I don’t see a lot of benefits to magic bands.
If I already had one, even without FP+, I'd use it for resort room entry, park entry, room charge privileges, ride and memory maker photos. If I wasn't staying onsite, and/or if I had to pay for it, I don't think I'd get a magic band, since a lot of that functionality is available through Apple Watch now.
 

Strangeite

Well-known member
Does the Watch app handle auto-tagging ride photos (for e.g. 7DMT)? I haven't been keeping track.

That is a good question and according to this FAQ, no, the Apple Watch will not automatically link attraction photos. That alone would get me to keep wearing my MagicBand, but of course I have so many that we made a garland for our Christmas tree out of them.
 

Strangeite

Well-known member
Yeah, and it's probably also enough to get me to buy one every few years so as to not risk having the radio battery die.

Relatedly, we hired someone who used to be at Disney Research, and I think the Magic Band was part of his portfolio at one point. I should ask him what the life expectancy of the long-range radio is.

Haha! You need to also ask him about this paper from Disney Research from a decade ago. This along with the announcement of MyMagic+ had me convinced that Disney was planning to use MagicBands to create a version of "air traffic control" but for park guests.

Too many people in Tommorowland? *ding* a notification for a bonus Fastpass to Pirates has been added to 300 guests currently east of the hub.

You spent 45 minutes browsing in Art of Disney and didn't buy anything? *ding* a notification of 10% off coupon to Art of Disney on your way out of Epcot.

I don't remember the details but I recall that the low-energy bluetooth chip in the MagicBand had a range of about 20 feet, which would allow them to use AI to offer incentives on the fly to manage crowds. Didn't happen, but I was convinced that was the plan.
 

RetroCOTfan

Active member
Haha! You need to also ask him about this paper from Disney Research from a decade ago. This along with the announcement of MyMagic+ had me convinced that Disney was planning to use MagicBands to create a version of "air traffic control" but for park guests.

Too many people in Tommorowland? *ding* a notification for a bonus Fastpass to Pirates has been added to 300 guests currently east of the hub.

You spent 45 minutes browsing in Art of Disney and didn't buy anything? *ding* a notification of 10% off coupon to Art of Disney on your way out of Epcot.

I don't remember the details but I recall that the low-energy bluetooth chip in the MagicBand had a range of about 20 feet, which would allow them to use AI to offer incentives on the fly to manage crowds. Didn't happen, but I was convinced that was the plan.
That makes two of us! I don't know that I ever saw this paper specifically, but IIRC, many years ago Len & Jim were talking on their podcast about Disney potentially doing this sort of thing. (Based on Len's proclivity to monitor patent filings and general Disney-related academia, I'm guessing that discussion arose from this article.) I also seem to recall a pretty in-depth article in some major publication about the development of MyMagic+, with some behind-the-scenes looks, etc., that included a discussion of this type of crowd-directing capabilities in the "new" system.

If it's the same one I'm thinking of, that article focused quite a bit on Tom Staggs who, at the time, was the heir apparent to Iger. I was really disappointed when he left (clearly taking the fall for the $1+ billion boondoggle that MyMagic+ became), because he seemed to be one of the few executives that just "get" the parks, and have a sincere passion for them. Ah, what might have been.

ETA: Below is the article I was thinking about, from Wired in March 2015. I'm sure several of you read it back then. The very end of the article touches on a few of the possibilities mentioned above. (And Tom Staggs reveals he was the FastPass runner for his family. Been there, done that. I much prefer refreshing MDE.)

Disney's $1 Billion Bet
 
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Strangeite

Well-known member
That makes two of us!

I can't seem to find it now, but I remember several years ago I posted the links to several different papers and patents from Disney Research that, in my mind, seemed to all point towards this idea. In particular, there was a patent that outlined the use of incentives to guide guest movement within a park. At least I think it was a patent, but I can't find my post with the links.
 

RetroCOTfan

Active member
It's a fascinating idea and, if they had been able to put it into practice, would have been both revolutionary and beneficial (IMO).

But after spending 20 minutes trying to make a dining reservation yesterday only to continually receive a multitude of "page not found" and other errors, I have serious doubts that Disney IT could have ever pulled off something so wonderfully creative and complex.
 

josh

Administrator
Staff member
A good example of something never coming to fruition. There's just no way to get 60,000 people on a ride that has capacity for 15,000. Free expired churros in Adventureland for going through the Treehouse or not.
 

bnoble

he's right
I should ask him what the life expectancy of the long-range radio is.
He mentioned he was aware of some public teardowns that identified the chips used. He also has a spectrum analyzer in his office that we can use to see if they still chirp.

He did say that if he were giving advice to the designer, he would suggest that it chirp much less often if it hadn't been actively used in a while, maybe every ten minutes, so we might have to wait a while just to be sure.

Wink wink, nudge nudge.
 

Strangeite

Well-known member
My favorite MagicBand story is from a few years ago.

This was back when DVC offered the insanely discounted annual pass. That discounted annual pass lead to me spending more at Disney in a year than I ever had, but that is not the point of this story. Since we already had tickets, my wife and I decided to surprise the kids with a bonus trip to WDW. I was able to find cheap airfare, we had a few left over points, etc. So we woke the kids up really early in the morning and asked them if they wanted to go to Disney World. After about 15 seconds of groggy, "Yeah...I want to go...ughh...wait, what is that?!?" They saw the box of MagicBands we were holding.

We had their bags already packed and to this day, I don't think they ever got dressed faster. However, because my wife and I were trying to be sneaky, we had not packed up in a way that is typical for us. In short, we were running late for the airport.

I still insist that it was entirely reasonable why I needed to accelerate around that group of cars. It was 3 lanes of almost empty traffic on the interstate and one of the three vehicles decided... it doesn't matter. What does matter is that I got in the far left lane and accelerated to get past these idiots. And the moment I crested the hill, I saw the cruiser in the median. :car:

Get pulled over, takes my license and insurance, and my wife reminds me that he had me dead to rights. He comes back asking if I knew how fast I was going and I respond by answering "Too fast."

"Are you trying to catch a flight to Disney?"

"Actually yeah."

"Thought so, since everyone is wearing MagicBands. I am going on a Disney cruise as soon as my shift is over. Kids, say hi to Mickey for me. Dad, don't miss your flight."
 
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