What is "MyMagic+"?
There are many sites online that discuss exactly what MyMagic+ is, but here it is in a nutshell: Disney is replacing park tickets, hotel keys, credit cards, and Fastpasses with a band you wear on your wrist that has RFID technology. Want to enter your room? Wave your band at it. Want to pay for a Mickey ice cream? Wave your band. Want to enter a park? Wave your band.
Most of this will offer a minor bit of additional convenience for guests. Despite all of Disney's marketing mumbo-jumbo, it mostly isn't a big deal.
Fastpass changes, however, are a big deal
However, there is one huge change to all of this - Fastpass is being changed dramatically. The current system is simple - at a Fastpass-enabled attraction, insert your park tickets into a Fastpass machine, and get a slip of paper with a return time for the attraction. Come back at that time, and you can skip the line. It's a great system, and if you know how to exploit it (like all Optimal Magic customers do), you can get many more rides on the big-ticket attractions without waiting in the lines.
Under the new Fastpass+ system being beta-tested, several changes are afoot:
-No more "regular" Fastpasses. If you are using the new Fastpass+ system, you are no longer eligible to use "regular" Fastpasses.
-There are many more Fastpass+ enabled attractions. The number of Fastpass-enabled attractions has more than doubled. This could be considered good, though many of these added attractions rarely have a wait anyway.
-You can reserve Fastpasses on your smartphone. You can also change Fastpasses on the fly. Some people love this idea. I'm not a fan - I don't want my nose buried in my phone while at a Disney park.
-You have more flexibility in choosing the time of day you want a Fastpass for. This is good - more flexibility isn't a bad thing at all.
-You are limited to only 3 (possibly 4) Fastpasses in a day! Uh oh - this isn't good. For some parks (Animal Kingdom), three Fastpasses may suffice. For the Magic Kingdom, it's not nearly enough!
-You can't get two sets of Fastpasses for one attraction. Want to ride Space Mountain five times with no long waits? Easy to do, using Fastpass. With the new system - it can't be done.
-You can reserve your Fastpass times up to 60 days in advance. Yes, really. Disney expects you to know where you plan to be up to 60 days in advance!
-You can't have Fastpasses in more than one park in a single day. Like to spend the morning at Animal Kingdom and evening at Epcot? You won't be able to get Fastpasses for both parks!
Needless to say, these changes to the Fastpass program will change touring strategies dramatically.
Should I join in the beta test?
People who definitely should not join the beta test:
Serial Planners: If you plan to be at the park in the morning before opening, you have a plan of attack, and you are an expert at the current Fastpass strategy, do not join the test. You will avoid more lines using the "old fashioned" Fastpass strategies.
Technophobes: If you don't have a smart phone, don't join (it's more difficult to change Fastpass times without one). If you don't want your nose in a smartphone, don't join. If you don't have patience for potential screwups (it is a beta test after all), don't join.
People who may want to consider the beta test:
Late arrivers: Can't get to the park at opening? Being able to get a Fastpass for mid-day say, Toy Story Mania will be wonderful. It may more than offset the negatives. And because the number of people beta-testing is still relatively small, the availability of Fastpass+ times is still very good (this will change in the future, by the way...)
People who love technology: If the idea of playing with your smartphone to change Fastpasses is exciting to you, by all means join.
Annual Passholders: There is currently a bug where people with annual passes can still get "regular" Fastpasses while doing the MyMagic+ beta test. In that case, by all means join! You'll get the "Fastpass+" benefits but still be able to use regular Fastpass - you'll be able to double-dip!
What about the future?
The good news is that Optimal Magic is keeping up with everything going on with the MyMagic+ rollout - we'll ensure that you have a great time and best skip out on the lines regardless of the current system at Disney! If you're using Fastpass+ we'll help you select the absolute optimal attractions (and times) for your group - if you're using regular Fastpass we'll help you get the most out of it, as well!
As always, drop me a line with any questions you may have!