We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.
We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

Magic bands and fast pass+/ our experience

Which Disney World hotels are on sale?
mm/dd/yyyy mm/dd/yyyy
See hotels
pittsburgh
Destination Expert
for Rome
posts: 18,425
reviews: 12
Magic bands and fast pass+/ our experience

We just returned from a week at Walt Disney World using their new Magic bands and the fast pass+ system. I wanted to post our experience in order to help others who may have some questions.

Our Magic bands arrived at our house about 4 weeks before our trip. At that point I was able to link our dining reservations and our annual passes to the bands. I tried to sign up for some fast pass+ options but was not allowed.

About 2 weeks before our trip I received an email asking if we would like to participate in the fast pass+ trial. It invited us to visit the website and pick our fast passes. This was very easy. Since we already had dining reservations we chose the parks that were the most convenient to those. They allow you to choose one major ride, such as Toy story mania, and two lesser rides. They then give you three options for times showing all three of your ride choices. You choose the option that is the best for you and the plans you already have. We did this for each day basing our choices on where we would be dining and which parks had extra magic hours.

We did the online check in for our resort. When we arrived there was a hostess waiting out front for the bus. She greeted us by name and welcomed us to the resort. She had our check in packet ready for us. She asked if we had our Magic bands, which we did. She scanned the bands and had us enter a pin number into her mobile device. Once that was done she told us our room was ready and we were all set to go play in the parks. She explained how the bands work for the room and entry to the parks. She also told us that our dining plan was on the bands and to just have the wait staff scan the bands at any meals.

We went to our room. Entry couldn't be easier. You hold the Mickey head on your band to the grey panel on the door lock and it unlocks the door.

Next we went to Epcot. When you get to the gate you'll see posts coming out of the ground. They are in the shape of a large "V". At the top points of the V are scanning stations and at the bottom of the V are two scanning stations. You can go to either station. You don't need to wait in line if one is empty, just go around the person at the other station (like at a gas station with multiple pumps, you go to the front one if the back pump is being used). To scan you simply hold your Magic band Mickey head to the Mickey head on the scanner. A white light will start spinning around the Mickey head. At that point you use the finger scanner which is right next to the band scanner. You'll see a white light start to spin around your finger. Once the scanner recognizes your scan both the Mickey head and the finger scanner will turn green. It's really that simple. Just be sure your Mickey head is inside the Mickey head on the band scanner.

For fast pass+ you simply return to the attraction at the proper time and touch your Mickey head to the Mickey head on the scanner. It's the same scanner you use to enter the parks but without the finger scanner. The scanner will turn green when you're within your time window. You must also scan your band at the end of the queue line to confirm that you are using a fast pass.

For meals the wait staff carry a hand held scanner. They run the scanner over your Magic band. Then they hand the scanner to you in order for you to enter your pin. Your meal plan comes up on the scanner so they know what your entitlements are. At the end of the meal they give you the check, you add the tip and sign.

For store purchases you will touch your mickey head to the Mickey on their scanner. Once the head turns green you'll enter your pin code. You will do this if you are charging to your room or sending your packages to your room. This is where the security issues come into play. At one point I entered the wrong pin number ( was going to fast and one of the numbers didn't register). The hostess rescanned my band but absolutely nothing happened. My band was dead. It happened immediately. My husband used his band to complete the purchase. We then went to guest relations and explained what had happened. They checked my drivers license against the information on the band and reactivated it. It took about 3 minutes for them to reactivate the band and we didn't have any more issues after that.

All in all, we found the Magic bands and the fast pass+ to be great. We used this in conjunction with the phone app and never missed a meal or a fast pass. Planning our rides two weeks in advance wasn't a problem either. We know when we go to the parks what we want to ride so knowing that we don't need to run to that attraction to get a random timed fast pass was a huge relief. The fact that they only allowed us to choose 3 attractions meant that we weren't tied down for the entire day going from one ride to the next. It really helped put just enough structure to our days to keep them moving while not overwhelming us with schedules.

Donna

12 replies to this topic
Orlando, FL
Destination Expert
for Orlando, Disney World
posts: 12,872
1. Re: Magic bands and fast pass+/ our experience

Thanks for sharing. So you linked your annual pass. Did you happen to try to use your pass, the actual ticket, for regular FastPass? Just curious.

Like a gas station is not a bad way to describe it. haha, just go around works...unless you have a stroller and the person in front of you is pushing a wheelchair, forgot something in their car, and just left, with the lady in the wheelchair sitting there all by herself blocking the way to go back to the parking lot!!! I thought I picked the short line, but you know how that works!!!

pittsburgh
Destination Expert
for Rome
posts: 18,425
reviews: 12
2. Re: Magic bands and fast pass+/ our experience

We did actually use our annual passes twice to get additional fast passes. They worked fine. My daughter actually used her annual pass for park entry each day as she didn't like wearing the Magic bands. She carried it in her bag to use for fast passes but it was easier for her to use her pass for park entry.

The gate entry reminded me so much of a gas station pump set up. Most people stopped at the back scanner. We simply went around most times to the front scanner without any issues. There were a few times when large families were all crowded around a single scanner making it difficult for us to get around them but that didn't happen too often as the cast members would direct people to the open scanners. It really is a great system.

Donna

Orlando, FL
Destination Expert
for Orlando, Disney World
posts: 12,872
3. Re: Magic bands and fast pass+/ our experience

Interesting. So even though you used the band to get in it activated your actual ticket. Because normally if you try to use a ticket which hasn't been scanned at the gate/used for entry in the fastpass machine it wouldn't work. We've found the entry lines slower and more chaotic because of the new system and design though haven't been enough times to really assess it nor have had the magic band experience since we live here...only the not being able to get fastpasses because they were "all distributed" experience!

Quebec City
posts: 454
reviews: 34
4. Re: Magic bands and fast pass+/ our experience

Maybe this is a silly question, but here goes:

When you scan at the park entry with the band and the fingerprint, you need to use a specific finger, and always use the same one, right? Does it have to be on the opposite hand from the band, so you need to keep holding the band to the scanner while you scan your fingerprint, or can you move the band away from the scanner while you scan the print on the same hand that holds the band?

posts: 362
5. Re: Magic bands and fast pass+/ our experience

So with the fast pass+ can you only FP 3 rides a day? When you've done those rides do you have to queue normally for any other rides you want to do?

pittsburgh
Destination Expert
for Rome
posts: 18,425
reviews: 12
6. Re: Magic bands and fast pass+/ our experience

Okay, a little clarification. Once the magic bands are tied to your tickets (annual passes or multiday tickets) they become your tickets. When we scanned our Magic bands it was the same as scanning our APs. This is why we were able to get additional fast passes with our APs. You are not limited to how many fast passes you can get per day but for fast pass+ right now you can only book three fast passes per day.

Yes, the scanning process is the same. You use the same finger each time just like with any other ticket media. You don't hold the magic band to the Mickey head while scanning your finger. You scan the band and then scan your finger. The band can be on the same arm as the finger you plan to scan. I didn't actually wear my band but had it connected to my bag strap. I just held the band to the scanner until the white lights starts spinning then you can put away your band and scan your finger.

Yes, right now the fast pass+ is only letting you book three rides in advance. After that you either wait in the standby line or you can get other fast passes with your regular ticket media.

Donna

Glasgow
posts: 878
reviews: 4
7. Re: Magic bands and fast pass+/ our experience

I'm glad it worked so well for you and thanks for sharing your experience. I hope it works as well for is when we visit over Christmas.

We have linked our hotel and tickets on the MyDisneyExperience website and everything wools OK. We customised our magic bands but can't get them until we arrive and have picked all of our FastPass+ rides for the days we plan to be at the parks.

I am now thinking we should still pick up our "paper" tickets from a will-call counter after we arrive as I hadn't thought how we would get more FP's once our FP+'s have been used. I don't mean in addition too I just mean once we have used them.

pittsburgh
Destination Expert
for Rome
posts: 18,425
reviews: 12
8. Re: Magic bands and fast pass+/ our experience

I would. You can book additional fast passes with your paper tickets. On one day we booked 2 additional fast passes. They weren't for "the big rides" but there were times available for what we wanted to do so we booked them. I know when we went to Toy Story Mania (about 12:30) they still had fast passes available for later that evening and we could have booked some if we had wanted to but decided not.

I also forgot to mention that you still need an I.D. card as well as your paper annual pass if you wish to use the annual pass discount when purchasing anything at the shops. Even though your tickets are on your Magic band you will need to show the actual annual pass to get any of the discounts. This is also the same for DVC members.

Donna

Valley Stream, NY
posts: 9,923
reviews: 31
9. Re: Magic bands and fast pass+/ our experience

Thanks for the report, very interesting. Hope ours goes just as well :)

Corpus Christi
posts: 1
reviews: 3
10. Re: Magic bands and fast pass+/ our experience

As of late January 2014 you can no longer get any additional Fast Passes, aside from the three that have been selected. Once the three are used up you'll need to stand in a regular queue. What's worse is that if you park hop you will not be able to get any fast passes for the second park you visit that same day. It is definitely a glitch Disney needs to work out. I'm confident they will fix it at some point as they begin to realize it makes no sense for those of us who pay extra to park hop not to be able to get any fast passes. Until it's worked out we will not add on the park hopper feature to our vacation package as we always have.

Reply to: Magic bands and fast pass+/ our experience
Get notified by e-mail when a reply is posted