Have you heard all of the buzz about the new magic bands now available to Disney Resorts Hotel Guests? If not, they are the newest feature for guests staying on Disney properties. These rubber bracelets not only give you access to your rooms, but also serve as your park tickets, fast passes, charge cards and meal tickets. They are waterproof up to 50 feet so you really don’t have to take them off your entire visit. This was our first Disney trip that we not only stayed on property but also opted in for the meal plan. I thought I would share our experience and the benefits of staying at Disney Resorts.
What are the benefits of staying at Disney Resorts
While I was provided admission to the Disney parks I was not provided any compensation or incentive to purchase the meal plan or stay at a Disney property. All the opinions expressed in this post are 100% my own. Between Southwest and Jet Blue’s nonstop service from Richmond, VA, I was able to maximize our time in Orlando and purchase one way tickets down. We opted for the early flight on Jet Blue that gave us the entire day to explore a park. We returned on Southwest, on a noon flight, that allowed us to sleep in, swim in the pool and have a leisurely breakfast. About all I could handle after a 3 day amusement park getaway.
When I first booked our stay, I only researched off property hotels thinking it would be cheaper. It was a last-minute change of plans but had no idea how reasonable it was to stay on Disney property. (this is considered value season) I did not even check the resorts when I first planed this weekend getaway and probably would have gotten even a better deal. By choosing a Disney resort, we not only are able to participate in the magic hours at the theme parks but experience the magic bands too.
If you purchase your tickets early enough, you can customize your magic bands by color and have each person’s name engraved on the back. You must log into Mydisneyexperience.com and create an account. Be sure and download the app on your smart phone, a lifesaver we will discuss later. If you don’t preorder your tickets, the resort will issue the entire party grey ones. That is fine but then don’t take your bands off or they will probably get mixed up!
From MyDisneyexperience.com you can link up your hotel reservations, tickets, fast passes and dining reservations. We opted in the dining plan, which included one table service meal, one quick service meal and one snack per day of your visit. I could have a post all about this but I recommend doing your own research based on your own family. Plan on constantly eating on these plans. Dieters beware, there is dessert with each meal.
The downfall I found was feeling restricted to dining reservations with the table service plan. Since it was just the two of us, we probably could have done just fine with the 2 quick service meal plan. However, having the break to sit down at a restaurant and not feeling rushed was a nice break from our long days on our feet. We especially enjoyed our last-minute dining change at Epcot, at the Coral Reef Restaurant . We would never had stopped there if we did not have the plan, but what a fun experience to eat next to a huge fish tank and have an amazing fish dinner with my date.
This is when one of the benefits of downloading the mydisneyexperience.com app comes into play. Need to change your dining reservations because you decided to change parks, no problem you can do it while in line for a ride.
Benefits of staying at Disney Resorts
Find out you don’t need a fast pass for Space Mountain because there is no wait, no biggie, switch it on your phone as you walking up to the ride. The lines to the fast pass kiosks were so long, not sure why others did not download the app before they arrived Who wants to wait in line for something when you can do so much from your phone while waiting in line for a ride!!
There were a few glitches in the system that kept me from doing what I needed and a few times froze up on me. I opted to delete the app and reload it. Since it was already in the iCloud it came back quickly. The information is not lost as you have to log into your account. The app also has any phone numbers you will need if you prefer to talk with someone. If I needed to change a reservation the same day, I would often call the dining reservations directly, so I would not be charged for same day changes. You can always modify a same day reservation, just not cancel it.
The magic bands are so convenient and you never had to go searching your bag for your tickets to get in a park or go through the fast pass lane. You can also make all your purchases from your magic band. Don’t worry parents, you can decide who has authorization to make purchases when you link them up on mydisneyexperience.com. Each band also has a pin so if you lose your band, there won’t be any unauthorized purchases.
Another great benefit of staying on property is the Disney Transportation to and from the airport as well as to all the resorts and parks. We rented a car because we were headed off property a few times, but have used the buses in the past. You also get perks such as putt-putt admission and arcade credits.
Disney technology never ceases to amaze me. A few wish list items for the magic bands Disney, and I am sure they will be implemented before the next time I visit
1. Create a way to alert users of dinner reservations or fast past times, either by allowing your phone to notify you or create a flashing light on the bands.
2. Create the bands so I don’t have to twist my arm each time I want to charge something or enter the park. With the fast passes and park entries there were two side so you could accommodate, but the flat scanners were annoying.
4. Could you make mydisneyexpereince app also track your meals if you are on the plan. I realize you can ask concierge but if I am in a large family group it would be easier for us.
3. Next time I am there please turn of the rain and bring out the sunshine!!
Other than that, a weekend trip is totally doable from Richmond and if you get the chance to share the Disney Magic with your family, I hope you can. Despite the weather and larger than expected crowds for this time of year, I never felt stressed as Disney and Disney Resorts are well run and go out of their way to accommodate their guests, especially those with magic bands and meal plans!!