I've spent a few posts over the last few weeks going over our amazing Disney World trip that our family took back in November. All in all, the trip was great, and past posts have talked about the theme park, our resort, and dining option.
Here are a few categories that really didn't fit anywhere else but are worth mentioning. If you have any questions about any of the items below, please let me know and I'd be happy to provide more info!
The latest technology at Disney World is truly amazing. Disney spent what is rumored to be over $1 billion to develop and implement the Magic Band system. And it really is magical! Each person has a wristband that you wear for the duration of your tip, and it is used for just about everything.
The Magic Band gets you in the parks. It pays for food using dining credits. You can make purchases by adding to your room or by charging to a linked credit card. It gets you in your hotel room. And so much more.
These things all require a PIN for adult bands, and kids are not authorized to make purchases. It's truly a great thing, as you can walk out of your room with no wallet, keys, tickets, or any of the other things that you usually have to carry, and you can work through your entire day! If you stay at a Disney resort, they're free, but otherwise you do have to pay for them, though I'd have to imagine that's well worth the cost!
We loved using Disney transportation. Because we flew into the main Orlando airport and stayed on property, our transportation was automatic. The Magical Express picked us up from the airport. They also handled our luggage, dropping it off to our room. We never had to touch it once we checked it at Detroit. And, on the way back, we dropped it off before we left the hotel, and never saw it until it hit the luggage carousel back in Detroit.
For all of the park transportation, we used the buses that travel all over the place. Buses picked us up at our hotel and dropped us off wherever we needed to go. Buses also ran in between parks so that we could go from one to another very easily. They're clean and we never had to wait more than 25 minutes, with about 10 minutes the average wait time.
Disney Smartphone Apps
Disney has some great apps that are a must have these days. The Disney experience app can tell you up to the minute wait times for every ride and attraction. It can tell you park opening and closing times. If you're hungry, it can tell you anywhere that's close by and what they serve. If you need a bathroom break, don't look for a sign, because your app will tell you which way to go. It really is cool. Just remember to bring an extra cell phone battery or extra charger for long days!
Disney Fast Pass
Last time we were at Disney World in 2008, they had Fast Pass but it was a paper based system. Now, it's all done through your Magic Band (or a ‘gift card' type swipe card if you don't have a Magic Band) and on the computer. You can line up your Fast Pass options months in advance, and the system really does work well, as most rides with long lines mean less than a few minutes wait for Fast Pass users.
Of course, there are some catches. There are only a limited number of Fast Passes available. You only get to pick three per day in advance. Once you've used all three up, you can go to a Fast Pass kiosk (sorry, can't use your app) and select more if they happen to be available. The system is designed so that it spreads out the traffic across the park and across all the attractions, where it would be more concentrated to the more popular rides without the system. It also does so in a way that lets more people enjoy the most popular attractions since the waits are spread out. I am not sure of the ‘math' behind it, but I can tell from experience that it does work.
A Tip About Money
A word of caution:One thing that you'll quickly find is that with all of the technology, it makes it very easy to lose track of money. A wave of your Magic Band to pay for dinner is about as easy as it gets. However, the bill is still going to have to be paid at some point. Plus, as cool as the apps are, one thing that they won't tell you is how much money you've spent.
Because that would probably make people start spending less if you had that info available. Every couple of days we would go to the front desk and ask for a printout of our charges. We were always aware of ‘where we were' in terms of our spending. If you don't do that, you can easily be very surprised at the end of your trip. Knowledge is power!
These are a few of the Disney themed add-ons that I thought were worth mentioning, as they definitely played a huge part in the enjoyment of our trip. I have two more posts in mind. One will be about some non-Disney tips, and another about some lessons learned.
Readers, if you've been to Disney World, what were your thoughts on any of the items above? Please let me know if I can answer any questions. Otherwise I hope that this helps with anybody that might be planning out in the future.