In 2014, Walt Disney World fully rolled out its ambitious trip planning program that allows guests to make advance reservations for rides before they even step foot in the parks as well as do all kinds of other amazing things. It has a lot of features and can be a wonderful resource, but it can also be a bit confusing.
Part of the confusion stems from the terms Disney uses for different elements of the program. Have you heard the terms, “FastPass+,” “My Disney Experience,” and “MagicBands” and wondered what they all meant? Wonder no more! Let's break those and other terms down so you can better understand how to use the program and take full advantage of it when you plan your next Disney World visit.
What Is My Disney Experience?
Disney calls the Website and app at which ride reservations and other plans are made, "My Disney Experience." It is also the umbrella term that Disney uses to refer to its electronic visit planning and information program. All of the elements listed below, including FastPass+, Mobile Orders, and MagicBands, are parts of My Disney Experience. In order to use My Disney Experience and pre-plan a Disney World visit, guests need to create an account and register their park passes.
This is done at the MyDisneyExperience.com Website or by downloading the My Disney Experience mobile app for Apple and Android devices. (Guests who don't have mobile phones and/or have not done any pre-visit planning can use kiosks at the parks to make day-of FastPass+ reservations.) Once you understand the basics, discover some great My Disney Experience tips and become a Disney World trip-planning power user.
At Disney World, FastPass+ replaces FastPass, the ride reservation and line-skipping program. As with the original program, guests can book times for the most popular attractions at the parks. Unlike the original program, however, FastPass+ offers all kinds of additional features, such as the ability to make reservations up to 60 days in advance of your visit and the option to make changes to your reservations using Disney's mobile app or Website.
What Are MagicBands?
All of the FastPass+ reservations that guests make and other info that they enter on the My Disney Experience Website or app can be stored on RFID chips embedded in wearable MagicBand bracelets. By placing the bracelets on Mickey-shaped readers, guests can use them as tickets to enter the parks, as FastPasses to board rides, as keys to open the doors of their on-property hotel rooms, and as virtual cash to make purchases throughout the resort.
Important update: MagicBands use to be complimentary for guests staying at Disney World hotels. However, starting January 1, 2021, the resort no longer provides them on a complimentary basis. As with other park visitors, on-property hotel guests can still purchase MagicBands in the parks and at other retail locations around the resort.
Note that the use of MagicBands is optional. While they are less convenient, standard park ticket cards (which are complimentary) also have RFID chips embedded in them and can be used in place of MagicBands.
Starting in March 2021, Disney introduced MagicMobile, a service that allows guests to perform many of the MagicBand’s functions on their iPhones and other Apple smart devices. By creating a Disney MagicMobile pass through the My Disney Experience app, visitors can use their devices to enter the parks, link their Disney PhotoPass attraction photos and videos (see below) to their profiles, and unlock their hotel room doors.
What Is Disney's Memory Maker Program?
You know all of those Disney World photographers parked in front of Cinderella's Castle or other iconic locations in the parks as well as at every character greeting spot? You can view the photos they take and make a la carte purchases of the images using Disney's PhotoPass program. Or, you could sign up for the Memory Maker program and get access to all of the photos.
Part of MyMagic+, guests who purchase Memory Maker can take as many photos with Disney's photographers as they wish during their visit to the resort and are able to download all of them, as well as any on-ride photos. If you buy the program in advance of your visit, Disney offers a discount.
In 2017, Disney World introduced Mobile Order, a feature on the My Disney Experience app that allows guests to order and pay for food at most quick-service restaurants in the parks. To use it, tap on the "Order Food" button on the app. It can only be used while guests are in the parks. Guests could also make dining reservations at table-service restaurants using the app.
Other My Disney Experience features include:
- Advance hotel check-in- Hotel guests can skip the registration desk altogether by using this feature.
- See real-time standby line wait times for rides and attractions.
- See maps of the parks and locate rides, restrooms, restaurants, and other places.
- See showtimes for parades, shows, and nighttime spectaculars