For those of you who are fans of Disney history there is a new Facebook page just for you!
My sweet friend, and former Disney Store co-worker, Andrea just launched a new page, My Disney Experiences. She shares great Disney Company history, as well as some antics from her past Cast Member days. Andrea logged 15 years with Disney and has some great stories to share. She is also a wealth of information and an all-around awesome gal!
Andrea at the Walt Disney Studios
I received my awesome Streampunk Mickey Ears this week! They are so cute! These limited edition Mickey Ears are 1 of 5 styles released for Disney Parks January Year of the Ears promotion.
What do you think?
Hey there Disney fans!
I’m pretty excited about this Limited Time Magic Promotion! Although I won’t get to see it in person, I’m looking forward to seeing pictures from others!
For one week only, January 21-27th, you will be able to meet some Classic Disney Characters at Walt Disney World. Characters scheduled to appear include: Robin Hood & Friar Tuck, Clarabelle Cow & Horace Horsecollar, and perhaps the Three Little Pigs. Characters will be appearing at Magic Kingdom Park, so be sure to have your cameras prepped and ready for this Limited Time Magic Experience!
Robin Hood and Friar Tuck to appear at WDW’s Magic Kingdom for one week only as part of Limited Time Magic.
Perhaps The Three Little Pigs will join them?
Yesterday I posted an article regarding the new enhanced Disney Guest Experience program, better known to Disney Fans as the NextGen project, but formally called MyMagic+. Since the initial announcement yesterday morning there has been additional information released by Disney, and quite a bit of speculation voiced by Disney Fans.
The NextGen project was originally pitched back in 2010 as a way to revolutionize the guest experience. Between then and now, very little was leaked regarding what exactly the project was going to entail, only that the cost of the project was astronomical and Disney was taking their time to develop the program before the launch date. Fast-forward a few years and we start to see a sprinkling of pixie dust around the websites and parks; the announcement of PhotoPass+ and FastPass+, and the My Disney Experience app and website are only the first components of the launch. You can even consider the development of New Fantasyland & Disney’s Art of Animation Resort at Walt Disney World, Carsland, Buena Vista Street & the rest of the California Adventure refurb at Disneyland, and the Disney Dream & Disney Fantasy key pieces in the launch of the ultimate MyMagic+ program; after all, you need these key new attractions and locations to attract new visitors and keep the regulars from getting bored. The Disney Parks spent a few years feeling a bit stagnant, and then Bibbidi-Bobbidi-Boo, we have a year full of announcements and then a year full of premiers. Pixie Dust. But, how does all of this enhance the guest experience, and what will it mean to those of us who visit the parks fairly regularly? How much change will we see, and how quickly?
Disney has slowly been rolling out components to the program. The information about FastPass+ was announced this past summer, with the PhotoPass+ in mid-fall. The My Disney Experience ap was ready this summer as well, though it didn’t really do much at its initial launch but allow you to look at the parks maps. Now we are seeing even more with these programs, as well as new initialives.
The wristbands, or MagicBands as they are deemed, were explained today. It appears as though Disney is doing away with the Key to the World cards and going for the wristband approach.
The wristbands will have the following capabilities.
- The MagicBand will be your key card. No more having to keep up with a card that is often demagnatized (and usually when your resort room is about as far away as possible)
- The MagicBand will serve as your Park Ticket
- The MagicBand will hold your FastPass+ schedule
- The MagicBand will become your PhotoPass card
- The MagicBand will have charging capabilities
It seems like a slightly more convenient and enhanced version of the Key to the World card. I’m a bit torn on it, as I’m not sure I want to have to wear a bracelet on my wrist in the Florida humidity and have it in all of my pictures. But, on the flip side, I am far less likely to lose a wristband! I’ve taken large student groups to Disney and they always manage to lose keys and tickets… (No word yet on how this program will be implimented into the Disney YES and Disney Performing Arts programs).
MagicBands will be available to those staying at a Disney Resort, Annual Passholders, and guests who pre-purchase a PhotoPass package. Other guests will be able to purchase the MagicBand.
My biggest question about the program deals with the Disney PhotoPass program. Having recently visited Walt Disney World, and utlized the new PhotoPass+ program I’m left wondering why they created the PhotoPass+ card if the MagicBand will now serve as such? The PhotoPass+ card was on a lanyard and was punched with your dates of availability. The card itself identified you to photographers as having purchased the PhotoPass+. I’m curious to see how the two technologies are melded together.
Now the other side of the launch. Shortly after the announcement went out via email this morning news programs started reporting on Disney Parks and Cruise Line lay-offs. This reaction was fueled by Disney’s announcement of their fiscal year numbers. I’m not certain we can immediately say that the two are connected. However, one fan messaged me stating that her understanding was they they would be laying off cashier employees in merchandise locations since guests would now be able to utilize the “touch and pay” feature on either their MagicBand or new enhanced ticket. From a loss-prevention viewpoint this would seem like the opposite of a good decision, as eliminating cashiers and merchandising cast members would result in a higher theft rate, and then eliminate any cost saving measures. But I suppose that only time will tell! One thing is for certain though; if Disney chooses to lay-off Cast Members at it’s Parks and Resorts you will see a downturn in quality, and a less unique experience (which is ironic since the point of the program is to provide guests with a custom and unique experience in itself). But that’s just my two cents on the subject of lay-offs!
Before I give the Disney 5, as posted on their website Babble, I’ll provide you with my final thoughts.
The jury is out for me on the NextGen project. I’m feeling a bit overwhelmed by the enormity of the experience, and want to gather additional information and hear from those who have been privy to using bits of it already.
- FastPass+: I have friends who tried out FastPass+ and hated it, but see reports that others love being able to plan their days so far in advance. My feelings on FastPass+ are mixed. I like having a level playing field, and I feel that giving guests the ability to pre-schedule their usage of the FastPasses at the Parks can provide an unfair advantage to those who don’t have the same kind of access to computers or time to spend planning such a detailed agenda. Plus, of the people I know who used the program almost all of them said they used only 1 or 2 of their scheduled FastPasses, which means more FastPasses going to waste. But, I’m also a planner and I’m eager to give it a whirl when the opportunity presents itself.
- PhotoPass+: If Disney Travel and Disney PhotoPass can learn to communicate with one another this could be a great thing. However, my experience has been that there is no communication between the two parties, leaving the guest and the travel agent to deal with the issues alone. When I was there in November, we had a serious issue with our PhotoPass+ lanyards not being at the resort when we checked in. Since you can purchase the package ahead of time with a minimum of 14 days notice through Disney PhotoPass, but can have it added to your vacation package with only 3 days notice through Disney Travel there seemed to be vast confusion among desk cast members, and PhotoPass kiosk cast members. If the communication issues are sorted out I will happily put my endorsement on PhotoPass+, even though I’m curious why they launched the lanyards only to phase them out to become part of the bracelet…
- My Disney Experience App & Website: When I used this for my trip it was basically just a map with attraction information. They had yet to launch the ability to make dining reservations, notes, etc. within the app, so it just took up space on my phone. However, since then it has been fleshed out a bit more. I have clients who just used it this past week and I’m curious to hear their thoughts. The problem I foresee as a Travel Agent comes with making dining reservations for my clients. In the past I have been able to make reservations for them using my personal log-in information but their information for the actual reservation. Now I will need to be able to essentially share their My Disney Experience account with them in order to make the reservations. So, only time will tell on this one.
- MagicBands: Like I stated above, I’m not crazy about having to wear a bracelet. I can’t stand those rubber ones that are so popular these days, they make my wrist itch. So, a lot of it will depend on how they are constructed. I’m certainly not a fan of how they look in the pictures that were released today though! But, I do like the idea of having all of my information together in one place, and not having to worry about keeping up with my Key to the World card, FastPasses, PhotoPass card, etc. I’m willing to give it a try!
What are your thoughts? What has your wristband experience been like at other resorts? Do you like the idea of having all of your various cards rolled into one device? Leave a comment below or send me an email!
Now that you’ve heard my take on the new Magic+ or NextGen project, here is the information Disney wants you know straight from the mouse’s mouth!
Shared via Babble, courtesy of Disney
Disney’s MyMagic+: 5 Things You Need to Know
Quiet mutterings about the Walt Disney Company’s “Next Generation Experience,” known among mouse-eared circles as the “NextGen” project, have been going on since 2010, when word on the street had it that more than $1 billion – roughly the cost of building twoDisney Cruise Line ships – had been committed to… something. Something very hush hush, but obviously cool and magical.
Further whisperings pointed to a major technology initiative aimed at radically transforming the way guests enjoy access to the parks while in the parks, leading enthusiasts to believe that radio-frequency identification – like that used in wireless devices – would be used in wristbands.
And they were right.
Called a “more immersive, more seamless and more personal experience for each and every guest who spends time with us,” by Walt Disney Parks and Resorts Chairman, Tom Staggs, MyMagic+ technology will be rolled out in phases over the next several months.
What you need to know:
- MyMagic+ is all about letting guests better customize their vacation at Walt Disney World.
- MagicBands, as the wristbands are officially called, will be your room key, theme park ticket, PhotoPass card, and optional payment account. They will also provide FastPass+ access. Don’t lose it.
- Guests staying on-property at Walt Disney World Resort hotels and Annual Passholders, plus guests who purchase a photography package will get a MagicBand.
- Guests who stay at off property at non-Disney hotels will get a ticket with touch features that will provide park entry, allow for redeeming FastPass+, and touch to pay. Purchasing a MagicBand and participation in the “My Disney Experience” is optional for these guests.
- A smartphone app called “My Disney Experience,” is the major component of MyMagic+. Accessing it will let guests make plans – think dining reservations, booking experiences, choosing FastPasses, getting the latest Walt Disney World Resort news – before and during their stay. That means you can be spontaneous or plan ahead.
“We know that some people like to plan every aspect of their Disney vacation in advance while others like to plan very little, letting their day unfold spontaneously. No matter where guests fall in that spectrum, ‘My Disney Experience’ gives them the flexibility to plan as much or as little as they’d like to create the exact Disney experience they want,” Staggs says.
Stay tuned for more details as they become available.
Photo credit: Disney Parks Blog
*I received this email today from Disney Destinations Travel Agent Communications, and thought I would share it with all of you. I’m very curious about people’s thoughts on this, as mine are quite torn! Please share your thoughts and opinions by comment! ~Lin
At Walt Disney Parks and Resorts, we continually push the boundaries of creativity and innovation to deliver the best possible experience for our Guests. We’re always looking for ways to take what we do and do it even better. Over the past few years, we’ve devoted considerable time and resources to create a more immersive, more seamless and more personal experience for each and every Guest who spends time with us. I know there’s been significant speculation about these efforts among our fans, so we’re pleased to give you a glimpse into the work we are doing to take the entire Disney Guest experience to the next level.
Some of these initiatives are more apparent and can already be seen by our Guests – like our interactive queues at Walt Disney World® Resort and the Enchanted Art on our cruise ships – while others are more behind-the-scenes and are focused on “how” visitors plan, access and enjoy their experiences with us. Over the next several months, we’ll be rolling out a collection of tools at the Walt Disney World Resort called MyMagic+ that will give Guests more opportunities to customize and personalize their entire visit.
Like most people who visit Walt Disney World Resort, my family and I have our “must-do” attractions, and as the father of three boys, those attractions often end with the word “mountain.” Now, rather than dashing as a group, or even splitting up to gather FastPasses, imagine booking guaranteed ride times for your favorite shows and attractions even before setting foot in the park. With MyMagic+, Guests will be able to do that and more, enabling them to spend more time together and creating an experience that’s better for everyone.
A major component of MyMagic+ is the new My Disney Experience website and mobile app, which gives Guests planning their trip the latest information on all Walt Disney World Resort has to offer. We know that some people like to plan every aspect of their Disney vacation in advance while others like to plan very little, letting their day unfold spontaneously. No matter where Guests fall in that spectrum, My Disney Experience gives them the flexibility to plan as much or as little as they’d like to create the exact Disney experience they want. They can book dining and other experiences and reserve times for their favorite attractions, shows and more through an enhanced FastPass system, FastPass+. Once they arrive, they can use their smart phones to spontaneously change their plans in the moment, exploring our parks at their own pace and getting the most out of their visit.
Linking the entire MyMagic+ experience together is an innovative piece of technology we developed called the MagicBand. Worn on the wrist, it will serve as a Guest’s room key, theme park ticket, access to FastPass+ selections, PhotoPass card and optional payment account all rolled into one. We’ve began testing certain aspects of MyMagic+ in Florida last month and the early reactions we’ve gotten have been fantastic.
This collection of tools is another step forward in the ongoing evolution of our Guest experience, giving us even more ways to help friends and family create the unforgettable Disney memories that they want most. We’ll be testing, adjusting and adding features to MyMagic+ and My Disney Experience over time and will continue to make improvements based on our Guests’ feedback. We look forward to sharing more with you in the months ahead!
Earlier this week I added a new page with links to additional pages featuring current Disney Parks and Cruise Line special offers. I will update it as special offers are released, and it will be a great source for all of you to stay connected with the current discounts. Just click on the Current Disney Special Offers tab at the top of the blog for access to the offers from Walt Disney World, Disneyland, Disney Cruise Line, Adventures by Disney and Aulani.
I hope you find this page helpful!
First, DON’T PANIC – They turned out to be hollowed out and of no actual danger.
So, why am I posting this?
There has just been too much bad in the news lately, and so much very, very scary.
We live in a world where people think it is okay to do things like this. Why?! I have no idea. But the bottom line is, the only way to even attempt to keep ourselves and our families safe is to be diligent We need to know what to look for, and we should never be afraid to report anything or anyone that seems or looks suspicious. You can never be too careful anymore.
In light of other tragedies in our nation my cousin Whitney made an interesting observation. She stated something along the lines of “In most foreign nations activists target government-run buildings and businesses, but here in US, why is it that they target public locations such as movie theatres, schools, and malls”. It struck a chord with me, because the places I love to visit are some of the most highly trafficked in our nation. I thought back to 9-11 when there were reports that before all planes were grounded the Mall of America, Walt Disney World, and Disneyland were thought to be targets for attack. Think of the astronomical amount of people that visit those locations daily, and from all over the world. I thought back to my senior year of high school, the spring of the Columbine shootings, and how teenagers who aren’t accepted into society can turn so very dangerous at such a young age. I thought to the Fort Hood, Virginia Tech and University of Texas shootings, and so many more incidents of people targeting others who are simply going about their lives with so little or no connection to the individual(s) carrying out the attack.
Terrifying isn’t it. Especially terrifying is that so many of our recent tragedies have been carried out by individuals who are not necessarily activists, but are so angry at someone or something that they do the unspeakable.
I don’t believe in living in fear, but I do believe in being careful. I’ve worked in several malls, including Mall of America, and I have had to report suspicious behavior simply because it is better to be on the side of caution than to ignore what could be a sign of pending danger. I currently work at a high school, and have to report suspicious behavior in that environment often as well. We are taught to be diligent to watch for signals and signs that something is not right. But sometimes it is hard to spot. And sometimes our own prejudice causes to automatically make assumptions of some while missing the clear signals of others.
So, if you are out and notice anything that looks out of place report it! Don’t be afraid, find the nearest public official or call local law enforcement and let them know what you saw. Most public places such as theme parks, movie theatres and malls have security personnel walking around in uniform and they are pretty easy to find.
And, if you think it is funny to pull pranks such as the one today at Downtown Disney…then shame on you. When you cause others to “cry wolf” due to your own acts of immaturity, you cause officials to waste valuable time that could be spend on real problems and security risks. Think before you act.
I’m off my soapbox now.
Hand Grenades Found at Disney, Deputies Say