My Disney Experience

Walt Disney World Bus Times Now Available

Wait Times for Walt Disney World Buses now in real time. 

Wait Times for Walt Disney World Buses now in real time. 

Walt Disney World Resort in Florida just introduced a new bus time feature in the My Disney Experience mobile app that enables you to view up-to-the-minute estimates for when the next bus will depart from your Disney Resort hotel and when you will arrive at your destination.

The app regularly updates in real time to provide the most current estimates for buses heading to all four theme parks, two water parks and the Disney Springs area. Guests can access this feature by tapping “See Bus Times” when viewing an active Disney Resort hotel reservation.

Currently wait times are only offered for buses departing resort hotels to theme parks, not from theme parks to hotels. 

Disney released this video to demonstrate how it works

FastPass Strategy at Walt Disney World

disney-fastpass

As a travel agent I'm asked all the time about how to maximize Disney FastPass. Today I found a great article from TouringPlans.com that offers a great strategy for obtaining additional FastPasses after the first three selections have been used.

How to Maximize the FastPass System at Walt Disney World

 

Darren specializes in Walt Disney World Resort

Disney World Digital Key FAQ

disney_wilderness_lodge_room

Disney World has announced that it will soon add a Digital Key feature to the My Disney Experience app. Initially this will be offered at Disney's Wilderness Lodge as part of a test phase but is expected to be installed at other Disney Resort hotels as well. This new feature will allow you to unlock your hotel room door using a digital key on your smartphone through the My Disney Experience mobile app.

Disney World Digital Key FAQ

 

What exactly is a Digital Key? 

The digital key is a feature added to MyDisney Experience mobile app. You can use your phone to unlock the hotel entrance gate, hotel room doors, and most other public areas requiring a key, which may include pools, fitness centers, elevators and club level lounges. If you used Online Check In, you may even use your digital key from the moment you arrive at the hotel without having to stop at the front desk. 


How does it work?

To use your digital key, activate the feature on your check-in day through a set up process in the My Disney Experience app. To enter their room, tap the “Unlock Door” button and then simply hold your phone against the door lock. See the video below...


What's the technology behind this feature? 

Your phone links to the door via Bluetooth, the same way you might connect your phone to your car's audio system or wireless headphones. Once your phone and the door are linked via Bluetooth, the mobile app sends a command to unlock the door. This of course happens almost instantly. 


Doesn't my Magic Band already unlock the door?

Yes. Magic Bands will continue to open doors by tapping it to the reader installed on the door.


What's so great about Digital Key if my Magic Band already unlocks doors? 

Obviously there's some future technology and benefits coming that Disney hasn't shared with us yet. Being that this is only available at Wilderness Lodge suggests that it's part of a test phase.

Unofficially speaking, it would appear that Disney might offer a complete alternative to the Magic Band by allowing guests to use the mobile app instead. So perhaps plans to link Theme Park tickets and FastPasses to your smartphone could be in the works. Disneyland is already offering MaxPass, a type of upgraded FastPass service offered though it's mobile app. 

Additionally, there have been some concerns from guests about having to wear a Magic Band in addition to devices they already wear such as a Fitbit, Apple Watch or similar device. Perhaps this could be an alternate option for anyone who chooses not to wear a Magic Band. This could also save Disney money if guests decline their Magic Band opting to use the mobile app instead. But this is all just speculation at this point. 


Are Magic Bands being eliminated?

No. Disney has stated that Magic Bands are not going away. Not everyone has a smartphone, including children, so there still needs to be a device in place for these guests. Currently Magic Bands are still required to enter the Theme Parks, access PhotoPass, and to redeem FastPasses. If you're an off property guest (not staying at at Walt Disney World Resort hotel, you can purchase a Magic Band. Or, you'll be issued a wallet-size card at no additional charge for theme park access and FastPass redemption.


Will the door swing open by itself?

No, that would be cool though. The door simply unlocks for you. 


How do I get the Digital Key on my phone?

Digital keys will be coming soon with no specific date set. Initially it will only be available to guests staying at Disney's Wilderness Lodge Resort. Once it goes live, it will be an option for you within the Online Check In section of My Disney Experience. Stay tuned for updates.

 

 

If you have a question not answered here, please send it below. 

Darren specializes in Walt Disney World Resort

My Disney Experience Gets 2 New Features Today

My Disney Experience Mobile App Update

Today Disney pushed out an update to the My Disney Experience mobile app

Guests with Disney dining plans can redeem meals and snacks in Mobile Order, providing them with more free time to enjoy all of the attractions and entertainment experiences throughout Walt Disney World Resort. I have personally used this service in beta testing and it's terrific. It makes things so much easier, overall a welcome addition to the app! 

To access Mobile Order, tap the “Order Food” button under “My Plans” in the app. Watch the video below to see the convenience of using Mobile Order with a Disney dining plan

Watch the video below to see how it works! 



 

Also, you can now get attraction wait time information in real-time. The app now shows standby wait time information exactly as they appear in the park. I still recommend the Lines App from TouringPlans.com. This service has proven to be more reliable and accurate. 

Other updates include improvements to features like room charge viewing, Online Check-In Service and wayfinding, that are helping to improve the overall vacation experience for our guests. 

New Delivery Method for Magical Extras Card - Walt Disney World

Magical Extras Card - Walt Disney World Resort

Magical Extras Card - Walt Disney World Resort

Beginning with Jan. 1, 2018 arrivals, there's a new process for Magical Extra Card and voucher delivery. Instead of receiving a generic booklet including the Magical Extras card and vouchers. guests who purchase a Walt Disney Travel Company package and stay at a Walt Disney World Resort Hotel will now receive information about the Magical Extras in their MagicBand delivery box. Please note this does not apply to Magical Vacations Travel Agency Exclusive offers. 

by Darren Wittko, Specializing in Disney Destinations

MagicBand Deadline Coming for Gift of Magic Vacation Package

Disney World - Gift of Magic Special Edition

Disney World - Gift of Magic Special Edition

As a reminder, to ensure delivery of the special gift box and MagicBands by Dec. 15, 2017, those of you who have booked the "Disney Gift Vacation Package" must claim your reservation to your personal My Disney Experience account and verify your mailing address by Dec. 1, 2017. 

Reservations that do not complete these steps by Dec. 1, 2017 will not be sent the special gift box. If a solid MagicBand color is chosen in lieu of the specially designed MagicBand, the selection cannot be changed after Dec. 1, 2017.

Please note this is only for guests who specifically booked the "Disney Gift Vacation Package" and does not apply to "Magical Vacations Travel - Agency Exclusive Offers" or any other package type. 

Disney Gift of Magic - Special Edition Magic Bands

Disney Gift of Magic - Special Edition Magic Bands

FastPass Availability for Pandora | Walt Disney World

When you can begin making FastPass+ selections at Pandora - World of Avatar at Disney's Animal Kingdom Theme Park. 

Today Disney announced that Guests staying at select Walt Disney Resort hotels can reserve Disney FastPass+ selections for attractions, including those in Pandora – The World of Avatar, up to 60 days prior to check-in beginning March 24, 2017. Disney FastPass+ service will be available at the two attractions within Pandora – The World of Avatar during regular Theme Park hours. Guests may select only one of these two attractions in their first set of Disney FastPass+ selections, subject to availability. 

Related

By Darren Wittko, Specializing in Disney Destinations

Disney Announces MagicBand 2 Release Date

Recently I shared with you that  that the Walt Disney World Resort introduced MagicBand 2. This new form of the original MagicBand is more versatile and customizable for Guests to unlock the magic of a Walt Disney World Resort vacation.

When you book a Walt Disney World Resort vacation and elect to receive your MagicBands at home prior to arrival, you will receive a complimentary MagicBand 2. You'll continue to have the option to choose from the current eight colors: pink, blue, red, green, orange, gray, yellow and purple. Guests who pick up their MagicBands at the front desk upon check-in will continue to receive the original MagicBand until early February.

Related:

Darren Wittko - Specializes in Disney Destinations with Magical Vacations Travel. He is rated a Best of the Best Disney Travel Agent by readers of the Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World

 

MagicBand2 FAQ

A new MagicBand is coming to the Walt Disney World Resort and I was able to get my hands on one at the D23 conference this past weekend. Here's what you need know: 

What's new with MagicBand 2? 

MagicBand 2 has a stronger signal so it's not always necessary to physically touch the band to an RF reader. This is especially noticeable on hotel room doors. The doors unlock just by holding the MagicBand within 2-3 inches away. The new bands are lighter and slightly softer than the first generation MagicBands.

 

Is the center part of the MagicBand 2 removable? 

Yes. You can remove the RF reader chip and insert it into a lanyard. Disney will begin selling special lanyards (see prototype image above) that are specifically designed for MagicBand 2 chips. 

 

When will MagicBand 2 be available? 

Disney has not set a date yet, but expect them soon. 

 

Will there be any new colors? 

Disney has made MagicBand 2 more customizable with the lanyard options. I expect Disney to also begin offering special band designs just as they have with the current Magic Bands. There is no official word on new colors being introduced. 

 

Will the old style MagicBands still work?

Yes, internally they are still share the same technology. 

 

Darren Wittko - Specializes in Disney Destinations with Magical Vacations Travel. He is rated aBest of the Best Disney Travel Agent by readers of the Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World

A NEW MAGIC BAND BOX DESIGN IS COMING

New Magic Band packaging is environmentally friendly. 

New Magic Band packaging is environmentally friendly. 

Beginning Nov. 11, 2016, Guests who receive MagicBands at home before their resort stay will have their MagicBands fulfilled in new packaging. The new packaging is fully recyclable and printed on recycled paper, in response to Guests' requests.

The new packaging includes a sleeve on its left side, which is where the Walt Disney Travel Company luggage tags will now be located. The luggage tag straps can be found inside the gray MagicBand holder.

 

Darren Wittko - Specializes in Disney Destinations with Magical Vacations Travel. He is rated a Best of the Best Disney Travel Agent by readers of the Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World

RESERVATION SYSTEM ENHANCEMENT PLANNED FOR WALT DISNEY WORLD

Confirmation Numbers

As a result of a system update scheduled for Friday November 18 and lasting through Saturday November 19, 2016 at the Walt Disney World Reservation Center, confirmation numbers will soon change on select reservations. An email communication will be sent to Travel Agencies within a week of the completion of the system update. Guests who booked on their own will also be notified. 


If your reservation number changes, you may use either the old or new reservation number to visit StartYourDisneyExperience.com and link your reservation and engage in MyDisneyExperience to select FastPass+ experiences, book dining reservations, etc.

 

Pre-Arrival Communication Outage

During the system enhancement mentioned above , Room-Ready/Online Check-in messages will not be available. Guests who signed up for pre-arrival email or text messages will not receive them. 

During Friday November 18 and lasting through Saturday November 19, 2016 the Disney Reservation Center will be unable to book, modify or take payments on package reservations. 

Darren Wittko - Specializes in Disney Destinations with Magical Vacations Travel. He is rated aBest of the Best Disney Travel Agent by readers of the Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World

New Memory Maker Offer Available

Memory Maker Offer for Walt Disney World

In addition to receiving all your Disney PhotoPass vacation photos with Memory Maker, from August 7 through August 31, 2016, your Memory Maker purchase will also include access to a private Disney Character Experience with a Disney Princess located at Magic Kingdom Park – Heritage House.

Only one person in your party needs to have purchased Memory Maker in order for your group to enjoy this Character Experience. This limited-time opportunity will be available for Memory Maker guests and their parties from 11 a.m. – 5:40 p.m., August 7 to 31.

Darren Wittko - Specializes in Disney Destinations with Magical Vacations Travel. He is rated aBest of the Best Disney Travel Agent by readers of the Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World

 

Disney Adds New Feature to My Disney Experience App

Now you can navigate Walt Disney World® Resort with the help of “Get Directions” – a new way finding feature on the My Disney Experience mobile app*. 

“Get Directions” allows you to conveniently navigate to your favorite Walt Disney World destination whether walking or taking Walt Disney World Resort Transportation. Using GPS navigation, this new feature provides Guests with turn-by-turn walking directions to destinations across the Walt Disney World Resort including Theme Parks, Water Parks, select Walt Disney World Resort Hotels, Disney Springs and many other locations such as Restrooms, Guest Services, shopping locations and more.

How to use the new GPS feature in My Disney Experience

How to use the new GPS feature in My Disney Experience

The “Get Directions” feature also provides information on transportation routes to and from Parks and select Walt Disney World Resort Hotels, along with bus, monorail and watercraft transit options.

I would like to remind you to please remain aware of your surroundings at all times while using “Get Directions” to avoid potential safety hazards.

Darren Wittko - Specializes in Disney Destinations with Magical Vacations Travel. He is rated aBest of the Best Disney Travel Agent by readers of the Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World

Frozen Ever After FastPass Available Today - What You Need to Know

Where to find Frozen at Walt Disney World

Today (May 21, 2016) FastPass+ becomes available for the new Frozen Ever After attraction at Epcot. Frozen Ever After will officially open on June 21, 2016 at 9 A.M. 

I shared with you earlier this week that FastPass selections will now open at 7am. Eastern Time each day. Previously guests could make selections at midnight ET, or 3am PT if you lived on the west coast. This is more convenient I think - it give the advantage to the early birds (like me) not the night owls. 

 

 

Related:

Exclusive Summer Offers

Sneak Peek: Frozen Ever After Attraction at Epcot

Epcot's Frozen attraction takes you up the North Mountain

More Details on the Opening of Frozen Ever After

Finally, Frozen Characters Come to Disney's Blizzard Beach Water Park

 

Now make FastPass selections in the daytime, not the middle of the night!

FastPass+ Selections can be made starting at 7 a.m. Eastern Time. 

As of today, the Disney FastPass+ selection window will begin at 7 a.m. ET, instead of the previous time of 12 a.m ET. Please note you will be able to start selecting FastPass+ within your applicable window starting at 7 a.m. ET effective immediately:

  • Up to 60 days for guests staying at select Walt Disney World Resort Hotels.
  • Up to 30 days for guests not staying at select Walt Disney World Resort Hotels, with a ticket purchased prior to arrival.

Darren Wittko - Specializes in Disney Destinations with Magical Vacations Travel. He is rated aBest of the Best Disney Travel Agent by readers of the Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World

New Features to FastPass+ Available Now

Now you'll be able to choose individual FastPass+ experiences and times, and will no longer need to make all selections for the same day at the same time.

FastPass+ Enhancements - Now make additional selections from your smartphone! 

FastPass+ Enhancements - Now make additional selections from your smartphone! 


While you will continue to be able to select up to three experiences in advance, you will now be able to book fewer than three selections, if desired.


In addition, when you have used you first three FastPass+ selections, you will now be able to make an additional FastPass+ selection via the My Disney Experience mobile app, in addition to in-park kiosks. Once you've used the fourth, you'll be able to select another, and so on.

 

Darren Wittko - Specializes in Disney Destinations with Magical Vacations Travel. He is rated a Best of the Best Disney Travel Agent by readers of the Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World

 

Disney World Launches New Website

The Grand Adventure website is a one-stop shop for Disney family vacation planning information. Whether you want to schedule Fastpass+ for your granddaughter’s favorite attraction, book a family suite at a Walt Disney World Resort Hotel, or simply learn more about the four theme parks and other sensational offerings at Walt Disney World Resort, this site has the answers. With a sleek new look, helpful links, and all the information you could possibly need, planning a Grand Adventure has never been easier.

disney_grandparents

Grandparents can find lists of suggested attractions for guests of different age groups, which makes Fastpass+ selections for children and grandchildren of all ages even simpler! And if you want to plan a multi-family trip to the Walt Disney World Resort, contact Darren Wittko at Magical Vacations Travel. He specializes in group travel to all Disney Destinations. 

Darren Wittko is the creator of Save at Walt Disney World and a Disney Destinations Specialist at Magical Vacations Travel. Voted "best of the best Disney travel agent"  by readers of the 2015 Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World. He is also the creator of The Best of Walt Disney World blog.

Purple Magic Bands Announced

One of the most requested MagicBand colors this year was purple. Soon, guests will be able to find an individual purple retail MagicBand in select Walt Disney World Resort merchandise locations. This solid color retail MagicBand will join the other solid color MagicBands in late December! 

 

Purple Magic Bands Available at Walt Disney World

Purple Magic Bands Available at Walt Disney World

Darren Wittko is the creator of Save at Walt Disney World and a Disney Destinations Specialist at Magical Vacations Travel. Voted "best of the best Disney travel agent"  by readers of the 2015 Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World. He is also the creator of The Best of Walt Disney World blog. 

Memory Maker One-Day Offer

Beginning Dec. 15, 2015, a new standalone $59 Memory Maker One Day entitlement product is available for purchase in the My Disney Experience mobile app only, allowing you to enjoy the benefits of Memory Maker for one day Walt Disney World Theme Park visits.

disney-memory-maker

Memory Maker One Day can only be purchased during or after you vacation and only if there are Disney PhotoPass photos present in your account.

 

Related:

Big Change to Memory Maker

Darren Wittko is the creator of Save at Walt Disney World and a Disney Destinations Specialist at Magical Vacations Travel. Voted "best of the best Disney travel agent"  by readers of the 2015 Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World. He is also the creator of The Best of Walt Disney World blog. 

New Policy for Walt Disney World Travel Documents

The Walt Disney World Resort has announced the following updates to the Walt Disney Travel Company final documents and Disney’s Magical Express documents.

New Policy for Walt Disney World Travel Documents


For those of you traveling the Walt Disney World Resort in 2016 you will now have until up to 30 days prior to your arrival to make your final payment as opposed to 45 days prior as in previous years. As a reminder, final documents serve as proof of final payment. The documents are only sent when final payment has been made. Therefore, final documents for travel in 2016 will be mailed within 30 days of arrival instead of within 45 days of arrival.

If you book and make your final payment 30+ days prior to arrival, your final documents should be delivered approximately 2-3 weeks prior to your arrival.  Disney will continue to send documents up to 8 days prior to travel. If a you book and make your final payment 1-7 days prior to arrival, your Walt Disney Travel Company final documents will be sent to your resort for check-in to ensure you have them in time for your vacation.

In addition, Disney’s Magical Express is also changing the timing of your mailings. Please remember Disney’s Magical Express luggage tags are sent only when the following criteria apply:

  • You or your travel agent has reserved Disney’s Magical Express transportation.
  • The address on the reservation is in the US and Canada.
  • You book at least 8 days prior to arrival.

Darren Wittko is the creator of Save at Walt Disney World and a Disney Destinations Specialist at Magical Vacations Travel. Voted "best of the best Disney travel agent"  by readers of the 2015 Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World. He is also the creator of The Best of Walt Disney World blog