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.
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