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October 2, 2013

Disney's $1+ Billion Gamble

By now - you may have heard about MyMagic+, the public name for what Disney calls it's $1+ Billion "NextGen" project. Basically -- it lets you pick 3 FastPasses per park per day months ahead of time. In exchange, Disney gets a lot more information via RFID chips in your ticket or Magic Band  to track where you are spending time and money.
  Disney tells analysts, encouraging guests to lock in what parks they will visit in advance will keep people and their money on Disney property (and away from, say, The Wizarding World of Harry Potter). Disney execs also believe adding the "convenience" of purchases with a wave of the new Magic Bands will be another way to encourage more spending.



For guests the biggest advantage is simple: FastPass+ means no more running across the park to grab FastPasses. You'll be able to schedule them (and change them) on the fly on your smartphone or at kiosks in the parks. But it seems to discourage park hopping, because you get 3 FastPasses per day -- all in one park. And, while changing them on the fly sounds great, what are the odds that any of the attractions that truly need FastPass+ will have them available (Toy Story Mania anyone).



Publicly, Disney says the tests so far have gone better than expected. But anecdotes on the internet paint a very different picture. Rather than just regurgitate comments from anonymous people, I'm doing research on  the complaints and I will update you soon.  So let me put it to you, the reader. Have any of you tried MyMagic+ and/or FastPass+? If so -- email me your thoughts (positive, negative or mixed) at kpilcher@wkmg.com  -- or post your thoughts on our Local 6 Facebook Page.

We will know more soon about how the great NextGen experiment really works soon enough as the testing is spreading fast.
This month at least, FastPass+ users at the Magic Kingdom can book reserved viewing for Wishes, The Main Street Electrical Parade, and the soon-to-be-retired Celebrate a Dream Come True parade.

And the magic bands are rolling out to the rest of Disney's resorts this month. Here is the tentative schedule:

October 7 to October 31
Disney's All-Star Sports Resort
Disney's BoardWalk Inn
Disney's BoardWalk Villas
Disney's Caribbean Beach Resort

October 14 to October 31
Disney's All-Star Music Resort
Disney's Coronado Springs Resort
Disney's Old Key West Resort
Disney's Wilderness Lodge
Villas at Disney's Wilderness Lodge

October 21 to October 31
Disney's Fort Wilderness Resort and Campground
Disney's Saratoga Springs Resort and Spa

October 23 to October 31
The Villas at Disney's Grand Floridian Resort and Spa

September 30 to October 31
Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge - Kidani Village
Disney's All-Star Movies Resort
Bay Lake Tower at Disney's Contemporary Resort
Disney's Grand Floridian Resort and Spa
Disney's Port Orleans Resort - French Quarter

Through to October 31
Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge - Jambo House
Disney's Animal Kingdom Villas - Jambo House
Disney's Art of Animation Resort
Disney's Beach Club Resort
Disney's Beach Club Villas
Disney's Contemporary Resort
Disney's Polynesian Resort
Disney's Pop Century Resort
Disney's Port Orleans Resort - Riverside
Disney's Yacht Club Resort

Keep your emails, questions, tips and comments coming! I always appreciate the feedback.

Here's a link to my most recent Theme World blog entries.