I live in one of those weird Disney families you think aren’t real, my mother’s first visit was in 1973 and my father’s not too long after that in the late 70s.
Myself? I have been going to Disney since I was 18 months old, I just turned 25 two weeks ago. I was also part of Disney’s College Program at age 19, working at the Magic Kingdom doing photos. I have in the last 25 years of my life experienced many different phases of the Disney experience.
Back in 1993 during one of my first trips, $125 got you 4 days and unlimited entrances to all 3 parks. $125 is one day, into one park with no options. I have in the last 25 years of living in Florida watched the prices soar at the park and the options becoming less and less.
But aside from that I have witnessed everything from punch tickets with stamps, to the newest and greatest technology the My Disney Experience. When I first heard they were doing away with the original fastpass system and forcing everyone to plan months in advance I was so upset.
Granted, I’d been in the park in 2014 after the change over happened but during those trips I was using main gate tickets since my friend worked there so I had never had to deal with the Magic Bands or any of the hassle.
While I am not big on changes, this was a huge blow for me because I was so used to the original system, I was so used to using the paper tickets as I walked in and keeping them in my wallet this whole new system freaked me out.
I know I sound like the grandma who isn’t used to smartphones, and I realize that but after this most recent trip I realize why. From the beginning I had to link my reservation over onto the My Disney Experience website, I had purchased Florida Resident Seasonal Passes (Known now as Silver Level) and I had to figure out how to use this system. While I had used a Magic Band during my last trip to get into my room, this was a whole new ballpark for me.
As I set up the account, I had no idea how to customize the bands which were confusing to me anyway. As time went on and multiple calls to ticketing as well as getting a nice Vacation Club representative to help me, the box arrived and I was “set” for my trip.
Well I got a follow up email telling me to download the My Disney Experience, which also allowed me to customize Fastpass+, and also sent me into trip anxiety.
Yes, trip anxiety I had multiple dreams where I forgot our bands and also my phone making my trip experience more complicated than it needed to be.
While the App for the phone is awesome, because it lets you access restaurant menus, it also lets you access wait times for rides. Previously you needed to download a third party application in order to see wait times, which were usually not very accurate. It also gives you maps and shows you where bathrooms are, which makes it easier if you aren’t too familiar with the parks.
The app also lets you see your room reservation and Fastpas+ reservations. Originally my trip looked as above and I got all the good fastpasses, but as we arrived and life took hold my plans changed dramatically. While I do consider myself a planner and I keep myself fairly organized, this was just disastrous for me.
To begin I noticed the app and the system don’t allow you to book multiple fastpasses for the same day. My Magic Kingdom experience had to be moved to Friday due to our driving schedule and arriving much later than anticipated, and when I did I lost all my Epcot fastpasses for that evening.
Which sucked, because I had managed to snag Soarin’. That’s another issue I encountered at Epcot you have to pick from certain groups for certain experiences, which means I have to pick either Test Track OR Soarin’ I can’t have both. Back when you used the machines, you could pull as many passes as you wanted but had to abide by the 2 hour rule between accessing more passes.
But as the trip went on and my mom accompanied myself and my boyfriend we found that the plans we had just kind of disappeared. I also kept forgetting to cancel my passes, which I am sure ticked people off who wanted them if they weren’t released back into the system.
I also hate that you have to angle the bands in such a way, so that they will read. I had a lot of trouble getting into my rooms and worse yet I am left handed so trying to wedge my hand sometimes into the door frame was harder than I would like to admit. Most of the time I found it easier to just pull the band off all together and just tap it like that because of the awkward angle.
As for the bands themselves, I didn’t know about the activation of the tickets so I had to go stand in line over at Will Call and have the tickets activated. From there I had to proceed back to main gate to enter again, in the same day I had an issue at Epcot and for some odd reason had to have my photo taken?
I felt oddly like a criminal because the passes are mine, they are paid for and the woman who helped me fix my pass was just not too nice about the whole thing. Theme Park Insider 2 years ago wrote a great experience article about when the system was still really buggy, and I find that some of these things still are true today.
While many people will scoff at me and say “Oh you’re just being grumpy” or “You just need to get with the times” I just unfortunately can’t. The bands cause me more stress and in the end ignored all the planning I had done and just enjoyed the park haphazardly.