Disney Fast Pass Plus, Magic Bands and Military Tickets

Disney's FastPass PlusDisney World’s new Fast Pass Plus (FP+) system and the Magic Bands are  great new benefits that are part of the set of new technologies collectively known as Disney Next Gen.

Disney Next Gen is bringing state of the are technology into the mix for Disney Vacation Planning.

With Disney Next Gen you’ll have an account which you can access via the web or your smartphone app which you’ll use to plan,  schedule and execute your entire vacation. This account is called My Disney Experience (MDE) Hotel, Dining, and entertainment reservations can all be made and organized on MDE.

Sign up for your MDE account

Download the iPhone App

See this overview of Disney’s Next Gen technology

Fast Pass Plus

FP+ allows you to make reservations ahead of time for some of the most popular rides, shows, and events at WDW. You can do this from home while planning your vacation and can modify those plans fly once there with your smartphone app.

The FP+ reservations compliment the old regular Fast Pass system which is still available to everyone. You may use both systems (if eligible for FP+).

Magic Bands

Disney has instituted new RFID technology into their ticketing, charging, and access systems.

RFID chips are now embedded into both regular (and Disney Armed Forces Salute) theme park tickets and the new Magic Bands.

Can You Use Disney Magic Bands with the Military Salute

WDW’s Magic Bands

Whether in a chip or band, these chips, when held up to a scanner enable the following abilities:

  • They Act As Room Keys
  • They Act As Your Theme park entrance
  • They Act As FastPass+ Entrance Tickets
  • They Act As Your Room Charge For Purchases
  • They Act As Your PhotoPass tracking
  • They Act As Your Disney Resort ID (for parking, pool access, and account questions)

Disney Next Gen Still Being Tested

It is very important to realize that all of the Disney Next Gen technology is still in the testing phase and has been all year!

Disney can and does change numerous variables on how the parts of the system work together and who can participate.

Variables such as:

  • Which Resort Guests may participate
  • On what check-in dates
  • How many FP+ guests are allowed per day
  • The number of very popular attractions guests may FP+ per day
  • The ratio of FP+ vs regular Fast Pass at each individual attraction
  • FP+ at multiple parks per day (Merely a wish by fans now)

Can Military Salute Guests Use Disney Next Gen?


Under the same circumstances as non-military guests.

To use both Magic Bands and FP+ you will need to be staying at a Disney Resort. Disney resorts are currently very affordable using the Disney Armed Forces SaluteNote: Shades of Green is a DoD facility, not a Disney resort. 

Shades does have very attractive rates and specials too. You’ll need to decide which resort experience is right for your family.

Can you make FP+ reservations ahead of time using Military Salute tickets purchased on base?

Yes you can!

Initially there was concern both amongst the military community and Disney (unofficially) that FP+ reservations made against tickets purchased on base would not carry over to the activated tickets.

Disney Armed Forces Salute tickets purchased on base are not functional tickets and are called “exchange vouchers” in Disney speak. They are regular looking Disney tickets (the new RFID tickets are green plastic) but must be activated once at the theme park. During the activation process.

Because the exchange vouchers were switched for functional tickets (each with different identification numbers printed on them) it was thought the FP+ made against the exchange vouchers not carry over.

I’m very happy to share that numerous MDT readers have reported that there has been on issue with the activation process! FP+ made ahead of time against the vouchers do survive the activation process.

Disney RFID Ticket

A Disney RFID Ticket – Both Exchange Vouchers and functional tickets look like this.

How ToDo It

  1. Make your Disney resort reservation. Military Disney Tips recommends that you use our recommended Fee Free Travel Agent, Ears of Experience to do so. You’ll provide the names of everyone in the party.
  2. Create a My Disney Experience Account (if you don’t have one).
  3. Link your resort reservation to your MDE Account using the conformation number (you will then see everyone on your reservation in your account).
  4. Personalize Your Magic Bands in MDE, you may select the color and edit the name printed on each before they are mailed to you. More on how this works.
  5. Purchase your Disney Armed Forces Salute Tickets at your local base Ticket Office.
  6. Link your Salute Tickets in your MDE Account to each individual person (mark each ticket with the person’s name).
  7. Make your FP+ Selections, individually (if you’ll split up) or as a group.
  8. Upon Arrival, check in to your Disney Resort Hotel, they will activate your bands for your room key, charging (if desired) , and resort access (pool, parking). They will also give you a room keycard.
  9. Activate your Salute Tickets, here is how. You are now all set. You may use either your tickets or bands at this point.
  10. Check your FP+ reservations just to be sure they carried over.
  11. Enjoy your trip!

What If You Are Not Staying At A Disney Resort?

UPDATE: A new part of the testing starts at Animal Kingdom on 18 December. Offsite guests will have the ability to make same day FP+ reservations. They will need to visit a FastPass+ kiosk to make the reservations on the day they visit. MagicBands will not be available for non-resort guests. Instead, they will use their RFID enabled ticket media to access the FastPass+ kiosks and touch sensors.

What If You Don’t Have a Local Base?

Then you’ll have to modify the above slightly.

You can still do 1 through 4 above. But you’ll have to wait to buy your Salute Tickets once you arrive, either from Shades of Green or a Disney World ticket booth (plus tax from Disney). The rest of the steps will need to be accomplished.

Tickets from Shades will still need to be activated, from Disney the purchase and activation happens at the same time.

You can link your tickets and make FP+ with your phone app or vis FP+ locations in the parks.

Still Not Final

As I said WDW is still in testing mode. This is how the system is working right now.

We’ll have to wait to see exactly how it shakes out…

Get your MDE account

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In the mean time, help keep our community updated. share your experiences and thoughts in the comments below!

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The Essential Guide to Shades of Green at Walt Disney WorldAre you planning a Disney World Vacation?

Are you considering staying at Shades of Green, WDW's military resort?

Are you concerned that you don’t know what to expect from Shades?

I have the solution for you!

The Essential Guide to Shades of Green will let you know exactly what to expect during your Shades of Green stay, Guaranteed!

Click here or on the image to the right to learn more.

Steve Recommends
Here are my recommendations for products and services I've reviewed that can improve your Disney planning. This is a short list since it only includes my top picks.

Military Disney Tips Gear

The Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World - Best WDW Planning book in my opinion

The Best Ever First Timers WDW Book The Easy Guide to Your First Walt Disney World Vacation

Hidden Mickeys - Kids of all ages will love finding Hidden Mickeys at WDW

Ears of Experience - My recommended Travel Agent, Fee Free, Disney Only, Military Family Owned

YourFirstVisit.net The premier website for first time visitors to Walt Disney World!

Simple Stroller Rentals - Beats WDW's prices, plus they offer a 10% Military Discount

TouringPlans.com - The website of the Unofficial Guides - Crowd Forecasts, Pre-made Touring Plans, plus lots of other detailed info

Disney World Lines iPhone App - Current Crowds, Recommended Parks, Wait Times, & Fastpass Return Times on your iPhone (Free)

My Disney Experience - The Official Disney iPhone App (Free)

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  1. Christy says

    I’m trying to link our vouchers to the reservation so we can make fastpass+ reservations but there isn’t a 12 digit # = do I use a portion of the # that’s there or is it something else?

    • Steve says

      Hi Christy,

      In your MDE click on “my reservations and tickets” click on “LINK TICKETS”…. on the lower right hand side you will see a blue link ” ADD AN OLDER TICKET”, click that. On the next page just click the bubble for the top left hand ticket example, then NEXT. On the bottom right hand side of your voucher you will see a group of numbers… on this current page enter those numbers/letters….and it should work!!! If you have tried to enter the number underneath the barcode you have probably been locked out and wait till the next morning.

  2. Margaret says

    I was curious to know if you can use the fastpass at Disneyland if you use a salute to the troops ticket. i thought i read somewhere you cant combine them but im not sure and now cant find it. thank you.


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