Walt Disney World Has Announced Their New MagicMobile Service, saying it’s “A Convenient New Way to Experience Walt Disney World Resort.”
At MDT we say that this is a cost saving measure, one of many, trying to eventually make Disney’s huge losses of the last 12 months bearable long term.
History of My Magic+
In 2013 Walt Disney World slowly rolled out the new My Magic+ (or My Magic Plus) system. A combination of a guest planning website, RFID Magic Bands and tickets, and Theme Park/Resort Scanners to interact with guest’s RFID devices.
The most visible part of My Magic+ is the now pervasive Magic Bands, colorful plastic bracelets, either solid colors or sporting too numerous to count designs, that have RFID chips inside. These Bands can be used as your room key, theme/water park ticket, room charge device, resort access (parking, pool, etc.), PhotoPass/Memory Maker ID, and FastPass Plus ticket among other things.
When My Magi+ was introduced, Disney World began shipping free basic color magic bands to their resort guests ahead of time as part of their room reservation. Soon Disney began selling discounted special designs featuring characters and locations ahead of time at discounted prices to those with room reservations. More basic colors were added later, some free, some for a price.
All the while, Magic Bands of all varieties were being sold in Walt Disney World’s merchandise shops.
Back In The Day
Prior to the institution of My Magic+, Disney’s resort guests were issued a plastic room key card to be used around the resort, as their room key, and for charging to the room. If you purchased your theme park tickets as part of a package with your room, the key card would also function as your theme park ticket.
In our military community it is exceedingly rare to add tickets to your room, as there are other military ticket options that are much cheaper! So military families wound up with 2 key cards per person, a room key and a park ticket. Back that you also had to keep up with paper FastPass tickets for each person issued from machines at each attraction after scanning your park ticket.
RFID technology rolled all of those things into one, the Magic Band, was conveniently strapped to your wrist. No more digging in pockets or purses for the right ticket, or pulling your wallet out of your pocket to get your ticket or key out of it.
A Step Back
In late 202o Disney World announced that starting with 1 January 2021 reservations, they would no longer be providing free magic bands to their guests. You may still buy the discounted ones as pert of your reservation, but there are no more for free ones.
This means there are now be a percentage of guests arriving on property without Magic Bands.
Around the same time Disney World rolled out the ability to unlock your room using your cell phone, as many nationwide chains had been doing for years.
Guests without Magic Bands could either use their phone to open their room door, or go to the front desk and request a plastic room key card. If tickets were part of their room, this would also function as their park ticket. Military guests with Disney Armed Forces Salute Tickets now, again have to carry a second plastic ticket card.
Moving to the Phone
The move, bringing the Magic Band functions to your cell phone is a compromise. It’s not a convenient as a Magic Band on your wrist, but it is easier to grab and use than a plastic ticket in your packet, purse, or wallet.
Disney World says:
Launching in phases starting later this year, Disney MagicMobile service is a convenient and contactless way to access MagicBand features like theme park entry through the power of an iPhone, Apple Watch or other smart device. Guests will be able to create a Disney MagicMobile pass through the My Disney Experience app and add it to their smart device’s digital wallet. It works like magic – most features will be available by just holding up your smart device near an access point, just like you do with a MagicBand. Disney MagicMobile service and its features will roll out first on Apple devices.
Guests may choose to use Disney MagicMobile service or a MagicBand – pick whichever option works best during their visit. They can even use both and alternate between the two for added flexibility. We’ll also soon be introducing more MagicBands in trendy new colors and fun designs featuring favorite Disney characters and stories.
Our existing digital room key feature will continue to be available specifically within the My Disney Experience app, which helps guests expedite their arrival by using online check-in service, going directly to their Disney Resort hotel room and using their phone to unlock their door. Disney Resort hotel guests may also still pick up a Key to the World card at their convenience by visiting the front desk.
Stay tuned for more information on Disney MagicMobile service and MagicBands!
This MDT Post By: Steve Bell
Steve is the the Military Disney Tips Founder. He a retired U.S. Military Member who's been touring the Disney Parks since 1971! Steve's mission is to help military families with their Disney vacations in every way. Check out Steve's Bio.
Subscribe to Steve's email newsletter to get website updates and news by clicking this link.
Planning a Disney Trip? Want to get the best military discounts that are available? Feeling a little confused? See Our Great Disney Discount and Planning Info:
- Disney Veteran & Military Discount Eligibility Guide
- The Military Family’s Walt Disney World Comprehensive Vacation Planning and Preparation Guide
- Military Disney Tips Disney Packing Checklist
- Disney Military Tickets – Your Start to Finish Guide
- Resorts/Hotel Overview Page
- Dining Overview Page
- Transportation Overview Page
- Technology Overview Page
- Shades of Green, WDW’s Military Only Resort
Military Disney Tips' Recommended Disney Travel Agent
Ears of Experience Disney Only Travel Agency. Military family owned and operated! They know all the ins and outs of Disney military discounts!
Neil Zampella says
I believe you’re incorrect about the Military Salute tickets needing a second card. I was able to add my Military Salute tickets to my current set of Magic Bands via the My Disney Experience function of the WDW website.
Not to mention that if you have Magic Bands from previous a previous visit, and they are still listed on the My Disney Experience, you CAN reuse them with all the same functions as before, IE: room unlock, park entrance, and in-park purchases.
They are still offering Magicbands for sale when you connect your tickets to your plans. They start at $5 for a plain color to $20 for a character themed one.
Yes absolutely, IF you have Magic Bands either from previous trips (I have 50+) or ones you purchased you can use those for everything you mentioned plus more.
What I was talking about is specifically those who choose not to purchase them (or don’t have any from before). These people absolutely will have separate room key and theme park ticket plastic cards when using tickets not purchased as part of their room reservation e.g. military tickets. This is exactly how things were before Magic Bands and My Magic+. That’s why it’s a step back.
It seems these new magicmobile passes negate the need for us to activate our salute tickets at the window now? Is that correct? I already have my mobile passes with ever going up to the ticket windows to initiate the process of activating my salute ticket like days of old.
No, sorry it does not. The Magic Mobile smart phone system is just an extension of the Magic Bands that WDW has used for years. It just lets WDW stop giving out free bands to resort guests as part of their reservation.
The ID check has always been required for Salute Tickets linked to Magic Bands and it’s the same for the Magic Mobile. You’ll still link your tickets ahead of time, but they will not work until activated (unless they are from Shades of Green, who’s tickets come activated).
Thanks for the info! Looks like I’ll still be carving out some time out on day one of our December trip to get them activated.