The MyDisneyExperience Mobile App and FastPass+ Experience at the Walt Disney World Resort

As someone who has a tendency to over-plan and sometimes over-think my family's Walt Disney World vacations I was mildly excited to use the MyDisneyExperience online tools and mobile app for our most recent vacation.

Everything you need to plan your trip is right there on your computer from your Walt Disney World Resort hotel reservation to your dining reservations and FastPass+ reservations. As soon as we had our trip booked back in April we started using the online tools. We added the kids to our family and friend list and started the countdown to "FastPass+ Day."

Technology makes planning your Disney vacation a breezeTechnology makes planning your Disney vacation a breeze

Sixty days out from our arrival day we were able to go online to make our FastPass+ reservations. We had two "must get" FastPasses: the Anna and Elsa meet-and-greet and the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train.

After you pick the three attractions and/or shows you want a FastPass+ for the online system will give you suggestions (you can only choose three FastPass+ selections for one park per day). You can choose one of the options, save your choices, and move on to the next day and next theme park.

Choosing your FastPass+ selection two months before your trip might seem strange, but it was really easy to plan the rest of our trip around our selections. And over the next two months I went back to MyDisneyExperience several times to adjust the times for the FastPass+ selections, and even changed some of the attractions.

Meeting Queen Elsa at the Magic KingdomMeeting Queen Elsa at the Magic Kingdom

We chose to have our MagicBands sent to our house and they arrived a few weeks before our vacation. Once we arrived at our resort and checked in we were ready to use the MagicBands. I suggest having every member of your family test their MagicBands at the room unlocking the doors just to make sure they work.

I will admit that when the MagicBands were first announced I was not excited about the prospect of them at all. I am now a big fan. Everything you need is right there on your wrist. You don't have to search for your park ticket or your Key to the World card. Everything seemed a bit easier with the MagicBands. You just put "Mickey to Mickey" and when the Mickey Mouse icon turns green you're in!

And, as an added bonus you can decorate the MagicBands with Bandits. I tried to resist and it was futile.

Personalize your MagicBands!Personalize your MagicBands!

But let's talk about the MyDisneyExperience mobile app. Once you are on Walt Disney World property this app is a wonderful resource. All of your plans are right there on your smartphone: FastPass+ reservations, meal reservations, show times, attraction wait times, menus for the restaurants, and even restroom locations.

Not sure where to eat? Check out the menus for any of the restaurants at Walt Disney World. You can even make dining reservations with the app. Wondering what the wait time is for Splash Mountain? Check the app! By using it at select restaurants you can also pre-order for faster service once you arrive.

I was always checking the app for wait times, dining choices, and more. And, when the skies opened up with a summertime Florida downpour minutes before our coveted Seven Dwarfs Mine Train FastPass+ time we received a notice that the FastPass+ was being extended to 11 p.m. (basically all day long) due to the weather. (I also received an email update about the extension).

So now you know: if you have a FastPass+ reservation for an attraction that closes due to weather they will extend the time of the FastPass past that one hour window.

The MyDisneyExperience mobile appThe MyDisneyExperience mobile app

The one thing the app can't and won't do is allow you to make that fourth FastPass+ reservation after you've used up the first three for the day. This is the one thing I found very frustrating about the MyDisneyExperience app and FastPass+ system.

When you have used your three FastPass+ selections for the day you can add another through the app. It can be used for any of the four theme parks, not just the park where the first three were used. But - if you don't have a mobile device with you, you will need to find a FastPass+ kiosk in order to make the reservation. We found that some of the kiosks were a bit chaotic and we saw quite a few frazzled guests. I'm sure the system will work out the kinks over the next several months but the first solution might be more FP+ kiosks.

But on the plus side it was easy to make another FP+ reservation for most attractions. Some (like The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror and Toy Story Midway Mania) were gone for the whole day early in the morning while others were available all day long (like Pirates of the Caribbean).

And if you decide that you want to change your selection before using it you can do that too. We had a FP+ for one evening at Disney's Hollywood Studios but the kids wanted to stay at the Magic Kingdom so we found a kiosk and switched the FP+ to an attraction at that park.

Your MagicBand is your room key, park ticket, FastPass+, and moreYour MagicBand is your room key, park ticket, FastPass+, and more

Overall the MyDisneyExperience mobile app and the FastPass+ system seem to be working with a few minor issues here and there. And, as with any new system it will take a while to get used to. But being able to have everything I need on my smartphone and on my wrist made the overall vacation experience less hectic and easier to plan. And I did miss my MagicBand once the vacation was over.

Have you used the MyDisneyExperience mobile app at the parks? Leave us a comment and let us know what you think.

Kristen K. wrote on Mon, 09/15/2014 - 13:59:

Kristen K.'s picture

Thanks so much for sharing your experience with us Traci, I look forward to trying this out myself in February!

M.Fallon wrote on Mon, 09/15/2014 - 17:45:

M.Fallon's picture

We just returned from WDW and found that the My Experience App did not work well in the park. The loading speed of the app was very slow. I was looking for the nearest rest room and gave up with the app and asked a cast member. As for the magic bands, they usually worked well, but at times it took many tries for it to work. But all in all, these were minor inconveniences. As mentioned in your article, it is a new system and will take a while for them to work out the kinks.

Dan wrote on Mon, 09/15/2014 - 17:49:

Dan's picture

We used the app in July 2013. Was a little awkward for me but that's probably because I installed it right before we left for WDW and didn't really know how to use it properly. One thing I did notice though, it's VERY easy to get caught up on checking the app all the time and forgetting what you're their for, a magical vacation. Don't let the app take over your day.

I hope to do better with it this Christmas. :)

Jennifer Fitzpatrick wrote on Mon, 09/15/2014 - 17:51:

Jennifer Fitzpatrick 's picture

In theory, we really liked the magic bands, when they worked. We linked our reservations and fast passes with other family members for a total of eight people. Our second day at Hollywood studios my husbands fast pass reservations were gone, but the Disney staff were great and allowed him to go on the rides. A few days later, back at Hollywood studios, my husband's and our two kids fast pass reservations were gone and this time we experienced extremely rude and not helpful Disney staff. We were sent to several places before someone could help us. It was frustrating and disappointing. Disney use to be this magically experience and had incredible customer service. Unfortunately my family's experience was not that. We spent a lot of money and planning to have things go wrong and staff accusing us of lying. I would recommend that people verify their fast passes every morning before going to the park. This may help with any issues you may have.

Larry W wrote on Mon, 09/15/2014 - 18:17:

Larry W's picture

I've liked it pretty well. Sometimes having them spaced out in certain areas forces you to wait around more than normal for the time, but it's been a good experience for the most part.

Barbara wrote on Tue, 09/16/2014 - 13:11:

Barbara's picture

When Is the wristband coming to California Disneyland

JayA wrote on Wed, 09/17/2014 - 11:11:

JayA's picture

It wish it would let me build a dream vacation and then adjust to availability when i know the dates I will be there.

Kristen K. wrote on Wed, 09/17/2014 - 13:03:

Kristen K.'s picture

Barbara - No word yet on an official expansion of the program to California.

JayA - Yes! That would be a great capability for the system to have.

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