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Old 09-14-2013, 06:14 AM   #1
mmtravel
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An absolutely positive MB and FP+ whirlwind weekend experience

My family and I used MagicBands and FP+ for a quick trip last weekend, and had a completely delightful experience. No kidding.

Sorry this is long, but I wanted to cover everything, and we tried it all: MBs, FP+, BoG FP, and even RFID drink mugs.

Background: we are me, DH, and DS (10). I'm a planner, no matter what I'm doing, so I make my ADRs 180 days in advance and like to have at least a framework of what were doing each day. We often call an audible based on weather or how everyones feeling that day, but at least we start with a plan. We have been there enough times that we are not running from ride to ride, trying to cover everything, so maybe that's why we had a satisfying experience, but there are favorites we hate to miss each time, and we hit them all.

Back in Feb, I booked a trip for my Big Fat Birthday for the first weekend in September. Scored great, cheap airfare from NJ, a studio at BCV with points, and a coveted BoG dinner ADR, even though it was NoJ weekend. Planned one day of relaxing at SAB, then a commando day at the parks before heading home for DS to start school. OK, cool.

Pre-trip: I heard about the MagicBands and the BoG lunch Fastpass+ and knew we wanted in, if we could. Using a link from Disboards, scored a Fastpass+ for BoG lunch, and though it seemed crazy to have lunch and dinner at the same place, we had lunch there in March and loved it, and werent giving up our dinner ADR. Menus are totally different, so why not? The allure of skipping past the long lunch line PLUS eating dinner with the Beast and a glass of wine was too appealing.

Then about three weeks before our trip, I was finally able to access Fastpass+. Based on the day we'd planned, I picked EPCOT for the park wed visit, with evening FP+ times, and selected the big three there: Soarin, Test Track (which, in all of our previous visits, my family had never managed to ride either we'd get to the front of the line with a FP and it would break down, or the FPs and standby line just didn't work with our plan) and Illuminations viewing area. One drawback was the timing for the FP+ - we just couldn't get the Test Track time to work with our BoG ADR time the latest offered was 5-6pm and our BoG ADR was at 5:05. Then a few days before the trip, I had a revelation: we're staying at an EPCOT resort we could easily go there before we hit MK and then monorail it over for the afternoon, so I switched that FP+ to 11am.

Our plan for the park day: EMH at DHS, then EPCOT for 11am Test Track FP+, FP+ lunch at BoG and afternoon at MK, dinner at BoG, then 7:55 FP+ for Soarin and 8:35 FP+ for Illuminations at EPCOT.

I had four days left on a 10 day PH NE ticket, and I entered those in on the MDE site without a problem, selected our MagicBands, and we were set to go. MagicBands arrived within two days: one pink, one blue, one green, personalized with our names.

Arrival: On our arrival, we were greeted at the door of BCV by a cast member with an iPad, who invited us to relax in one of the seating areas while he checked us in. Not sure if this was standard or because we were part of the test, but wow, what a nice experience; felt like concierge check-in. Bands scanned without a problem, we received regular KTTW cards to use as backup, and we were on our way to SAB. CM said the bands were waterproof, but wouldn't float, so we should be careful not to lose them in the pool.

CMs stationed at the SAB pool entrance initially scanned our KTTW cards, then asked if they could try the bands but every time we came in our out after that, it was all bands. We paid for lunch and one-day mugs at Hurricane Hannas with them (because we wanted to check out the one-day RFID mugs too; worked great for us based on our needs). Note that we were asked for our PIN no matter how small the purchase, almost without exception, except for one bar bill. I was actually pretty happy about that; small purchases could really add up if someone found your lost bracelet and we rarely make any non-meal purchases over $50. Then, late in the afternoon, the skies opened up, and it rained all night. We had planned dinner at Captains Grille and a walk on the Boardwalk (which didn't work out), but our first-ever dinner at Captains Grille was delightful. DH and I had the crab legs and DS had a pasta dish that he loved. Because we were all sporting birthday buttons (all of our bdays are within 3 weeks of each other, so we were celebrating all 3, though mine was the biggest!), our waiter brought us a small dessert with a candle in it. Only problem at Captains Grille seemed to be a lack of bus staff. The manager and waiter both wound up taking our plates away, which seemed to take a long time, and they seemed a bit harried at times but it didn't impact our service or attention. We used the MBs and our TiW card with a swipe machine right at the table to pay just entered in our PIN and the receipt came out and that was it. We were not on the DP, so can't speak to how the entitlements worked, but others with MBs seemed to be fine.

The next day, we were up and out early for EMH at our favorite park, DHS. Because of an early flight on Sunday, we had decided to rent a car, so we drove to DHS just for the morning. While there, we were able to ride TSMM at park opening and also got a legacy FP (the only one we used all day, and we didn't really need it, just a bonus) to ride again that morning. DS and I rode Star Tours 2x while DH rode RnRC 2x in the single rider line, then he joined us for a third Star Tours. By now it was 10am, when we'd planned to leave DHS and take the car back to the hotel, taking Disney transportation for the rest of the day. We parked at BCV and took the short walk to the EPCOT Intl Gateway and walked to Test Track. MBs worked like a charm to get us in, and we finally, finally got to ride! It was cool that we didn't need the white card to store our vehicle data but instead it was housed on DSs band. There was a minor problem in our TT line and we really started to think we were jinxed, but eventually it got moving.

Afterwards, we hopped the monorail to MK for our BoG reservation, knowing we'd be back at EPCOT later. The BoG FP+ was a dream, like a magic carpet. We checked in at the kiosk at the end of the bridge for BoG, and since we had pre-ordered our lunches, we were able to go right in. A CM at the door took payment through our MBs, and we found a table in the room with the spinning Beauty and the Beast music box. I had DH and DS leave their MBs on the table while they hit the rest room so as not to confuse the RFID sensors, and did the same when I made my trip. The food found us within 5 minutes, and we enjoyed two roast beef sandwiches and a quinoa salad, plus strawberry and chocolcate cupcakes and a chocolate cream puff and three waters. We were in and out quickly, and off on our way to enjoy more rides.

Now, I said we only got one legacy FP all day, but while we waited in line for Buzz Lightyear (which was only at 15 minutes), a young man and his mom came up to me and asked if we were a family of 3, then gave us 3 FPs they were not using; what a nice surprise. We had done that when leaving a park before, but no one had ever given us any! So I guess karma spun back around our way. We rode Buzz, Mickeys Philharmagic (perfect timing, just as a heavy rain started!), DS and DH rode Splash Mountain (wait was manageable for Space Mountain but they decided to skip it this time), watched the parade, played several rounds at the Frontierland Shootin Gallery, had a LeFous Brew at Gastons Tavern, DS played a round of Sorcerers of the MK in the pouring rain, and just because we were a little tired, finally dragged DS in to Carousel of Progress (where DH quietly napped J) and DS thought it was pretty cool. We skipped PoTC this time because we'd heard there had recently been some mechanical problems that had people trapped inside, and decided to let them fix it before we go back again. We had done the new Fantasyland experiences in March, and didnt feel like we needed to do them again (one ETwB and Little Mermaid ride is enough for a 10 year old boy).

Then it was time for our BoG dinner reservation. Because it was all of our birthdays, we were surprised to receive three plates of The Grey Stuff (or maybe because it was closing soon for NoJ, who knows? But I'll take it). Honestly, it tastes like a glob of frosting, but it was fun. We enjoyed a steak for DS, the shrimp and scallops for DH, and the ratatouille for me, plus two glasses of wine for me and DH. We tried one cupcake at dinner, the lemon meringue, which we all loved. BoG dinner was the only place where the MBs didn't work for payment the waiter brought over the same handheld wed used at dinner the night before, but my band didn't work for payment, so we used our KTTW card and were on our way. Dinner had taken two hours, so we were leaving as the NoJ crowd came in, and took the monorail to EPCOT with the hordes who were leaving at the time. We decided to take the resort monorail to the TTC instead of the express, since the express line was ridiculously long, and that worked out fine.

At EPCOT, we rode Soarin with a 7:55pm FP+, grabbed a Starbucks at the new Fountain View and paid with our MBs, then we went to our viewing area for Illuminations, which wed never seen in its entirety because of timing or crowds. It was a great ending to a perfect day we had a perfect view in a not-crowded area at the head of the World Showcase (right near the entrance from FW, just to the side of the handicapped viewing area). There were CMs with red light sabers directing us where to go when we left FW, so it made it easy to find even in the dark. At the entrance, our MBs were scanned and we went right in. Then, after the fireworks, we walked back to BCV via the International Gateway and passed out before our early flight home.

On the whole, we loved the MBs and FP+ and thought they expedited our trip and freed us up to enjoy the day, knowing we had FP+ ahead for the evening. Doing 3 parks in a day is nothing new to us, but it felt like it made it easier. DS complained that he didn't have time to kick around the Streets of America at DHS, one of his favorite activities, but I think that was more a factor of the very short trip. It was great to not have to fumble for a KTTW or a FP every time we paid for something or rode a ride.

To the point of another post I read this morning, people at our resort who didn't know they were testing, but were given grey bands at check-in, seemed very happy to be part of it, but were jealous of our color bands. We stopped by the concierge desk to just make sure our tickets were linked on the first night, being paranoid in nature, and there were a few people working out issues, but mostly just trying to change times for FP+. There was a specialist there who helped the CMs solve issues. We checked out the Band-Its and band covers in the BC store, but decided just having the bands was novel enough for now.

On the whole, it was great and we look forward to doing it again for spring break. Now, we were there during what I'd consider about a "4" out of "10" (and we've been there during Easter Week when parks shut down) crowd level, so we'll see how it works for spring break!

Last edited by mmtravel; 09-14-2013 at 05:41 PM. Reason: punctuation errors!
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Old 09-14-2013, 06:22 AM   #2
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Sounds like an action packed trip! Thanks for sharing though - am at BC with a MB in 2 weeks, so happy to hear positive experiences
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Old 09-14-2013, 07:15 AM   #3
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Thank you for your report, so glad you had a great time. And wow, can you guys pack a lot in to a weekend or what?

Will be there a week from today, have a very full week planned with our MBs, FP+, and lots of ADRs, hope it goes as smoothly for us.
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Old 09-14-2013, 04:31 PM   #4
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Very nice, sounds like you guys had a super time.
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Old 09-15-2013, 05:24 PM   #5
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Hope you all have a great experience too!
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Old 09-15-2013, 07:03 PM   #6
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Thank you for posting your positive experience. My family is headed to WDW in 2014 and I feel like I am one of the few who is thrilled to see and use the new system! I cant wait till the official roll-out. Almost everyone on here seems to be so against the change, I'm glad to see someone who liked it!

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Old 09-15-2013, 09:59 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mmtravel View Post
Note that we were asked for our PIN no matter how small the purchase, almost without exception, except for one bar bill. I was actually pretty happy about that; small purchases could really add up if someone found your lost bracelet and we rarely make any non-meal purchases over $50.
I'm really glad to hear that you had a positive experience with MB's! Our MB's have arrived for our upcoming WDW trip, but there was no mention of setting up a PIN number. Could you please tell me how/when you got your PIN number(s)? Did you have a different number for each band? TIA
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Old 09-16-2013, 08:49 AM   #8
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Sounds like you had fun!
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Old 09-17-2013, 04:08 AM   #9
mmtravel
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Deb T. View Post
I'm really glad to hear that you had a positive experience with MB's! Our MB's have arrived for our upcoming WDW trip, but there was no mention of setting up a PIN number. Could you please tell me how/when you got your PIN number(s)? Did you have a different number for each band? TIA
We set our PIN up at check-in. We had the same number for the whole reservation - it works with all the bands but if you don't want someone (e.g., a child) charging, the CM said just not to give him the number. Like I said, they asked for it on nearly every charge (except some bar bills, which was odd). Not sure if you can have different PINs for different members of the party.

Hope everyone has fun!
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Old 09-17-2013, 05:04 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Deb T. View Post

I'm really glad to hear that you had a positive experience with MB's! Our MB's have arrived for our upcoming WDW trip, but there was no mention of setting up a PIN number. Could you please tell me how/when you got your PIN number(s)? Did you have a different number for each band? TIA
Have you checked in online yet? This is when we set up our pin.
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Old 09-18-2013, 11:34 AM   #11
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Good point - you probably can set at online check-in. When I checked in online, it said I already had a PIN, which we must have set back in March when we were there (with no MBs). We were able to re-set whatever it was when we arrived at the resort. So there are options.
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