(I wish I could take the credit for that awesome title, alas, I found it right on the Walt Disney World website. Which means even they know it’s super, and are totally owning it. You go, Disney.)
Here’s the thing. My mother taught me to always measure twice, cut once. Which I’m sure was her fancy way of saying Why don’t you try planning a little, Lena. But come on, mom, where’s the fun in that? It’s much cooler to leap in with both feet.
Except, then I became a mother, and I realized what she was trying to tell me all along – life’s a lot easier when you plan ahead. And this notion can be applied to almost anything, whether it’s planning dinner for the week, planning the car pool rotation, or planning your family vacation.
Especially when planning your family vacation.
You may have heard that a Walt Disney World family getaway requires planning skills akin to Martha Stewart circa 1990. And yes, while it’s important to make the most of your time together – especially when you’re visiting somewhere as magical as Disney Parks – the feedback I’ve received time and time again is that it can be *slightly* overwhelming.
The resort. The theme parks. The meal plan. The extras.
So, where do you begin? With MyMagic+.
MyMagic+ gives you unprecedented control of your vacation and makes it easier than ever to enjoy time with the people who you care about the most. Listen up folks, because I’m about to change the way you think about planning a Walt Disney World vacay. Consider this your magical tutorial.
First, go on and book your trip! Figure out your travel dates, the resort hotel you’d like to stay at (check out my review of the Art of Animation if you’re looking for a budget-friendly option) and buy your park tickets. You know, the standard stuff that makes up a Disney vacay. Then, take your Walt Disney World vacation to an all-new level, making it uniquely yours.
Step 1: Create a My Disney Experience account. I consider this command central; the place where you’ll view day-by-day plans, review your hotel reservations, make your FastPass+ selections and dining reservations, and write reminder notes.
Once you’ve created your account, you’ll want to connect to everyone in your travel group by adding them to your Family & Friends list. Then, link your tickets and reservations to your account. Et voila! You now have a virtual planner at your disposal to organize everything Disney. (You can also have the magic at your fingertips with the free mobile app.)
Step 2: Personalize your MagicBands. MagicBands are secure all-in-one devices that allow you to effortlessly access the plans and vacation choices that you’ve made with My Disney Experience. During your Walt Disney World vacation, simply touch your MagicBand to a sensor called a touch point, and you’ll be able to:
Unlock the door of your Disney Resort hotel room.
Enter theme and water parks (with valid admission).
Check in at FastPass+ entrances.
Connect Disney PhotoPass images to your account.
Charge food and merchandise purchases to your Disney Resort hotel room.
Huzzah! They’re pretty much the circle of awesome. And the icing on the cake? You can personalize your MagicBand to make it unique to you – I ordered a pink one, of course!
Step 3: Reserve your FastPass+ Experiences. That’s right – you can now reserve FastPass admission to rides from the comfort of your home, and it’s absolutely free! It’s like the biggest win ever. Everyone knows that there are must-do attractions for every family when visiting Walt Disney World, and now you can feel confident knowing that some of your favourite attractions and entertainment are all set.
If your plans change, you can update your FastPass+ selections on the go! And when you get to the attraction, simply check in at the FastPass+ entrance within your scheduled time frame, touch your MagicBand to the touch point, and you’re in!
So, meet you at Toy Story Midway Mania?
(Tip: FastPass+ service includes select character greetings, shows, parades and fireworks. You can choose your FastPass+ experiences up to 30 days in advance of each day of your theme park visit. If you are staying at a Disney Resort hotel, you can make your FastPass+ selections up to 60 days prior to check-in for the entire length of your stay.)
Step 4: View your itinerary. My Disney Experience makes it easy to stay on top of your vacation – even before you leave home – with a handy daily organizer that displays everything from your FastPass+ selections to your character dining reservations. Like I said, virtual planner. It’s extremely handy, even as a mobile app, and serves as a visual reminder for those items you need to check off your list to make your Walt Disney World vacation the best ever.
Did I mention that MyMagic+ is absolutely FREE when you book your Walt Disney World vacation? Its true! MagicBands are provided free to Walt Disney World Resort hotels guests and Annual Passholders. (Although, if you’re looking for a little extra magic, the basic MagicBand can be upgraded to a customized band, such as a Princess band, for a small additional fee.)
So, you know I’m visiting the most magical place on earth in exactly two weeks, right? Well then, you should know that I absolutely took advantage of MyMagic+! From linking our resort hotel (the majestic Contemporary Resort) to creating the most epic FastPass+ schedule ever (must-do attraction followed by must-do attraction!) I am ready to visit Walt Disney World in the way my mom intended.
Except, instead of measuring twice and cutting once, I plan on doing Star Tours twice and having a Dole Whip once.
Oh, who am I kidding. I’m having a Dole Whip twice.