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by The Fancy Free Diva

Many people have been critical of My Disney Experience and MyMagic+ as Disney vacation-planning tools, but I have to say that I love them. We are Annual Passholders to Walt Disney World, as well as DVC members. We travel to WDW every year, but we also live in Maine. And I’m a teacher. That means that we can only travel when school is on vacation, which almost always equates to traveling to WDW during the hottest, most crowded, and most expensive times. Despite that, I love all things Disney, and My Disney Experience/MyMagic+ is no exception.

Because we live so far from Florida, we do plan our vacation months in advance. In fact, when we were at WDW last August, our 11-month window for DVC booking opened up, and we booked our upcoming vacation while we were playing at Animal Kingdom. My Disney Experience and MyMagic+ helps us keep the magic of Disney alive when we can’t be there. I love looking forward to the 180-day dining reservation window and the 60-day FastPass+ window. Because I often start counting down 360 days or so in advance, breaking up that wait time is helpful for me and works to ramp up the anticipation for our trip even more.

Tip: If you’re looking for great ways to count down the days until your next trip, check out this Budget Diva article about DIY Vacation Countdowns.

I have planned three trips to WDW using My Disney Experience/MyMagic+, and I have found the system, while not entirely without glitches, very user friendly. I have used My Disney Experience to book Seven Dwarfs Mine Train FastPass+ reservations for 11 people over the New Year’s holiday and the 8:10AM Cinderella’s Royal Table breakfast reservation for 9 people in the month of July. I’ve also used the website to share plans with my sister’s family and my mother, as they will be traveling with us this upcoming summer.

Sample Dining Reservations as Viewed in My Disney Experience

Sample Dining Reservations as Viewed in My Disney Experience

Other benefits of this system include the convenience of keeping all of our vacation plan in one location on one site/app. We plan our vacation ahead of time, so we use the My Disney Experience site to set up our daily itineraries. Each of those daily itineraries includes all of our dining reservations (and confirmation numbers), our FastPass+ reservations, etc. I always create notes to share with everyone in our travel party that include other “must-do’s” and reminders (don’t forget to try the school bread in Epcot’ Norway!) or reservations that can’t be automatically linked (like Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique, Pirate’s League, Family Magic Tour, Pirates and Pals Firework Cruise, beach chair space at the water parks, spa reservations, etc.).

Sample Notes Added to My Disney Experience

Screen Shot 2015-04-20 at 11.51.42 PM Sample Notes Added to My Disney Experience

And the convenience of the Magic Band just can’t be beat. I love being able to open a hotel room door with just the tap of the wrist. That’s a handy feature, especially when you’re touring with two little ones (two months and three years on our last trip). We did not use the Magic Bands as a form of payment, though, which is something you can do if you link a credit card and set up a pin number. This is something we definitely would have done if we hadn’t taken advantage of a major money saver for our trip and paid for almost everything using Disney gift cards (hint: buy Disney gift cards at your local Target with your RedCard and save 5% off the purchase price!).


Magic Bands

Tip: I’m not the only Diva who loves her Magic Band.  Click here to see why Tangled Diva loves hers, too!

And while some people have reported having problems with their Magic Bands, that’s not something we ever experienced. All of our FastPass+ reservations were there when we needed them to be, and our Memory Maker photos and videos were linked automatically. I’ll admit to being concerned about our three-year-old’s ability to keep hers on her wrist, so we often just carried her band with us, tapping it when we needed to, and that was never an issue.

In terms of other tips for using this system, I have found it easiest to book all of the reservations (dining, FastPass+, etc.) under one My Disney Experience account and then to share those plans with everyone else in your party. That means only one person has to be up in the middle of the night making FastPass+ reservations, and it helps avoid scheduling conflicts. I say “middle of the night,” because the FastPass+ booking window only opens up after the park you’re trying to make reservations for has closed.  If you’re trying to book FastPass+ for the Magic Kingdom on a night it’s open until the wee hours, then you’ll have to wait.

You should also use your cell phone to take a screen shot of your plans for the day and set it as your wallpaper.  It will save your phone’s battery life and give you an at a glance snapshot of where you need to be when.


Sample iPhone Screenshot of My Disney Experience App

One other thing you may need to know, especially if you take extended vacations to Walt Disney World like we do, is that My Disney Experience only allows you to book 10 days’ worth of FastPass+ reservations at a time.  We’ll be there for 15 days on our next trip, so that means prioritizing which days and attractions are most important for our party and booking those first.

Tip: Read Frozen Diva’s advice about how to use FastPass+ to your advantage!

And while I know that the My Magic+ system is not an ideal planning tool for everyone, especially Florida locals, for someone like me who loves Disney but lives far away enough to only travel there once a year, it is a super helpful vacation planning tool.

Of course, if you’d rather avoid dealing with some of this hassle yourself, contact Patricia at All for Dreams Travel and let her do the work so you can have all the fun!