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Looking forward to 2014

Deb's Digest Blog

As someone once told me, "Change is the only constant in our lives", and so it is with Walt Disney World too!

In just a couple days Camp Minnie-Mickey in Animal Kingdom will close forever. It always seemed to be treated like the forgotten step child. At one time I had great hopes of new areas being built in that section, but it seemed like things just closed.

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The Seven Dwarfs Mine Train - The biggest Disney theme park news for 2014 is the much anticipated opening of the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train which will complete the New Fantasyland expansion. Hopefully the themeing will be as awesome as the rest of the Fantasyland expansion.

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Speaking of the Mine Train - does anyone else remember a time in the 1990s and early 2000s when there was ALWAYS a huge attraction that opened each year! I remember fondly walking past construction areas, standing on tiptoes to try and catch a glimpse of something and hoping that ride would be open on my visit the following year. There was always something exciting to look forward to!

Sadly, those days seem long gone. Yes, Avatar is coming to Animal Kingdom. I admit, I have never seen the movie. I just hope this is such a well done area of the park that it rests on its own imagineering creativity.

Festival of Fantasy Parade - Walt Disney World President George Kalogridis announced Friday, April 26, that a new daytime parade, the Disney Festival of Fantasy Parade, will debut in the Magic Kingdom in spring 2014. The artist drawings looks awesome! Magic Kingdom is ready for a brand new parade and set of floats!


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Studios 25th Anniversary - Can you believe Disney's Hollywood Studios will turn 25 this May? I remember when the Tower of Terror was being built and I actually got to walk down Sunset Blvd a couple weeks prior to opening with a tour group. No photos were allowed, but we were all so excited for the new attraction. It's been almost 20 years since then.

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I had high hopes that a huge attraction would have been announced before now to help celebrate 25 years of the Studios, but alas, no announcement has been made. We can only speculate based on some of the many rumors about a possible Star Wars Land or mini-replica of Disney California Adventure's CarsLand. Personally, I would love a Star Wars Land done to the themeing and attraction detail that CarsLand was built.

Continued Roll Out of Magic Bands - 2014 will see the continued roll out of the My Disney Experience, Magic Bands, FastPass+ program. I have to be honest, I am not a fan. I have had nothing but problems with the Magic Bands since the beginning. There really are too many issues to list here and I have spent enough hours with Cast Members trying to get things "fixed". I know some folks have a great experience and I am glad for you. It seems that it works best if you are a family all coming at the same time and staying in the same place and all live at the same address. For folks who come more than once or twice a year (like us locals), it's just not working well. I could fill numerous blogs on the Tragic Magic Bands but I will spare you. I just hope they get the issues ironed out soon!

Here are a few things on my list for 2014 - in no particular order.

1) Attend Mickey's Halloween and Christmas Parties! I have missed the last few years and I want to go this year.

2) Have more AllEars Meets!

3) Ride the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train

4) Host the AllEars Disney Fantasy Group Cruise in May!

5) Visit Disneyland

6) Attend the Pacific Northwest Mouse Meet!

7) Hopefully there will be an event or two hosted by D23 to attend!

8) Finally, I want to experience things I can't even dream of because I don't even know about them yet!!

So here's to a great 2014 and what lies ahead!

The previous post in this blog was Deb looks back at 2013 ......

The next post in this blog is Final Look at Camp Minnie-Mickey.

Comments (37)

I loved that time in Disney history when there were so many new attractions at Disney World. Eisner was the real driving force behind that because he understood that he needed ride capacity to match all the new resorts. That's the main thing that Iger and his team don't get. You can't keep expanding the resort without adding capacity. Fastpass+ is a band aid and not the solution.

I really hope this turns around soon, especially at EPCOT and the Hollywood Studios.

Ruth Woodhouse:

Hoping to visit WDW again in the autumn. Can't wait. We are hoping to see the holiday lights for the first time. We have been to one AllEars meet and are hoping another one coincides with our visit this time. At present we can't pre-book any fast passes from the UK but I understand this will change by March 2014. I just hope that it is easy to use. We won't be carrying around our phones in the parks (as they can be such a distraction)so we will have to see how that works out.

Meredith S:

How does MB work for people who purchase tickets at Shades of Green upon arrival for their trip? Is there a way to link the tickets to MB (assuming people are staying at a WDW resort and not SOG) before entering a park for the first time? With the military promotion tickets in the past, they needed to be activated at Guest Services prior to entering the park.

DEB: I don't know how things work with Shades of Green. Can someone help here??? Thanks

Meredith S:

How does MB work for people who purchase tickets at Shades of Green upon arrival for their trip? Is there a way to link the tickets to MB (assuming people are staying at a WDW resort and not SOG) before entering a park for the first time? With the military promotion tickets in the past, they needed to be activated at Guest Services prior to entering the park.

DEB: Not everyone has Magic Bands yet, including locals. Right now, Animal Kingdom is the only park that has done away with paper fastpasses. In order to obtain a FP in that park, you need to go to the attraction and talk to a Cast Member. A one sheet flyer is given to guests who need regular fast passes.

Kara:

My parents & I are AP holders & stayed at the Swan on our last trip in Oct, so we did not have MBs. We definitely noticed a difference at Toy Story & Soarin. But we were able to work around it.

We are going to WDW in early Feb 2014 & staying at the Poly, so we will have MBs this time. The APs are already linked, FP+ and ADRs have been made & show on the Experience website. I am looking forward to trying the MBs and seeing how they work. I think the key is to have patience & assume that there will be some bugs. If there are not, great, but if there are, you'll be prepared. Any new technology, Disney or otherwise, needs time to fully function the way it is supposed to. The CM can't change the FP policies. The CMs have a tough job dealing with the public & all these changes. Don't make it harder on them. That's my 2 cents.

Ashley :

Regarding Hollywood Studios, I got this information by a castmember last November. They were saying that the Mickey hat that obstructs the view of The Great Movie Ride will be moved outside of the park, in the front area. Personally, I am really looking forward to that. Also, with the Star Wars land rumor...they also had said that HS will be getting rid of the Backlot Tour/New York, San Francisco/Muppets/Lights Motors and Action/the playground area basically all beyond Star Tours. To make room for Star Wars land. We will have to wait and see if that is all true. Also this year (2014) is the last year Hollywood Studios will host 'Star Wars Weekend'...I am so disappointed about that. BUT, it will be moved to California. There is going to be some major changes coming soon. Can only look forward to it.

Frank Damico:

Guess I'll join the minority here that had no problem and liked the MB's. We used for first time on our recent Christmas trip. Was going to wait to link them to our AP's when we got to the hotel only to find out that was already done. They worked fine for rooms , park entry and all purchases. We did have a problem one day w/ FP +. I had set up 3 times and then had to go back and change due to a change in our dinner reservation. All 6 times still showed on the screen , and when we went to use the later time the CM told us we had already missed our times. After explaining the situation he let us go through. Other than that it was smooth sailing.

nicole miller:

Love the magic bands. We are AP holders SBD Dvc. We got them for her last trip in November and have them for our up coming trip in June. Looking forward to spending July 4th in the world.

Vicki V:

We used the Magic Bands for a mother-daughter trip in October. I must say, for us the bands were wonderful. I had to carry less & keep track of less. Also, being alone with a child, we didn't have to criss-cross & backtrack across the parks to use fastpasses, which was a bonus for us. What we found worked best for park hopping was to go to one park in the morning, near opening, and riding those rides standby before they got horribly long. We saved our FP+ for our 2nd park of the day, to be able to ride without much standby time. This seems to be the best option for hopping & worked well for us. We could also change FP+ times as we changed our plans, which was nice. For us, they were a plus.

Paul j:

We are PAP holder from pa . We have visited WDW twice since our MB were sent to us and had no problems. Once in November 2013 and late December 2013. October we stayed at POFQ and the MB even opened the room. Guest relations at POFQ did not even know this. December we stayed outside of WDW and had no problems. We could still get FP+ for the rides! we were told it would not work unless you stayed at WDW. As for the rides at EPCOT, I agree and new movie at some of the rides would be great and renew the ride. I also agree a new country would be great, but were to put it.

My only concern is big brother knows everything, Disney knows what rides you like, what you eat if you Link the MB to a CC. In December, during our visit to EPCOT. As soon as we entered the park with the MB at the entrance, a CM walked rite over to and asked us some questions about our stay. They had to know we were not staying at WDW. When we got home, Disney email me a questionnaire concerning our visit to EPCOT, but it kinda moved to ask questions on why we did not stay at WDW.

On the MK day, one of the rides (space mountain)had a problem during our FP+ times. I was emailed a notice and told I could visits any of the other rides listed on my email. (Big brother watching) I later found out there had been a bomb scare for space mountain and Disney was moving people way from the area. It was in the Orlando paper.
So to sum it up, I am ok at this point using the MB. Disney wants to move into the next century using wireless and email to communicate.

Deb Ragno:

I've read so much negative about the Magic Bands and the new disabled access plan that a trip to WDW doesn't seem worth the hassle to me. Nothing planned for us this year, so unless someone serves me a trip on a silver platter, I won't be spending my dollars there.

Ilene:

I HATE the new Magic bands. They are not magical to anyone except those staying on site or coming on vacation. I noticed that if you're a daytripper, you're pretty much out of luck. If you want to go spur of the moment you are competing with people who obtained their fast passes months in advance. There won't be any fast passes for Toy Story Mania for a person coming in for the day. I also noticed that fast pass lines were taking longer to get through if you had the piece of paper. Waiting for the Mickey to "clear you" with it's design takes much longer than just handing a CM a paper ticket.

What if you don't have a computer or a smart phone with apps? Again - out of luck to pre-plan?

What if your plans change and you don't want to go to the park you had scheduled (it's raining)?

They are supposed to get rid of paper fast passes soon.

There were fast pass lines for everything - even the Great Movie Ride. If you didn't sign up for it, you had to wait on a long line. To me, it's like the haves and the have nots. Disney is supposed to be for everyone - everyone should be on an even chance for everything.

It's one of the worse ideas Disney has ever come up with.

My biggest beef with this is that it ruins spontaneity. For those that want to plan - great for them. For the rest of us, we lose out on going on popular rides if we go spur of the moment.

I also agree about the need for new rides. Personally, I'd like to see one or two more countries at EPCOT. I'd also like to see the films updated in Norway and France. (It would be cool to get updates of the people in those original movies - every time I see the France movie, I think of the couple that got married - whatever happened to them?) :)

Oh, and my absolute new pet peeve - holding dining reservations with a credit card! I missed out on things because I could not be late or miss a dining reservation for fear of being charged $10.00. This new system didn't get me into any extra restaurants or make it easier to get a reservation for something special. IT just caused one more irritation along with the new fast passes. TOO MUCH FRICTION for something that should be a pleasant experience.

Donnie D:

Perhaps the MBs work well, but for those of us who are annual passholders who have not received them, they mean that you are unable to ride any of the more popular rides. I had a cast member actually tell me that he is advising annual passholders not to renew until they give them bands.

Maggiemay:

MOST people who like the Magic bands do NOT come often. And unfortunately the people who do come often are the ones going to suffer the biggest loss of magic with the magic bands. TOO limited for me. And I don't even live in the state of Florida I am all the way up in TennesseešŸ˜œ

Jim Salomone:

Fast pass + in connection with magic bands are horrible why sell park hopper tickets ..You are restricted to 3 fast passes at 1 park .it leaves you locked out at get any paper fast passes once you change parks .

Psac:

Regarding the paper fast passes, they are no longer available at Animal Kingdom, and the same change is expected to hit the other parks in 2014. For people staying off-site, they can use the FP+ kiosks to schedule same day rides linked to their park ticket.

The way we visit, FP+ was perfect for us (rope drop plus FP+ combo let us ride everything we wanted easier than with the paper, much less backtracking), but I can easily see how it will be a big negative for many.

Hope for some big announcement in 2014, Epcot and HS need something. Also hoping for Star Wars land, since the centerpiece of Cars Land is basically a Test Track 2.0, I can't see them building that at HS.

Mike:

We had absolutely no problem with the magic bands, we actually liked them a lot! I completely agree about EPCOT being neglected, it needs some new refreshing ideas and rides big time!!!

skip:

Surely this does not mean that the legend of the lion king is closing? I remember Pocahontas and her friends and saw that several times. A couple of years ago, I got some great pictures of my son with some characters at that location.

If you have not seen Avatar, you might still know the plot. Boy.Congress to new world, boy meets leader's daughter and they fall in love, evil men from boy's clan want to mine simmering that is precious to them but worthless to the natives. Fight breaks out and boy chooses to side with native. Nope, not Pocahontas, but Avatar. Did James Cameron to off that story?

DEB: Festival of the Lion king is on hiatus until sometime this summer. A new theater is being built for the show.

Aurora Dancer:

Visited over pre Christmas through NYs Eve. We had magic bands. We had a few hotel linking issues that were not resolved with my husband's band. Our MDE ride bookings were all smooth.

My issue revolves around the limit of 3 FP+ and one park. Like many frequent or repeat guests we park hop and have used FP to our advantage in the past. I rarely use the standby lines unless the wait is under 20 minutes. I would rather grab a FP and come back later.

The magic bands are convenient but restrictive. Touch and go is nice but the limits outweigh the FP+ innovations.

Jenn:

We're DVC'ers from MI and approaching 20 trips. WDW is always evolving and we look forward to visiting old "friends" and meeting new ones. We love the way WDW is always evolving - even if it's not seamless. For the record - we had NO problems with our sole trip with the magic bands. Actually, loved them. Can't wait to come back and ride the new mine ride. Thanks for all the great information! Please keep it up for 2014!

Sandy:

My biggest comment is to ask everyone to please write a letter, email or make a phone call to Disney directly so that it is documented how unhappy everyone is with the Magic Bands. Complaining on blogs or to a Cast Member during the trip will do little to change the minds of executives.

I am dreading the Magic Bands. I absolutely agree that Park Hopper will no longer be necessary, and Disney will certainly lose money. I also agree that EPCOT needs some new attractions. Why can't Soarin' offer "50 States" and show films of each state, so that every ride will be a different experience (like Star Tours)? I'm a little sick of seeing California.

Jamie:

Have to agree with the Magic Bands. We went to Epcot on a Monday in mid-October for Food & Wine. By the time we got there in the morning, all the paper Fastpasses for Soarin' and Test Track were gone, and the lines never dropped below an hour. And it was otherwise a slow day, with no other line more than 15 minutes, if that. As much as I love The Land and Imagination, they aren't worth using MB slots or FP on. And if everyone visiting selects the only two big rides at Epcot six months in advance, what are us locals supposed to do except lost out?

A very sweet Cast Member helped us out, and she even told us that she had a lot of concerns about the MB program, and that it was bull that locals can't enjoy the experience as much as visitors. It seems like it would probably work out well at Magic Kingdom, with so many rides, and parades, and character greetings, and little kids all liking different things for the families to focus on. But at the other parks, that have so many fewer rides, it's a terrible program.

I always really liked the original FP program. It seemed very fair; the most expensive Grand Floridian vacationer was on the same level playing field as a local who decided that morning to go. You go to the ride, you get the FP. But now, we probably won't go back for a while until they get this settled. We just had such a terrible time, by far the worst I've ever had a Disney park.

Christine Patton:

We were just at WDW for Thanksgiving and for New Year's. I first did not like the idea of the magic bands, but like them now. We know which park we are going to be in each day, so we fast passed our top 3 rides in close times. Then we did other things or visited another park. I love how easy it is to get into rooms or pay for purchases instead of searching for a card. We recently overslept on our last day there and missed our fast passes. No problem. We were able to reschedule 2 of them in our remaining time there. We also were able to schedule fp while on our way to a park. I think with more people learning how they can actually work, problems will smooth out in time. And yes I agree that fp should not be for rides that never have long wait times. I like how you can choose the time for a ride instead of getting stuck with whatever time a paper fp gave you. And one can sleep in instead of waking up really early in order to get to a park at opening just to get fp!

Angela Moody:

So far I only had minor issues with our magic bands. After we would use the first fp+ it wouldn't read the other ones but I just showed the cm that it was reserved on my phone and away we went. The next day we had no problems. We were also allowed to use the paper fp with them. We had fp+ for Studios that night and used regular fp for the am. Also I just linked me and my mom's accounts on My Disney Experience(we live at separate addresses) and everything is linked and showing up. I don't know maybe we just got lucky.
For the person talking about the large group going. If you make one person in charge and add all those people to your family & friends in My Disney Experience it should be easy. Time consuming but still can be done.

Casey:

I have mixed feelings on the magic bands. On one hand, it's so nice to be able to have everything linked and be able to reserve spots for parades, but on the other hand, fastpass+ seems to be a good idea only in theory. And only being able to get fastpasses for 3 rides in one park per day is going to drive people down the road out of Disney Parks. We have been very fortunate the last several years to only visit during low crowd time periods with just 3 of us. I have a bad feeling about our upcoming trip the last week of March with 11 people... On another note, when Disney says "opening Spring 2014" does this historically mean March/April or April/May? Just wondering about Seven Dwarves.

DEB: Spring can mean just about anything and gives plenty of wiggle room in case there are delays.

Al Schaefer:

Our Magic Band experience was mixed. My wife's MB was set up wrong and was beyond repair (it was an exact duplicate of mine), and WDW couldn't do anything about it.

For park entry and room key use it was awesome. Using it for purchases was mixed. if the CM brought the scanner to the MB it worked great. I found it almost impossible to align the Magic Band with the fixed scanners successfully. My understanding is that intailly the range of the MBs were too great, so just walking past a scanner could set it off. Now it seems they went to the other extreme. They need to find the happy medium.

I had not heard that the goal is to replace paper Fast Passes. If that's the case, it sucks. We successfully used the FastPass plus and successfully linked my sister's party MBs with mine and included each other in FastPass plus.

The program needs more tweaking (as does the app), but I think the idea is solid and hope they get the bugs out. They need to add dedicated MB service centers on property that can reissue and fix all the problems. They should be separate from the regular guest service windows since it can be very time consuming and isn't fair to make someone who's just looking to make a dinner reservation or ask a question to be stuck behind the party of 10 with MB problems.

Lastly they need better CM training since (from overheard conversations) many CMs were misinformed about the MB program, both generally what guests could do using their phone and what sort of problems Guest Services could resolve.

Kristin S:

We visited in early December and found the Magic Bands a cinch to use once we were on site. We had some challenges transferring our previously purchased ten day/no expiration paper tickets into the new system, but a phone call to Disney customer service solved that problem. We enjoyed the ease of use - especially if you plan on attending a water park - the band is waterproof and on your wrist - no need to find a place to stash your cards anymore.

We hope they continue to use them as well. Hopefully all of the bugs others have mentioned are just "growing pains" and will be worked out quickly.

PS. Deb: I do remember the excitement of new rides being added regularly in the past. I hope they start doing that type of renovation again. Technology has advanced so much now that the rides can be even better if they use more special effects.

Also - what they did to the castle in MK during the Very Merry Christmas Party this year was spectacular!

DEB: A few years ago they added "icicles" to the Castle during the holidays. It is quite beautiful indeed.

Barbara:

We were at WDW in late October and used the Magic Bands with FP+. We loved them as well. We have been to WDW several times as a family (this is our 4th visit since 2000 and we have another planned in 2014!) and this trip was the smoothest yet in terms of paying for things--so that aspect of the Magic Bands was perfect.

I do agree with another commenter about the FP+ issues. I would like to be able to schedule more than 3 FP+ in a single park per day. Even if you could only schedule more after you'd used the first ones it would be something. The other issue for me is that I don't love planning every aspect of a trip in advance (I'm not really an "itinerary" kind of person) but it seems like you have to in order to make the most of the FP+. On our last trip I experienced several times the frustration of not being able to get the FP we wanted when reserving while already at WDW (1-2 days before we wanted to use the FP, or the day of).

Shylena :

We just returned from Disney World and we love the magic bands! It was so simple and we got to ride all of our favorites with fast pass + because we booked them as soon as possible. I could see where there would be trouble if there was a large group coming from different places all trying to book the same times though. Our opinion is it works for us.

Lori Thomas:

I have a bit of a possible issue concerning the magic bands. You wear these around your wrists, right? Well, I have an autistic son I fear would not take well to wearing a bracelet all day. Has anyone else had the opportunity to take an autistic child to the parks using the bands and, if so, how did they do? Our son is high functioning, but one of his big problems is sensory issues. If anyone else has experience with this, please leave a post! It would help me out a lot. Thanks!

DEB: I have seen an adult member of the party hold the magic band for the person that wasn't able to wear it. You shouldn't have any issues. Would love others to chime in.

Gigi METCALF:

Hate, hate, hate magic bands. Used them on three trips this fall. And it's going to get worse. I'm going to give you my magic band (mb) diatribe now that I shared with my travel agent that she promised to share with Disney folks. If she can get it to anyone who will/can do something...great. However, I realize this is probably an exercise in futility. It will make me feel better...maybe:-).

First of all, and this is a problem that probably won't happen again since in a couple of months everyone will be using mb. We had an mb time at Soarin at almost the same time we had a regular fast pass at test track. We decided to do Soarin first since every other time we do test tract, it breaks down (that's an issue I'll be coming to shortly). Anyway, we mentioned our coinciding time to cast member running Soarin. He told us we weren't supposed to use paper tickets. Just mb. Paper tickets were for day visitors and others without mb.

Well, I gave him a piece of my mind. We were paying big money to stay at beach club and purchase airline tickets. Why should we not be able to use fast passes to ride our favorite rides? With new mb categories we wouldn't be able to ride Soarin and test track with a fast pass. But people coming for the day could??!! I was furious.

After riding both rides we went to customer service to complain. They listened nicely and offered us a fast pass for Soarin. I actually turned it down. I said there is a bigger issue here that they are not getting. Which I will now share with you.

I was told that by February everyone will have mbs. People with reservations and staying on site will have maybe six months lead time to schedule fp. Big whoop. Others will get choices when they purchase tickets. No more paper fp.

IF, and this is a big if, they keep the same restricted categories, (and most of these comments concern EPCOT), then when we come for a long weekend, we will only be able to ride our two favorite rides, Soarin and test track, once or twice the entire time, unless we are willing to stand in line for an hour or more which greatly reduces the time we could be doing something else.

And I must comment here that whoever has been in charge if EPCOT for the last few years has done a dismal job of creating new and exciting rides there. For heavens sake, the maelstrom is in the top priority list. A mildly exciting ride at best. Mission space is a disaster. Nemo, universe of energy, imagination,...these rides are virtually empty. Why would anyone need a fast pass for a ride that has no wait? Ridiculous. And Soarin was created at Disneyland so no imagination involved there.
And all the money to change test track? After doing the car creating once, the thrill is gone. I miss Bill telling technician which buttons to push. Pick one? CRASH. Remember? Always the trouble with test track was that it broke down so often. And that's still going on, same as before. Now people are beginning to skip the car creating, leaving that room to get in line. We did that every time. And there were always folks who followed us out when they realized they could. Soon no one will be using that very expensive technology because the ride itself is the thrill. The money should have been spent updating the ride itself so it doesn't break down as much.
Anyway....I digress.

This mb idea is just crazy. It will discourage park hopping since you have to confine yourself to one park a day with the mb fast passes. The three times we've been to WDW with the mb we've been able to schedule fp at EPCOT for the afternoon and spend mornings at studios or mk riding our favorite rides using paper fast passes. We won't be able to do that anymore. By the afternoon, lines at popular rides are way too long for older adults.

I am to the point, unless something happens that will ameliorate some if these problems, we won't be going back. We've been to WDW approaching 50 times. We obviously LOVE going there. But this will take the fun out of it for us. And, based on the conversation I had with a very candid cast member at the resort, the "cast members" hate the mb and the problems they've caused and they are getting more and more complaints from the "regulars" like us about how the changes are and will continue to adversely affect their Disney experience.
My one question is "why". Whatever the reason, we are extremely saddened that our magical trips may soon be coming to an end.

I will add that while not senior citizens yet, we are quickly approaching that milestone. My husband is disabled and must use a scooter. That's why we always stay at beach club. We can " walk" to EPCOT, our favorite park, and take the boat to the studios (will always be MGM to us) or the monorail to mk. Buses and scooters are too complicated and bothersome for us. Fast passes are a God send to us.

I can understand trying to control access in some circumstances...esp at mk where you have little ones clamoring to ride and possessing little patience. But at EPCOT the only rides with lines on a consistent all day basis are Soarin and Test Track. Which goes back to my previous comments about lack of new exciting rides there. To me it's the most neglected park.

With the "magic" bands and "my" Disney experience why can't the bands work differently at the different parks? With the bands it's certainly obvious which park you are in so why couldn't experiences be molded to each visitors desired vacation goals?

And I'm with Deb, we've been going to WDW on at least a yearly basis since 1984 when we brought our four daughters for the first time. We were hooked. I remember the excitement building for new rides every time we went. I remember walking around MK as they built splash mountain. And boy, was the wait worth it. That first trip over the falls was indeed magical! And tower of terror....that first plunge was electrifying when we finally got to ride. Remember then it was just up and down one time! Same with Soarin and Test Track! The anticipation was almost unbearable but the payoff so worth it. I haven't felt that in years. Maybe a little with renovation of TT but I've already noted what a disappointment that was.

Anyway, our trips to our happy place are still very happy and treasured. But these magic bands and the ancillary changes accompanying them threaten to ruin future trips...if we return:-(

Lucy_S:

Totally agree on the magic bands. Our group is going for the marathon next week, all from different states, with different types of park passes (some annual passes, some 4 day park hopper, etc), we all booked separately but we plan to do the parks together - Nearly impossible to link us all with Fastpass+ in advance. Trying to coordinate it has taken more time than it is worth.

Are the regular fast pass machines still working and can you still use them if you have a magic band?

Pat:

Have to agree that the Magic Bands are horrible. Nothing bu trouble on our last trip. Hours wasted "fixing" them, only to have them not work right again the next day. New disability card is not very good either. First trip we have had such issues, not Disney's finest hour.

Phil Vickers:

Hi Debs,
It never fails to amaze me that Disney Parks are so organic and evolve with the times.
Living in the UK I never get to visit the parks as much as I would like, but just booked to go to Anaheim in February (hopefully Pirates of the Caribbean will be open this time).
Love the blog, and as a travel agent specialising in Disneyworld, your hints and tips and all the latest news is invaluable to me.
Happy New Year and hears to an amazing 2014 for you and all the allears.net team
Regards and Best Wishes
Phil

Laureen Guarriello:

Thanks for the info Ms. Deb! Has the new theatre been built for Festival of the Lion King, or will the show be on hiatus?

DEB: Festival of the Lion King is on hiatus until the summer of 2014. A new theatre is being built.

Joanne Ferguson:

Happy New Year to you! I thank you for all the Disney joy. I continue to look forward to all the great information and stories. You mentioned that you haven't seen Avatar. Take the time to watch this. It will help you understand the great potential that this has. All the best for 2014 and beyond!

Linda_M:

We visited in early December and have nothing but good things to say about the Magic Bands. Couldn't have been a smoother or easier experience. We hope they'll continue to use them. Obviously my opinion - just have to offer another perspective:-)

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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on January 2, 2014 8:55 AM.

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