Episode 46: MagicBand Rumors and More

podcast

It’s time for another podcast episode! Today Sarah and Meredith are talking about all those interesting and intriguing, and sometimes head-scratching rumors currently swirling around the interwebs including the evolution of the magicband, the possibility of some guardians coming to Futureworld and even a little chat about Steven Tyler! And don’t forget to let us know what you think too! Comment, tweet, and tag us!

News for 10.27.15

Hey everyone!! It’s time for your weekly Disney news roundup!

 

•Hey Amy, this one’s for you! There’s a new game out called Disney’s Dream Sweets and just might make fans of candy crush drool. This game had me, (obviously a big Disney parks fan if I’ve been blogging about them for over 2 yrs lol) from the opening screen! You get to customize the game to your family and the levels are various restaurants around the world. And I don’t mean just around WDW, since some refer to it as such, I mean the entire world! There are levels from Disneyland, Walt Disney World, and Disneyland Paris. And since I’ve only play around 22 levels, I can only assume that in the following 108 levels we’ll visit more Disney destinations. My girls loved the customization part too. And the animation of them eating the treat once they make the correct amount of matches is quite funny. “Hahahaha! Mommy, Daddy just ate 9 Dole Whips!!” Lots of fun for kiddos!  Check it out here. Or better yet, just go download it here (ios) or here (droid).

2015-10-27 10.03.00

2015-10-27 09.57.44

 

 

•Starting November 27, you will be able to experience the holidays around the world in Epcot’s World Showcase. This event looks like something you won’t want to miss if you’re vacationing during its run. There will be lots to choose from including live music and opportunities to learn and experience how different cultures celebrate their holidays.

 

•Okay, so I don’t wanna sound crazy but this one is KIND OF a big deal. You can now visit the Retail MagicBand on Demand store to create your own custom magic bands! They’ve even got the most desirous yet elusive purple magic band! Check this post out for all the details.

 

 

• The Grand Floridian’s Victoria and Albert’s restaurant placed 6th in TripAdvisor’s 2015 Traveler’s Choice awards.

 

 

•Pretty sure I’m most excited about this one: The Disney Cruise Line has just released a little bit about the Disney Infinity experience that they’re premiered yesterday aboard the Disney Dream. I know for a fact my kids are going to LOVE standing on a huge infinity base and becoming a real infinity character! And the fact that you get to download all of the exclusive content (including custom toy boxes you make while onboard) is the best part!! SO very cool!

 

•Speaking of the cruise line, the DCL blog released special rates for military personnel today!

 

•Chef Rick Bayless to Open Frontera Fresco Restaurant at Disney Springs at Walt Disney World Resort.

 

•Now that you’re done with the news, why not take a crack at the parks blog’s quiz:

 

I think that’s about it for this week. Stay tuned for more fun this week including some glow in the dark nails and a fun Disney countdown calendar! ~Meredith ºoº

Benefits of Being A Passholder

Although I grew up visiting Walt Disney World fairly frequently, last October was my first trip in a few years, and my first ever family trip with my husband and children. My husband is not a crowd/ride/parade (really anything “Disney”) person, so I was fairly certain our week-long birthday celebration for our little ones in the fall would be our first and last trip for a while. To my surprise, my husband actually enjoyed himself, which shocked him as much as it shocked me, and before we were even home, he asked when we were going back!

Being residents of the gloriously warm Sunshine State, we took advantage of a Florida Resident special and purchased 3-day passes. We split those days up over 2 weekends, but by day 3, we both knew we hadn’t had enough Disney yet. We chose to upgrade to Seasonal Passes, and we have 3 more weekend trips booked for this year already, and likely a few more in the first half of next year. I know living less than 5 hours away makes things quite a bit easier (and more affordable) than those of you who live farther away…it’s not too bad for us to drive down to Orlando for just a weekend and spend only 1 day in the parks.

So besides the most obvious benefit of MORE DISNEY, being passholders has additional perks. Some of my favorite perks include the following:

  1. Park-hopping: With any of the passes (except the Epcot After 4), you can visit more than one park on the same day. This has to be what I’m most excited about with our passes. With the ages of our little ones, and hubby’s lack of enthusiasm for thrill rides, Epcot, Hollywood Studios, and Animal Kingdom all tend to be less than full-day parks for us. In the past, we felt guilty leaving early from one of these parks because, dagnabbit, we paid for a WHOLE day! Now with our passes, we can spend a few hours doing our favorites at Animal Kingdom and then go to Hollywood Studios for a few hours, and not feel like we’re wasting money. Also, no matter how hard we’ve tried, we’ve never lasted with the little ones until fireworks and the light parade at Magic Kingdom. Now, we can go straight to MK when we get in on a Friday evening and not waste a whole day’s ticket. 
  2. Magic Bands: All passholders get complimentary Magic Bands. This wasn’t really necessary for us, since we’d gotten Magic Bands when we stayed on property in October, but it was fun for everyone to pick out a new color!
  3. Dining and Merchandise Discounts: Passholders get discounts at a TON of restaurants, stores, and even some resort dining locations. There are even several merchandise and dining locations at Downtown Disney/Disney Springs that offer a discount. It’s usually only 10-15%, but every little bit helps. Rainforest Cafe (both locations), T-REX, Planet Hollywood, and The Lego Store are just a few of the places that offer Passholders a discount.  
  4. Free parking: This is one perk that we personally don’t get with only the Seasonal Passes, but Annual Passholders get free parking at all of the parks for the duration of their passes. At $17.00 per day, that will add up quick! This is especially beneficial if you aren’t staying on property and able to take advantage of Resort Transportation.
  5. Spa & Salon Discounts: As much as I’d like to pretend, I’m not really fancy enough to take advantage of these discounts, but many of the Walt Disney World resorts offer discounts to passholders on a lot of their services. Maybe someday I’ll get a massage at Disney, but for now, we’re too busy chasing Mickey!
  6. Resort Room Discounts: From time to time, Disney will offer discounts for resort stays. Depending on the time of year, it may be more affordable to stay on-property than off-property, and then you’d get to take advantage of all of those perks, too (Extra Magic Hours, free parking, transportation,etc.).
  7. Recreation, Entertainment, and Tours Discounts: All of the extras that we often forget about as options at Disney (Splitsville bowling, golf, boating, horseback riding, etc.) are all offered at a discounted rate for Passholders, so if you’re looking to try something outside of the parks, this would be a great time to explore those opportunities.

I would’ve never imagined my family being Passholders, and it may not be something we continue to do year after year, but for this year, I cannot wait to take advantage of as much Walt Disney World as we possibly can! ~Trish

Guest Contributor: Amanda-Slightly Addicted

It’s time for another of our brand new guest contributor posts!! Thanks to all our new contributors and be sure to give her some comment love!

 

Hello everyone! I’m Amanda, and I’m a new contributor to The Mouse & The Monorail. I know a lot of you are probably like me and a little addicted to the magical world of Disney. Where else can all your worries be washed away and you can be like a kid again?  I began my Disney addiction at the young age of 2.  My family tried to get us down to Orlando every other year.  I remember the days of the 20,000 Leagues under the sea, The Skybuckets, Mickeys Toontown Fair, and the days of paper tickets!  While I miss all the old rides,  they have replaced them with some great ones!

I got married in 2004 and our honeymoon destination was none other than Disney World.  My husband had never been, so I was excited to share it with him.  We opened and closed the parks every day we were there and came home exhausted after the 9 hour drive.  My hubs said, “I hope you enjoyed that, we are never doing that again!” Well our first Anniversary, Disney offered an amazing deal, so yea…we went again!  And then the next year another fabulous deal.  Do you see a pattern here?

So here we are now in 2015….2 kids later, we have managed to visit the world every year except 2007, but we made up for it and went twice in 2008 and twice in 2014.  I have seen Disney when I was 8 months pregnant (ummm wow!), I have taken kids as young as 3 months old, and vacationed with friends as well as grandparents.  We have stayed in the Value resort almost every time, used the Dining plan or the Quick Service Dining plan, and ventured to several other “optional” experiences.  We try to see and do a lot for all ages and we have fun every time!  I cant wait to share adventures with you all, and I hope each of you can get a little more addicted with me!

Now, I’d like to share with you a little advice based off of the questions I have been asked over the years.

image1

Traveling with children -I hear so many people say “My kids are too old for Disney” or “My children are too young, they wont remember it.”  Well I can say I have taken my son yearly since 9 months old and my daughter yearly since 3 months old, and they both have remembered rides since they were around 2 years old.  Disney makes it easy to travel with children, and they even make them free up to 3 years old!  If you are thinking its like Six Flags and they cant ride anything, you are in for a treat.  At 3 months, my daughter was able to ride at least 85% of the rides at Disney.  Of course she couldn’t ride the major rides, but there is a lot more that babies and toddlers can ride than people think.  Some of the rides I was able to wear the baby carrier on, and others I held her in my arms.  I would say the fastest moving one is Toy Story Mania and we had her in the carrier for that one.  The rides they can’t ride, Disney offers a rider swap option.  This works as a FastPass for the parent staying behind with the little one.  That way if you have other kids, you can take turns riding with them, without waiting in line twice!  So believe me when I say, Disney is a park for ALL ages.  Your kids are not too young or too old for Disney (unless they are a few weeks old, then I understand!)

image2

Best time to visit – I would say the Best time to visit for lowest crowds is September.  For overall best Experience – November or December (excluding the weeks of Thanksgiving and Christmas.)  September is awesome for riding as many rides as you want and they usually offer Free Dining during this time.  However, the heat can get to you and sometimes its pretty rainy as well!  November and December – Great temperatures, the crowd level is up a little but its manageable.  Many times Free Dining is offered certain dates.  The Christmas lights though, are AMAZING!!!  And if you are going around this time, try to take in the Very Merry Christmas Party too!

image3

 

image4

Best place to stay –  There are amazing properties all around Disney.  Offsite vs Onsite – I am onsite all the way!  I love free parking, buses constantly running, extra magic hours, magic bands, get your FastPass picks earlier, free dining promotions, need I say more?!  Now that you know I say onsite, what is the best Disney hotel to stay at?  This depends on your budget and how you vacation.  If you are going to hit the park in the morning, lounge around the hotel and sight see some and enjoy some downtime, then I would recommend a Moderate level resort or above and check their amenities.  If you are going to Disney to see the parks and go to the park every day….you probably just need a value resort!  If you are like us, we open and close the parks so we only see our hotel room to sleep and shower…the rest of the times we are in a park.  It would be a huge waste of money for us to look at a Deluxe hotel, even though they are awesome, because we are not around the hotel enough to take in the amenities that make it worth the extra money.  So consider your plans before choosing a hotel. 

 

Hope this helps a little bit! I look forward to sharing more Disney magic with you! ~Amanda

 

Thanks for the great post Amanda! If you’d like to become a guest contributor, simply shoot us an email at mouseandmonorail (at) gmail (dot) com! We’d love to feature you too!! ~M º0º 

What’s A Magic Band?

Hey howdy hey! It’s Friday again! And this week I’ll be sharing about how to use those super cool new magic bands you just got in the mail! Because let’s be honest, you know that those awesome little colored bracelets means that a magical adventure awaits you. And what better way to prepare for that adventure than to know how to make the most of it?!

 

So, first off let’s cover exactly what a “magic band” is. To quote Disney’s own website, you can ” Tap into the magic with your MagicBand on your wrist. This colorful wristband is actually an all-in-one device that effortlessly connects you to all the vacation choices you made with My Disney Experience” You can and should make use of all the planning features on both the website and app. Try to familiarize yourself with both. And be sure to take some time to explore Disney’s website to see all the attractions, experiences, dining, and more. It’s come a long way and they’re always making little improvements to it.

2014-02-21 00.12.53

Basically, you’ll wear this little bracelet throughout your stay at a WDW resort. It is replacing what used to be your Key to the World. That includes your room key, your park tickets, free parking in the parks’ parking lots (which most people don’t realize but is good to know), and you can even link your account(s) to the band to make purchases throughout the entire WDW resort. This “link” can also be disabled in the My Disney Experience app (free for both ios and droid) should you happen to misplace the band at any time. So, no worries about losing it. The My Disney Experience app has been recently updated, (like Feb. 11 recently) and includes everything you’d need to access everything you’ve planned online once you’re actually there. So, don’t forget to download it too!

 2014-02-21 00.13.24

To plan your vacation, you can navigate here and sign-in. Once, you link your reservations to your account, (which you can do on your welcome screen once logged in) you can begin making fastpass+ selections. Your Fastpass+ selections will become available 60 days ahead of your first day at WDW.

Screen Shot 2014-02-20 at 9.32.35 PM

If you’ve booked with a travel agent, you can and should ask for the information on how to login to your account and start your own trip planning. Have fun with this! Let the kiddos explore the site with you and see what strikes their fancy too! It’s a fun way to get involved and let the whole vacation be fun for everyone going. You can choose to go through the setup process and link any resort reservations and/or dining reservations and tickets you may have. During this setup, it will also ask you who all is planning to travel with you and if you would like to manage the plans for the entire party or add guests to help make plans together via the Disney site, but logged-in however, through their own Disney account. While having multiple people manage their accounts, I’d actually recommend just one person take care of the entire group’s scheduling because if you need to change a Fastpass+ quickly, it won’t be so quickly if you all have to make the change. Just seems easier to me. 🙂

2014-02-21 00.25.45

Because we purchased military discount tickets on our last trip, our bands didn’t come automatically loaded with our park tickets and I admittedly got frustrated because I couldn’t seem to get our tickets to link using the website. Because they were military tickets, they weren’t actual tickets but rather ticket vouchers that require an exchange for hard tickets once at the parks. So I called customer service and still couldn’t even get them linked once! The vouchers seemed to have a different length of code than what it was asking for online and I couldn’t get it to accept it. However, the app made it super simple to link them! It actually has a feature to link tickets using your smartphone’s camera. It scans the barcode and instantly links them to your account asking you to choose which family member will be linked to each ticket. Be sure to actually write on your paper tickets which name is assigned to which band so that when you get to the parks, you can hand the vouchers and bands over to the CM and they’ll be able to activate each band with the appropriate voucher. So, don’t worry if you don’t use a TA or order online through Disney for your park tickets!

2014-02-20 22.04.59The bands themselves are nice and come in a variety of colors. If you do not select a color and where to have them shipped after you book your room reservations, then you will be given a grey color and they will waiting for you at the front desk at your resort on check-in day. Disney also offers a variety of fun accessories for them, but in all honesty, they’re gonna have to tweak their designs if they’re going to get my money. They have little covers, which are fine and cute, but didn’t really strike my fancy. You might like them though, so at least check ’em out!

2014-02-21 01.03.12

Next are the oh-so-cute, but totally gonna lose ’em little buggers called Bandits. They simply pop into the holes on the magic bands. The problem is they pop out just as easily. We were there during beta testing and not many had them at that time. And out of those that I spoke with just in passing, I’m pretty sure I would have had crying and upset kids that lost their favorite character too. Until they tweak these to stay better, either wait til the end of the trip and purchase them to keep on them without actually wearing them around, or just skip ’em altogether. Either way, don’t say I didn’t warn you! Haha! The last of the magic band accessories is the slider and it’s my pick for an accessory to wear on your band without the worry of losing it or completely covering it up. We have some that glow-in-the-dark and say 2013 on them! So excited for those because the date means that they were only available during beta testing. How cool is that?! You can purchase all three styles at the resorts, but we found that the Contemporary had the best selection. You can also find them online here (though I’ve never purchased from there so this is my disclaimer).

2014-02-21 01.00.22

I’d also like to point out that the magic bands are specially made to fit everyone. Be sure to check the inside of your box because it contains info on how to adjust your child’s armband to fit properly. And don’t worry when adjusting it! I know that’s how they’re designed, but when you’ve paid so much for something like that it almost seems absurd to rip it apart. But really, once you remove the extra-length portion of the band, it will fit much better and won’t be as bulky on their sweet little arms. <3

2014-02-21 00.49.24

This last little bit of magic band “magic” is for all the Disney Infinity game players out there. Start your system up and load a toy box. Be sure to have two players on the player spots. Then place your magic band on the hex portion of the base (the place where you put your playset pieces) and watch what happens!! And if you’re not sure what happened, you can check here for more info 🙂 I love, love, love that they’ve made a little something available to those traveling to WDW as well.

My conclusion? The magic band is an awesome little (albeit expensive for them!) piece of tech that Disney has created and I look forward to seeing how they tweak it in the future.

I guess that about covers it all. Have I missed something? How was your experience with the magic bands? What are you looking forward to when using them? We want to know, so please be sure to leave us a comment below or find us over on fb. And be sure to check out our pinterest planning boards for our favorite WDW places! ~Meredith °o°

 

p.s. If you’re wondering about their comfort level, well they’re pretty okay. It never bothered me per se, but it did make my arm sweaty at times ^_^