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FastPass+ Logistics and the Magic Band

FastPass+ Logistics and the Magic Band

Testing for Disney’s NextGen program continues and we now have more information about the FastPass+ Program!

FastPass+

FastPass+ is different from the existing FASTPASS Program in that it will involve the use of RFID on your ticket (or Magic Band – see below) giving guests the chance to plan their itineraries ahead of time including access to their favorite attractions.  This can be done in advance online or, should you need to make adjustments – in the park by using either a kiosk or the MyDisneyExperience App on your smart phone.  You pick your arrival window (an hour long period) in which you intend to arrive at a particular attraction.  This is instead of physically running to the attraction to pull the FASTPASS paper ticket and later return.

     

Attractions that historically have had a FASTPASS will be part of this program and Disney has been adding other attractions to this list such as the Haunted Mansion, It’s a Small World, and Spaceship Earth to name a few.  In addition, the FastPass+ will also provide reserved seating for parades, shows, fireworks, and character meet and greets.

 FastPass+ Terms and Conditions

Let’s take a look at some of the key points in the terms and conditions as of 12/29/12.

Availability of a FastPass+ experience, the number of experiences you may select and arrival windows are limited and vary based on factors such as the theme park you are visiting, the attraction or entertainment experience, the time of year and the day of the week, and prior demand. In addition, the number of days for which you can hold FastPass+ selections at any given time is limited.

While its clear this is limited (in testing guests were given 4 attractions in a single park for a day) I am OK with this since personally, at the most I pick only 1-2 FASTPASSES per park anyhow.  Also, I think many of us have faced the empty FASTPASS machine so this is a known limitation to the program that would need to continue. My only concern here is what if I want to “pull a FASTPASS” on EVERY day of my trip.  Also, will Annual Pass holders or those staying at Deluxe Resorts get more days than those at an Economy Resort?  With this program will there be more FASTPASSES available than there were with the paper tickets?

You may make FastPass+ selections for one park per day. You may only select and redeem a FastPass+ selection for a particular attraction, entertainment or restaurant experience once per day.

The part that concerns me is that it’s limited to one park per day.  I’m a huge fan of the Park Hopper option and like the flexibility of choosing multiple parks (and therefore food options) in a day.  When I think about it though, I might go to EPCOT everyday but that doesn’t mean I need a FastPass+ to enjoy every attraction.  In practice, this might be a non-issue.

 You may make FastPass+ selections for yourself, your Managed Friends, and your Connected Friends.

This is nice for planning the family trip and certainly beats the “QUICK GIVE ME ALL YOUR TICKETS SO I CAN RUN TO THE FASTPASS MACHINE AND GET THE PASSES!”

Your Connected Friends may also make FastPass+ selections for you or modify the selections you’ve made without notification to you. You can view the selections and modifications made by Connected Friends for you when you log in to your account and view your itinerary.

Note to my Dad – Make sure your Daughter-In-Law isn’t one of your connections or you WILL be scheduled for It’s a Small World.  Lucky for you, the terms limit that you can’t repeat attractions.  For example, if you have 4 FastPass+ options, you cannot repeat the same attraction at any time.

Magic Your Way ticket holders may make FastPass+ selections beginning 60 days prior to day of use. The selection window may vary for other admission tickets or passholders.

Make no mistake, my dining reservations for my next trip in April are already made but the thought of scheduling when I will ride Thunder Mountain doesn’t sit well with me.   Personally, if my trip is planned to that level of detail, some of the magic is gone.  Then again, I could see this being perfect for a family with younger people that only get to the park once every five years who want to make sure they see their key attractions.

Half of my Disney experience is the anticipation of going and the idea of planning like this certainly can add to the excitement.  But does this mean that FASTPASSES will be all gone when we get closer to our trip?  Will there be some reserved for the day of?

 What Does this Look Like?

For starters, each attraction will need an RFID reader to read your chip and I must admit, this thing lights up so pretty, its magical.

micechat.com

You will go online or use a kiosk to make your selections as seen here:

micechat.com

Then you will get a confirmation via email and will also be able to refer to it in your “My Plans” section of the MyDisneyExperience app.

Of course, the FastPass+ is only one component of the NextGen project and use of RFID.  The NextGen project will also support park entry, resort purchases, and room keys.  Will this all happen on a park ticket?  That’s no fun!  Instead, we will use Magic Bands!

Magic Bands


These are wristbands that will hold all the information needed to do park entry, resort purchases, FastPass+ etc.

The device is battery powered by a non-replaceable coin cell.  The device also contains passive UHF and HF RFID tags in a wrist worn arm band that transmits a 2.4 GHz signal to an indoor wireless infrastructure.

Just think of all of the colors, personalization, characters etc. that Disney will be able to put on these.   They will be keepsakes!

wdwmagic.com – RFID payment terminal

Of course this means new readers will be required at cash registers and that old turnstiles will need to be replaced (as much fun as having that turnstile smack you in the bottom is!).

As it stands, all four parks have these new RFID entrances set up for use in testing this new system and many resorts are adding in the new payment terminals.

Ultimately, I’m very much looking forward to how this will impact my eating.   Quick Service restaurants are already using RFID technology.  Will reservations at restaurants all be tied to RFID accounts?  In other words, how difficult will it be for someone without a theme park ticket to book a meal?

Spaceship Earth and Water Conservation

Spaceship Earth and Water Conservation

Ever wonder why in a downpour you can stand under Spaceship Earth and there is not waterfall of water?

Because hidden behind the 11,324 silver triangular-shaped tiles lies a unique drainage system–two gutters that surround the geosphere, one at the sphere’s equator and another below that. The outer sphere façade is held about 2-feet away from the inner core by aluminum hubs.  The surface tiles are spaced an inch apart, permitting rainwater to flow through and into the submerged gutters. Both gutters collect the rainwater and channel it through Spaceship Earth’s support legs down below Future World, where it flows out and replenishes World Showcase Lagoon. – Chicago Tribune and Mouse Planet.

Outer sphere façade is held about 2-feet away from the inner core. Picture from SimplyDifferently.org
The surface tiles are spaced an inch apart, permitting rainwater to flow through and into the submerged gutters – Picture from wdwmagic.com

Disney has other examples of water conservation in action such as at the Disney Wilderness Preserve, the Disneyland World of Color , EPCOT’s Living with the Land, and displays at the Annual EPCOT Flower and Garden Festivals.  Of course the Disney Corporation has a conservation statement as part of their operations.

 

How Often Do You Go To Disney?

How Often Do You Go To Disney?

I get that question A LOT and since I grew up in CT and now live in Boston I unfortunately don’t get there enough.  Also, since when we go, we typically do it up right we do need to save up inbetween.  In general, we go every 2 years.  Here is the roster:

How often do you go?  Do you stay at the same place?

Debauchery in Disney

Debauchery in Disney

From the extremely talented and sometimes depraved mind of Leonard Kinsey I give you two must read books:

      

These have been out for a while now and its basically insane that its taken me this long to write about them.  They are COMPLETELY different in the sense that Dark Side of Disney is more of an informational standpoint and Our Kingdom of Dust is a fictional story – each of course taking place in Walt Disney World.   Why is it so important to read these?

“I would rather entertain and hope that people learned something than educate people and hope they were entertained.” Walt Disney

Cosmic Rays – or how to turn a side of fries into a full meal.

You can learn a lot from these books while being entertained!   Dark Side (please don’t confuse this with the spiritual dark side in the Star Wars universe which I would never promote – go team Ewoks) of Disney offers a lot of information about various things we’ve all thought about – sneaking into the parks, extra discounts, and potential new places to explore in the park.

 

Our Kingdom of Dust won’t go into the logistics of how to find cocaine in the park but it will teach you a little bit about yourself and make you realize your need for escapism that comes along with a visit to Walt Disney World.  Its also a page turner that you can’t put down. It might frighten you how much you relate to the characters in the book but its a journey worth taking.

So grab a dole whip float, add a nip of rum, and get into these books!

The Polynesian and a Kukui Nut Tree

The Polynesian and a Kukui Nut Tree

Kukui nuts are rad – you typically see them worn as leis by the Disney Polynesian staff but also anyone who is living aloha. They are also worn throughout the islands as everyday adornment and for special occasions.

These nuts do more than make us look good, they have a VARIETY of uses. For starters, Kukui nuts contain about fifty percent unsaturated oil which enables them to ignite and burn like candles – they were burned in torches and stone lamps. Kukui literally translates to mean “lamp” or “light”.

Inamona

Other nut uses include:

  • Applying the kukui nut oil to wooden howls to make a glossy, waterproof finish
  • The soot (pau) of burned nuts provided a black dye for tattooing and stain for painting designs on canoes and on tapa cloth
  • Shelled nuts are roasted and pounded into a paste in order to make inamona poke

 

There is more to the tree than just the nuts. Hawaiians used the trunks of kukui trees for:

  • Construction of canoes
  • The sticky gums and resins were used medicinally and as glue to strengthen tapa
  • The inner bark provided a red-brown dye for tapa cloth and `olona cordage

The Kukui nut tree was named the Hawaiian State tree in 1959 however it is not a native plant. Its blossom is now the official flower of the island of Molokai.  So now you see how big a deal this tree is and can appreciate how amazing it is that the Polynesian Resort in Florida actually has one!  The tree is located behind the Great Ceremonial House and can be distinguished from the other foliage by its light-green silvery leaves.  Its rumored to be the only Kukui Nut tree on the mainland of North America.


In addition to the above, this special tree has both internal and external medical applications and is considered to be a powerful la’au (plant/tree) by traditional healers to this day.  Separate from this is its spiritual meaning in the leaves as the embodiment of the pig god, Kamapua’a.

Sources:

  1. Kukui Nut Jewels of Hawaii, Armstrong, Wayne- Ornament; Summer2005, Vol. 28
  2. Indigenous Hawaiian Nonmedical and Medical Use of the Kukui Tree, RYAN A.K. YOUNG,1,* LUIS G. CRUZ,1,* and AMY C. BROWN, Ph.D., R.D.2 – THE JOURNAL OF ALTERNATIVE AND COMPLEMENTARY MEDICINE, Volume 11, Number 3, 2005