Technology | planDisney Podcast – Episode 8
Welcome to this episode of the planDisney Podcast, presented by State Farm. Whether you want 24/7 support, access to your policy via the State Farm app, or you just want to speak to an agent, like a good neighbor, State Farm is there. I’m Amiyrah Martin, your host of the podcast and I'm also a former panelist. I have to admit, as the owner of a couple of websites, I'm still not good at technology.
I love that we're in the middle of Disney's Hollywood Studios today for this podcast episode, and we're going to tell you everything there is to know about the technology you can use inside the parks, the resorts and more. But first things first, let's meet our panelists joining us today. Hi, guys! - Hi, Amiyrah, thanks for having us.
I think we should do some introductions. Sounds good? Tony, let's start with you, sir. - Sounds good. Sure. Okay.
I’m Tony, and I've been a Disney Parks enthusiast for over 35 years. My wife, Rae, and I have four children, and we love spending time at the Disneyland Resort, Walt Disney World Resort, and sailing on Disney Cruise Line. And I've been a planDisney panelist since 2019. Now, as planDisney panelists, we are not cast members. Rather, we're people from, we’re Disney Parks guests from all walks of life.
For example, I'm an engineer - Right. and we answer questions that people submit to the planDisney website, to help them plan their trips to Disney Parks to give them tips and advice. And people from all over the world submit questions to the site.
For example, I answer questions in English and Portuguese, and we can also answer questions in French and Spanish. Oh, my gosh. I love that. I love that we're getting different languages and all of our answers, too. That's wonderful. Thank you, Tony. Now, we are also joined by Alyssa and Eean. Alyssa, would you like to introduce yourself? So my name's Alyssa.
This is my first year on the panel. I'm a Walt Disney World Resort specialist. - Walt Disney World, that’s right. - Yes, you are. And my husband and I just celebrated our 15th anniversary.
So he’s the best. - Oh, happy anniversary. He's my favorite person in the world. I have two precious nieces that I love to bring to the parks and spend time with. I've been going since I was ten years old and Disney has always held a special place in my heart. So it's my happy place. And in my free time, during the day, at my real job, I am a middle school librarian, so.
Oh, my gosh. So you're the cool librarian and the cool aunt. I try to be. I’m trying. - Okay, I like it. My type of people. Now, beautiful Eean, how about you? - Yes, Alright, so I am a Walt Disney World specialist. I've been on the panel for three years.
I was selected with Tony in 2019, and I am a married mom of three kids. I live in the Steel City of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. And we my husband and I actually honeymooned at Walt Disney World in 1999. - Oh, my gosh.
So you can only imagine how planning was way different and technology was way different back then. But my kids have literally grown up coming to the parks. My oldest is in college now, so they've been coming many, many years.
And also want to mention that I'm a runDisney enthusiast and I'm running my first marathon in the Walt Disney World Marathon in January. Yay! - Wow! Congratulations! - Yeah, thank you! I love that. So you love all things Disney, literally. Literally, yes. Alright, so we have a lot to talk about on this episode. - Yep. So I feel like we should just dive in. - Okay.
Now, before we even come to the parks, there's so much that we can do, especially technology wise. So what's some of the first things that we should do before we show up here to the parks? Family members and friends always call - Yes. and they ask this question.
And my first answer is always to start with the Walt Disney World website, or the Disneyland website as well. - Okay. And you set up your account and it takes a few minutes. You put in all your information and then if you're coming to Walt Disney World, what you want to do is download your apps. So the main one you want is the My Disney Experience app for your phone - Okay. because you're going to be using it while you're here.
Or for Disneyland, it’s the Disneyland app. The Disneyland app, right. - There we go, yes. And there's also the Play Disney Parks app, which they also have at Disneyland. And we'll talk about that a little bit later because there’s some fun things you can do with that. - Yes. So after you set up your accounts, the next thing you want to do, that’s really important, you want to do this well in advance is buy your park tickets. - Okay.
They usually link automatically, but if not, you link them to your account. Then you make your theme park reservations really, really essential. And after you do that, you can start making your dining reservations. You do that around 60 days out and then you've kind of have all the essentials done.
Now, Alyssa, I know you mentioned something to me before about a QR code that we can use with family and friends that was really cool, but I need all the details again. Can you share that with me? Absolutely. So you have what's called a family and friends list in your My Disney Experience account. And what that is, is anybody that comes to the parks with you, they're on your list so that you can make dining reservations together, Genie+ Lightning Lane selections together, that sort of thing.
So it can be kind of tricky to link them, but there's a really neat little tool in your app. - Okay. If you go to the main menu, it's the three lines in the bottom right corner and go to your profile. You scroll all the way down.
It says, show my linking code. And what it does, it produces a QR code that's unique to your account and you just show that to your friends and family that you're planning with. They scan it and it links you up right away. - Oh, my gosh. It's like two or three seconds, does not take long at all. Of course, if they don't have a smart device that scans something, there's a way to manually enter it. - Okay.
But once you do that, you've got it all set up and then you're ready to start planning together. That's a really important step for sure. - That’s so cool. Yeah. - I love that. Okay, so we've done our due diligence before we came to the parks to enjoy.
So let's say we're here, we're at the parks. What are we doing next? How are we getting started? Well, first of all, we need to get here. So, for example - Yes. we might need to drive our car to the to the parking lot outside the theme parks. - Yes.
Turns out that there was something that, well, it was a little bit embarrassing for me. Do you remember this one, Eean? I definitely do. And I'm glad you're giving me permission to share it, because last year I was at the parks with Tony and his wife, and we had spent a long day at Magic Kingdom, so he had parked at the TTC parking lot earlier in the day. And then we went to Enchanted Rose Lounge and we, you know, left a little bit later in the evening. And then when we got back on the monorail, went over to the TTC, I could see Tony wandering around for a while.
And when I asked him if he had lost the car, he just went... - Oh, Tony! So he could have used the car locator. It didn't exist then, but now this year, when we come again, you're using it. Right, I'm so glad about this. So State Farm actually sponsors a new car locator service it's in the My Disney Experience app. I used it just yesterday at EPCOT - Awesome.
and it was so handy because I, I was right there in the parking lot, hit the button that it automatically took the location information from my phone. Or if you don't have your location enabled, you can enter it manually - Okay. It detected which parking lot I was in and I could show it which row I was in. It was great. When I exited EPCOT at the end of the night, I got a notification on my device that told me where I could go to look for my car again.
Do they have that at Disneyland? They actually do, yes. It’s available at the parking structures and the parking area at Disneyland too. No more wandering around the parking lot endlessly. - I’m glad.
So next time you two hang out, car locator. Yes. - Yep, that’s right. Now, what about coming into the parks? So I know that we can use our technology to actually enter the parks, right? So Alyssa, how do we do that? So there are three methods of entry to get into the park. So you've got the traditional plastic ticket card that you would get, but you also have MagicMobile and MagicBand, or MagicBand+.
So MagicMobile is a fairly new service that all you do is you go on to your smart device and you add your Disney tickets to your phone and you can use that to enter the park, so you can tap it on the turnstiles and it lets you enter that way. You can also put it on smartwatches, - Yeah. on some of them. So you may not even - Okay, I like that. to take out your phone, you just scan your watch and you're good to go. So that is a new service that I highly recommend and it's super fun because there's all different sorts of designs, just like MagicBands, because, you know, one of the things I love about MagicBands, is all the cute designs and picking out which one matches my outfit. - Yes!
So you can choose different designs in the mobile pass. In the MagicMobile, so mine’s actually Figment. - Mine’s Annual Pass! Yeah! - And yours is Figment, so. We had to use this inadvertently because all my kids had MagicBands and we came a couple of months ago and my son, even though I told him to pack his MagicBand, he forgot it. So I was able to, I just explained to him, hey, it's right in the My Disney Experience app. He did it and I think it was in less than one minute, and he had it right in his wallet.
He used it to scan through the turnstiles. And even when we were redeeming our Lightning Lanes, he just held his phone right up to the tap point and it was really easy. That's super easy. I love that it's just making our lives even easier.
Now, another thing that I know, Alyssa and I share is we like to get lost. We kind of bonded over that just a little bit. - Just a little bit. I get lost too, so you can add me. - Yes, and then we talked about this how, you know, right there in the app we have a map.
And it's easy to find things. Could you tell us a little bit more about how you use it? So I think that what Eean said earlier about the first thing you do is download the My Disney Experience mobile app, that is number one priority, especially at Walt Disney World because there are four parks and Disney Springs and water parks and resorts, it is a big place. It can be a little overwhelming.
So I say, open up your app when you're at home. It's never too early to start getting to know it because you need to learn all those little tricks and tools that are in there to use. And my favorite feature is the interactive map, so you can use that to filter by like attraction wait times, character meet and greets, all different sorts of things, dining near you, restrooms. I mean, if you're looking for a bathroom, you have a kiddo with you that's like, Mom, I need to go right now. - Yes. You can find the quickest route. - I have one of those. And when you go to any of those selections, it actually is an option to get directions and it tells you walking steps. So it sees where you are, your locations
so you need your location services turned on and it just kind of navigates you, which for somebody like me is very helpful. Like this morning at my, I've never stayed at the resort we’re staying at this weekend and I was like, I don't know how to get to the lobby. And I pulled open my app and I was able to put it in and it told me where to turn. It was just like a G.P.S. in my phone. So that's super helpful. That’s so smart, I'm going to use that later - Very cool.
because I, like we said, we’re the same. I got a little lost today as well in that resort. - Yes, yeah. So I'm going to use that tip. - We’re in good company. Yeah.
Now, we talked a little bit about MagicBands and we did mention MagicBand+. - Yeah. So should we, - Yeah. let's talk a little bit more about that because we use those to get in the parks, but we can even use those to get on rides and Lightning Lane and all of that, which I know you guys are going to share with me a little bit later. But let's talk a little bit more about MagicBand, MagicBand+ and, you know, how guests can use those for their experiences.
So MagicBands and MagicBand+, MagicBand is the original, MagicBand+ just released. So that we’ve got our cool little ones on our wrist. - Yes. So they do essentially the same things, but there are some differences. So with the original MagicBand - Okay.
and MagicBand+ you can use it to open your resort room door. So if you don't have your phone available, because you can use your phone to open your door too. But if you don't have that available, they can open the door. They link to your PhotoPass pictures. So that's my favorite feature.
When you're on rides and attractions, it automatically links your PhotoPass pictures like Splash Mountain, things like that. It links it directly to your account. - So fun. So you don't have to worry about, where's my photo? Where's my video? - Right. It also, it helps you enter the parks and then my, one of my other favorite features is you can charge purchases if you're a Disney Resort hotel guest, you can use your MagicBand to charge purchases to your hotel room during your stay. So you don't even have to take out a credit card. You just make sure ahead of time in your app that you've linked an active credit card.
And then when you're ready to pay for dining, or souvenirs, or a snack, you just scan your MagicBand and put in your pin code and all your charges are there on your account and you're good to go. So, it’s super convenient. - That’s so fun. It’s funny, when you get home and you're at the grocery store and you think, oh, I can use the MagicBand you realize I'm not in Disney anymore.
It’s like, no. You're not in a magical place, no. - No. But that's cool that we can do it here, that we can literally just go, boop, just like that.
So that's just the regular MagicBand. So what do we get with MagicBand+? The Disney Fab 50 Quest is one of the things that you can link up with in the Play Disney Parks app. And at each of the four theme parks, there are statues, these 50 statues at various locations.
And you go out to meet them with your MagicBand+ will alert you if you're nearby one and it will give you a little buzz and you turn around and oh, look, there's another statue that I haven’t seen yet. Walk up to give it a little wave and it starts to interact with you. It's really fun. I've already been collecting some of them. It's been amazing. We're sitting really close to Joe Gardner right now.
In fact, one of my favorites, so. - We are! I was getting like a little haptic notification on mine. - Yes, little hint to the listeners, we're near one right now. Another thing that we can Another thing that we can do with MagicBand+ is the Batuu Bounty Hunters.
And that is a really fun, - Okay. interactive activity that you do in Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge. And this morning I started to do a little bounty hunting myself, I bagged a few bounties. And I'm happy to say that I'm already, I've already won more than a thousand credits in the experience, so it’s really fun. - Awesome, Tony.
It's just a really fun way to interact even more with the theme parks and just add a little more value to your Disney Parks experience. Absolutely, yes. - It breaks up your day a little bit. You know, when you've been waiting in lines, it's fun to maybe change gears and do something, you know, a little different. Yes, and you said day. But let's talk about night - Yeah.
because I know the MagicBand+ does something really cool? - They do and, you know, so I just set up my I just got my MagicBand+ last night and so I set it up yesterday and it was really neat because you can actually when you set it up, you have to pair it with your phone and it gives you all the instructions in the My Disney Experience app. And you can even customize the colors that it will glow. So I have mine for Disney+ Day - Oh, my gosh. was the option that I chose, but you can choose all sorts of colors. So then when you're in the parks in the evening, you can go watch Harmonious at EPCOT, or you can go see Enchantment at Magic Kingdom Park and it will actually glow. And it just really enhances your experience. - Oh, my gosh.
So I really love this experience. I didn't think that I would I was afraid that I was just going to be, oh, I'm just staring at my wrist all night. But no, it's really special. - Yeah.
Last night at Harmonious when I was experiencing it with my MagicBand+ it really helped to draw me into the show even more. It seemed like some of the slower, quieter parts of the show, it had a little bit more activity for me to show some additional interest and level of that. And during some of the more exciting parts, I could pay more attention to the show, or maybe see some of the extra flashy things. - Oh, that’s fun. Yeah. It was really well done. I was really surprised at how engaging and positive of a experience it was for me. - I love it.
I love it. It's just the plus says it all. - That’s so cool. It pluses the MagicBand. - Yes. Yes, yeah. - Yeah, that’s true.
So another key component of the MagicBand+ is that they're rechargeable. So unlike MagicBand, the battery would eventually wear out. - Right. These you can recharge it comes with the charging cable when you purchase it, so you just want to make sure that it's charged up before you get to the park. So my tip there would be if you are a Disney Resort hotel guest, you can order your MagicBands at a discounted rate ahead of time in your My Disney Experience account and I would charge it up and have it on your wrists ready to go. So as soon as you get there, you can unlock your door, you can start going to the parks and do all the fun things, so.
That's a great bonus. I mean, it does come charged, but it's better to have it ahead of time to get it fully charged is what you're saying. - Yes. You want to give it that extra boost. - Okay. Okay, extra boost. I like it.
Alright, now, Tony, when we go to Disneyland, are there any things that we can do at Disneyland with our MagicBand+? When MagicBand+ comes to Disneyland, - Yes. it’s going to do a lot of similar things. We'll be able to do park entry, Batuu Bounty Hunter will be there as well and access to Lightning Lanes. Okay, alright, so I love that we'll be able to soon use them on both coasts. Now, Eean, you like to shop. - Yeah.
I do. Especially for Disney stuff. - Same. I know that there's some wonderful technology advances, especially here in the parks - Yes. when it comes to shopping. - Right. Can you tell us more about that? - Yep! This is really cool, so my son, he really wanted this Stitch plush that was a Halloween Stitch.
And I was over at The Creation Shop - Yes. over at EPCOT the other day, which that's one of my favorite places to shop. And I saw it. But the line was, you know, a few people deep. And I needed to get on Guardians of the Galaxy because my boarding group had been called. So what I did was, I just opened my My Disney Experience app.
And all you have to do is, there's prompts there that will tell you and it is called Merchandise Mobile Checkout. - Okay. And you just select in the prompts, you have to select shop and store and then you choose. It's not every merchandise location, but it's, like The Creation Shop, World of Disney, The Emporium at Magic Kingdom.
So then you select the store you're in and then a barcode scanner pops up and you just walk up and scan your barcode. And then when you check out, the best thing is because I'm a DVC Member and I'm also an Annual Passholder, is my discounts were automatically applied, so I never had to get my card out. So then you can check out, you can use whatever payment method you have stored, you can use Apple Pay and then you get a barcode, or a QR code and before you leave you just show the cast member that's standing over by the door, they'll give you a bag, they check your QR code and it's really easy.
It's super quick. - It’s really, yeah, it’s convenient. My wife and I celebrated our anniversary a few weeks ago at the Disneyland Resort and she bought me a nice shirt and I saw that shirt! I love it. I do too, thank you. And we were able to just take it right to the exit. They even had the machine there to remove the security tag.
So convenient, so quick and easy. - Oh, wow! That's really important to mention. That security tag. That's great that they'll even, they'll do that for you. Now, if for some reason you get something like you buy a shirt and you try it on when you get back to your resort and it doesn't fit.
- Okay. You can access your receipts in the app on that screen. So right at the top it says, view purchases, and you can go in and go to all your receipts from that trip. So if you need to return it, you can do that. It also emails your receipt and it's good to know that it's right there in two places in case something doesn't fit, or it's not working. So that’s a good tip too. - Or you lose your receipt,
like me. - Yes! That’s me too. Yeah, I love having it digitally. That's so helpful. - Yeah. And I like that it's already included. That's so great. - That’s right. Alright, we talked about shopping. I think we should talk about food, please. - Yes.
Please, I mean we are at Disney. - I know! How can we use technology to, you know, maybe find food, book table service even? Is there a way that we can do that in these apps? There is! - Yeah? So mobile ordering is a great feature, right through, again, through the Walt Disney World, My Disney Experience app, or Or the Disneyland app. - Or the Disneyland app. Meal times at Disney, if you go in the parks during peak meal times, it can get busy. So I always recommend doing it in advance. So there might be an arrival window that doesn't match when we're going to be there. But then I can scroll through and pick the time that suits us.
- Yes. And not to worry, your food's not going to get cold. It's not going to be sitting there waiting for you and prepared hours before. All you have to do is when you get close to your location, you tap, I'm here and then you get a push notification on your phone when it's actually ready. That’s so fun. That's so easy and fresh food. - Yeah. It’s fresh, which is great. - I love it. It’s like a VIP treatment.
You get to bypass the line of people ordering the food still. Just, I’m here, and your food is prepared fresh and it’s awesome. And you can use any type of payment. So if you have a Disney gift card you want to pay with it, you can enter that. - Yes. But that's another reason to have your saved credit card on file, because when you go to check out, you don't have to type anything in. You just check out and it's waiting for you when you're ready.
Super smart. Now, I know that you and your husband, you're Passholders, right? Yes. So you guys, you kind of, you’ve gotten a little lenient when it comes to planning when you come to the parks, but - Yep.
you have a genius tip about table service. Would you mind sharing that with everyone? Absolutely. So when we started coming 12 years ago, we didn't have passes. And so we would plan every single second of our trips and make sure we had a full itinerary. Every minute was planned. - Yes. And once we got our passes, we kind of felt like, oh, we can go on short weekend trips and take our time. So now what we do, we don't necessarily always book our dining reservations in advance because maybe we won't feel like eating at ‘Ohana or, you know, a certain restaurant that day. - Right.
So we're just like, let's see where the wind takes us. And so there is a feature in your app, and you can get to it by going like you're going to make any dining reservations. You just click that plus sign in your app and you say, dining reservations and you search by time just like you would. But there's a little feature it says, now, and it's called Mobile Dine Walk-Up Availability. So when you click it, what it does is brings up all the restaurants that are in a certain radius of you that have availability for very soon.
It will tell you, like an estimated wait. So if you want to go and eat somewhere and you're nearby and you're like, let's see what's available. We pull it up, we search and oh, there's Liberty Tree in 20 Minutes and we click it and then we get a notification. We do our check in right there when we're ready. It says our table's ready.
And then we walk over and we eat, so we don't have to plan as much. So gives us a little more flexibility, which is always nice. But a lot of guests will ask us on the panel, I know we answer this a lot. Is, our favorite restaurant, or the restaurant my child really wanted to eat at is all booked out.
So what do we do? - Yes. And this is always a tip I give them because plans change all the time. I would say search for dining reservations, just keep searching up to your trip, but also use this feature because if you're nearby, you can search and you never know. It might pop up. So it’s a good backup. - We looked at last night and we were stunned
at how many restaurants and they were really kind of popular restaurants were available last night, the day of, you know, - Yeah. so that’s such a great tip, Alyssa. - Yeah, for sure. Some places even, don't even have advanced dining reservations like the Boardwalk section of Lamplight Lounge in Disney California Adventure Park. - Okay.
And they have a mobile walk-up list that you can join and it's really convenient. I love it. Another reason, though, to turn on your location services, because if you don't, it's not going to say anything near you is open because it doesn't recognize where you are, so. - Gotcha. Yeah. - That’s really smart.
Okay. I love that tip. Okay. Alright, there's so much I want to talk about, though. I feel like we haven't even talked about like the play part. We've talked about the shopping, we talked about the food, and we haven't talked about the play. I know you're my expert on that, Tony. - There’s plenty of play. I love the Play Disney Parks app.
It is one of my favorite experiences while visiting the Disney Parks. I love all the interactive things that you can do. Disneyland Resort - Yes. has some really special experiences for me in the Play Disney Parks app. One of them is in the queue for Peter Pan’s Flight. I'm not going to spoil any surprises, but make sure that you play the game that is associated with a queue for Peter Pan's Flight. - Love this.
And it is an amazing surprise at the end of that game. - I want to do this now. It makes me want to book at Disneyland trip. - I know, yeah, let’s all go! Let’s go, right now. I love that, but I know that you're big on your achievements, too. We talked a little bit about - Yeah.
how you just, you love to dabble. Would you mind sharing with us how many achievements do you have? - Well, last time I checked I have over 141 achievements in the Play Disney Parks app and counting. And I'm excited. I get to collect all of these achievements for all of the parks I go to, both here at Walt Disney World Resort and the Disneyland Resort. And it's just, it's been so fun to have that extra little challenge to enjoy while I am experiencing the parks together with my family.
That’s so great. Now, you can do that in the parks, but you told me something about at home. We can use it at home as well? - That’s true. There is some at home fun with the Play Disney Parks app as well.
There's trivia and other games that you can play and even more achievements to enjoy. Oh, my goodness. Okay. So adding that to our technology. - Yeah. I want you to take me to play Batuu Bounty Hunters. - I know. It’s a great way to pass time in line. - For sure. It’s a lot of fun. - It is.
Alright, well, we'll wrap up here soon and then we'll go play. Yes? Okay good. - Okay, yes. But we still have more to talk about. Oh, my gosh. Okay. Another thing that I know is coming up is, Alyssa, you told me about this. I think it's the DisneyMe,
is it like an avatar? What's that, that we're getting? We're getting that pretty soon, right? So the DisneyMe avatar is in the Play Disney Parks app. - Okay. So it's where you get to basically choose your own character, to choose. So when you're in the app, that's what displays and that's what's featured when you're playing in the parks. That’s cool, so we'll get a Tony avatar? I love how you can personalize the experience to you, it’s so neat. - I want to see with that looks like. I know, we have to see what your avatar is going to look like.
Oh, my gosh. Okay. Now, Eean, I know you have an affinity for cast compliments. Yeah, so do I. And I love that we can actually use technology to make that even easier. Can you tell us more? - You can! Okay, so back in the day, if you wanted to thank a cast member, I mean, you could do it verbally, but you also could fill out a form. - Yes.
And you would have to hand it in at Guest Relations at the park, or at the front desk of your resort hotel. But now it's so much easier. You just open up your My Disney Experience app.
And I know Tony said you can do this also on the Disneyland app. - That’s right. And all you do is you fill out, it’s a quick little form. It has some blanks to fill out. But the most important thing is, is you need to know the cast members name and hometown.
So when we were at the River Roost Lounge - Okay. the other night, we got incredible service from John. So I had to really squint hard to see that John was from Denver, Colorado and I made sure to send him a cast complement because he really gave us a little extra magic to our day, so.
It's always important just to let them know that we appreciate them going out of their way to make us happy. Yes, absolutely. And that's important that we know their name and where they’re from? - Name and hometown, if you're able to. Okay.
And, you know, some of the cast members are Disney College Program participants. - Yes. So they might have their university on their badge. So you can use that as well. That's so sweet. I love that. - Yeah. Like Eean said, it's at Disneyland Resort too and a couple weeks ago my wife and I were on Inside Out Emotional Whirlwind, the attraction there. And Antonio from El Monte, California, was operating the attraction as a Mind Worker.
He was so amazing, he was singing Riley's Bing Bong Imaginary Friend song and dancing, it was such - That’s awesome. an amazing experience with him. - Sometimes it’s the little things like that, right Tony? - Exactly! We walked away, went to breakfast, came back and walked by Emotional Whirlwind again. Antonio recognized us and said a little hi and greeting to us.
And I'm like, opened up the Disneyland app, cast complement. Way to go, Antonio. It was awesome. Cast members are truly the magic here. - Oh, gosh. That's my favorite thing is the interaction, so. - Yes.
To get to say thank you for that is a really cool thing. - They are. And I love that we can do that now and in an even easier way, which makes it easier for us to do it for more cast members. I love that. Okay, so we talked about the parks a lot with the technology that we can use here, but we haven't hopped into the resorts much. We did talk about the map, which is very, very key, but what else can we use the technology that we have available to us to help us navigate the resorts that we stay at, here in the parks? I don't know about Disneyland, but we have mobile Online Check-In here.
It's really nice. Do you have that as well? - At Disneyland too. Do you want to talk about it? And I can tell a little bit about how it works at Disney World. If you pre check-in on the app, either the Disneyland app or the My Disney Experience app. Have everything set up and aligned before you even arrive at the area at all. You can use that app, it'll get you set up to walk straight to your room basically, you get a notification - Yes.
when your room is ready. Tells you which room number and you can just walk right up to your room - That’s nice. use your app, or here at Walt Disney World, - Yes.
use your MagicBand and - Right. step right into your room. That's so fun.
Now, another thing that we can use our apps for, especially at the resorts, is their quick service options that tend to be at resorts and I think - Yes. some people forget that we actually can do that and we have that option there. And now, I know you and your husband love to do this and we talked about Pop Century and you guys have a whole little system that you use. - Yeah, so we love Pop Century because the Disney Skyliner is so convenient. And to me it's like a ride too. - Yes.
It’s so relaxing. - It is. So when we're coming back from EPCOT, or Hollywood Studios, we kind of like a tradition. We will place a mobile order for our dinner from the quick service at Pop Century. And when we land, we say, I'm here, and we walk over and our food's ready. We go back to our room, we set up and we put on a Disney movie on the TV and we watch a movie while we eat and kind of come down from the day.
So it's just kind of a little tradition to unwind from being in the parks and but yeah, I mean, it's super easy. So we do it on the Skyliner. - I love that tip. It’s a lot of fun. - I’m staying at Pop in November, I’m doing that. - Do that, for sure. It’s a lot of fun. Even if you're not getting dinner, hey, you could always use a cupcake.
You know, so. - That’s true. Or a dessert, so. - Yes. You know what? That makes me think of Disneyland right away. Every time I'm in Disneyland, I feel like I'm doing mobile ordering because you guys have the most delicious snacks. All I do is snack at Disneyland. - They do!
Is that something that you use? Do you utilize that when you're wanting to get snacks? All the time. Whether it's at our hotel or even in the parks, whatever, absolutely. One of my favorites is to get a Memory Refresher from Bing Bong’s in California Adventure Park.
Oh, yummy and that advance mobile order is just so convenient. We can walk off Inside Out Emotional Whirlwind and walk right into Bing Bong’s and get that sweet treat. So, Tony, I know there's a big announcement coming up.
It has something to do with maybe a hey and a Disney. Can you tell me more about that? - That’s right! Well, we can all use a little extra help on our Disney Parks vacations. And one thing that will - Yes. be available in Disney Resort Hotels is Hey Disney! It's a smart assistant, a smart speaker of sorts that you can interact with in your rooms and enjoy all kinds of features. This is something
that's in partnership with Amazon, powered by Alexa. - Perfect! And you get to interact with some of your favorite characters, maybe ask for things like, oh, Hey Disney! I need some more towels and those can be sent to you, or or check the weather, or enjoy some of the ways to plan for your day. That's so fun. I love that. Now, technology is everywhere and it's so helpful here in all the Disney Parks and even the resorts. Yes and some other things at the resort, if I can add real quick, - Please! So there is a way for you, if you're charging to your room at a Disney Resort hotel with your MagicBand, or your MagicMobile, you can go in and view your purchases and all of your charges in the app under your resort page.
You can also see the pool hours, the dining hours, and then there's some other things you can look at. Like I am a Disneyland specialist, so I'm not quite as experienced with Walt Disney World Resort. And I love how I can go into the app and find transportation options and see when things are and how I can get from place - Yes. to place from my Disney Resort. - When the bus is coming. Oh, it's so helpful. - Yes. So convenient.
Oh, my gosh. Okay. We've covered so much. We’ve covered a lot. You guys have given us so much information so far. I'm not done with you yet.
But as we think about it, the Disneyland app and the My Disney Experience app gives us so much to work with and it actually gives us a lot of solutions to some of the things that we may have to maneuver when we come to visit the parks. And I feel like we need to maybe talk to a cast member to find out, how do they implement these solutions? So we're going to do an interview with a cast member, and I want you guys to check that out now. Hi, Gina! It is so nice to meet you and I'm so glad that you're here.
Very happy to be here. Thank you so much for having me. Oh, I'm so excited. I have a lot to ask you, so get ready. Lots of questions coming your way. - I’m ready.
I’m ready, I’m here for it. - So are you up? You're up for a Q&A, a fun one? Oh, yes. Absolutely. - Perfect. Yes, okay. So tell us a little bit about yourself and your role with the Digital Experience Team. Yes, so I am a Product Director within the tech and digital space. I have the pleasure of working on the Connected Products Team and portfolio. Basically, we support MagicBand+, MagicMobile as a product offering and really just bridging the gap between physical and digital for guests.
Awesome. Oh, gosh. You have like one of the coolest jobs. I think tech jobs are just so cool, especially nowadays.
You guys do so much. I'm one of those people that loves tech, but I'm not very good at it. So I want to know what is it like to be a part of a team that brought this new wearable technology to Disney Parks? Yeah, it's so fun. We get to work on some really cool stuff and I get to work alongside some of the most talented people that I have ever worked with.
It's been a career first for me to be able to work on products that are physical, like the MagicBand+, and bring the digital and interactive elements together. So I just, I really enjoy the space and all of the possibilities that it brings. Okay, so what's been like, your favorite moment working on the MagicBand+ project? Has it been anything like really cool that you're like, oh my gosh, I can't believe I got to be a part of that? Yeah, definitely. I mean, there have been so many favorite moments.
I think two of them stick out. The first one is the first time I ever received the MagicBand+ like, could put it on and actually see it light up and test all of the cool things that we were talking about for so long. That was a huge moment for me.
I think the second is kind of related to that, but being able to see MagicBand+ on guests for the first time was also huge. You take something that you've been talking about for so long and actually then get to see it in the wild and bringing magic to guests. And it's just, it's so wonderful. Okay. I have a hard question for you. Do you have a favorite band? - Okay.
Oh, I do. I'm actually wearing it. It's the Tinker Bell band, - Okay. Tinker Bell is my favorite character. So, yes, that is definitely my favorite one so far.
Oh, my goodness. I love Tink, too. She's so sassy. - Yeah. Now, what's your favorite feature of the MagicBand+? Honestly, I think one of the cool features about it is whenever you double tap on the band, it actually lights up and we have unique animations for different variations of the band. So something that we didn't really talk about broadly, but that was really cool for guests to be able to discover on their own and kind of get excited to see what each of the different designs had to offer. That's so cool. Now, I know one of the really cool parts is that the band can interact in the parks.
So what's your favorite way to use it in that way? Yeah. So family favorite, my children actually came out and were able to experience the Batuu Bounty Hunter interactive experience in Galaxy's Edge. My daughter actually now calls herself, her nickname used to be Shea Bear. She now calls herself Bounty Bear because she is so into the experience. But honestly, that is one of my favorite ones because, you know, you take something physical in the land, in the MagicBand+, and you really just get to experience something in a completely new way. And it's just been really fun.
Oh, I love it. I'm a big Star Wars fan, so I'm excited to finally use my MagicBand+ in Batuu and see all the magic that happens. - Awesome. Yes, absolutely. Alright, I have one last question for you. - Sure.
Now, with MagicBand+ launching soon at Disneyland Resort, what tips would you share with guests who might be using wearable technology for the very first time? Yeah, I would say spend a little bit of time familiarizing yourself with what the product is so that you're set up for success whenever you go to use it. So we have a lot of resources that are going to be available to Disneyland guests so that they can learn how to link, pair, update, but really just, you know, familiarize yourself with it so you can take advantage of all of the hands free conveniences that it offers, as well as the new interactive experiences. Gina, you are the coolest. You have a cool job.
You're obviously a cool mom. We are so excited that you got to hop in and chat with us today. Thank you so much for being here. Awesome. Thank you for having me. Welcome back, panelists. Okay, now, we've covered a lot so far, but I feel like there is at least a few more things that might be helpful for the guests as they're enjoying the parks.
One is Disney Genie and one is Disney Genie+. - Definitely. There's the plus again, right? The plus. - Yes. There’s actually three things that we want to highlight here. There's the Disney Genie service, its complimentary. The Disney Genie+ service that you can purchase.
And there's also some individual Lightning Lanes that you can enjoy while you’re staying. Oh, wow. Alright, so I feel like we should break each one down, sound good? Yeah? Let's start with Disney Genie. - Yeah!
Okay, so Disney Genie is a complimentary service, like you said. So this is free to any guests. And I highly recommend if it's your first time or you haven't been in a while, you use this because you don't want to get to the parks and look around and be like, what should I do? And not know what to do. So this actually, you go in, you can do it at home ahead of your trip, which I think is pretty cool. You can preplan your days.
You go in and you put in all of the attractions, the entertainment everything you want to do that day. It already has your dining reservations linked in there and so you kind of choose what you want. And then it does an itinerary for your day and they base it off of like historical wait times. So they kind of estimate the wait times and try and get you the most, the less time you wait in line, the better kind of thing. So it kind of prioritizes for you and tells you where to go. So you can go in to your Tip Board and your My Disney Genie Day and it just kind of tells you what you should do next and like the times that you should do certain things so you know where to go and you don't have to wander around wondering, what should I do next? So it's a really neat tool. I highly recommend, especially first timers, check it out.
Oh, my goodness. Okay, so we get that complimentary? Yes, complimentary. - That's so great. Now, I know if we take a step up, that's Disney Genie+. Right? Okay. - Yeah. The plus is exactly what it sounds like.
It's the same thing but plused. So this debuted last year and it is an optional add on, you do not have to get it. I like it.
I've used it several times since it debuted last October and I enjoy using it, especially at certain parks. It works a little differently. There’s most, mostly the same, but a little differently between Walt Disney World and Disneyland. But at Walt Disney World, the only way you can purchase it is the day of your trip. At the Disneyland Resort, you can purchase the Disney Genie+ service starting when you enter the park with your ticket. You can purchase it at that time and start to make Lightning Lane reservations after you purchase it then.
Or at the Disneyland Resort, there's another thing that you can do. You can pre-purchase Disney Genie+ service when you buy your tickets as well. That's really nice.
So fun. Now, we talked about Disney Genie+ and then you guys brought up Lightning Lanes a lot. So maybe we should explain what that is - Yeah.
and how guests can actually take advantage of that option. So you have the Lightning Lane options that are provided through Disney Genie+ service and there are over 40 attractions right now that have Disney Genie+ service. But then there's another option in addition to that. So you've got those 40 with Disney Genie+ service and then over here you've got some that are called individual Lightning Lanes.
Those are like à la carte. - Okay. And those are usually the most popular attractions in the parks, of course. I like how you can use both Disney Genie+ service and the individual Lightning Lanes together. You don't have to choose one or the other. - Yeah. You can use both of those services and - Yes.
same thing at Disneyland Resort too, but at Disneyland Resort, you can purchase your individual Lightning Lanes after you’ve entered the park. I should mention one more thing with Disney Genie+ service at the Disneyland Resort. Another thing that comes with your service there is you can have you have complimentary downloads, of all of your Disney PhotoPass photos - Oh, right. while you have that - That’s really nice.
Disney Genie+ service added to your ticket. - Yes. We don't have that at Walt Disney World, - Oh, my gosh. but we do have some really cool augmented reality photo lenses. So it's kind of fun that you can just get your phone out and do a selfie and then all of a sudden Minnie Mouse is sitting on your shoulder or, you know, maybe you try, my favorite is it turns you into a genie like your skin turns blue, and you get a goatee. My kids were kind of mortified when I put that on Instagram, but it's really fun.
And there's also Audio Tales. So is that at Disneyland as well? - It is yes. So it's kind of like your own personal tour guide. - It’s so amazing. I don't know if you all have used them, but I love them because I love to learn the history behind the parks. - Okay. But it's just like a little audio clip and they'll show up. Actually, when you go into your My Disney Genie Day in your Tip Board, It says, Audio Tales. When you go in, there's a map and it has a little icon.
You click on it and it goes through the spiel. So, like I got to hear the history behind Big Thunder Mountain Railroad which is one of my favorite attractions and I was like, who knew? It was so fascinating. Oh, my gosh, so all of that is included. Yes! - Okay.
I want to point out one last thing about individual Lightning Lanes. You can choose your return window. So with Disney Genie+ Lightning Lanes, you can't. It's the next available time. But with individual Lightning Lanes, you can choose your return time. So that’s important. - Oh, my gosh. That’s so cool.
Okay, you guys gave us so much information, but sadly, it's almost time to go. But before we do, I think we're going to do a Lightning Lane. Are you guys, A Lightning Lane. A lightning round! - Ready, yep! It's already in my brain, see I’m ready to book them.
So let's do a little lightning round. Very, very quick questions. Give me the first answer that comes to your head. - Yep!
So we're going to do Eean, Alyssa and then Tony. - Let’s do it! Alright, so we're going to do first one. Ready? - Yep! Favorite digital service or feature to use? Easy, MagicBand. MagicBand. Okay.
Mobile order for sure. - Gotcha. Oh, same. I haven't eaten lunch yet and I'm getting hungry. So it's mobile food and beverage order. Okay, next question. Favorite digital tip to share with guests? I have a good one. So listen up. The Genie+, set an alarm on your watch, or your phone so that you don't forget to make your next one because I do forget.
Get to know the app before you come to the parks. Play with it at home, so you know how to use it when you get here. - Love it. My favorite is when I see other guests acting a little curious around the fortune tellers at the Disneyland Resort. There's Esmeralda at the Candy Palace and Fortune Red in New Orleans Square. My favorite tip is to say, hey, you know what? There's this free app called the Play Disney Parks app.
And if you use that to interact with the fortune tellers, you get one free fortune each each day - Wow! from each Fortune Red and Esmeralda when you go visit the parks. No wonder why you’re so lucky. - Oh, my gosh. Yes. Always so lucky. Okay, all good answers. Oh, my gosh. - Thank you. Thank you guys so much. I love this! - Thank you! You guys are so great.
Thank you so much for tuning in to this episode of the planDisney Podcast. Make sure you check out a new episode every third Wednesday of the month and if you're enjoying the podcast, be sure to leave us a review. In the meantime, you can check out the @planDisneypanel over on Instagram and you can also check out @planDisney over on Twitter.
If you have a question of your own, be sure to stop by planDisney.com to ask your question and the panelists would love to answer it for you. To stay up on the latest news, be sure to stop by Disney Parks Blog. A big thank you to our panelists today for all of their helpful information and a big thank you to our sponsor, State Farm. We'll see you real soon.
A big thank you to our panelists for being here today and for all your helpful information so much and a big thank you to our sponsors, State Farm.