A few more bits of news to coincide with the tiered testing at Hollywood Studios and Epcot. Pop Century will be testing MagicBand only for incoming resort guests. Note you can still get a Key To The World card, however it will be an RFID card with either no magnetic strip/deactivated strip. This means it will not work with the paper FastPass machines, though it acts as a MagicBand and can be used for room key, touch to pay, FastPass +, and park entry. Keep in mind down the road this is Disney’s goal for all resorts and to phase out the paper FastPass system, but more on that in a bit.
Next up is starting November 17, Disney began requiring MagicBands (or the RFID Key Cards) for Extra Magic Hours. Extra Magic Hours, for those unfamiliar with them, are the resort only times that one of the four parks is open either an hour early or up to 3 hours later than normal hours. What this means is before you can go thru the admission gates your MagicBand or card will be scanned by Cast Members with a portable scanner before you may proceed. This change is currently only applying to the morning Extra Magic Hours, though they have done limited testing in September and October with Evening hours. Evening Hours requires more checks since they do not clear out the park first. They will likely be added on in the near future as they work out the logistics of doing the efficiently. If you are staying at the Hilton Downtown Disney, Shades of Green or the Swan and Dolphin you can still get in of the morning hours with a valid room key. Personally I see this leading to some irritation since you effectively are waiting to scan your MagicBand twice.
Disney has also handed the MyMagic+ project over to the Walt Disney World President George A. Kalogridis. He is now tasked, aside from overseeing everything else in Walt Disney World, the implementation of MyMagic+ from MagicBands to FastPass+. Disney is pulling those responsible for developing the system back into other projects. I think the jury is still out on whether they are confident all will go well or whether they want to give Mr. Kalogridis a massive headache.
Finally, for now, MyMagic+ final rollout is officially delayed. It will be several months before full rollout is implemented, now the responsibility of WDW President Kalogridis, though no specific date is being given. The date has been getting slowly nudged back on and off for a while as originally they had wanted it up and going be the end of the fiscal year that ended in September. However, the project is so massive it is taking longer than they originally thought to get everything up and running smoothly. Current speculation is paper FastPasses will continue for another six months and current word is Passholders will hear about their MagicBands in February. As of right now all the Disney Resorts have the system installed and guests testing them, but they are not consistently supporting reusing a MagicBand if you have a return trip during testing, nor have they fully addressed Passholders and offsite Guests. Passholders can tie their Pass to My Disney Experience and use a MagicBand, but there are still occasional hiccups with that.
Keep in mind while paper Fastpasses still exist the number issued per day by them has been decreased as they rollout more people on the MagicBand/FastPass+ system.