Starting March 20th, if a guest purchases or renews a Walt Disney World Annual Pass they will receive an RFID Pass. These passes will allow guests to enter the parks via the Nex-Gen turnstiles. If you have an existing Annual Pass and would like to change it over to the new RFID system, you can go to the Odyssey Center in EPCOT between March 20, 2013 and May 19, 2013. All passes will have a green background and a stripe will be included on it to indicate whether or not it is entitled to free parking. If a pass has free parking it will have an orange stripe, if it doesn’t it will have a black stripe.
We’re just cross pollinating the internet with the full text of Iger’s letter to congress retorting the privacy issues with MyMagic+ and the MagicBand. The most notable take-aways are that guests will have a card option that wont transmit long range like the bands, that the bands aren’t GPS enabled in any fashion, and that guests using FastPass in the future will have to provide at least their name and email address.
As part of the The Congressional Privacy Caucus, Representative Markey (D- Mass.) has sent a letter to Bob Iger, CEO of the Disney corporation to ask several pointed questions about privacy concerns relating to the new MagicBand and MyMagic+ systems. Disney had intended to begin rolling out these systems in the coming months – rumors say as early as February for select resort locations – and was gaining publicity for the innovative data collection and park experience customization systems in the media, in particular the New York Times.
The New York Times articles is cited several times in the letter from Markey to Iger as a basis for the questions the caucus is asking. Technically the caucus is not a formal committee and has no subpoena power, but Disney is expected to respond with at least minimal answers to quell public worry over their systems.
The full letter, in PDF form, can be found here: http://markey.house.gov/sites/markey.house.gov/files/documents/Letter%20–%20Disney%20–%201-24-13.pdf
Snow Globes used to be one of the most popular vacation souvenirs at the Walt Disney World Resort. Then there was the TSA and the ban on liquids in carry-on luggage. This killed snow globe sales within Walt Disney World, though some guests do choose to either risk their snow globe being broken in checked luggage or have it shipped to their home at a somewhat costly markup.
Today, that changes!
TSA allows small snow globes in carry-on luggage when packed in a passenger’s plastic 3-1-1 bag: Snow globes that appear to contain less than 3.4 ounces (approximately tennis-ball size) will be permitted if the entire snow globe, including the base, is able to fit in the same one clear, plastic, quart-sized, re-sealable bag as a passenger’s other liquids.
Now it’s a matter or snow globe size. Those huge honking ones are not likely to be approved anytime soon, but this is a step in the right direction. No more snow globes in TSA trashcans at checkpoints and no more paying for shipping charges that often cost just as much as the snow globe itself.
We hear that Disney already clearing out shelf space on Main Street USA in preparation of the coming snow globe harvest over the holidays. And a side note – you can actually buy the snow globe of the castle pictured above from Amazon.
Over the course of the next month the Walt Disney World Resort will be installing “touch to pay” RFID readers at all of its merchandise and sales locations which accept the Disney Resort room key charge (except valet, laundry, and arcade locations in the resorts.)
Beginning in December a phased roll-out of the program will begin with select resorts having their guests create a pin-number at the time of check in. By the end of January all resorts are expected to be live on the program with touch-to-pay capabilities on all room key cards with charging privileges.
This is the first step in the RFID NextGen integration, which will be followed by conversion to the wristband system replacing room keys cards and ticket media in the coming months.
Disney filed a permit today to begin installing FASTPASS signage at several attractions in Epcot and Disney’s Hollywood Studios. The attractions listed below will receive FASTPASS in the near future. As you may notice, several of these attractions were outfitted with FASTPASS+ RFID scanners as we’ve documented here on the Epcyclopedia blog.
- Spaceship Earth
- The Seas with Nemo and Friends
- Turtle Talk
- Journey into Imagination with Figment
Disney’s Hollywood Studios:
- Muppetvision 3D
- The Great Movie Ride
- Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular
- Americal Idol
- Disney Jr Live on Stage
One address, 396 Cypress Drive we don’t recognize, but if we had to guess we’d say it’s the Studio Backlot Tram Tour.
Walt Disney World has just announced that Disney vacation Club members can purchase Premium Annual Passes for the Walt Disney World resort for just $399 October – December 2012. Here’s the full details straight from Disney:
Now, See the World and Save Even More…
The successes of the past year are just the beginning. Looking forward, the team is thrilled to be able to provide a sneak peak at two fantastic Member Perks that will become available on Oct 1:
- From October 1 through December 31, 2012, Members will be able to purchase a Walt Disney World Premium Annual Pass for just $399 (that’s a savings of $300 off the regular price!)*. Premium Annual Passholders enjoy unlimited admission to four Theme Parks, a year’s worth of unlimited access to Disney’s Blizzard Beach Water Park and Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon Water Parks, DisneyQuest Indoor Interactive Theme Park, ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex, Disney’s Oak Trail Golf Course (greens fees only) and more!
Insider’s Tip: A Premium Annual Pass certificate is not activated as a ticket until it is used the first time. So, if you’ve already purchased an Annual Pass, you can still take advantage of this offer by purchasing it now (between Oct. 1 and Dec. 31, 2012), but waiting to activate it until after your current pass has expired. Passes purchased on this offer must be redeemed by December 31, 2013.
- October 1 will also mark the launch of a new ongoing Member perk – 10% off merchandise** at all Disney owned and operated merchandise locations at Parks and Resorts at Disneyland, Walt Disney World, Disney’s Vero Beach Resort, Disney’s Hilton Head Island Resort and Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa, Ko Olina, Hawai’i.
Visit dvcmember.com on October 1 for more details!
*Passes are non-transferable and non-refundable, are only valid during regularly scheduled operating hours and exclude activities/events priced separately. No additional discounts apply. Passes do not include admission to theme park activities/events that are separately priced. Each of the water parks is refurbished annually. These routine maintenance periods are often staggered, enabling our Guests to enjoy at least one water park experience year-round. Water parks are also subject to weather closure. Disney’s Oak Trail Golf Course tee times are required and subject to availability. ESPN Wide World of Sports days of operation depend on event schedule.
**Discount is not valid on previous purchases or on purchases of ticket media, gift certificates, Disney Gift Cards, Park Admission, Arcades, Disney Dollars, tobacco, alcohol, Outdoor Vending (e.g., in-Park balloon vendors, glow vendors), Add-a-Dollar (Wildlife Conservation Fund), postage stamps, rentals (e.g., strollers, ECV), personalization, Disney’s PhotoPass® Online, framed Disney Dollars, Artist Sketch Program (original art), original or consignment art, newspapers/periodicals, videos, DVDs, CDs, sundries, pantry/prepared foods, digital/video/disposable cameras, consumer electronics, Titleist® and Cobra® golf equipment, National branded fragrances, treatments and cosmetics, Lladro, Armani, Hummel, Swarovski® Crystal, Walt Disney Classics Collection, select collectible originals, handmade items, special orders, Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique and Pirate League packages, shipping or taxes. A valid DVC Member ID must be presented at time of purchase to receive discount. May not be combined with any other discount, offer, or promotion.
Very few details are known at the moment, but plans are in the works to bring the successful Cars Land and Radiator Springs Racers to Disney’s Hollywood Studios theme park. In particular, the much maligned Lights, Motors, Actions Stunt Show will be replaced and that back section of the park will be reworked to incorporate the new attraction.For a detailed look at the attraction as it opened in California please see our recent coverage of the grand opening events.
Disney will neither confirm nor deny the talk of the forthcoming attraction, nor has it given a closure date for Lights, Motors, Action Stunt Show. At the same time, Disney has relocated high level staff from the Cars Land project in Calfiornia to Florida and has begun outsourcing projects to design teams based in Florida. Also, they have filed permits in late July to reconfigure the Backlot Tram Tour and move the security offices backstage to allow more room in this area for the expansion.
Walt Disney World donated $150,000 to the Osceola Board of County Commissioners for its public library project in Celebration, giving residents of West Osceola access to a greater number of books, computers and other public resources.
The library, already under construction and expected to open early next year, will feature a collection of resources double the size of what’s currently available at the West Osceola Library near Celebration. It will also include a children’s area, meeting space for groups, dedicated area for teenagers and three times as many public computers with wireless computer access.
“Disney offered a gift that will enrich Celebration and the surrounding communities for generations to come,” said David Barnett, library contract manager for Osceola County. “It is our hope that this library will be a wonderful place where the seeds of creative thought will be planted and nurtured for people of all ages, giving us a greater understanding of our yesterday, and enriching our hopes and ideas for tomorrow.”
The new 10,000-square-foot building is located near the intersection of Campus Street and Celebration Boulevard.
“At its root, Disney is a story-telling company. Most of the Disney movies our children and grandchildren love today were inspired by characters who were first brought to life in books,” said Betty Lowery, Walt Disney World manager of community relations who presented the donation. ”It’s natural that Disney supports the work of our public libraries.”
In 2006, the West Osceola branch of the library opened in a 2,000 square-foot storefront on Highway 192. Previous to that, residents of Celebration developed their own library in a space shared with the town’s elementary school and entirely staffed with local volunteers.
Disney filed permits today to get the ball rolling on work to revamped the much maligned Studio Tram Tour at Disney’s Hollywood Studios at Walt Disney World. The attraction has sagged in attendance recently as it has been systematically reduced over the years from a half-day multi-part attraction to a mere shell of its former offerings that few guests are interested in seeing anymore.
The paperwork notes that these initial projects that focus on the queue and tram loading areas should be complete by the middle of 2013. There are additional permits that focus of the re-purposing and revamping of the Studios security offices to reconfigure the general area for future expansion possibilities as well.