Disney World Goes High-Tech — and High-Class — for Your Next Vacation
Among the new additions to Disney Parks, the MagicBand wristband. (Photo: Disney)
By Carole Sovocool
In a deliberate act of cross-company promotion, the recent season finale of ABC’s sitcom “The Middle” featured the hapless Heck family making a road trip to Disney World. (Disney owns ABC.) As always, the family’s rough luck dogs them — until they are the unlikely recipients of a significant room upgrade. Instead of being crammed into a regular Disney hotel room (garden view), the working-class Hecks get to luxuriate in a suite made for a king — with three bedrooms, four bathrooms, TVs in all rooms (including embedded in the bathroom mirrors), a living room, a media room and a full kitchen with high-end appliances and granite countertops.
This, however, is not the realm of the writers’ imaginations. It’s the newest suite at the resort’s premier Grand Floridian hotel, and it’s available to anyone who wants to cough up the $2,400-a-night rate.
The suites, which sleep 12 (so opportunities abound to split the bill), are part of the Disney Vacation Club timeshare properties and range in size from studio suites to capacious luxury villas. What many people don’t realize is that you don’t have to be one of the timeshare owners to enjoy them — unused properties go into the reservation system for guests to book at rack rates through all the usual travel sites.
Disney’s latest (and most luxurious) suite inside the Grand Floridian Resort & Spa costs up to $2,400 a night! (Photo: Kent Phillips/Disney)
Visitors to Disney World this summer will also be able to enjoy the new, ticketless, technology-based experience at the parks. The technology is called MyMagic+ — a Web site, mobile app and wristband combo that will shape and, it’s hoped, streamline your theme-park vacation.
The MyMagic+ experience begins even before departure at MyDisneyExperience.com. Here, you can plan your trip, synch it with other members of your group, and most importantly, order and load up a waterproof bracelet that will be your new “key to the magic.” (Read: key and charging.)
This MagicBand, which comes in a variety of colors and personalization options, will also act as your PhotoPass and FastPass+ to further streamline your visit. Three passes per day can be loaded onto the band up to 60 days before your vacation (30 days for those not staying at onsite hotels). At the park, once you have used a FastPass, you can then log on to the mobile app or head to a park kiosk to load up another.