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Magic Band Nightmare

zjenopks

New Member
Original Poster
I just had an opportunity to test the bands this week, and I just have to say it was a nightmare experience. The resort and park staff could not get my daughters' tickets to work with their bands so they were denied admittance to parks, they could not fast pass, we could not make dining reservations. I stood in line or sat on phone hold more than four hours during our trip last week, and no one was able to help us. They just kept shrugging their shoulders and passing us off to other people. Or they would stand around in a group and stare at the screen and say, "Wow, we don't know how to fix that. This is a job for IT." "IT will email you when it's fixed." "IT doesn't work weekends." We lost two of our four days on vacation to this nightmare and Disney did ZERO to compensate us for our troubles -- and we paid full fare. They told us that since we chose to use the bands this was the risk we ran. Only, we were not given a choice; we were told this was just the new system.

The website was buggy, and their kiosks were constantly down. My BIL who works in IT Support for a major cell phone company and was traveling with us, commented that he thinks the same people who built the Obamacare site built the mydisneyexperience site -- it was that bad. It was not ready to go live. And Disney had no common sense stopgaps in place for situations that could not be managed. I asked for a business or VIP card I could show at the park to get my kids in. I asked for the bands to be reissued. I asked for escalation in support. I called the internet help line, and I was told by the person who answered the phone that I needed to call the internet help line. Mydisneyexperience was THAT ridiculous. No solutions or compensation were offered or provided. Disney just kept canceling my kids tickets and reissuing them, which never fixed the problem.

Ultimately, the issue was that they could not link the tickets to my children's avatars. So they made shadow avatars, which then made the problem even more confusing and difficult to resolve because the shadows would not link either. And then, in a final act of desperation they told me that this was my travel agent's fault and there was nothing more they could do for me unless I showed up in person with the agent at one of their guest services locations. What are the odds of any guest being able to make a travel agent magically appear? As luck would have it, I actually had access to my agent and drug him to the support counter in downtown Disney. We stood in line and he did nothing but lend me moral support until they completely wiped out both of my children's accounts and reissued their passes in about 10 minutes. When the agent asked if he could have done something different to avoid the issue, the employee said, no this was an implementation issue on our end. So it WAS Disney's problem the entire time. Their staff just passed the buck over and over. Everyone in our tour group had some sort of issue, no one was immune.

I was only able to make fast pass selections for myself, but the rides I wanted to do were already booked. So I what I see coming is the need to schedule rides like dining experiences -- 6 months in advance and after you've already paid the money for the trip. Anyone who wants to attach their credit card to a system so buggy and poorly designed is asking for trouble. I would wait to visit Disney until next year. Hopefully they can get the kinks worked out and actually train their staff on implementation by then. Meanwhile, we repurposed a 1st Visit button we found to a "Last Visit."
 

Disney Daddy

Active Member
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WOW! Definitely NOT good news. I hope these kinks are worked out before we arrive in May 2014! Shame on Disney for not doing more to help you! I'm still trying to figure out this magic band system. I'm not liking what I am hearing!
 

RandomPrincess

Keep Moving Forward
I find it crazy that some people go on a trip and everything is fine and other guests are having problems this major. What the heck is going on with their system!
 

Weather_Lady

Well-Known Member
I find it crazy that some people go on a trip and everything is fine and other guests are having problems this major. What the heck is going on with their system!
I agree. I've gotten the sense from several of the posters on this board that because some people are not having any issues, they just don't believe that others could have had the problems they describe. It is frustrating to read someone's detailed account of their NextGen issues and then see responses like, "Nah, I used a MagicBand and it worked fine for me so therefore the system works," as though every positive experience somehow negates or devalues someone else's nightmare one. Clearly, as you observed, the problem is tied to inequities and selective issues within the system itself, specific to particular accounts and particular users. The anecdotal reports I've seen so far generally indicate that if you have issues, they're likely to loom large and occur repeatedly, and if you have none, you're likely to sail through without any major problems arising. Experiences are, like the "little girl who had a little curl" in the nursery rhyme, either very good or horrid.

I still maintain that an IT system that consistently, repeatedly and incurably fails an appreciable portion of its users is a failed system, even if the rest of the users have a successful experience. It doesn't sound like WDW is responding appropriately to those whose vacation experiences have suffered (I'm not talking about people with minor issues, but those who've had needless, recurrent, major, time-sucking problems that WDW repeatedly failed to fix, like the OP) as a result of WDW's poor design and/or implementation of NextGen. It's disappointing at every level.
 
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ABQ

Well-Known Member
Though I have a trip scheduled in December and have setup all the FP+ stuff, customized the bands and all, I'm still reserving my judgement on the whole experience till I deal with it personally. Like the way they score diving in the Olympics (or used to, I believe) I'm dropping the lowest and highest score and averaging the rest. So the stunning reviews of MDE and the horrid ones like this one above are tossed out. Not because I don't believe them, but more because extremes are vocalized more than what I consider the real world average experience, which is what I assume I'll get.
 

Cesar R M

Well-Known Member
Maybe they were right, the company that did your reservations... incorrectly registered you to disney's system.
as a IT engineer, It ****es me off that many people who are tasked to register the clients(third party vendors for example, I work as IT for a Private Concierge Service) ... they make a lot of mistakes (due of lazyness or rush.. I dont know). And I am the one who has the fix these issues.


Really bad that you got such awful service..

In my case.. I luckily had only a small bug that was easily fixed by the IT staff of Disney World via email (found the bug before departing to WDW) related to my dinner reservations.
So I had no real issues with my stay.


I still maintain that an IT system that consistently, repeatedly and incurably fails an appreciable portion of its users is a failed system, even if the rest of the users have a successful experience. It doesn't sound like WDW is responding appropriately to those whose vacation experiences have suffered (I'm not talking about people with minor issues, but those who've had needless, recurrent, major, time-sucking problems that WDW repeatedly failed to fix, like the OP) as a result of WDW's poor design and/or implementation of NextGen. It's disappointing at every level.
As a IT engineer, I can tell you that some of the issues are because the higher management and bosses do not care what happens as long "it works and is cheap as possible".
Also, Most do not understand the complexibility and the requirement to develop and test properly something like the WDW system. They just want it "done yesterday" and "with the tools you have" with the minimal cost possible.
 

GeekDad

Active Member
Last I heard during the testing phase Disney was handing out KTTW cards along with the magic bands and telling everyone to keep both with them just incase. Several comments in other posts reflect this. Did they all of a sudden stop doing this? I'm not trying to be a jerk and I understand other people are having issues too but this sounds a little far fetched if they are still handing out cards to everyone else.
 

Master Yoda

Pro Star Wars geek.
Premium Member
Last I heard during the testing phase Disney was handing out KTTW cards along with the magic bands and telling everyone to keep both with them just incase. Several comments in other posts reflect this. Did they all of a sudden stop doing this? I'm not trying to be a jerk and I understand other people are having issues too but this sounds a little far fetched if they are still handing out cards to everyone else.
The next phase of testing has guests getting only the Magic Band. I don't have the exact dates when this will happen, but I think it has currently entered this phase ofrit is right around the corner.
 

reptar77

Well-Known Member
Last I heard during the testing phase Disney was handing out KTTW cards along with the magic bands and telling everyone to keep both with them just incase. Several comments in other posts reflect this. Did they all of a sudden stop doing this? I'm not trying to be a jerk and I understand other people are having issues too but this sounds a little far fetched if they are still handing out cards to everyone else.
We just got back and were part of the Grandflo test group. We were given KTTW cards just in case. My husbands Magic band didn't work one day but he was able to do everything with the KTTW card. His band issue was fixed within 10-15min after we got back to the resort.
 

RandomPrincess

Keep Moving Forward
Last I heard during the testing phase Disney was handing out KTTW cards along with the magic bands and telling everyone to keep both with them just incase. Several comments in other posts reflect this. Did they all of a sudden stop doing this? I'm not trying to be a jerk and I understand other people are having issues too but this sounds a little far fetched if they are still handing out cards to everyone else.
If your tickets are not linked to your account in their system it's not a matter of just switching to the KTTW card. Both will show you do not have valid admission. The KTTW card only works if your band is not transmitting properly to the reader.
 

ford91exploder

Resident Curmudgeon
I just had an opportunity to test the bands this week, and I just have to say it was a nightmare experience. The resort and park staff could not get my daughters' tickets to work with their bands so they were denied admittance to parks, they could not fast pass, we could not make dining reservations. I stood in line or sat on phone hold more than four hours during our trip last week, and no one was able to help us. They just kept shrugging their shoulders and passing us off to other people. Or they would stand around in a group and stare at the screen and say, "Wow, we don't know how to fix that. This is a job for IT." "IT will email you when it's fixed." "IT doesn't work weekends." We lost two of our four days on vacation to this nightmare and Disney did ZERO to compensate us for our troubles -- and we paid full fare. They told us that since we chose to use the bands this was the risk we ran. Only, we were not given a choice; we were told this was just the new system.

The website was buggy, and their kiosks were constantly down. My BIL who works in IT Support for a major cell phone company and was traveling with us, commented that he thinks the same people who built the Obamacare site built the mydisneyexperience site -- it was that bad. It was not ready to go live. And Disney had no common sense stopgaps in place for situations that could not be managed. I asked for a business or VIP card I could show at the park to get my kids in. I asked for the bands to be reissued. I asked for escalation in support. I called the internet help line, and I was told by the person who answered the phone that I needed to call the internet help line. Mydisneyexperience was THAT ridiculous. No solutions or compensation were offered or provided. Disney just kept canceling my kids tickets and reissuing them, which never fixed the problem.

Ultimately, the issue was that they could not link the tickets to my children's avatars. So they made shadow avatars, which then made the problem even more confusing and difficult to resolve because the shadows would not link either. And then, in a final act of desperation they told me that this was my travel agent's fault and there was nothing more they could do for me unless I showed up in person with the agent at one of their guest services locations. What are the odds of any guest being able to make a travel agent magically appear? As luck would have it, I actually had access to my agent and drug him to the support counter in downtown Disney. We stood in line and he did nothing but lend me moral support until they completely wiped out both of my children's accounts and reissued their passes in about 10 minutes. When the agent asked if he could have done something different to avoid the issue, the employee said, no this was an implementation issue on our end. So it WAS Disney's problem the entire time. Their staff just passed the buck over and over. Everyone in our tour group had some sort of issue, no one was immune.

I was only able to make fast pass selections for myself, but the rides I wanted to do were already booked. So I what I see coming is the need to schedule rides like dining experiences -- 6 months in advance and after you've already paid the money for the trip. Anyone who wants to attach their credit card to a system so buggy and poorly designed is asking for trouble. I would wait to visit Disney until next year. Hopefully they can get the kinks worked out and actually train their staff on implementation by then. Meanwhile, we repurposed a 1st Visit button we found to a "Last Visit."
This is a perfect example of a poorly thought out system, I've dealt with issues like this in the past and one was a online registration system for a very large college - it failed on freshman weekend and it was my task to build a new system before freshman weekend rolled around next year.

The interfaces to other legacy systems were gnarly at best but the time and effort was put into making sure all the low level stuff worked perfectly before we worked on the main website which is primarily presentation and easy to alter, low level architecture is no fun but if not done right system will be a failure.
 

G00fyDad

Well-Known Member
Keep in mind that while you may have had all the problems you say you did, I have two sets of friends in Disney right now and they both had minor issues. Nothing serious. Yet one of the guys in one of those groups keeps posting on another site about how much of a nightmare it is to use these bands. He won't come onto this site because he knows I'll call him on his BS. His brother, on the same trip with this guy, keeps texting me about how full of crap his brother is and that the issue (not issues) was fixable right away. This guy is one of those "I HATE THE MM+ IDEA!!!" people and went to Disney looking for any reason he could find (and apparently making several things up) to b***h about it.

If you really had all of those problems I feel sorry for you and wish you had a better experience. However, the quick and easy fix to this, and one I have seen Disney do, is to re-issue new bands to the guests. New bands, new ID codes associated, etc...

And to the posters that act like this is the norm for this system, it is not. We tend to only focus on the negatives of something like this. I'd bet that there are far, far, far, far more people who have had zero issues with the system than those who have had days ruined by it.
 

Cesar R M

Well-Known Member
If your tickets are not linked to your account in their system it's not a matter of just switching to the KTTW card. Both will show you do not have valid admission. The KTTW card only works if your band is not transmitting properly to the reader.
Could be more than that;

For example...that by mistake, the system as 2 entries for the same client. (my bug was related to that.)
one had my full name with both names and last names (We have 2first names and 2last names) and the other had my 1st first name and the 2 last names.
In short, the system tough we were TWO completely different persons. One "person" had my dinner plan, hotel and park.. and the other had my dinner shows reservations.
To resolve this issue you need to "merge" the accounts which is sometimes not easy..
or just delete the accounts in question and recreate them in a merged one.
 

awoogala

Well-Known Member
That truly stinks. I think one of Disney's issues is cheaping out on IT. If guest relations had an on site IT person, rather than expecting frontline cm's to deal with reissuing and solving problems, some of this could be easier.
I understand cm's will need to know how to fix issues, but if the problems are this big, they need someone who really knows the system there to truly fix issues this complex.
In the meantime, they should have a way of helping you out without the waiting-
Hand you a park hopper paper pass for the day, and 3 "anywhere" fp on paper for each person, tell you they will fix the issue, send new, working mb to your resort that evening.
I don't see why a customer should have to stand around while they fix the issue.
 

Gomer

Well-Known Member
Could be more than that;

For example...that by mistake, the system as 2 entries for the same client. (my bug was related to that.)
one had my full name with both names and last names (We have 2first names and 2last names) and the other had my 1st first name and the 2 last names.
In short, the system tough we were TWO completely different persons. One "person" had my dinner plan, hotel and park.. and the other had my dinner shows reservations.
To resolve this issue you need to "merge" the accounts which is sometimes not easy..
or just delete the accounts in question and recreate them in a merged one.
To piggyback on Cesar's point. I had the same problem he did. Two accounts for one person. Whereas his was fixed quickly and easily, it took me eight different support people over two and half months to get mine fixed.

Luckily I was on top of my issue and have it (hopefully) sorted out before my trip. But if I hadn't, i could see finding myself in a similar situation as the OP where much of my vacation was taken up by trying to fix it.

A small issue is only a small issue if those supporting it are properly equipped to fix it easily. From what I have seen, those supporting the system don't fully understand it's quirks which leads to small problems reoccurring and becoming major and ongoing pain points.
 

GeekDad

Active Member
The next phase of testing has guests getting only the Magic Band. I don't have the exact dates when this will happen, but I think it has currently entered this phase ofrit is right around the corner.
I see, I thought the current testing was KTTW and MB through the end of November. My next trip is in December and I know for that trip I don't have the option for both.

If your tickets are not linked to your account in their system it's not a matter of just switching to the KTTW card. Both will show you do not have valid admission. The KTTW card only works if your band is not transmitting properly to the reader.
I understand that if it's not linked both KTTW and MB would have the same issue but the poster specifically said that he did not have a choice between the two which is why I started to question his post. Add to it the fact that this is his one and only post and there are plenty of people that like to just complain on the internet and troll forums when they are bored I have to make an educated guess that this person may have had a mildly bad experience and is making this story up to make it seem worse or they only had this much issue because they did not bring their confirmation number with them so Disney had no way of seeing what they had actually purchased. If this same post was coming from a long term member here then I would be less suspect of the whole thing.

If the story is in fact true then I feel sorry for what the poster went through and Disney did drop the ball but we need to take what we read on the internet with a grain of salt.
 

Cesar R M

Well-Known Member
If the story is in fact true then I feel sorry for what the poster went through and Disney did drop the ball but we need to take what we read on the internet with a grain of salt.
GeekDad, I have to agree with you on the complains.
when you follow some forums and review sites, you can see people who complain about very very dumb and simple things. And they tend to exaggerate it like it was the end of the world.

This happens in every place you can go with open reviews.. (from amazon, to newegg.com, from gaming websites..to movies and parks)

Also a lot of people complain for such silly things sometimes.. like the famous "The sand on the photo was more yellow, we were lied and when we arrived.. we noticed the sand being more sandy and white".

so I fully agree with you on the "comments and complains being taken with a grain of salt".
 

wdwmomof3

Well-Known Member
We are about to test the bands in a few weeks and stories like this make me a little nervous. I am almost preparing myself for problems, but as long as it's a simple fix I don't think I would complain about it here or anywhere. Now if I have to spend hours of my vacation that keeps us from something we had planned you better believe y'all will be the second to know. Disney will be the first. When you spend thousands of dollars on a vacation you certainly do not want a technical issue to delay you in anyway.
 

GeekDad

Active Member
Congress is going after the fake CIO in charge of ONE failed system... it's about time for Disney to hold THEIR current CIO responsible for this poor job of engineering. The CIO (Chief Information Officer) gets PAID to insure that a corporation can take business advantage of technology - they do NOT get paid to CRIPPLE a business, and make excuses. Susan O'Day has failed at this task. Fire her, and get a take charge CIO that will implement at least a MINIMAL IT Operating Discipline (function testing, stress testing, and launch DEPENDENT ON RESULTS).
They did function testing some of which I'm sure happened before anything was added to the parks and the rest of it was when they tested with a small number of Disney resort quests (this was back when you had three different categories and choose one ride from each which has sense been changed to just three attraction's from the entire FP+ list) The current test they are doing is a stress test. The only way to stress test it is to have large amounts of vacationers using the system. I'm sure if there were major issues we would see the launch pushed back because of it. Think of the total number of people currently testing the magic bands and then get a rough estimate of the total number of actual major issues. I bet the major issues make up less then 2% of total testing. There will always be minor issues that can be fixed quickly but the same can be said for the KTTW system or any other system that has ever been used anywhere. Keep in mind magic bands are still in beta test and hopefully with the feedback Disney is getting they will be able to make it so that even the minor issues are very few and far between.
 
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