Here’s one more way the MagicBand is leading to less human interaction at Disney World: Disney is now testing a process that lets you go straight to your hotel room — or the park — without stopping at the registration desk when you arrive. When your room is ready, you simply receive a text message or email letting you know your room number.
The new process is being tested at several resorts, including Disney Vacation Club properties, including Contemporary Resort and Bay Lake Tower Villas (where we stayed), Animal Kingdom Lodge and Villas, Pop Century Resort and Port Orleans Resort.
Here’s how it works:
To be eligible for non-stop check-in, you must complete your My Disney Experience profile and you must have check-in online before you arrive.
Disney resort guests can check in online up to 60 days in advance of their arrival. You can make a limited number of special requests for your room, and you are asked to provide a credit card as your method of payment for your stay. You also have to have your MagicBands.
We received an email from Disney about a week before our arrival explaining the new process: “Since your all-in-one MagicBand has been shipped to your home and is also your Disney Resort room key, you may head straight to your room or even the Parks (if you linked Theme Park admission to your MagicBands). It’s a quick and easy way to start the magic the moment you arrive!”
We were a bit skeptical, so we asked a hostess outside the hotel if we really didn’t need to go to the front desk, and she confirmed that a text would come to us when the room was ready. It did — at 4 p.m., check-in time, on the dot.
This was great for us — we’re old hands at Disney, so we don’t typically need a resort map or a welcome packet to help us get the lay of the land. It’s easy for us to just drop our carry-on bags and race straight to the park.
But if you’re a first-timer, you might want to do it the old-fashioned way. The cast member at the desk can show you a map of the hotel and even let you know where your room will be (especially handy at a sprawling place like Port Orleans or Pop Century). That’s also your opportunity to ask for a different room if you can.
We ended up having to stop by the front desk a couple of times anyway: First to ask for a resort recreation calendar for the week, and second to ask for our celebration buttons — both of which we also would normally have gotten at check-in.