Through May 19, 2013, Disney has a location set up for Annual Passholders to exchange their existing paper tickets for plastic RFID-enabled passes. Anyone that purchases a new annual pass from now on will be issued the new type of pass. These passes can be used to enter the parks through the Next-Gen Touch Point entrances or through the regular turnstiles.
The location is in the Odyssey Center, which is the building that
I never knew had anything in it because it looks empty other than restrooms is between Test Track and Mexico. There’s a sign set up with a cast member at the entrance to direct you.
The new passes will have a green background and will include a colored stripe to indicate whether or not the pass has parking privileges. Passholders who get free parking will have an orange stripe, and passes that do not include parking will have a black stripe. (source)
Ok, enough technical details…even though our passes expire this week, we still wanted to exchange our passes so we could enter through the new RFID entrances at the parks. They are much more open and appeared to be more expedient than the other turnstiles. I thought they were much better for people with strollers/wheelchairs/scooters, as you don’t have to wait to be let in through a separate gate after you insert a ticket…you just walk right up and there’s plenty of room for your stroller/wheelchair/scooter.
Also, since not many people have transitioned, we figured there wouldn’t ever be much of a line to use them (we were right!). Plus, we like trying new stuff!
We made a pitstop to exchange our passes while we were there last week. We went on a weekday and were the only ones there.
There were about 8 stations set up with cast members ready (and looking mighty bored at the time) – but there were plenty more stations ready to go if needed. We handed them our existing passes and a photo id. Unfortunately, they only had Goofy and Donald passes left. I chose Goofy, so Brett was left with Donald. In our case, I always keep our passes together, so when we are rushing into the park, I find it easiest to have different designs so I can quickly see which one belongs to Brett and hand it to him.
We were there for less than 5 minutes…it was a really quick process and we didn’t have to fill anything out, or do anything much at all. We got our passes and were on our way.
Before exiting the building, they have two of the Next-Gen Touch Point machines for you to test out your card and get a feel for the process.
It was fun. We must be easily entertained.
You simply place your card against the Mickey head, which will prompt a white light to start circling the Mickey head. That’s your queue to place your finger on the fingerprint reader.
Once the reader approves your fingerprint, the white light turns green…that means you’re ready to enter the parks and have fun! Green means GO! (Sorry, I’ve been watching the Mickey Mouse Clubhouse iPad app too much…for, ummm, Trent)
I believe the green light is easy for cast members to recognize, but there were a couple times I wondered whether the cast member even noticed that I had gotten the green light to enter, because they were watching someone else. But I was never questioned, so no complaining here (yet)!
As I mentioned earlier, it did speed up the process for entering the parks. This is mostly due to the limited number of people using them so far, so I’m interested to see what it will be like once all the turnstiles are converted.
We stayed at the Art of Animation and our room keys were RFID enabled and all the room doors had the new readers. We never once had a misread, which happened at least once a day before when we had to insert our room keys into the door. Shops and counter service restaurants were equipped with the RFID readers at checkout, so you could use your room key for transactions.
I’m excited for all the new enhancements. Are you? Tell me your thoughts in the comments…I’d like to hear what others think about it!
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