At Walt Disney World, it may seem like magic that a little plastic wristband can do so much. Disney’s MagicBands, introduced a few years ago, are still a novelty to many visitors who don’t visit Disney World often. Here we answer 12 frequently asked questions about MagicBands and all the conveniences and access they offer – with all the latest information on MagicBand 2 and beyond.
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If you haven’t been on a Disney vacation in the past few years, then you may not be familiar with Disney’s MagicBands. These bands were introduced in 2013 as part of a major technology overhaul to the guest experience at Walt Disney World called MyMagic+. Disney guests start by planning their vacation and pre-booking their desired experiences on My Disney Experience online accounts.
Once arriving on site at Disney, MagicBands are tools to unlock many features of that high-tech vacation experience. These small waterproof bands are made of flexible plastic embedded with an RFID chip, and fit around guest wrists. Disney made further upgrades to MagicBands in early 2017 with the release of MagicBand 2, which has a slight design modification that allows for more ways to wear it.
The technology is impressive (one might even say “magic!”), as the bands double as a park ticket, room key, Fastpass+ reservation, credit card, and much more. The goal of MagicBands is to make all aspects of your Disney vacation as seamless as possible.
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Many Disney visitors are confused about how MagicBands work, who can get them, and all of their features and conveniences. Here’s what you need to know about using MagicBands on your next Disney visit.
Top Questions about Disney’s MagicBands
1. Which Disney Parks Have MagicBands?
The first thing you need to know about MagicBands is in which Disney destinations you will find them. As of summer 2018, the answer is still only at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida. There have been no definite plans for introducing MagicBands in Disneyland or in any of the international parks. MagicBands do work, however, all over the Walt Disney World Resort, from the four theme parks to the water parks and in the hotels and shops.
2. How Much Do Magic Bands Cost?
If you are staying in a Walt Disney World resort hotel or if you have an annual pass, MagicBands are free to you! Consider them one of the perks of an on-property hotel experience.
You’ll be shipped a set of MagicBands before your trip if you customize and request them through your My Disney Experience online account at least 11 days before your vacation. Otherwise, they’ll be waiting for you upon check-in at your Disney hotel.
If you aren’t staying at a Disney resort hotel during your vacation, you can still get a MagicBand at a fairly reasonable price if you choose to have one (they aren’t required though). The most basic models are available for purchase as low as $12.99 at DisneyStore.com or at most stores on Disney property.
3. Do MagicBands Replace Park Tickets?
For guests who use MagicBands, perhaps the most convenient feature is that they store your park tickets. A simple tap of the band on a reader at park gates plus a fingerprint scan are all you need to enter the theme parks every day of your vacation. No more worrying about forgetting or losing your park tickets!
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4. How Do Disney MagicBands Work with Fastpass+?
Walt Disney World offers a free cut-the-line service called Fastpass+ at all theme parks. Fastpass+ allows you to pre-select up to three attractions each day where you make a reservation time and ride the attraction with a very short wait.
To book Fastpasses, simply pre-select Fastpass+ times online on your My Disney Experience account or in Disney’s mobile app. Those Fastpass+ times are then linked to your MagicBand. When your reservation time arrives, scan your MagicBand at the Fastpass+ entrances to the attraction and breeze on through.
If you don’t have a MagicBand, Fastpass+ is still available to you by using an RFID card in the parks.
5. How Do MagicBands Work as Your Hotel Room Key?
In addition to letting you into the Disney parks, MagicBands also let you into your on-property hotel room. All Disney resort hotels have MagicBand readers on guest room doors. A simple tap of the MagicBand opens your room. No keys to lose!
6. Can I Customize My MagicBand?
Since Disney visitors wear MagicBands for the entirety of a Disney vacation, many guests want to add a bit of originality and flair. Luckily, Disney has a number of options available for personalizing your wristband.
The most basic form of customization is color selection. When you book a Disney vacation, you can choose one of eight color options to be shipped to your home before your vacation or that will be waiting for you at hotel check-in.
Customization doesn’t stop there. Disney sells a number of special edition MagicBands: everything from Star Wars to the Incredibles are available to purchase. Most of these special bands are over $20 each and can be purchased from DisneyStore.com in advance of your trip or in theme park stores on-site.
For even more customization, guests can add accessories like character images and jewels called MagicBandits. These decorations pop into the adjustable holes on the MagicBand.
With the introduction of MagicBand 2 in early 2017, the customization options are even more robust. MagicBand 2 has a center disc Disney is calling the “icon” that can be removed with a small screwdriver. Creative Disney types mix and match the icon with different color bands. If you don’t want to wear a band, you can even remove the icon entirely and put it in new accessories Disney is selling called MagicKeepers to turn them into keychains, lanyards, and more.
7. Do MagicBands Integrate with Photopass and MemoryMaker?
Yes! One of my favorite services at Disney parks is Photopass (also called MemoryMaker). Cast members who are professional photographers are located throughout the parks to take shots of your family’s vacation. Even more cameras snapshots on rides. You can use your MagicBand to add photos to your online account where you can download some or all of them depending on what options you purchase.
8. How Do MagicBands Work on Disney’s Magical Express?
When Disney resort guests arrive at Orlando airport, Disney offers free ground transportation aboard the Magical Express motorcoaches. For guests who already have their MagicBands in advance of their trip, simply scan them and board the bus bound for your resort.
9. Can I Charge Purchases Using My MagicBand?
For even further convenience, Disney guests can link a credit card to their MagicBands and use the bands to charge for purchases in the parks. Just be aware that this privilege only works for guests staying in on-property hotels, as the charges are routed back to your hotel bill.
If you don’t want your kids to have unfettered access to charging privileges, there are plenty of controls in place too. You can specify that only the adults in your party have MagicBand charging privileges if you so choose. Plus, you can add a PIN that you can keep to yourself.
10. Will MagicBands Fit Me or My Child?
How can one size really fit all when it comes to a little soft plastic wristband? Disney has wisely created MagicBands to have a tear away layer to make the band much smaller for the littlest of guests (MagicBand 2 has this feature as well). We have been able to fit my son when he was as young as 2 as well as all the adults in our extended traveling family. Of course, getting my toddler to keep his MagicBand on was a different matter entirely.
11. Can I Reuse MagicBands on a Future Vacation?
If you’ve created a MagicBand original that you can’t part with, you don’t have to use a new one on your next vacation. MagicBands can be used again and again for your next Disney trips if you choose. As long as a band is listed as active in your My Disney Experience account, it can be re-used.
If you have an old band from a previous on-property stay but are staying off-property on your next Disney vacation, you can take advantage of the convenience of reuse at no additional cost.
If you want to try a new look on your next vacation, you have that option as well. Every time you stay in a Disney on-property hotel, you can request new bands for free.
12. What Happens if I Lose my MagicBand?
With all these features, I bet you are worried about losing your MagicBand. Don’t be! Any guest services counter can get you a new one right away and deactivate the lost one to protect your security. You may get a standard gray color if you do get a replacement but it will have all the functional features you need.
Where to Buy Discounted Disney World Tickets
Headed to the Happiest Place on Earth? TravelingMom recommends Undercover Tourist for discounted tickets.