What’s the best accessory to wear on a Walt Disney World vacation? A Disney MagicBand, of course! Read on to learn about the magical wristband that can open doors – and so much more – for you and your family while visiting Walt Disney World.
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A Complete Guide to Disney MagicBands
- What is a MagicBand and Why Do I Want One?
- Do I Need a MagicBand if I’m Not Staying at a Disney Hotel?
- How Does a MagicBand Work?
- How Does MagicBands Work with FastPasses?
- Do MagicBands Work with PhotoPass and Memory Maker?
- Extra Magic Band Perks for Disney World Hotels
- Does a MagicBand Work as a Room Key?
- Can I Use a MagicBand to Buy Things?
- Does a MagicBand Work with the Disney Dining Plan?
- Can I Use a MagicBand for the Magical Express Bus?
- How Do I Get a MagicBand?
- Can I Customize My MagicBands?
- Does One Size Fit All?
- What Happens if I Lose My MagicBand?
- How Long Is a MagicBand Good?
If you’re like me, keeping travel to Disney organized can be problematic. A trip for my family means keeping track of Disney park tickets, room keys, FastPasses, dining reservations, and more.
But Disney has sprinkled some pixie dust on its visitors, in the form of the Disney MagicBand. It’s so much easier to keep everything organized when it’s all strapped to your wrist in a cute little band.
Have questions about how Disney MagicBands work? I’m an expert — I currently have 11 bands in my account! Let me share what I know. I’m sure you’ll agree that Disney MagicBands make travel organization easier, which makes Disney World even happier than before!
What is a MagicBand and Why Do I Need One?
A MagicBand is a colorful wristband that really lives up to its name. It works magic during a Walt Disney World vacation! These little all-in-one devices make life easier by storing park tickets, FastPass+ reservations, Disney hotel check-in information, room key and more, all in one place. They’re invaluable if you are staying at a Walt Disney World resort in Orlando.
Note: Disney MagicBands are only good at Walt Disney World in Orlando. Disneyland and the other Disney parks do not use the bands.
Do I Need a MagicBand if I’m Not Staying at a Disney Hotel?
Even if you’re staying “off property” in a non-Disney hotel, you’ll want a Disney MagicBand, because it electronically connects to the vacation plans you’ve made in your My Disney Experience Account.
In fact, this connection may be the most important function of the MagicBand. The wristband replaces paper tickets and the old paper FastPasses. Once connected, it acts as your ticket to the Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Disney’s Animal Kingdom, and Disney’s Hollywood Studios.
How Does a MagicBand Work?
You’ll have to set up a free My Disney Experience account. That’s where you can link your park tickets and make your FastPass+ reservations. No more fumbling for tickets at the park entrance or running for the FastPass machine as soon as the park opens. Now your tickets and attraction choices are recorded in the MDE app and saved to the radio frequency (RF) chip inside your MagicBands.
When you get to the theme parks, simply touch your MagicBand to Mickey’s head at the entrance (known as “touchpoints”), place your finger on the scanner (for identification) and then enjoy your day at the park!
How Does MagicBands Work with FastPasses?
Book your FastPass+ selections in the app. Then, when it’s your FastPass return time, head to the FastPass line and tap on the sensor, Mickey to Mickey, then take the fast track to your favorite ride.
Read More: 19 Questions Answered about FastPass+
Do MagicBands Work with PhotoPass and Memory Maker?
Everyone with a MagicBand receives one other major perk: Your MagicBand contains your PhotoPass and MemoryMaker information. PhotoPass is the complimentary photo service throughout the Disney resorts, theme parks, water parks, and Disney Springs. Professional photographers capture your Disney memories – for free. After the photographer takes the photos of you and your family, he or she will scan your MagicBand to — magically — link those photos to your My Disney Experience account.
At the end of the trip, you can choose the photos you want to buy. But I recommend pre-purchasing a MemoryMaker, which provides unlimited digital access to all of the PhotoPass videos and photos linked to your MagicBand. You can download the ones you like once you’re back at home, or you can order prints from Disney at a discount.
Extra MagicBand Perks for Disney World Hotels
If you’re staying at a Disney World hotel — “on property” in Disney parlance — there are some extra special perks.
Does a MagicBand Work as a Room Key?
No need to rummage through your purse while juggling a sleeping toddler and his Mickey Mouse plush. Simply touch your MagicBand to the reader on your hotel room door to open the door.
Can I Use a MagicBand to Buy Things?
If you want to charge a purchase at one of the parks to your room, you can do it using your MagicBand. Simply link a credit card to the band, and your purchases will be added to your hotel bill.
And don’t worry about other members of your party charging to your card. You can specify “adults only” charging privileges, or create a PIN to share only with those allowed to use your card.
Does a MagicBand Work with the Disney Dining Plan?
The Disney Dining Plan is only available to visitors who buy it as part of a Disney vacation package — and stay at a Disney hotel. But that means your MagicBand will keep track of Disney Dining Plan credits, too. Simply scan your band to use the credits.
At the table service restaurants, the server will bring a machine to your table. At quick service and snack spots, touch your MagicBand to the touchpoint and your Dining Plan credits will be used to pay for your purchase.
Can I Use a MagicBand for the Magical Express Bus?
Disney’s Magical Express is the free bus that brings guests and their luggage from the Orlando International Airport to their “on property” Disney resort. You will be sent bus vouchers along with your luggage tags in the mail.
You’ll need the vouchers for your ride back to the airport at the end of your vacation, but your MagicBand is your ticket to board the bus from the airport to Disney World. If you forget to wear it or pack it in your carry-on, no worries – a cast member at the Magical Express desk will be happy to help!
How Do I Get a MagicBand?
At this point, you may have a hard time imagining your Disney vacation without a MagicBand. The convenience of all that power right on your wrist is irresistible. So how do you get a MagicBand?
Here’s the good news: If you book a vacation at any Walt Disney World resort, your new MagicBands are mailed free of charge. WDW annual pass holders also receive MagicBands automatically. The complimentary MagicBands come in eight color choices: blue, green, gray, yellow, pink, red, orange and purple.
If you are not staying at a Disney resort, you can – and should – purchase a MagicBand. They’re available at a variety of price points, based on the customization you choose. MagicBands can be linked to your park tickets (purchased separately) through the My Disney Experience app.
MagicBands also can be purchased online, from the ShopDisney app, at the theme parks, from select stores in the resort hotels, or at Disney Springs. They’re also available at the Disney Store.
TravelingMom Tip: Buy your MagicBands before leaving home, so you can do link it to your My Disney Experience account before you leave for your trip. That way, you won’t be using valuable vacation time to set everything up, and you’ll be ready to go once you reach the parks. Plus it’s really exciting to have the wristbands before you leave your driveway!
Can I Customize My MagicBands?
If you want something a bit fancier or more customized in a MagicBand, there’s a whole new world of variety to choose from. You can choose to purchase a premium MagicBand, featuring special colors like turquoise or millennial pink or favorite characters, from the Frozen sisters to the Star Wars favorites, and of course Mickey Mouse. You can even find special edition MagicBands on Amazon, and skins and decals for your MagicBand on Etsy and other sites.
The second generation of MagicBand – known as MagicBand 2 – are a little larger than the first version. These come with removable center Mickey icons, so you can mix and match the colors to really personalize your bands. MagicBandits – little images, shapes and jewels – are also available to allow for further customization.
Check out these MagicBand holders that easily fits on your Apple Watch or other watch bands:
Check out these fun ideas for customizing your MagicBands.
Does One Size Fit All?
I don’t ever believe “one size fits all,” and I had serious doubts that a wristband that fits the tiniest toddler would feel comfortable on me. But Disney magic comes through again!
Yes, all Disney MagicBands come in one standard size, but it is made in two layers – a tearaway outer shell layer surrounding a smaller inner layer. Just peel away the outer shell to create a band for smaller wrists.
On the band itself, you’ll see “peel here for a smaller band.” (Just be sure you want to do this, as the layer cannot be reattached.) Both layers have several holes to allow for different sizes of band to further customize the fit.
What Happens if I Lose My MagicBand?
MagicBands can be deactivated right on the My Disney Experience app or by visiting Disneyworld.com and going to “Manage My MagicBands.” Simply click on the band you want to deactivate or report lost.
If you lose a band while on your Disney vacation, you should go to Guest Relations. Or if you’re a hotel guest, the concierge at the front desk at your Walt Disney World Resort Hotel can help deactivate a missing MagicBand and activate a new one.
How Long Is a MagicBand Good?
MagicBands remain active even after your Disney vacation is over. That’s good news. It means you can reuse any of your old MagicBands. So bring several, especially if you have a variety! And if you regularly stay at a Disney hotel, you will get new bands each time.
Whether you have one or many, Disney MagicBands make organizing your vacation so much easier. Everything you need is in one place, right on your wrist. That way, you can grasp the magic of your Disney vacation with both hands!