If you’ve every tried to plan a Disney trip, you know that it usually comes with a lot of research. Even if you know what they are, you’ve probably heard about these wonderful things called “MagicBands”.
Simply put, MagicBands replaces everything that you would normally have separate cards for…Park Tickets, Hotel Keys, and more. Sometimes it can even replace your credit card. But, I’ll get to that down below.
While MagicBands are not required to visit Walt Disney World, they really do make your life a lot easier.
What is a MagicBand?
MagicBands are those colorful “bracelets” you see everyone wearing. They are sold in solid colors or a favorite character, attraction, celebration, etc…
Your MagicBand can:
- Unlock the door to your Disney Resort
- Replace plastic Theme Park and Water Park Tickets
- Hold your Genie+ selections and get you through the Lightning Lane check-in
- Send PhotoPass photos to your My Disney Experience account
- Pay for food using Disney Dining Plan credits (if the Dining Plan ever comes back)
- Charge merchandise to your account (more on that below)
- Unlock some special surprises
New in 2022 is MagicBand+. In addition to the items listed above, your MagicBand+ can:
- Interact with items around Walt Disney World
- Character statues set out for the 50th anniversary can speak, sing, or play music
- Play Batuu Bounty Hunters game in Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge to track targets and join the Guild of Bounty Hunters
- Sync up to the nighttime spectaculars to illuminate during parts of the show
How does a MagicBand work?
Using your MagicBand is as easy as touching it to a sensor, called a touchpoint.
In most cases, there’s a light that will show you whether or not your MagicBand was accepted. In the photo above, the light turned green to show that I was at the right room and my door is now unlocked.
At the Park entrance, the Mickey emblem will turn green if your MagicBand successfully redeemed your Park Ticket. It will turn the dreaded blue, if there is a problem. The same goes for redeeming your Lightning Lanes at the entrance to the queues.
Don’t worry, there is a cast member right there to help you, if there is an issue.
Are they secure?
In order to charge merchandise and food to your card, you must:
- Be staying at a Walt Disney World Resort
- Link a credit card to your account.
When something as important as your credit card is linked, I like to know that my information is going to be safe.
Fortunately, Disney takes privacy and safety very seriously.
Anything requiring money (including the Disney Dining Plan) requires a pin to be entered before the transaction is accepted.
You create the pin, so only you have that information. Each member of your family can have their own pin, or you can all share the same pin. The choice is up to you. But, either way, anything charged with a MagicBand will be billed to your room.
What Happens If You Lose Your MagicBand?
We get it…things happen.
Since everything is linked through My Disney Experience, you can easily deactivate it. This way, no one will have access to your account. If you find it, you can easily reactivate it in the App.
If you are staying on property and you lose your MagicBand, the best thing to do is to visit Guest Services or your Hotel Lobby. They can help you link a replacement MagicBand. If you know where you lost it, you can also fill out a Lost Item form. They will contact you if they find it.
If you stay off-property, you should still visit Guests Services. But, if you received a plastic Theme Park Ticket, you can use it to get into the Park and at the entrance to Lightning Lanes. You will touch these cards to any touchpoint you’d normally use your MagicBand.
The most common way that Guests lose their MagicBands in on attractions.
In fact, that’s how I almost lost my MagicBand. My family was in the queue for Big Thunder Mountain Railroad and it got caught on something on the handrail. Fortunately, I was able to catch it.
Since then, I’ve never gone to Walt Disney World without my BitBelts. And I’ve recommended them to everyone!
How Much Do MagicBands cost?
Prior to January 2021, plain colored MagicBands were free for anyone who stayed at a Walt Disney World Resort. Unfortunately, this is no longer the case.
However, if you’re staying at a Walt Disney World Resort, you now have the option to purchase a discounted solid colored or Character MagicBand. This includes a $10 discount on the brand new MagicBand+.
Choose your preferred color or character on My Disney Experience and they’ll be shipped to your house.
Guests staying off Disney property may purchase MagicBands at full price. They are sold at Walt Disney World. But, if you’d like to have them before your trip, you can purchase them online, at ShopDisney.
Full priced MagicBands will cost you about $20 for solid colored bands and themed MagicBands costs around $35.
MagicBand+ will cost you $35 for the solid colored bands and $45 for themed MagicBands.
How Do You Link Your MagicBand To Your Account?
If you are staying at a Disney Resort and you received a discounted MagicBand, there’s nothing you need to do. Disney has already linked your band to your account.
However, you’re staying offsite or you purchased a full price MagicBand 2, you’ll just need to enter the code that is printed on the back of the band.
To link a MagicBand+, simply hold your MagicBand+ up to your phone. In my Experience, it will connect when you hold it close to your camera lens (at least that’s the case using an iphone),
When you first open the package, you’ll need to do an update. Based on how much batter life is left, you may need to charge your MagicBand before it will update. But, once it’s finished updating, your MagicBand+ is good to go.
MagicBand+ is the ONLY version that is rechargeable. And the charger is included in the package when you purchase it.
Are MagicBands Waterproof?
Yes! All versions are completely waterproof!
Since there’s so many uses for the MagicBand, including needing it to open the door to your hotel room, you’ll need to bring it wherever you go. Your MagicBand will be safe in pools, Water Parks, Splash Mountain, Kali River Rapids, etc…
Forget your MagicBand in the room? You can also open your door with your phone! We tested out this feature on the My Disney Experience App during one of our last trips.
Check out how it works and if we liked it.
Are they Reusable?
Yes…up until a certain point.
MagicBand and MagicBand 2
For the first 2 versions of MagicBand, the battery is not able to be recharged. So, once the battery dies, that’s the end of that band.
While it’s hard to tell how long a battery will last, it has stated that battery life should be about 2 years. However, Guests have been able to use the same band for many vacations spanning over multiple years.
As long as your MagicBand is still active in your account, all new reservations will automatically link to that MagicBand.
MagicBand+ is the first version that is rechargeable. So, as long as you treat it with care, it should last you for many years.
What Special Surprises May You Experience?
While MagicBands don’t have GPS, they do use two types of RFID chips. So, if you’re on an attraction, they know.
Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster, for example, has concert posters in the queue. They feature various artists and where they will be performing. These are actually the first name and hometown of Guests who are standing in line with you. I’m still waiting to see my name on one…
At the end of It’s A Small World, you see “Good Bye” written in many different languages. Look closely to these screens. There is a good chance you will see your name.
Location Based Surprises
Disney uses the same RFID chips to send special videos or voicemails to your My Disney Experience App, just for riding an attraction or visiting certain areas around the Parks.
Newer attractions will send on-ride photos directly to your account, whether or not you have Memory Maker.
Because MagicBands have RFID chips, there is no need to tap your MagicBand to a touchpoint. They will automatically link to your account.
Are MagicBands Worth Getting?
This is going to come to no surprise, but we absolutely love them!
We have multiple bands per member of my family. We have so many that we’ve outgrown our DIY MagicBand Holder that we display in our home.
While they can get pricey, especially with multiple members of your family, they really do enhance the Disney vacation. Why fumble through your bags for a Park Ticket, Room Key, or credit card when you can have it all on your wrist?
While you can access the same exact technology on your phone, via the My Disney Experience App, MagicBands are far easier to use. I would dare even say that they are a necessity (at least for my vacations).
After using MagicBands at Disney, we miss not having something as equally convenient when we visit other Amusement Parks and hotels. Even having to use a card to enter a hotel room now seems like a minor inconvenience.
As I said earlier, you don’t HAVE to purchase a MagicBand to have fun in the Parks. But, it sure does make your trip a heck of a lot easier.
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