You’ve heard about the special Disney MagicBand … maybe you have the old one and you want to know about version 2.0? Or maybe you got yours in the mail and you are thinking, “Now what?” Whatever questions you have, we’ve probably heard them! We’re dishing all our secrets here about Disney’s super technology that makes your vacation even more magical: Disney MagicBands.
How To Get A MagicBand
MagicBands are gifted to WDW annual pass holders or to guests who stay at an official Disney World Resort.
If you’d like to purchase a MagicBand, you can do so in retail locations inside the parks, hotels, or at Disney Springs. Just be mindful that the MagicBands you purchase are awesome and still offer helpful perks, but they don’t offer everything that the Disney-provided MagicBands offer.
Receiving Your MagicBand
If you are staying at a Disney Resort, your MagicBands will be mailed to you about 30 days before your arrival if you are a US resident.
If you are visiting from outside the US, or you are making last-minute arrangements with Disney, your bands will be available when you check into the hotel.
Don’t Check Your MagicBand With Luggage
If you are coming into Florida via the airport and riding Disney’s Magical Express to your Disney Resort hotel, DO NOT pack your MagicBands in your checked luggage. Keep them with you and easily accessible. You’ll need them to check in on Disney’s Magical Express, and to unlock your room when you arrive at your Disney Resort.
Ride The Magical Express
Yes, as we said above, your MagicBand is the key to your Magical ride to your Resort. If you have not received your bands then just present your Disney’s Magical Express documents instead.
You don’t have to worry about managing a hotel key on your vacation. Your MagicBand works as a key on your hotel room door!
Your MagicBand will serve as your park ticket! Don’t even think for a second, though, about cheating the system. Your MagicBand and ticket will also be connected with your fingerprint, so expect to show your pointer when you scan your band.
Want to see more than just Magic Kingdom? Park hopping, for example? No worries! It’s all covered on a single MagicBand.
Now what about those who purchased tickets through a place like ParkSavers? Will it still work? Yes! You’ll need to go into your Disney App and link your reservation with any confirmation codes you receive, but then you’re set!
Waterproof Water Park Ticket
Is my MagicBand waterproof? We see that question a TON! Yes – it is without a doubt. We wore our MagicBand during a rainstorm, and even all day at Blizzard Beach, on of the water parks at Disney.
One Size Fits All
I have to thank my friends at Swan & Dolphin for this tip! I went to the front desk to ask for scissors to cut off the “tail” of the band that was hanging off my kiddos’ wrists. They showed me how each MagicBand is actually two sizes in one!
See the photo above? The dad (green) is wearing the band as it comes. You can tell that because of the dark grey outline around the green band. That makes it the perfect size for most adults.
You can easily peel that grey layer apart from the green layer, and it creates a “smaller” band, ideal for kids. Notice the other bands in this photo do not have that layer.
Here’s the thing…you can’t “put it back.” So make sure you do in fact want it removed before you take it off. Such a simple but brilliant idea!
Add A Safety Measure
I have friend Lindsey (see her awesome blog here) to thank for this next tip that saved us repeatedly!
Grab a bag of BitBelts for a few dollars. They are made for Fitbits, but they will fit your Magic Band and help prevent them from coming off accidentally. Seriously – these are cheap AND priceless. I noticed their saving graces several times with my boys!
What if you don’t heed my advice about the BitBelt? Or you do lose your MagicBand still because your kids are basically Houdini-like? No worries!
Simply go into your Disney app and deactivate your band. Remember, people will need your fingerprint to enter the park or your PIN to make charges, so it’s not going to get them anywhere anyway – but this is to be on the safe side. If you’re at the Park, you can go to customer service and they will handle this for you.
Now – about a new one. Occasionally Disney will offer a replacement MagicBand. However, replacement MagicBands are provided on a case-by-case basis and you’ll probably be charged the $13-ish dollars for the basic band.
If you have another Band with you from a previous trip, you can activate that one. Also, if you lose it before you even get to Disney, well just give them a call.
You know FastPass+ right? Where you can reserve access to select theme park attractions, shows and Character Greetings…You’ll make FastPass reservations before you arrive and throughout your stay using either the kiosks around the park or your mobile app.
You redeem your FastPasses via your MagicBand! There is a “check in”point in the fastPass line. You’ll scan your brand, the light will turn green, and you’re whisked away to the head of the line.
You can set up your band such that you don’t need your credit card when you’re at the park during your hotel stay. Charge food and merchandise purchases to your Disney Resort hotel room just by scanning your MagicBand and entering a PIN number that you will create. This includes purchases at the Parks and at Disney Springs.
Another great feature – spending limits!! You can set spending limits for each (or all) bands at the hotel when you check in. This is a great way to balance your own spending, give money to your teens who are off on their own, or offer a daily “allowance” to kids who want to buy everything in the store!
You can’t “pre-load” a Band with money, but if the Gradnparents, etc want to gift a child with money for a trip, they can purchase a Disney Giftcard. Simply limit the spending for that child to the giftcard amount, and then swipe the giftcard at checkout to pay the balance. Also great because places like Sam’s Club offer a small discount!
We never ever want to think about our kiddos getting lost in the Parks, but it does happen. The good news is that any Cast Member can scan their MagicBand to determine the kid’s name as well as your name, phone number, email, and where you are staying. This allows them to contact you immediately!
Photo and Video Memories
When you are visiting the Parks you’ll find plenty of opportunities to get your photo taken with a Disney PhotoPass photographer. You can link these photos to your Disney account MagicBand! (PS – we highly recommend the Memory Maker Package.)
If you are wearing your MagicBand, it automatically links photos and videos of you riding certain attractions to your Disney account. In fact, your MagicBand is the ONLY way to get video coverage of you on a ride!
The first way you can customize your MagicBand is by selecting the color you want in the Disney Experience app. We made sure that everyone in the family ordered a different color so that we could quickly tell them apart. If your kids all want pink bands, though, have no fear! Your band will also come engraved with your name on the back of each band giving it further identification info. You can customize the name, as well. I changed “Lesli” to “Mom” in 2 seconds flat!
You can also customize your band by adding your own special touches like glitter and decals. You can also purchase MagicBandits (usually a package of 4 for less than $10) which pop onto your band’s extra holes. They remind me of the dodads that kids used to collect for their Crocs.
If you prefer not to wear something on your wrist then pick up a Lanyard Medal. You pop the RFID piece out of the band and wear it on your belt loop or around your neck. They also come connected to a carabiner.
Finally – for the ultimate upgrade – purchase a unique MagicBand featuring your favorite Disney characters. From Mickey to Darth Vader to BayMax and more. Prices vary but they start about $25 and go up from there. The limited edition versions cost a bit more.
You will receive a new MagicBand every time you stay with a Disney Resort, however, if you’ve customized on of your band or grown partial to a special edition band you purchased, you can reuse a band from a previous trip.
If you have multiple MagicBands just indicate which once should be “active”in the My Profile section of your MyDisneyExperience app.
Hotel room access? Credit card access? Fingerprints?? WHAT?!?! Hubby and I are both tech nerds, so we are always skeptical about this type of technology. Here’s what Disney has to say:
“Extensive measures are in place to protect your information, which is a responsibility we take very seriously. MagicBands and cards are part of MyMagic+, which was built with privacy controls from the outset and is voluntary.”
Here’s the full scoop: https://disneyworld.disney.go.com/faq/my-disney-experience/my-magic-plus-privacy/
Is there a chance something could go wrong? Always. But it’s a risk we took, and we’d do it again.
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After 18 years in software development, Lesli bailed on the corporate scene. When she’s not traveling, she’s hiking in the mountains or checking out Atlanta’s culinary scene, whiskey in hand.
Lesli has two kiddos -Cooper and Elliot- plus two bonus kids currently at UGA, and she’s happily married to her soul mate.