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The Magic Behind MagicBands

The Magic Behind MagicBands

Ever dream of being able to open your doors with the swipe of your wrist, pay without carrying around your cards and wallet, and even save pictures through a click of your wrist? Well, now you can have that magical power thanks to a little pixie dust. How do you ask? Through Disney’s MagicBand system. MagicBands are a secure all-in-one device that allows visitors to travel lighter while on vacation.

What are MagicBands

MagicBands have come a long way since they first were put out on the market back in 2013. They are one of the biggest technological advancements Disney has done to date. MagicBands resemble a watch and are colorful and waterproof so they can get worn on water rides at the four Disney Parks (Magic Kingdom, Animal Kingdom, EPCOT, and Hollywood Studios) and at Disney’s waterparks (Blizzard Beach and Typhoon Lagoon). The bands went through a stage 2 modification with now allows the band to be worn in different ways such as on keychains or necklaces. There is a RFID sensor on the top of the watch called a touchpoint that holds all your information. For example, it holds your park tickets so when you want to enter a park you just scan your MagicBand. MagicBands also allow you to unlock your Disney Resort room, hold your FastPass entrances, hold your credit card information, as well as connect you to all your Disney PhotoPass pictures taken throughout the properties. Disney’s goal was simple: to make all aspects of your vacation seamless and carefree. 

How to Get a MagicBand

If you are staying at a Disney Resort or are an Annual Passholder you will automatically receive your band. Currently, MagicBands are not available for Disneyland. You will be able to log onto Disney’s My Disney Experience app and choose your MagicBand once you link your reservation or annual pass. There are several different colors (red, purple, pink, orange, yellow, blue, green, and grey) to choose from that are free.

There are also a few to pick that cost a small amount and come with fun designs. This upgrade is about $10-$20. For more options, you can go to the shopDisney app and select one of the premium designs such as Star Wars, Super Heroes, Toy Story, and even Mickey Mouse himself. If you purchase a Premium Magic Band at a theme park or Disney Springs you will have to log in to your Disney account and link your band by simply typing in the code on the back of the band. If you forget to go online to select your MagicBand, you will automatically receive the grey color band.

If you are not staying at a Disney Resort and aren’t an Annual Passholder but still want a band, you can also purchase one through the shopDisney app. Basic models start around $15.

When will my MagicBand Arrive?

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You will need to log on to your My Disney Experience app at least 11 days before your trip in order to get your MagicBands shipped to your home in time. You can log on as soon as you book your trip to customize your bands; however, they won’t ship till about two weeks prior to your trip, so you have time to make last-minute changes.

If you make your MagicBand selection less than 11 days out, the bands will not be shipped to you but will be waiting at the front desk of your Disney Resort upon check-in. However, if you don’t make a color selection prior to 6 days out everyone will receive grey bands assigned to them upon check in. 

Traveling to Disney

If you are traveling via airplane, Disney suggests you keep your MagicBand with you and not in your checked luggage. Many guests travel using Disney’s Magical Express, which is a complimentary motorcoach service that brings guests to their Disney World Resort. The reservations for this service will be linked to your MagicBand so it is beneficial to have your magic band on you at all times while traveling.

MagicBand and FastPass+

For those not familiar with FastPass+, it is a free, cut the line service that is offered at all the theme parks. You can select up to three attractions each day for one park. Then you have a one hour window from the time you selected to get to the ride, wait in a very short line, and enjoy the ride. With your MagicBand, you are able to log into your My Disney Experience App months ahead of time and get access to hot ticket rides that everyone wants to ride. At the park when it is time to ride you simply scan your MagicBand to gain access. Those that do not have a MagicBand, can still utilize the FastPass+ option by using their park ticket directly at the park at one of their FastPass+ kiosks.

MagicBands and Park Tickets

The most convenient feature of MagicBands is it stores your park tickets so the risk of losing your ticket is slim. When you get to the park entrance you just tap your band and scan your finger and you’re in! You can link your park tickets to your MagicBand through your My Disney Experience app.

MagicBands and Resort Access

Resort room access has never been so simple. Instead of carrying around a key, your key is now your MagicBand. When you arrive at your Resort, a cast member will scan your band to hook up your key.

Additionally, some guests have the option to do online check-in. If you opt for that option when your room is ready your band will automatically be hooked up to your room key. Once you arrive at your room, simply tap your band to the door scanner and it will flash green. 

MagicBands and Credit Cards

Upon arrival, you have the option to link a credit card to your MagicBand. A front desk cast member will ask for your ID as well as the card you want to link. They will have you sign a form that you approve the credit card to be on file and then they will hook it up.

If you do an online check-in, it will ask if you want to link a credit card. However, the front desk will still need to confirm your card. Lastly, you will be required to set up your 4 digit PIN. Every time you use your MagicBand to make a purchase, you will be required to type in your PIN, so make sure you remember it.

MagicBands and PhotoPass

While on vacation there are multiple PhotoPass locations. Cast members will take your photos in front of iconic landmarks such as Cinderella’s Castle. Once the photos are taken, the cast member will scan your band. All your photos will automatically be transferred to your band to review later and purchase.

Are Disney’s MagicBands Worth It?

In one word, yes. Disney World has a lot to offer that will have you going from location to location all day. The last thing you want to worry about is carrying around bags of items on hot days. With your Magicband, all these important items are on your wrist and the risk of ever losing it is very slim.

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