Today, we have a guest post from Patty Staricha at WDW Vacations Tips about how to understand Walt Disney World’s MagicBand. Patty has been visiting the parks annually since her parents first brought her at just a year old. Recently she was able to fulfill her lifelong dream of being a Florida local and moved from the wintery Northeast to the sunshine and fun of central Florida.
If you haven’t been to the Walt Disney World Resort in a few years you’re probably wondering what are Magicbands and do I even need to use one?
Well, a MagicBand is basically a wristband that is your theme park ticket, credit card, room key, Magical Express Ticket, and PhotoPass all rolled into one. We are now on our second version of MagicBands which now has a removable center puck. This allows you to swap them between bands or add them to different accessories.
Do you have to use it?
If you are a resort guest, yes, it unlocks important things like your room, free parking and access to the Magical Express. For those who are annual passholders or just visiting the parks for a few days and not staying on Disney property then MagicBands are not a necessity.
How does a MagicBand Work?
The MagicBand uses radio frequency (RF) technology to connect guests to their plans and entitlements safely and securely. Guests simply touch their band to touch points in places such as resort room doors, theme park and water park entrances, FastPass+ entrances and cast mobile devices.
Purchases with your credit card, should you choose to add one to your account, require a four-digit PIN. MagicBands do not use GPS technology. Your personal data is not stored in the MagicBand. The MagicBands only contain a randomly assigned code that securely links to an encrypted database and associates the guest’s MagicBand or ticket with the experiences they’ve selected.
Magicbands are exclusive to the Walt Disney World Resort Only
Currently, MagicBands can only be used at the Walt Disney World Resort. You can spot MagicBands on the Disney Cruiseline; however, they are just for the kids who are a part of their kid’s club.
How do I get a MagicBand?
There are several ways you can acquire a MagicBand. If you are a resort guest you will receive one free of charge. You can order a customized one online (more to come on that below) through MyDisneyExperience or you will receive a generic one at check-in.
If you are an annual passholder you can order your MagicBand online through once again MyDisneyExperience. You may also purchase a MagicBand online at the DisneyStore.com or via the Shop Disney Parks App. If you would like to pick one out in person they are available at almost all the stores inside of the Walt Disney World Theme Parks. As well, you can find MagicBands at your local Disney Store or Outlet.
MagicBand Acts as Your Park Ticket
Once you have received or purchased a MagicBand it can be linked to your theme park or water park admission. You can use Disney’s app or go once again to MyDisneyExperience to add your ticket information to your MagicBand.
Out with Fastpasses in with Fastpass+ and MagicBands
Paper Fastpasses are a thing of the past here at Walt Disney World. We now have Fastpass+ which is all done electronically. There are three ways you can make your Fastpass+ reservations. First, is you can go online 30 days before your trip or 60 days if you are a resort guest and book. If you prefer you can also make these reservations on your phone or tablet if you download the MyDisneyExperience App.
Forget to book your Fastpass+ ahead of your trip?
You can still book at a designated kiosk location inside of the park. Also, if you use up all of your previously booked Fastpass+ reservations they allow you to book additional ones. Making additional reservations can also be done on your phone or at a kiosk in the park.
Rooms Keys are now MagicBands
The are no more room keys if you are staying at a Walt Disney World Resort. The “Key to the World” card is a thing of the past! You now will use your MagicBand in place of what the Key to the World card used to do. Simply unlock your hotel room door by placing your MagicBand against the Mickey above your door handle.
MagicBands How One Size Fits All
You may be wondering how in the world this one band is universal for both children and adults. The key is in the dark gray edging that surrounds your band. This piece of plastic can be removed and makes your band smaller for those who have tiny wrists or are children. Removing the plastic is easy, you simply grab the large tab (the end with holes) and give it a nice tug.
I have noticed that some bands are trickier than others. If you pull off the surrounding plastic and are left with a jagged edge you can always take a fine grit sandpaper or nail file to smooth those edges down and make it comfortable for your children.
Customize your MagicBand
Once you have booked a room at the Walt Disney World Resort or purchased an Annual Pass you will be able to customize and your MagicBand. Log in to your MyDisneyExperience account and navigate to the MagicBand section. There you will find the options to customize your band.
Your customization options are limited to the above picture.
Accessorize your MagicBand
Don’t want to be stuck with a plain solid color MagicBand?
Disney offers many great accessories for your MagicBand with are available to purchase separately. Above you can see what are called, MagicBandits. These are typically little characters that fit into the sizing holes on your band.
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Disney also sells MagicSliders, these slide onto your band and are much more secure and unlikely to get lost versus the MagicBandits which fall off rather easily. One slider even includes a watch face, which was a much asked for feature, since the MagicBands debuted.
If you would like to get a sneak peek at some of your accessorizing options you can take a look over at the DisneyStore.com. They only carry a small portion of what is actually available in the parks.
Turn your MagicBand into a Watch or Necklace
Some people just hate adding an extra band to their wrist.
Did you know you can turn your existing watch you know and love into a Magicband?
Just buy one of these holders and slide on to your existing watch band. If you want everything off your wrist you can opt for a necklace version instead. This is great for fussy kids who don’t like to wear anything on their arms.
Use your MagicBand for Photopass and Memory Maker
Long gone are the days of carrying around an extra card in addition to your ticket for Photopass.
Didn’t you hate it when you lost your Photopass card and by the end of your vacation you had a stack of 5 cards you had to link together?
Now everything is just scanned to your MagicBand. You can also see your pictures almost instantly in the Photopass section of the MyDisneyExperience App.
MagicBands are your Magical Express Ticket
Remember those ticket booklets you used to receive for your Magical Express tickets? Now you just need to make sure you pack your MagicBands in your carry on luggage and have it scanned in place of the old paper tickets. In order to receive complimentary airport transportation, you must be a guest at one of the Walt Disney World Resort hotels.
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Dive Deep with your MagicBands
Heading to a water park?
Going to the pool?
Raining one day at Disney?
Your MagicBand is waterproof and is equipped to handle lots of water activities.
Reuse your MagicBands over and over again!
MagicBands are good for more than one trip!
Keep them and bring them back for your next trip for more color options. There are batteries inside of your MagicBand that allows it to work with the long-range RFID. The batteries reportedly only last about a year before they die.
You may be wondering what this means?
It means that your MagicBand won’t be able to automatically add your on ride attraction photos to your account. As well some of the on ride personalization features may not work. MagicBands also make great shadowbox keepsakes or just a fun thing to add to the kids dress up box.
No Need to Worry about your MagicBand and Security
Magicbands have pins attached to them in order to use it’s charging functionality. So if you lose you MagicBand while on a trip someone else won’t be able to go have a spending spree. As well MagicBands can be deactivated through your account online or by visiting a guest relations location. Not only will they take care of deactivating your band for you, they will also give you a replacement MagicBand.
Wearing your MagicBands will add some Extra Pixie Dust to your Trip
Did you know that Disney has started to personalize your ride experience?
That’s right, attractions and dining locations are adding new features so that you become the star of the show!
Be on the lookout in the queue next time you ride Rock n’ Roller Coaster or for your name to appear at the end of It’s a Small World.
Unlock your Video Games!
Did you know that you can use your MagicBand to unlock special features in Disney Infinity?
Each version of Disney Infinity, 1.0, 2.0, and 3.0 you have been able to unlock different things in each. I don’t want to spoil it here for your but if you are looking to find out what you can uncover all it takes is a simple Google search!
So in summary, MagicBands have been an added featured designed to enhance your vacation at the Walt Disney World resort. You can use your MagicBand to gain access to the Disney theme parks, as your parking pass, your ticket on the Magical Express, pay for your dinner or merchandise, for PhotoPass and so much more!
If you are getting a complimentary MagicBand I would take advantage of it throughout your trip to Walt Disney World. With a MagicBand you have everything you need for your Disney World vacation on your wrist!