Wearables are becoming the new normal in the entertainment industry, and Disney World was one of the first to introduce this new technology several years ago.
Basically, it works off of an RFID chip embedded in the wearable bracelet. The original MagicBand could only be used as a band, but the MagicBand 2, which was released to the general public in early 2017, has a removable RFID chip for people who would rather carry it as a keychain or put it in their pocket.
Disney spent in upwards of a billion dollars on the overall set of technology, which they called MyMagic+, and it’s become much more than a fashion accessory. Let’s take a look at the top ten things you need to know about MagicBand.
1. You can swim with them
Do you enjoy some pool time during your vacation? Each one of the Disney resort hotels has at least one pool, and there are also two water parks on property. Several rides also have water features, and there are some like Splash Mountain on which you could get drenched.
Disney knew that a successful wearable had to be waterproof, so they designed their MagicBand out of durable, flexible plastic/rubber material. So hop in the pool, put your hands up on Splash Mountain, and play with the water fountains in the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train queue. You won’t damage your MagicBand.
2. You can customize them
MagicBands are free for Disney Resort guests. The ones that are sent out are in basic colors like red, orange, yellow, green, blue, pink, and gray. If your bands seem a little drab, you can spruce them up yourself or you can purchase customization options like covers and MagicBandits.
You can also purchase MagicBands that already include a design. Designs are based on Disney characters, movies, and attractions. Special events like Epcot‘s Flower and Garden Festival or International Food and Wine Festival also have limited edition MagicBands.
3. You can pay with them
Disney tries to make everything seamless and easy (especially when it comes to spending money), so they made their MagicBand work as a form of payment. Simply link your credit card to your MyDisneyExperience account, enter a PIN at check-in, and use it to make purchases around the resort.
This way, you don’t have to carry cash or your credit cards on you, and anyone in your family that knows the PIN can make purchases. That means there’s no need to give your teenager cash or a credit card that they might lose.
At the end of your stay, Disney will slip a summary of your purchases under your door. If you do nothing, the charges will be applied to your credit card. You can also opt to pay cash at the front desk or pay with a different card.
4. You can unlock your room with them
Besides acting as a payment method, MagicBands also unlock your hotel room door. They don’t give out the plastic card room keys anymore (unless you ask for them specifically), so while the payment method is optional, the room key really isn’t.
5. They keep all your pictures in one place
While MagicBands don’t store your pictures, per se, they do work as a scan point for PhotoPass Photographers.
After the photographers take your picture, they’ll scan your MagicBand. The pictures will then be linked to your MyDisneyExperience account, and you can see all your pictures in one place.
6. They store your FastPass information
Since the MagicBand links to your MyDisneyExperience account, where you make your FastPass+ reservations, you can also access your FP+ attractions with your MagicBand. Like the room key, this isn’t really an optional link like the payment method. It is the standard.
7. They last a while
Disney designed the MagicBands to last for quite a while. According to Disney, the battery should last about two years, though many people have reported them lasting longer. The batteries can’t be replaced, so once they die, you can either throw them away or keep them as a souvenir.
Disney-themed Christmas ornament anyone?
8. You can manage them from anywhere
The MyDisneyExperience app is available for both iPhone and Android, and you can also access your account on any device than has Internet access.
When you receive your MagicBands, you’ll have to create an account or log in to your existing account to activate your band. You can also deactivate a band should you misplace it either in the parks or once you get home.
As I mentioned before, the app also allows you to create FP+ reservations and Advanced Dining Reservations (ADRs), which are all linked to your MagicBand.
9. You don’t have to be a Disney Resort Hotel guest to get one
Disney Resort Hotel guests are able to take advantage of all that the MagicBand has to offer, but guests staying off property or visiting just for the day can also purchase a MagicBand and link their theme park tickets, FP+ reservations, ADRs, and PhotoPass photos. Annual Passholders get a free MagicBand each year.
10. One size fits all
When you receive your MagicBand, it will come in one piece, but it’s actually two pieces. For larger wrists, keep the band in tact. For small wrists (like for kids), pull the outer later off. It’s a little hard to see, but there is a perforated section that pulls off to make the band smaller.
If the band is still loose, consider purchasing one of the MagicBandits mentioned above to keep the band on or buy an accessory like a keychain holder and clip it on.