Everything your family needs to know about Disney Magic Bands before your Disney World Planning.
Post updated February 2016
We’ve had the chance to use the not-so-new-anymore Magic Bands over several trips including with our group of 10 for a 2 week Disney World vacation. Come learn what Magic Bands are all about, how to use Magic Bands, how to set up MagicBands, and some Magic Bands FAQ.
What is a Disney MagicBand?
MagicBands are part of Disney’s MyMagic+ which allows you to personalize your Disney vacation and seamlessly control everything from a convenient bracelet. MagicBand is the only way to experience the reimagined Fastpass+.
Magic Bands are a new technology from Disney that is being implemented at Walt Disney World in Florida. Disney has invested $1 billion dollars into Magic Bands and began testing them at the parks in February 2013. The Magic Bands are continuing testing and should be released to all guests by mid 2014.
Magic Bands are plastic/rubber bracelets containing an electronic chip. They contain an HF Radio Frequency Device (RFID). The device sends and receives signals via a small antenna in the band. There is no battery inside of them. To use them you will need to actually touch the “Mickey”. The Magicband does have a few medical notices for individual using implatned pacemakers or cardioverter-defibrillators.
Why do I need a MagicBand?
The magic bands are actually pretty nifty (I mean I would hope so for a $1 billion dollar technology!). You are going to want one. They are a nifty way to manage your entire vacation from the convenience of a bracelet! Here is a list of what all you can do with your MagicBand:
- Open your hotel door (and pool at the Art of Animation)
- Pay for items at shops in the parks, hotel, or Downtown Disney
- Disney Dining Plan (counter service, table service, and snack credits)
- Park Tickets (replaces Key to the World Card)
- Fastpass+ (uses Fastpass+ which will replace traditional Fastpass tickets soon)
- PhotoPass (know called Memory Maker)
- Quicker Customer Service (Many Disney employees now carry around a tablet. They can scan your bracelet and assist you without you needing to go to customer service to access your accounts)
- ID for lost kids (not a GPS tracker though, see FAQ)
How do I set-up my MagicBand?
Magic Bands are used for ALL Disney World Resort Guests. If you are staying off site you can buy your own (for a fee).
You can customize the color and name inside your MagicBand at any time until about 30 days before your trip.
There are 7 colors to choose from. You can even choose the name associated with each band – it will be printed inside the band. That is handy if you don’t personalize yours and you get all grey, you’ll be able to tell them apart.
What happens if my MagicBand breaks or doesn’t work right?
Talk to the lobby at your Disney World hotel or customer service at any of the Disney World parks.
Should I take my MagicBand off during my trip?
Your MagicBand is waterproof – in the pool, shower, or Splash Mountains – you are good to go! The advantage of this technology is you put it on once and don’t have to think about it again. You will always be able to get into your room, park, buy a snack, or whatever!
Note: It is always a good idea to keep photo ID, health insurance cards, and some form of payment on you in case you unexpectedly have to go to the hospital. I know this from personal experience!
Should I throw out my Magic Band when we leave?
You can manage more than one magic band at a time. So feel free to save them. There is no cost to them (at this time). But in shops you can buy more unique Magic Bands you may want to keep for your next trip.
What colors do the Magic Bands come in?
Currently the Magicbands come in pink, green, red, orange, blue, gray, and yellow. If you don’t customize yours, they will be gray.
Do Magic Bands work like GPS to keep track of family members?
No. Disney is able to see when you are at the park, when you back to your hotel, how much you spend, etc. But currently, it cannot help you find someone. On our last trip we “lost” Grandpa and they were not able to help us track him down with the MagicBand. But if your child turns up, they can scan the band and get your contact information to help your child get back to you safely.
Couldn’t someone steal my band & make unauthorized charges?
To make any purchases ( including Dining plan) you will need to enter a 4 digit password that you will pick when you check in.
Grandma & Grandpa are staying in our suite with us. Do they have the same passcode?
This was our case this past vacation. When you get to the hotel you are “suppose” to be able to add another credit card and designate who can charge on which card. Then each card can be assigned different passcodes. They may still have been ironing out the kinks, but in our experience it didn’t work seamlessly. Everyone was allowed to charge, but it all got billed to one credit card (ours) The dining room tips (from the Disney Dining Plan) was also messed up as to where it got charged.
But it will show you WHO charged for everything, so it is pretty easy to sort out yourselves at home.
We have family members traveling with us. Should we link our Magic Bands?
It is convenient to be able to make selections for everyone at one time. However, a word of caution. It you are seperating and other family members will be changing their Fastpass+ selections, they could very easily change your selections by accident and then you won’t get to ride on the Seven Dwarf’s Mine for example. They could also cancel your dining reservation instead of just modifying it to be fewer guests. So…. link with extreme caution!
Got Another Question?
If you have another question I haven’t answered please leave me a comment. I’ll do my best to answer it and add it to the FAQ if it is a question others will benefit from!
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