Welcome back to our Disney Planning series here at the DIS, where we get back to basics and look at some commonly asked questions about visiting the Disney theme parks in California and Florida. This week we are talking MagicBands, MagicBand2, and MagicBand+; what’s the difference, and do you need one to visit the theme parks?
What is the difference between them?
The difference between these three items is some slight advances in technology. MagicBands were first introduced into the Walt Disney World theme parks in 2013 as a convenient way to help guests navigate their way into the parks and resort rooms. MagicBand 2 was announced in 2016 and rolled out a few months later in 2017, introducing a new shape and several new features, including the removable inner puck. MagicBand+, on the other hand, was introduced in 2022 and is sold side by side with the MagicBand 2 rather than replacing it. While it does feel as though MagicBand 2 will be phased out soon, they are currently still available for purchase on shopDisney.com. MagicBand+ comes in at a higher price point ($44.99 and Up) and reacts to select park interactions with lighting effects and gesture recognition.
What does it do?
Your MagicBand is an RFID bracelet that can take the place of your room key, your park tickets, your credit card, and even hold your Lighting Lane and Genie+ bookings. At different points in your resort or at a theme park, you can tap your wrist to gain access or make payments, allowing you to carry less with you and keep everyone’s details on them inside the band.
Do I need a MagicBand to enter Disney Parks and Resorts?
No. You do not need a MagicBand to enjoy the Disney parks. Though the technology has been available in Walt Disney World for ten years, and Disneyland adopted the system in 2022, you can still use your smartphone or ticket system to navigate the parks. MagicBands are a convenient add-on purchase that is completely optional.
How long will my MagicBand last?
As with all technology-based items, it will depend on how often you use them and a world of other factors as to the longevity of your product. It has been said that they are designed to last for up to two years, though many guests have reported using the same bands for up to five years.
Can kids use MagicBand?
Absolutely. Apart from being adjustable, there is a way to shorten the strap, as well as remove the puck, the inner oval that houses all the technology, to turn it into a keyring or accessory to clip onto clothing. Kids love tapping them to move through areas, and the interactive components of MagicBand+ can be a lot of fun too.
There is one thing that this groundbreaking device can’t replace, your smartphone! You will still be glued to your phone, especially when making adjustments to Lightning Lane reservations and things along the way. While you certainly do not need a Magic Band to enjoy the parks, they do make things a lot easier!
Zoë Wood is a travel writer from Sydney, Australia. Since her first visit to Disneyland at the age of 6, she has spent her years frequently visiting Disney Parks and traveling around the world.
Join Zoë as she lets you in on all the tips, tricks, anecdotes, and embarrassments that arise from her family adventures.