Since the announcement of a magical wrist band that could hold your keys to the kingdom was made in early 2013, MagicBands have created a stir amongst Walt Disney World guests. When they announced the concept, many were concerned about data security and the over-bearing influence of big-brother knowing their every move. While concerns seem to have died down over the years, either from reassurance or simply conceding that the benefit outweighs the risk, Disney guests still have a lot to talk about.
Let’s run through some of the more frequent MagicBand questions below.
Can it really replace your hotel key, park ticket, and credit card?
It’s weird, right? Leaving your hotel room with nothing but your MagicBand on your wrist and your asthma puffer in your pocket? Who would have thought so many years ago that, thanks to a combination of technological advancement and children who have outgrown their diaper bag days, we could be walking out of our resort room hands-free? The first time you do it, it can be nerve-racking. Does this really work, or am I just locking myself out of my room leaving all my valuables inside waiting to find out I’m being punked? If you are like me, you may even be caught giving it a test run with another family member still inside the room, just in case your magic entry goes wrong.
In theory, you can spend your day hands-free using only your MagicBand. If you are staying in a Walt Disney World resort and have linked your credit card, you can technically use the band to enter the parks, redeem FastPasses, make purchases, save PhotoPass images and re-enter your resort room. Not bad, right?
Depending on when you are visiting, if you are planning on spending a long day in the parks, I would still recommend a small backpack with the basics like ID, phone, some cash, sunscreen, lip balm, water bottle, hats, and a poncho if you need some cover in a pinch.
What’s the deal with the MagicBand included with your resort stay?
If you are staying at a Walt Disney World resort, a MagicBand will be included for each person in your reservation. You can choose any of the solid colors at no additional cost though if unchanged, your default color will be the standard gray.
As of May 20th, 2019, Disney introduced a new MagicBand upgrade system that allows guests to pay an additional fee to upgrade to a themed MagicBand.
You can make your MagicBand selections as soon as you have made your Disney resort reservation. If your selections are made prior to 11 days out from your arrival date, as long as you reside in the United States of America, the bands will be shipped to your home address. If you are traveling to Disney from another location other than your home, be mindful that they may arrive at your address when you aren’t able to return to pick them up. International visitors will be able to pick up their bands from the front desk on arrival as there is no shipping optional available.
If your selections are made between eleven and six days from your arrival date, your bands will be waiting for you at your resort. If you are less than five days from your arrival, your bands will not be able to be customized, and you will receive the standard color, gray.
Can I customize my band any other way?
Why, yes you can. There are a few different companies and craft maker sites that offer MagicBand skins and decals for you to express yourself through your Disney wrist wear. If you aren’t staying on site, this can be a clever and inexpensive way to give an older band a little flair.
Can you wear it any other way than on your wrist?
Absolutely. In fact, other than the convenience of it, there is no need to have it on your wrist. Guests simply need to be ready to present it when needed without holding up the line. If you are fitting one onto your child’s wrist, there is an outer lining that can be removed to reveal a smaller size within. If you are worried about the band staying put on a child’s wrist, Disney also offers a cute little Mickey-shaped clip that can be connected to a lanyard to wear it around their, or your, neck.
Sometimes the My Disney Experience app doesn’t work. Does the MagicBand Fast Pass system sometimes stop working, too?
Listen closely friends, this one is top secret. A cast member in Disney’s Animal Kingdom once told us that the Walt Disney World FastPass service does go down very rarely; however, when it happens, no one really knows. Why? Because the MagicBand scanners are programmed to approve every touch when the system isn’t working, so it doesn’t inconvenience guests. This means that unlike the app, your experience will remain seamless even if the system isn’t actually working at all. Now that is some Disney magic!
That just about covers it. Add your MagicBand expertise below and help your fellow park-goer!
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.