Recently, the Disney MagicBand has been released to guests at Walt Disney World in Orlando! How does it work? Is the band annoying to wear? Does it make things easier or more difficult? Can off-site guests get MagicBands? There are many questions you may have, and we’ll try and answer them all.
What Does the Disney MagicBand Do?
Your Magic band provides access to many things. Park entry, room entry, purchases of food and souvenirs at all Disney shops, fastpass+ reservations, connect PhotoPass accounts, and keep up with dining reservations. Just as the old key to the world enabled you to ditch the wallet, you can do it all on the Magic Band.
Disney World has short range and long range MagicBand readers. The short range readers are the little boxes that you press your MagicBand against. The long range readers can see where you are in the park. These readers create a massive amount of data that Disney can use to determine where people go in the parks, in the shops, and can allow Disney to work on enhancing the overall experience for it’s visitors.
Who Receives a MagicBand?
Currently, Disney World Hotel guests and Annual Pass holders will receive a Magic Band. When you are putting together your Disney World package, you can customize your Magic Bands, and they will ship them to your home. Don’t forget them when you come to Disney!
Your Magic Band has a specific code that is linked to your account. So if you lose your Magic Band, you will need to purchase an additional one and link it to your account.
If you aren’t staying onsite, you will first get a card that can be used at all the card readers for park entry, and fastpasses. If you’d like, you can convert it to a Magic Band, although you’ll have to purchase it. Currently the price is $12.95.
Is the MagicBand comfortable?
I abhor anything that permanently stays on my hands, aside from my wedding ring (which took awhile to get used to. I can’t wear a watch for this reason. So naturally I was quite skeptical about wearing this. I was also worried about our kids losing their Magic Bands and us having to get replacements over and over!
Well, the MagicBand was extremely comfortable. I adjusted it to where it fit tight, and I never even thought about it. It’s so time-saving and beneficial, as it’s right there on your wrist. In the past, I had to dig through my pockets and wallet for the Key to the World card, ask my wife if she had the kids cards, etc. The MagicBands make it an absolute breeze!
Yes, children can lose them, but in general most kids seem to forget they are on as well. We had one child in our party lose their band at Epcot, although later they found it at guest services! Fortunately your child’s bands are not linked to your credit card, so if they lose the band, no harm can come of it, other than the annoyance of having to go purchase another band.
Can You Customize Your MagicBand?
Yes! Currently there are 7 different colors you can choose from. There also are all sorts of items for sale at Disney shops that you can use to customize your MagicBand. You can get sliders, pins, and MagicBand covers, if you want to truly be different. But, as you might imagine, they all come at a cost. I couldn’t resist the temptation, and purchased an R2-D2 attachment!
Future of the MagicBand
Disney has a lot of options with this band. The long-range readers really haven’t even been implemented to the point where guests are seeing the possibilities yet. In the future, imagine walking down Main Street and someone saying hi to your kids and calling them by name. The same goes for character greetings and other events.
Disney can fine-tune the park experience as well. They are going to be able to track exactly where people go, where they stop, and use this to determine what parts of the park to “fix”.
Recently, I happened to win the high score of the day when I was on Test Track. It’s possible that in the future, the MagicBand will store that car (or achievements like this) and use them on future vacations.
Some people are completely uncomfortable with Disney being able to track their actions. Perhaps it’s just the world we live in, natural skepticism, or complete paranoia. But there are a number of people who feel that way. We personally don’t see an issue with it. I think we all know that Disney is doing this for one reason: To enhance the experiences of their guests, which in turn allows them to make money and keep people coming back!
If there is a negative, it’s that this is a new system. As anyone who has worked in IT knows, computer systems at times go down and have problems. So things do happen. Also, it seems as if they haven’t completely figured out the fastpass plus allocations, as there are times where some of the fastpass plus lines seem too long. But this appears to be getting better each week. Things seem to be getting better each week, and little obstacles such as these should be expected when you are implementing a system this large.
If you have any questions on this exciting new technology, let us know! We’ll get the information for you and try to add it to the comments below, or even in this article if we feel it’s important! We also encourage you to read about Fastpass plus and the MyMagic program in general.
When you try out the Disney Magicband, let us know how you like it below!
By: Ryan Shade