Magic Bands are nothing new for Walt Disney World natives, but MagicBand+ are. Now that they are coming to Disneyland, we are getting a lot of questions about them!
What are they? Are they worth it? How do they work?
Well look no further… We have all of those questions for you answered!
What are Magic Bands?
Magic Bands are an all-in-one bracelet exclusive to Disney. At Walt Disney World, they link to your account and grant wireless access to your ticket, Genie+, Rider Switch or DAS passes and credit card payments. Rather than fumbling for your phone or stressing about your phone dying, you hold your Magic Band up to the sensors at the front of the park or rides. If it goes green, you are good to go! If for some reason it doesn’t work, a cast member will come help and get you on your way in no time. MagicBand+ are the newest generation, and are interactive in the Park.
They are most valuable for onsite guests, because they have more functionality (ie: opening up your room door). But they are fun to have no matter what!
What else can the MagicBand+ do?
One of the features we liked the most about the newest generation at Walt Disney World is that they interacted with things. At Walt Disney World, they lit up during harmonious and Enchantment Firework and Nighttime shows. They also interacted with the 50th statues they put out. We loved getting a “buzz” from our band letting us know we were by a statue!
For Disneyland, Disney recently announced that the Magic Bands will come alive during the two new 100th anniversary night time shows: “World of Color – One” in DCA and “Wondrous Journeys” in Disneyland, which debut January 27th, 2023. In Disney’s words: They will “unlock a new dimension of Disney storytelling, coming alive with colour-changing LED lights and haptic vibrations during select experiences”. They will “add surprising and magical touches to certain entertainment at Avengers Campus in Disney California Adventure Park”.
Another interactive zone for the bands in Disneyland is Batuu, in Galaxy’s Edge (the Star Wars themed land). They can be used to collect bounties throughout the land.We had the opportunity to try this in Galaxy’s Edge in September in Walt Disney World. The hardest part was it’s not working perfectly yet.. so walking around in the “surface of the sun” heat of the day wasn’t the best… But we did enjoy learning how it all works, and we did collect a bounty and we could see how it definitely adds to the immersive experience in the Land!
Do I need a MagicBand+ to go to Disneyland?
Absolutely not. However, if you don’t want to have to stare at your phone all day, or want to be more hands-free, this is great! It’s nice to have a backup when a phone may die or glitch out. For our recent trip to Florida we only had 3 park days so I just used my phone. The whole system is designed to be tap and go. This works with your band and also your phone. Once you have the app downloaded and your passes uploaded, you are set. There is no need to even open the app, simply hold your phone to the reader and once that magical light turns green you are good to go.
Where do I get one?
Expect to see these bad boys everywhere. They will be available in the World of Disney in Downtown Disney, the Disneyland hotel gift shops, and various shops throughout the parks (think the Emporium in DL and Elias Gifts and Co in DCA).
The Walt Disney World MagicBand+ are available on www.shopdisney.com, however, they do say that they are currently enabled for use only in Walt Disney World resorts. This may change, so pay attention to the small print. I suspect they said this cause they weren’t yet available. We have been told they will work at both Parks!
Availability will change often, too! There will be limited edition bands, and designs specific to Walt Disney World, Disneyland, and ones that are seasonal too! Think of it as the Loungefly bag of Disney wearable accessories haha!
Does it have a battery? What if it dies?
No worries! The band comes with a charger. If you’re worried about it, charge it overnight. They charge exceptionally fast (like under 15 min for half a charge) and last several days. However if the “+” part stops working, the regular functions always work. You’ll always be able to use it for your ticket and passes like Genie. We got in the habit of charging them every night. We also just wore them all of the time unless being charged, which worked out well for us and the kids.
Are they waterproof?
YES! This is such a game changer, because most phones obviously are NOT! They can go in the pools, shower, water rides, all of it.
Do I have to get a new one each trip?
Absolutely not! From time to time they will release new generations that will feature new technology. However, if you are a frequent Disney vacationer you will likely be able to get good use out of it.
How many sizes are there?
They come in one size, as they are adjustable. You can pull off one part of the outer layer for kids if they are super little, but they don’t go back to together once you do that.
Can first and second generation magic bands be used at Disneyland?
Only the third generation MagicBand+ can be used. If you’ve purchased them from Walt Disney World, you are good to go!
And good news… if you buy them at Disneyland, you will also be able to use them at Walt Disney World!
When will they become available?
In Walt Disney World, they were released in the Summer. For Disneyland, they did a soft release already for Magic Key Holders (Annual Park Passes), Cast Members, and DVC members. For the rest of us, they will launch Oct 26th, 2022!
How well do they work?
The technology isn’t perfect… yet. There has already been several updates, so we are hopeful that when they arrive at Disneyland, some more kinks will be worked out. However, in our experience in WDW, the regular MagicBand functions work amazingly, and flawlessly. It is helpful not to have to locate your pass or phone when entering the parks or the lightning lanes. The trickiest thing was getting the statues to interact with our bands. We did find a setting in the app (under “Magic Bands”) that allowed us to increase the bands sensitivity, and that did help!
Are they complicated to set up?
I was a little nervous about this…but when I showed up at my stay at Animal Kingdom Lodge in the Summer, the staff member walked me through it. You open the phone app, and there are easy to follow instructions on the Magic Band box. You will need to update both the app and the band first, usually. Then there are a few “syncing” instructions and you will be good to go! You can link kids bands to your Disney apps. It’s all pretty easy.. and don’t forget, Guest Services and Cast Members are there to help!
Can I have them shipped to my home, ready to use when I get to the Parks?
If you are in the US, you sure can! ShopDisney has a wide selection of them, as does MyDisneyExperience if you stay onsite at Walt Disney World (heads up: you are offered a discount for them if staying off site at Walt Disney World.. it doesn’t look like this is currently an option for onsite guests at Disneyland but we will keep up to date on if this stays the case). They have stopped shipping them to Canada, which has something to do with the technology in them. Getting to the World of Disney store on the day of arrival in Disneyland before a Park day has always been a highlight for us, so we suggest purchasing them there, linking them, and charging them that night if you are Canadian like us!
How much are they?
Based on the online pricing for the MagicBand+ in WDW, expect for the plain-coloured bands to be $34.99USD and the themed bands to be $44.99 through $59.99USD. There are some really cool-looking bands that range from Iron Man to Toy Story to iridescent-castle-inspired ones. There are so many fun and exciting prints to choose from. The kids really enjoy looking through the options and choosing their own. Note: they are non-refundable… but if something goes wrong, or one falls off, always keep the receipt just in case!
Will onsite Disneyland Hotel guests have the extra features?
At this time, it looks like the room key function, and charging to your room will not be a function at Disneyland. They will work the same for offsite and onsite guests.
Are you looking forward to getting a MagicBand+? Do you have any other questions for us? For other posts on Disneyland and Walt Disney World, and everything in between, check out our other posts!
Let us know in the comments!
Have a magical day,
Erica, Heidi, Elisia and Danielle