MagicBands may be one of Disney’s greatest inventions! They have so many uses in the parks, at Walt Disney World Resort hotels, and at Disney Springs. They were first announced a little over seven years ago, and now they have become an essential part of visiting Walt Disney World for many guests since their debut.
Because MagicBands have so many uses and more than a few “hidden” features, we’ve put together this in-depth look at all the details including how they work, where they can be used, and what they can be used for. We’ve also included our best tips we’ve discovered from years of wearing MagicBands at Walt Disney World!
As always, we encourage you to visit Disney’s website for all official information and to make sure that none of this information has changed since this article was written. Disney frequently makes changes and updates to their parks and offerings. Because of this, the information in this post was current at the time of publishing and is subject to change at any moment. We update our website and articles as often as we can, but it is always a good idea to double check Disney’s official website before planning your trip or visiting the Walt Disney World Resort.Last Updated October 31, 2020
– 1 –
What is a MagicBand?
MagicBands are plastic wrist bands unique to Walt Disney World that utilize radio frequency technology to interact with certain aspects of the theme parks, resorts, and Disney Springs. Any park tickets you have purchased will be connected to your MagicBand, which you can then use to enter the parks.
Within the parks, MagicBands can also be used as your admittance to FastPass+ lines since all of your FastPass+ reservations are automatically connected through your Disney account. They can also be used to link any PhotoPass photos to your Disney account.
If you are staying at a Walt Disney World resort hotel, your MagicBand is also your Disney Resort room key. This means that each person in your party automatically has their own room key. MagicBands can also be used to board Disney’s Magical Express (Disney World’s free resort hotel transportation to and from the Orlando Airport), and to make purchases at the parks, resorts, and Disney Springs (any purchases you make will be charged to your credit card).
Note that you’ll have to have a Disney account in order to use a MagicBand. According to Disney’s website, “You do not technically link a ticket to a MagicBand or card; you link a ticket to your Disney account.” Once you have a Disney account, your tickets, reservations, and any other info needed for various Disney services are automatically connected to all MagicBands activated in your account.
– 2 –
Do I have to purchase a MagicBand?
MagicBands are completely optional, so you do not have to use a MagicBand if you’d prefer not to. If you choose not to use a MagicBand, you will be able to use a plastic ticket card for things like theme park admittance and FastPass.
Offsite guests (those who are not staying at a Disney Resort) may use their MagicBand for park entry and FastPass+ reservations, but not for purchases or to pay for meals like onsite guests can. If you are staying offsite, you must pay full price for your MagicBand (unless you can find one on sale!), and MagicBands can be purchased online at ShopDisney or in select stores within Walt Disney World and Disney Springs.
At this time, all Disney Resort guests and Annual Passholders will receive complimentary plain colored MagicBands (note that “MagicBands are not included with Water Parks Annual Passes” according to Disney’s website). They may also choose to upgrade their MagicBand for an additional fee. Beginning in 2021, Disney Resort guests will no longer receive complimentary MagicBands with their resort stay, but they will still be able to purchase select MagicBand styles at a discounted price.
If you choose to upgrade your MagicBand at a discounted price as a Disney Resort guest or Annual Passholder, you may choose one from a select amount of available designs. Currently, the prices for MagicBand upgrades for resort guests and APs range from $10–$35 per band depending on the design and whether or not it is a limited or special edition band.
– 3 –
Can I choose my MagicBand color and style?
Disney resort guests can customize their MagicBands after booking their resort stay. Currently, you can customize your band with your chosen color and name (printed on the underneath side of the band) so long as it is at least 11 days before your arrival date. These bands will be shipped to your home before your trip (Disney’s official MagicBand webpage and the “MagicBand Customization Deadline” Q&A page have more info about how to customize your MagicBand).
You can also customize your MagicBand anywhere from 6–10 days before your arrival date, but these bands will be available for pick up at your resort rather than shipped to you ahead of time. If you do not make your MagicBand selections before 1–5 days prior to your check-in date, then you will be given standard grey MagicBands once you arrive at your resort. We are unsure if any of this information will change once complimentary MagicBands for Disney Resort guests are retired, but we will update this post when more details are released.
In the past, we have received emails from Disney stating that our MagicBand customization must be completed at least 30 days prior to our arrival, but this was before upgraded MagicBands were introduced, so we aren’t sure if this was a unique instance or if perhaps the rules have just changed since then. Either way, though, it’s a good idea to keep an eye on deadlines related to your trip in case they do change. It is especially important to watch for emails from Disney regarding your vacation and plans so that you do not miss any changes or important information.
– 4 –
Can I use my MagicBand to make purchases?
If you are staying onsite, MagicBands can be used to pay for purchases in stores or for food in most restaurants. This is completely optional, but a great offering for those who would like to not have to pull out a credit card every time they make a purchase or pay for a meal. All you need to do is tap your MagicBand to the special band readers on the credit card machine and then enter a PIN code of your choosing just as you would for a debit card.
Any purchases you make with your MagicBand in the Disney Parks or Disney Springs will be charged to the credit card you used to pay for your resort hotel room unless you provide them with another card. You can ask them to charge your purchases to a different credit card if you prefer, just make sure you do this at the front desk before you head to the stores and buy all those souvenirs.
As it works now, purchases made with your MagicBand will be added together all along before charging your account. Once you reach a certain amount, they then charge the total all at once. For instance, if you make purchases with your MagicBand at World of Disney in Disney Springs, Agrabah Bazaar in Magic Kingdom, and several other shops/restaurants throughout your trip, you most likely won’t see each of those transactions come through separately. Rather, they will all come through as one large charge from Walt Disney World once you’ve charged a certain total amount (this is not a limit though, you can still continue to make more purchases after you reach this amount). While charging with a MagicBand works the same way as if you were to pay with your actual credit card at a store, those purchases most likely won’t show up on your account until you reach that amount (or at the end of your trip if you don’t spend that much).
– 5 –
How does FastPass+ work with my MagicBand?
To use FastPass+ with your MagicBand, you will tap the band to the Mickey symbol on the FastPass pedestal at the attraction entrance. Once the ring around Mickey’s silhouette lights up green, you will be able to enter the FastPass line (it may be another color if you utilize Disney’s Disability Access Service or some other kind of pass).
You will need to make FastPass+ selections ahead of time using your My Disney Experience account or at one of the kiosks located within the parks. See our Complete Guide for using FastPass+ for more info on how FastPass works at Walt Disney World (note that FastPass is not currently available during Disney World’s reopening phase).
– 6 –
Can I resize my MagicBand?
MagicBands can be resized to a smaller size by removing the outer edge of the band. There are three parts of a MagicBand – the pendant icon in the center, the inner section of the band (the colored part of a standard band), and the outer section of the band (the grey part of a standard band).
To make the band smaller, you can pull the outer section away from the rest of the band. If you look very closely at the band, you will see little tabs holding the inner and outer sections of the band together. This is where the band will separate if you pull the two sections apart (you may have to cut them apart since they are made out of a pretty tough silicone-like material).
– 7 –
Can I remove the center of my MagicBand to use with a MagicKeeper?
MagicBands can be worn on the wrist like a watch, but you also have the option of popping out the center piece and placing it in a MagicKeeper holder. To do this, you will need to unscrew the two screws located on the back of the pendant icon to loosen it from the frame that holds it in the band. You can then place the pendant icon into a MagicKeeper holder and replace the screws (MagicKeeper holders are sold separately and can be found in many stores and ShopDisney).
TIP: Original MagicBands (the 1.0 style) did not include this feature, but the current version (2.0) does.
– 8 –
What If I Loose My MagicBand?
If you loose your MagicBand, there are a few things you can do. You can deactivate it through your Disney account using the My Disney Experience app or website, or by visiting Guest Services. In certain instances, you may also be able to get a replacement band. You can learn more about what you can do if you loose your MagicBand on Walt Disney World’s official website.
– 9 –
Do I need a new MagicBand for every trip, or can I continue to use the same MagicBand I already have?
You can continue to use the same MagicBand for all of your trips. So long as your MagicBand still works well, you can keep using it without the need to buy a new one for each visit.
If you want to purchase other bands in different colors or designs, you can find MagicBands for sale in most stores at the parks, resorts, and Disney Springs. You can also find several on ShopDisney. Certain stores have special edition bands, so keep an eye out if you are looking for a unique style!
– 10 –
Can I have more than one MagicBand at a time?
You can have as many MagicBands as you want at one time. Many frequent visitors to Walt Disney World have multiple MagicBands and wear different colors and styles for every trip. You can link numerous bands to your account, and you can activate and deactivate any of your MagicBands easily from your My Disney Experience app and continue to use old bands until they quit working.
As Disney’s website explains, having more than one MagicBand “does not give you multiple entitlements”, such as extra FastPass+ reservations. Also, a MagicBand cannot be transferred from one person to another once it is linked.
– 11 –
Can my MagicBand get wet?
Yes, MagicBands are waterproof. That means you can wear your MagicBand anywhere it might get wet, such as at the pool, at the Disney waterparks, and on water rides.
– 12 –
Can more than one person use the same MagicBand?
No, a MagicBand can only be linked to one individual. Once you connect a MagicBand to your account, your tickets, reservations, FastPasses, etc. will be accessible through that MagicBand. That MagicBand cannot be transferred to anyone else or access anyone else’s information once it is connected to your account.
Each MagicBand has a unique identification number on the back of the band that you can also find listed in your My Disney Experience account.
– 13 –
Can I enter a Disney party or event using my MagicBand?
Yes, you can use your MagicBand to enter the parks for special events. As long as your party or special event tickets are linked to your account, you will be able to use your MagicBand to enter the parks with those tickets.