Updated for 2016!
Back in January of 2013, Tom Staggs, Chairman of the Walt Disney Parks and Resorts, described how the Disney Company would be rolling out a collection of tools at the Walt Disney World Resort called MyMagic+, providing guests with more opportunities to customize and personalize their entire visit. MyMagic+ would allow guests to book guaranteed ride times for their favorite shows and attractions even before setting foot in the parks. MyMagic+ was designed to enable guests to spend more time together, thereby creating a more enjoyable experience for everyone.
Staggs said, “Linking the entire MyMagic+ experience together is an innovative piece of technology we developed called the MagicBand.”
Many Disney travelers have been unimpressed with the FastPass+ changes that have occurred through the years, making down to the hour planning necessary for many successful trips, but the bands themselves have been met with pretty much universal applause.
Beyond the planning it takes to get yourself to Orlando these days, just what can a MagicBand do to improve your next Disney World vacation?
1. Room Key
Worn on your wrist, your MagicBand will serve as your Disney resort room key. Long gone are the days of needing actual metal keys or plastic “Keys to the World” cards. Just swipe your band and you are now in your room.
2. Theme Park Ticket
In the same way you won’t need a room key, you won’t need park tickets at the turnstile either.Swipe your MagicBand at the gate, and you’re in, with no need to search through your belongings to find paper tickets or plastic cards.
Remember running across the park to get a FASTPASS ticket, printed on real paper? With those days long gone, you now reserve access to available attractions, entertainment and more. Ticket holders or Annual Pass Members can start making selections as early as 30 days before your arrival. When you have a Walt Disney World Resort hotel reservation, you can make your FastPass+ up to 60 days before you check-in.
You will use your phone, your computer, or a park kiosk to make your reservations, but you will scan your MagicBand. From experience I will say that it’s way easier to keep up with a band on your wrist than tickets in your pocket.
4. PhotoPass/Memory Maker
Link your MagicBand to your My Disney Experience account, and then link Memory Maker and Disney PhotoPass cards that you use while on your Disney vacation. Once those photo services are linked to your band/account, use this link view your Disney PhotoPass pictures.
5. Make Payments
You can tie your MagicBand to your credit card on file and charge meals, merchandise, and tickets to make purchases. Just swipe and purchase- like a credit card you wear on your wrist. You have to ability to have charging privileges for every member of your party, but you may not want to use this option, depending on the child’s age. We have written about how the Apple Watch will do the same thing using Apple Pay. Use this link for more information: Apple’s Smart Watch: Gotta Have It for Your Disney Vacation?
6. Adds Fun to the Trip Anticipation
Part of the fun of a scheduled vacation is anticipating all the events you’ll experience, and receiving your MagicBands in the mail can make that anticipation even more fun. Based on Facebook reactions when a Purple band was created in 2016, adults get just as excited about choosing the color of their bands as kids do.
MagicBands are “free,” which means included in the price of your resort room, but if you decide to upgrade, there are tons of designs available in the parks and resort gift shops, plus online at the Disney Store.com. We have some great information on that:
7. Name Recognition
MagicBands use RFID technology to pick up your name when you ride certain rides, like Haunted Mansion and Small World. You are the kids especially could be amazed to see your names show up on a screen.
Disney Magic, plain and simple.
Thanks for stopping by, and we’ll see you swiping your MagicBands at the Parks.
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Amanda Major is the creator of cheapskateprincess.com. She remembers her first visit to Magic Kingdom like it was yesterday, because she had a ham sandwich tucked in her shorts pocket. The whole family snuck in their lunch; you can’t make that kinda stuff up. 40 years worth of trips to Orlando later, she is still trying to save money on vacations.
Amanda is a Disney Vacation Club Member and Annual Pass holder. Her amazing husband, band director Carl Major, plus three teen children and two dogs keep her busy. Amanda teaches Leadership to high school seniors in the almost-coastal town of Foley, Alabama. Read about her cheapskating local vacations with this link. When she’s not writing, she’s reading, walking somewhere, or paddling a kayak. Life is indeed a blast.
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