Updated for 2016!
When we got back from our summer Disney vacation, my 7th grade son wore his MagicBand every day for nearly four months. And let me assure you, he’s not alone. After wearing the bands all around Disney World, what better way to hold onto that vacation magic a little longer than to continue wearing the band day after day! For those who need a little more information on the bands, what they do, and some free vs. cost information, we developed this Cheapskate Princess Guide to send you off on vacation in the know.
What are MagicBands?
MagicBands are these cool plastic bands you can wear on your wrist while you are on a Disney vacation. MagicBands are colorful, waterproof wristbands – resembling a watch or bracelet – that you can quickly and easily touch to a sensor called a ”touch point.”
MagicBands contains an HF Radio Frequency device and transmitter which sends and receives RF signals through a small antenna inside the MagicBand. This enables the band to be read by long-range readers used to deliver personalized experiences, as well as provide information that helps Disney improve the overall experience of our Parks.
MagicBands are not currently used at the Disneyland Resort, however, people are guessing they will eventually be used there as well as other Disney parks overseas. 14 months after this article was published in 2015, these MagicBand features are still exclusive to Walt Disney World Resort.
Not only have they become a fashion statement in the parks and resorts, but they serve a huge functional purpose on your vacation. MagicBands connect choices you make on the My Disney Experience mobile app. and the website.
- Use the MagicBand and a valid park ticket to enter theme parks and water parks.
- Redeem your FastPass+ selections.
- Connect your Disney PhotoPass images to your Disney account.
- Enter your Disney resort rooms, as this is the new room key, having replaced plastic key cards.
- Charge food and merchandise purchases to your room.
- Identify yourself when you pass through theme park parking plazas.
When are they free?
And I mentioned before, when you stay at Walt Disney World Resort or if you are an Annual Passholder, MagicBands are given to you for free.
When are they not free?
The purchase price for a band as of March, 2016, without shipping costs is $12.99. So if you need to purchase a band, or your children wear out their bands over time and need a replacement, it may be easier to just order new bands online. Use this link to the Disney Store.com for ordering information.
If you are not staying at a Disney World Resort Hotel and are not a Passholder, you will receive a card when you purchase park admission. You then have the option to purchase a MagicBand at the theme parks, Disney Springs, or at DisneyStore.com. You can link your park admission ticket using My Disney Experience and then use your MagicBand to enter the parks.
In addition to solid color, plain bands, DisneyStore.com and the resort and park gift shops also have graphic MagicBands available for purchase. In 2015, these graphic MagicBands retailed for $19.95 each. In 2016, bands retail for $22.95 to $27.95 in lots of colors and designs.
And of course, because those Disney magic makers are merchandising geniuses, there is all sorts of extra “bling” you can order for your bands.
MagicSliders – $12.95 each
A “MagicSlider” is a plastic design that fits over the center of your MagicBand. You just slip a MagicSliders onto your band for an instant custom accessory.
MagicBandits Sets – $7.99 per set of three, $9.99 for a set of 4
MagicBandits decorate any common band when you simply pop the design into any available holes. The bandits are small parts, and they are not designed for children under three years.
These little additions have a reputation for falling off occasionally, so keep an eye on them if they start to work their way out of the holes.
You can snag a sale on the MagicBandits and MagicSliders occasionally, like these two sets. Now it’s not a huge savings, but every little bit can add up.
Answers to Common Questions
1. What if we don’t have the free bands when we arrive?
If you plan a last minute vacation and don’t have time to order your MagicBands before you leave, you should be able to get them once you arrive at your ersort, but you may not get the color you want based on supply.
2. If you have an old admission ticket, (hand date-stamped with no magnetic strip) will this ticket link to a MagicBand?
Yes. As you enter the parks, go to Guest Relations to exchange your old ticket for a new plastic card containing an RFID chip. That ticket information will then be linked to your MagicBand.
3. How many MagicBands can you have?
While you can have up to seven, you won’t need that many. You will link, activate, and/or deactivate them on the My Disney Experience website or using the phone app.
4. What happens if I lose my MagicBand?
If you should lose your band, deactivate it using your My Disney Experience account online or using on the mobile app. Notify Guest Relations or your hotel’s Lobby Concierge if you are on resort property, where you should have a replacement band issued. If you are off property/finished with your vacation when you lose the band, deactivate the band using the same methods, but realize you may have to purchase a replacement.
5. Do you have to use MagicBands?
No, because you can always use a plastic RF card for park admission and resort room entry. The only issue may be that the RF cards cannot be detected by long-range readers like the MagicBands can. Just let a Cast Member know your preference when you check in.
6. Will the band get ruined if it gets wet?
No. MagicBands are waterproof, so you can wear them swimming or showering.
How fun would a box full of these be?!
Given how many people are now wearing the bands throughout their vacations, and how many of the MagicBands and accessories stations are now found in gift shops everywhere, chances are your children are going to either buy the accessories and specialty bands or certainly ask about purchasing them.
Now you will be prepared pre-trip with details and prices. Financial information allows you Disney moms and the kids to make a plan.
One of these days, you’ll look up and find your arm decorated just like this…
Thanks for stopping by, and we’ll see you blinging out your bands, or explaining to the kids how much money is left in their budget for MagicBand bling!
Now let our vacation planner help you plan your trip, totally for FREE!
Use this link for a free no obligation vacation quote from Erin, our Disney Vacation Planner with Destinations in Florida travel. She offers promotions like Disney Trading Pin sets, autograph books, and free Mickey Mouse ear hats for kids under age 17. We know our readers love free…