Disney World Magic Bands

By James | Last updated May 10, 2024

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Disney is leading the way in the use of technology to enhance the guest’s experiences at Walt Disney World with their “NextGen” initiative, collectively known as Magic Bands. The updated Disney World Magic Bands 2’s are now available to the public and there’s a nice improvement from the early releases. As well as the standard bands, the bands are available with special graphics and limited edition designs.

The advantage of the Magic Band is it is a lot easier to use and a lot harder to lose. They also present great merchandising opportunities!

The recognition technology allows guests to access their Walt Disney Resort hotel room, access the park turnstiles, pay for food and merchandise whilst in the parks, and take advantage of the new Disney Genie+ system to reserve attraction times or dining reservations.

The Magic Bands now provide all these services and allow guests to collect their PhotoPass pictures.

Disney World Magic Band Customization

Magic Bands come in a range of colors and designs, each with its own pricing. The more basic Magic Bands range from around the $30 mark and can reach $44.99 for the more unique designs. Specialty bands have been known to be selling for up to $64.99. Most designs available now are character or movie-themed designs.

Disney World Annual Passholders and resort guests often have access to exclusive Magic Band selections. They don’t ship internationally so you will have to purchase one onsite unless you live in the United States. Each MagicBand can be linked to the guest’s My Disney Experience account. This allows for effortless park entry, Genie+ redemption, and room access for those staying at Disney resorts.

When visiting the Disney World Resort, your Magic Band is a convenient tool and a way to show off your Disney personality. You can personalize these bands through Disney’s official channels and some third-party sites.

Magic Band Personalization Options

Your Magic Band Personalization begins with selecting from the range of styles offered by Disney. There are the standard MagicBands which provide a simple, single-color loo. You then have the Magic Band+ options with more customization. You can select bands with pre-designed themes featuring your favorite Disney characters, attractions, or events.

Design Selection

Disney offers a range of special designs beyond solid colors. These include limited-edition Magic Bands commemorating Disney events, movies, and anniversaries. Guests staying at Disney Resort hotels, or annual pass holders, have access to exclusive designs when pre-ordering through Disney’s website.

Color Choices

The Magic Bands come in an assortment of colors. You can select the style that best fits your style or mood. Colors include pink, blue, white, black and the list goes on. The standard color options can be found for around the $20 mark but these are generally the first-gen bands.

My Disney Experience

Underpinning all this is the My Disney Experience website and mobile app. Using touchscreen terminals in the parks or their own smartphones guests can access their profiles and update Disney Genie+ reservations.

You can let Disney Cast Members know your name and any special anniversaries coming up so that as you move around the park, Cast Members can greet you by name and wish you a happy birthday, for example.

Guests are also given the option as to how much personal information they share with Disney. It is possible to opt out of some parts of this experience but in doing so some functionality may not be available.

The RFID chips themselves do not contain any personal information, just an identification number. If you lose your RFID card or Magic Band, you can advise a Cast Member or disable it yourself by logging into your account.

Magic Bands Facts and History

In late 2013, all Walt Disney World Resort guests started receiving RFID enabled wristbands (called Magic Bands) whilst non-residents who visited the theme parks were getting RFID chips embedded in plastic cards.

Guests staying at one of the Walt Disney Resort hotels or guests purchasing photography packages all receive a free Magic Band. Magic Bands have been rolled out gradually and by the end of 2013 all resort guests had access to Magic Bands. Disney then started to offer Magic Bands to their annual pass holders.

Between December 2013 and January 2014, all four theme parks switched over from the paper-based FastPass system to the new RFID FastPass+ system. Non-resort guests continue to receive RFID enabled park tickets giving them access to “touch to enter” the parks, FastPass+ and “touch to pay”. They are also able to buy a Magic Band and link it to their ticket.

In November 2016, at the D23’s Destination D: Amazing Adventures convention, Disney announced a new version of their Magic Band. This was to be called the Magic Band 2.

It is similar to the original Magic Band but has a detachable centrepiece. This can can be transferred to something else like a lanyard, pendant, carabiner or keychain making it more customizable for everyone.