What is a MagicBand and Do I need one?

Last Updated on August 25, 2023 by Happily Ever Park Hoppers

What is a MagicBand?

What is a MagicBand and Do I need one?

Looking for more information what is a MagicBand? Not sure what all you can do with a MagicBand or if you really need one? Find all the need to know information regarding MagicBands and the new MagicBands+ below.


What is a MagicBand?

Disney MagicBands are like a wristband or a watch. Each MagicBand is linked to a person you’ve added to your My Disney Experience account. Each person’s MagicBand is also connected to that person’s theme park ticket and any plans linked to that person. You can use your MagicBand to do all sorts of things.

Magic Kingdom Front Entrance Tapstyle

When in the parks, you can use your MagicBand at the front entrance tap styles instead of using your theme park ticket. You can also use your MagicBand to “tap in” at Lightning Lane entrances (if you purchased Genie+ or an Individual Lightning Lane, are using a DAS pass, or redeeming a Multiple Experience pass). If you purchased the Memory Maker, you will use your MagicBand at any PhotoPass location or save ride photos.

If you are staying at a Disney Resort hotel, you can use your MagicBand to check in at the front desk, unlock the door to your room, and even charge drinks & meals to your room. If you are using the Disney Dining Plan (if that ever comes back), you can use your MagicBand to use your Disney Dining Credits. At Table Service locations and even at a Disney Resort hotel pool, you can hand off your MagicBand to a Cast Member and they will use your MagicBand to charge your meal to your room. You will also have a credit or debit card linked to your My Disney Experience account so you can use your MagicBand to make merchandise purchases at any of the stores in the parks, Disney Resort hotel gift shops, or in Disney Springs.

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What is the difference between the MagicBand and MagicBand+?

With MagicBands and MagicBand+ you can do almost all of the same things. Both will allow you to do all of the features above. The main difference between the MagicBands and the new MagicBand+ is the interactive features. MagicBand+ allows you to customize light-up themes. You will feel haptic vibrations and/or your band will light up in certain parts of the parks, during fireworks shows, and on rides. Another fun feature of the MagicBand+ is the interactions with the Golden Fab 50 Sculptures. When you are wearing the band and wave at the statues, a magical recording will play. It is fun to search for all of the statues and use the Play Disney app and complete the Disney Fab 50 Virtual Quest – which can only be done with the MagicBand+. Additionally, the only other big difference between MagicBands and MagicBands+, is that MagicBand+ needs to be charged (charging cord included). Traditional MagicBands come with a “puck” in the center that has a battery that lasts for a couple of years.

How much do they cost?

Depending on which band you are looking at there are several different price points.

  • Traditional solid color MagicBands $19.99
  • Themed MagicBands $34.99 – $29.99
  • Traditional solid color MagicBand+ $34.99
  • Themed MagicBand+ $44.99

For Disney Resort hotel guests, under the My Disney Experience drop-down, you will see “My Magicbands and Cards”. From there you can pre-order your MagicBands at a special “Pre-Arrival” price, which will save you $10 off each MagicBand. You can purchase just one or you can order one for everyone in your party (just know that you don’t have to buy one for everyone if someone chooses not to get one).

Disney World MagicBand Customization
Disney World MagicBand Customization

What if I’m not staying at a Disney Resort hotel?

Even if you are not staying at a Disney Resort hotel, a MagicBand can still be very beneficial to you. Obviously, you won’t be able to use your MagicBand to open the door to your room at a non-Disney Resort hotel. And if you are not staying at a Disney Resort hotel, you will not be able to use your MagicBand to charge purchases to the card linked to your account and/or to your resort reservation. But there are still plenty of things you can use your MagicBand for. Personally, I feel that the biggest draw to the MagicBand is being able to tap in at the entrances of the parks, for Lightning Lane redemption, and for Disney PhotoPass.

Do I really need to buy a MagicBand?

“Need” being the keyword. No. You don’t need to buy a MagicBand.

I understand that $34.99 or even $19.99 can add up quickly (especially if you have a big party). And knowing how expensive a Disney vacation is, you are probably trying to decide if you should spend the extra money. Buying and using MagicBands is a personal preference and a decision that you are going to have to make for yourself. But I want to point out that you can still do all the same things without using one.

My Disney Experience app

The My Disney Experience app has a lot of great features. Two of which, are just as convenient (if not more) than using the MagicBand. Mobile Order and Merchandise Mobile Checkout are two fantastic features that alleviate the need for a Magicband (especially if you aren’t staying at a Disney Resort hotel). You can use either feature to order and pay for food at Quick Service locations or to check out and pay for merchandise at many of the shops inside of the parks and Disney Springs (which is super handy when the lines are long in the stores).

One idea to consider if you are still on the fence about buying MagicBands, is to only buy one (or for those who you know will really use them). Buy one MagicBand for the person most likely to pay for food or merchandise, or for the person who will be in charge of the PhotoPass scans. This is a much more affordable option and you can still utilize the convenience the bands offer. Also, remember that if you’re staying at a Disney Resort hotel, buy them ahead of time to get that special Pre-Arrival price and that the traditional solid color bands are only $10!
*MagicBands are sold in the parks, at the resorts, and at World of Disney in Disney Springs, if anyone changes their mind and wants once after you arrive.

All in all, MagicBands are very convenient and can help enhance your Disney vacation with some fun features. As I said before, buying MagicBands comes down to personal preference. While my family choses to use them, doesn’t mean yours has to. Many people prefer to spend the money elsewhere during their trip and/or prefer using MagicMobile and the other features on the My Disney Experience app. Just know that if you decide to not purchase them, you will have an equally magical vacation without them.

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