Imagine a place where you don’t need a car, or house keys, or credit cards, or cash, or a ticket to hop on the airport bus or skip that long line at the DMV.
That place has a name, and it’s Disney World.
Here’s what your MagicBand, a waterproof bracelet, serves as:
- Magical Express airport-hotel bus transfer ticket. Arrive at MCO with a reservation at a Disney hotel, and they’ll scan your MagicBand, which you recently received in the mail (if you paid for a Disney hotel or bought your park tickets through them). You’ll be cleared to board the Magical Express bus to your hotel for free.
- Resort room keys. Check in to your Disney resort online before you travel, then drop your suitcase at the concierge and go right a park while you wait for your room to be ready. Later that day, receive a text with your room number, pick up your bags (or have the bellhop carry them if you’re fancy), and head straight to your room.
- Park entrance tickets. If you buy park tickets in advance (and link them to your My Disney Experience account in advance, if you bought them from a third party), just scan your MagicBand at the park entrance when you first arrive and every time you enter a park after that.
- Dining reservations. Make a reservation at a Disney sit-down (“table service”) restaurant and scan your MagicBand at the host stand when you arrive. They’ll see all the details of your reservation.
- FastPasses. Make FastPass reservations online or at the park 30-60 days in advance up until the same day you want to go on a ride, and they’ll be linked to your MagicBand. You’ll scan the band once or twice while passing through the FastPass line for a given ride.
- PhotoPass. All the rides that include mid-ride photo or video ops (like Space Mountain or Seven Dwarfs Mine Train) will magically scan your band when you’re already seated on the ride. And all the PhotoPass photographers throughout the parks have a little machine to scan your band. PhotoPass pics you will appear on your My Disney Experience page automatically.
- Pay for all the things. Literally all the things. Most importantly, a MagicBand gives you the ability to not realize how much money you’re spending, Use it to pay for food and merchandise on the Disney grounds. Also use it to charge the tips on your dining plan meals.
Is Disney collecting data on my spending habits and whereabouts while at Disney World?
- Uhhhh… YEAH. YES. But if you’re a tinfoil hat sort of person, take a deep breath and slowly put the pitchfork back down, because you don’t need a MagicBand to do any of the things listed above.
If I lose my MagicBand, can a stranger charge a thousand Mickey-shaped helium balloons to my credit card?
- Not if they don’t know your PIN number, which is required for all purchases of food or merchandise. And as soon as you report a lost MagicBand to a Disney employee, they can deactivate the one that’s tied to your name.
I hate gray. Can I get a pink MagicBand?
- Yes. Disney will email you before your trip to customize the MagicBand colors for everyone on your reservation.
How do MagicBands work?
- Radio Frequency Identification tags work like barcodes that don’t need to be in sight of their barcode reader in order to transfer info. Here’s more from our friends at Wikipedia.