MagicBands: the Disney accessory that people either love or hate. Admittedly, they had to grow on us since I (Matt) don’t even wear a watch, but, from our experiences, we’re full-fledged fans of MagicBands. From the time they arrive in the mail until our vacation is over, they are a constant reminder of our upcoming trip and a daily reminder of the access we have to the happiest place on earth (theme park access and resort access are sold separately). So, with so many haters (are we still using that word?), why do we think MagicBands are the bees knees? Read on, fellow Disney enthusiasts, and feel free to add your own!
1 – Entry
Back in the old days, you needed your photo ID to enter your resort, a room key to access your resort room, and a theme park ticket to enjoy the attractions. Now, with a simple flick of the wrist, you can have your band scanned by a guard at the gate, be given the green light to enter your resort room, and light up that electric Mickey (green, not blue!) where you “leave today and enter the world of yesterday, tomorrow, and fantasy.” Now, I’m all for nostalgia and keeping some classics for future generations, but there’s no need to keep digging into my wallet for IDs, keys, and tickets.
2 – Waterproof/Sweatproof
This may come as a shock to you, but Florida is hot and humid. While some people glisten, I sweat… sometimes profusely. MagicBands are water and sweatproof, so you don’t have to worry about making one more step between you and the cool, refreshing resort pool. If you didn’t want to, you really wouldn’t have to take your MagicBand off. We strongly discourage this thought process, as it would probably get disgusting.
3 – Personal Payment Options
We all know Disney is smart. They’re good at attracting people and even better at convincing them to spend even more money. MagicBands allow for a seamless purchase transaction where you don’t even have to take out your credit card. Your credit card is automatically charged by scanning your band and entering your personalized pin number. The convenience factor here is incredible, and there is no worry about losing your card. Thus far in the list, you have been able to leave your credit card, park ticket, and room key back in the room, so there’s almost no need for you to bring your wallet into the park! This is especially helpful at the water parks, where you may not want to leave such valuables loose in your bag.
4 – PhotoPass
Again, we can label this as another convenience, but it’s also another card you don’t have to carry with you. From character meet and greets, to favorite spots, and even ride photos, all can be linked to your profile with the scan of your MagicBand. No more worries about combining all the different PhotoPass cards your family received throughout your trip. All MagicBands can be linked via friends and family, so sharing photos is a breeze!
5 – Customization
Colors, Characters, Sliders, and Bandits, there’s so much to choose from! You can customize, personalize, and prioritize your MagicBand based on your favorite characters, colors, and – if you find the right etsy shop – you can even find stickers for things like RunDisney and more! We have yet to indulge in the plethora of choices for personalized MagicBands, but we feel it coming soon. There’s only so long I can resist R2-D2 bling on my wrist. In the meantime, we’ve selected all of the different colors of the free bands you receive with resort reservations and even started making up names to distinguish the new bands from prior ones.
6 – New MagicBand+ Technology
In late summer 2022, Disney debuted the new MagicBand+ with updated technology and uses for the band. Once inside the park, MagicBand+ will come “alive” at different times with color-changing lights, haptic vibrations, and gesture recognition. These extra functions are intended to enhance the storytelling that you experience. For example, when admiring at Disney Fab 50 statue, if you wave your band, you’ll receive some extra magic. During fireworks, the bands light up and complement the fireworks in the sky. Finally, there is a new game one can play inside Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge with the band. Since the rollout, the technology has been buggy, and guests have reported many issues with the bands, but we are confident Disney will address these issues. We’re excited to see more features from the new bands.
7 – Future Possibilities
MagicBands have made our Disney experiences even better just by the convenience and the occasional personal greeting from cast members as we enter the park or an attraction. The opportunities this technology provides can be used in more ways than currently, and we’re confident Disney is already planning for it. Think about it, how great would it be to give Mickey a hug while he welcomes you back by name and told you that he’s missed you since your last trip ‘X’ years ago? Freaky…maybe a little, but the first time our daughter was addressed by name by a cast member, she was elated, so we can only imagine her reaction when Queen Anna calls her by name. On a more practical note, we suspect that finding a specific band in the park might be possible with the RFID technology. We know some people are afraid of big brother knowing their every move, but for us, it doesn’t matter if Disney knows how many times we ride Space Mountain or which restrooms we enter. The location identification would be beneficial for a lost child to be quickly returned to their guardian.
The technology is quite impressive, but this list boils down to the convenience MagicBands offers. They make the little things about vacationing at Disney that much easier, and we’re thankful for them! What have you enjoyed about MagicBands?
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