Walt Disney World introduced a new piece of technology meant to allow guests easier access to their vacation plans, tickets and wallet! Disney describes the MagicBands as “secure all-in-one devices that allow you to effortlessly access the plans and vacation choices that you’ve made with My Disney Experience.” My Disney Experience is an app that allows you to plan your vacation, get information about the parks and more.
The MagicBands are a waterproof wrist band that can be worn by children and adults (they are adjustable in size and can be made very small for children.) The MagicBands allow you to:
- Unlock your Disney resort hotel room door (say goodbye to the card key!)
- Access guest-only areas in the hotel
- Check in at FastPass entrances
- Connect a Disney PhotoPass
- Charge food and merchandise directly to your hotel room
By using the My Disney Experience app you can connect your reservation, which theoretically links all registered guests – in my case it linked all but one person which made it impossible to get FastPasses for our group as we were always 1 short. You can make dining reservations – again, this didn’t work for me since we couldn’t reserve a large enough table since one of the members of our group was missing from the app. We tried three times in the parks (Magic Kingdom and Epcot) to get help with the MagicBands and were unsuccessful – each time someone told us we needed to go somewhere else. I called the phone number for help with the MagicBands but hung up after holding for more than 30 minutes and arriving at the front of the line for the ride we were waiting for.
I found the app to be somewhat buggy. It crashed multiple times, I got several different errors on multiple occasions and it was a huge drain on my iPhone battery.
If you buy your ticket in advance of your vacation you can link it to your MagicBand and use it to book FastPass+ experiences 30 days prior to your park visit. If you’ve booked a package including a stay at a Disney Resort you can book FastPass+ experiences 60 days prior to your arrival. My experience with booking FastPasses was not good. There were almost no available dining slots or passes to the most popular attractions because we did not book in advance. In addition, if we’d booked in advance we might have realized not all the members of our party were linked properly and perhaps we wouldn’t have had so many challenges inside the parks.
We purchased tickets at the hotel concierge desk where they connected the tickets to our MagicBands. We were able to set specific bands with charging privileges (the kids did not have charging privileges) and set a maximum spending limit. To make a charge using the MagicBands the band was set against a touch-point sensor and a keypad was used to enter a pre-set pin number. It was that simple. When we entered the parks the MagicBands were again set against a touch-point sensor while placing 1 finger in a fingerprint scanner. This ensures that only 1 person is able to use the band for entry into the park.
I found the Disney team members outside of the MagicBand Kiosk to be somewhat knowledgeable to less than knowledgeable about the MagicBands. There are entire shops and sections within most of the hotel and park stores dedicated to MagicBands. You can buy all kinds of accessories for your MagicBands from pins to sliders.
I’m sure as more and more guests use the MagicBands the kinks will be worked out. The full roll-out of the bands comes on April 30th at a 3-day media event. In addition to the full roll-out of the MagicBands, the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train at the Magic Kingdom will debut as well. While were were there last week the ride was being tested, but the public was not allowed on the ride. The MagicBands may transform the way people plan their Disney Vacations!
Have you tried out the MagicBands?