Disney MagicBands Review

Last week when I was in Disney World for the Earmarked conference for authorized Disney vacation planners at Disney’s Contemporary resort convention center, I had the opportunity to test out the new MagicBands that are currently in the testing phase.

magic band pink

They work in conjunction with the My Disney experience phone app which I KNOW all of you have downloaded onto your phones. Smile You can also use your account on a PC if you don’t have a Droid or iPhone.

I have gotten several questions about the bands, what they can do, how they work, etc. so I am hoping to answer those questions here, and of course if you have a question that I don’t answer please ask in the comments, it may be a question someone else has, too!

1.) What do they cost?

Nothing! The magic bands will be standard issue for all Disney resort guests once they go live. You will receive a box in the mail with your customized bands once you order them through my Disney experience. You can customize them up to six days prior to your stay and get the customized bands at check in. Even if you don’t customize them, you can still get them at check in, but they will be grey bands.

magic band box

Beautiful box your bands come packaged in, straight to your house!

2.) What do they do?

Oh my friends, they question is what DON’T they do! You can attach your theme park tickets to them so you tap your band to get into a park, into your hotel room, through a fastpass line, or when paying for food or merchandise, it’s amazing! If you are using Disney’s Magical Express service, you will also use them to get on a bus to go to your resort. So convenient, but be sure to pack them in a carry on! Since the bands are still in the testing phase, I was also given a regular key to the world card as a backup to get into my room.

magicband

Me testing out the MagicBand at the earmarked conference

3.) You mentioned fastpasses….how does this work?

There is a new system called Fastpass+. You can go into your Disney account online and set up three fastpasses for the day at one park. No more running to the fastpass machines at park opening, or leaving your family in line for one ride while you go get fastpasses for another. You pick your rides and times online, and show up at your designated one hour window and tap your band to go through the fastpass line. Super easy!

fastpass

Fastpass+ to get on Soarin.

4.) Shopping? Food? How! This seems so easy!

When you check in, you will be asked to enter in a pin code that you will use during your trip to make purchases on your account/credit card that you provide. When you go to a store, at checkout you simply tap your band and enter your pin, that’s it! Same thing at restaurants. Servers have a small portable device you tap your band against.

5.) Fastpass+ sounds awesome, are there other things you can use it for besides rides?

Yes! You can use fastpass+ for parade and fireworks viewing areas, as well as character meet and greets. Disney is going to be adding many more experiences to fastpass+ in time, so be on the lookout for these experiences. Also, I was able to attach my annual pass to my band so I can reuse it if I wanted to on my next trip.

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Kelly using her MagicBand to enter EPCOT

6.) I saw you posted a photo on Instagram of some charm looking things on your band. What is this?

These are called bandits. Something fun for you to collect and personalize your band with. There are also fun covers called sliders, so many options and ways to personalize. Also a great way to tell bands apart if your kids order the same color (their names are also on the underside for identification if you customize ahead of time online). You can buy accessories at the resorts where the bands are being tested.

Disney MagicBands

disney magic bands1

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7.) My family is really active, will we have to take the bands off to get in the pool or what if we get sweaty?

The bands are waterproof and do well in heat, so they won’t melt or die at the waterparks or in the pool. The only thing I noticed is I did get a little sweaty on my arm wearing mine on a hot day, but I imagine if I had a slider on it it would help.

8.) Fastpass+, customizing bands, this all seems overwhelming, HELP!

Absolutely! I would love to book your family vacation for you an walk you through this new process as it rolls out. You can email me at heather@travelwiththemagic.com for a free quote, or go to travelwiththemagic.com and request a quote. Just be sure to put my name on there so it goes to me. Smile

Want to see what resorts are being included in the testing? Check out this link on Travel With the Magic. 

QOTD: Thoughts on the bands? Any questions?

Comments

  1. How cool! Definitely would be useful if I lived near Disney!

  2. Yes, technology has come a long way. Disneyland is in our sites, these wristbands seems like the way to go.

  3. My Magic band is scheduled to arrive today for a trip next month! My boyfriend and I are really excited about the whole process and look forward to the many positive changes. I guess my only question would be this: our families have given us several Disney gift cards to use throughout our stay, can we load those onto the band so we don’t have to carry multiple gift cards with us?

  4. Bridie Rist says:

    Seems like those of us with annual passes, loyal to Disney for years, are getting left out. Unless we stay at a resort we don’t get fastpass+. While I understand working that out would be tough, I think there should be some perk for us.

    • Hopefully AP holders will be able to use this in the future! FIngers crossed!

      • I was told, and I am not sure how true it is, but when we got our MB’s they said that AP holders would be getting the first chance at customizing their bands. We received the grey since we booked last minute. I asked if they would continue to be our passes after we checked out which is a yes and if we could get customized ones. That is when they said AP’s would be one of the first to be able to customize them, but at this time we are stuck with the grey.

  5. SO cool! I can’t wait to try these out!

  6. Oh, I like that idea of fastpass+. I would like to feel more on vacation and if I don’t have to be up for park opening to battle the crowd to Soarin’ or TSM, all the better.

  7. What happens if you loose it? Can someone else access your info?

  8. Love the idea of Fastpass+. If its fully implemented by the beginning of 2014 before marathon weekend, it’ll definitely help make the parks more enjoyable after running the races instead of having to run to the Fastpass machines!

  9. Such a neat concept – can’t wait to try it out!

  10. Kelly H Russo says:

    I tested the band last week and had no issues with it all. It was fun and I think families will like that they can personalize them and have with it.

  11. WOW- it sounds awesome!! Question about the Fastpass+. Does this mean they’ll eventually get rid of the regular Fastpass machines? Are you able to use both the Fastpass+ and the traditional Fastpass throughout the day? I had also read another article where they were testing the Fastpass+ out at Be Our Guest for lunch service and it sounded really cool. Any word on if they’ll continue with that. Thanks for the report!

    • As of right now they still also have regular fastpass machines available but I am not sure if they will stick around. I have had people I know do BOG as a fastpass+ for lunch but no word on if it will continue. I hope so!

  12. I was able to try out the MagicBands last week and they were awesome! I thought they were very simple to use and helped streamline my whole park experience. I LOVED how I didn’t have to fumble around trying to find my card to enter the hotel room. So easy to tap and enter. With kids and luggage in tow, this is great! I also loved how I could just wear my band in the morning and go grab breakfast, no need to carry anything! Using fastpass+ was wonderful. No need to get to parks at the crack of dawn. You can make reservations for your favorite rides in the middle of the afternoon if you want. I loved it!!!! Great article!

  13. The ultimate in Disney tracking every thing everyone does, which sounds a little creepy unless you really love how they are able to always use information to improve guest experience (and yeah, profits.. but how else does a castle get built? lol).

    From the sounds of Fastpass+, it seems that allows less spontaneity than the old fastpass. Is the ability to reserve times online limited to only that? Or will they still have park kiosks? Or can you do it from the My Experience app?

    I haven’t been to WDW since 2001, so I’ve got some catching up to do. :)

    • you can modify your fastpass+ times once you make them if you change your mind, and you can do it from the phone app. Also they will have kiosks set up in the park to get online and make changes on your account if your phone dies or something ;)

  14. Robyn Adams says:

    I had the opportunity to test the MyMagic Bands last week. It was great! Everything felt very streamlined. I didn’t have any problems accessing my room or tickets at anytime during my stay.

  15. Heather, can you give us an idea of the cost of the accessories for the band? Your picture showed several charms in each box. In another picture, it looked like covers for the bands. Thanks!

  16. Wow. This is truly the next level for the total Disney experience. An awesome perk and incentive to stay on property. I want one!

  17. Bethany Couto says:

    Hi Heather, thanks for the info, I haven’t commented in forever, lol. Please forgive me if someone else has already asked this…how secure does it feel on your wrist? Obviously the band has a lot attached to it, how safe does it feel? I love the idea and i can’t wait to try this but I always feel nervous with something on my wrist, like it’s going to fall off. I assume there are sizes? thanks!

  18. I want one!!! When are they going to be available to everyone? I LOVE the Fastpass+ idea! I always hate having to run back and forth to grab fastpasses. This seems like it will save so much time and allow for more time to have fun in the parks!

  19. I LOVED the bands! They were so convenient!!! I am not sure how it will be when it rolls out resort wide, but as of now I love that I am able to make fast pass selections days before for our day trips since we usually decide to go a few days beforehand. I mean how awesome is it to go to a water park and still able able to walk into HS that evening and go straight to TSM and ride it! Before that would have been unheard of. FP’s would have been gone for the day and the wait is usually 60+ minutes!

  20. Very interested to try these! They sound interesting. Great review!

  21. Sounds like a great idea!

  22. vicky jones says:

    Hi Heather! My family is going next year for the princess 1/2 and we are staying at the AOA. I’m hoping that by then they will be a standard issue or that we can at least get picked to try these. If we do get picked, my 4 year old is going also and would be getting a band (i assume since he gets a key to the world card) and I’m wondering if it would fit him or if I would have to wear it for him. I really hope they come in small toddler sizes too or it would break his heart to not be wearing one like everyone else. He likes to be a big boy and do as Daddy does. Do you know if they come in different sizes or if they would fit him? thank you!

  23. Is thus only for wdw? Or Disneyland too? Sounds awesome! :)

  24. Susanne Webb says:

    I am excited about my upcoming trip and I am going to order a personalized band. My boyfriend is worried that he will have to wear his band the whole time. My question is if the bands can be taken on and off, or do you have to wear the band the whole time?

    • you can take the band on and off, but everyone I know just wears it the whole time. Is he worried about it feeling bulky or some other reason he doesn’t want to wear it?

      • Thank you so much for your answer. My boyfriend will be glad to know the Magicbands can come on and off. He was just concerned that the Magicband would become uncomfortable because he tends to find watches and jewelry uncomfortable. He also has sensitive skin that can become irritated easily.

  25. Renee Lisowski says:

    We just received our bands for our November trip. There should be no problem fitting a 4-year-old’s wrist. It is a band within a band…meaning there is an outer gray part that extends the ends and is removable (the ends and the outer gray strip peel right off) to make the band smaller for young children.

  26. I just had an opportunity to test the bands this week, and I just have to say it was a nightmare experience. The resort and park staff could not get my daughters’ tickets to work with their bands so they were denied admittance to parks, they could not fast pass, we could not make dining reservations. I stood in line or sat on phone hold more than four hours during our trip last week, and no one was able to help us. They just kept shrugging their shoulders and passing us off to other people. Or they would stand around in a group and stare at the screen and say, “Wow, we don’t know how to fix that. This is a job for IT.” “IT will email you when it’s fixed.” “IT doesn’t work weekends.” We lost two of our four days on vacation to this nightmare and Disney did ZERO to compensate us for our troubles — and we paid full fare. They told us that since we chose to use the bands this was the risk we ran. Only, we were not given a choice; we were told this was just the new system.

    The website was buggy, and their kiosks were constantly down. My BIL who works in IT Support for a major cell phone company and was traveling with us, commented that he thinks the same people who built the Obamacare site built the mydisneyexperience site — it was that bad. It was not ready to go live. And Disney had no common sense stopgaps in place for situations that could not be managed. I asked for a business or VIP card I could show at the park to get my kids in. I asked for the bands to be reissued. I asked for escalation in support. I called the internet help line, and I was told by the person who answered the phone that I needed to call the internet help line. Mydisneyexperience was THAT ridiculous. No solutions or compensation were offered or provided. Disney just kept canceling my kids tickets and reissuing them, which never fixed the problem.

    Ultimately, the issue was that they could not link the tickets to my children’s avatars. So they made shadow avatars, which then made the problem even more confusing and difficult to resolve because the shadows would not link either. And then, in a final act of desperation they told me that this was my travel agent’s fault and there was nothing more they could do for me unless I showed up in person with the agent at one of their guest services locations. What are the odds of any guest being able to make a travel agent magically appear? As luck would have it, I actually had access to my agent and drug him to the support counter in downtown Disney. We stood in line and he did noting but lend me moral support until they completely wiped out both of my children’s accounts and reissued their passes in about 10 minutes. When the agent asked if he could have done something different to avoid the issue, the employee said, no this was an implementation issue on our end. So it WAS Disney’s problem the entire time. Their staff just passed the buck over and over. Everyone in our tour group had some sort of issue, no one was immune.

    I was only able to make fast pass selections for myself, but the rides I wanted to do were already booked. So I what I see coming is the need to schedule rides like dining experiences — 6 months in advance and after you’ve already paid the money for the trip. Anyone who wants to attach their credit card to a system so buggy and poorly designed is asking for trouble. I would wait to visit Disney until next year. Hopefully they can get the kinks worked out and actually train their staff on implementation by then. Meanwhile, we repurposed a 1st Visit button we found to a “Last Visit.”

    • Oh my gosh I am SO sorry you had such a bad experience! Thank you so much for taking the time to come here and share about it.
      The bands are still in the testing phase so there are still a lot of bugs (still not an excuse for what you went through though!)
      I can’t believe they tried to blame the TA. As an agent myself, that would make me extremely frustrated. I am very surprised that they didn’t offer to do something for you for all of your wasted time.
      Currently fastpass+ can only be booked 60 days in advance, but who knows they may end up extending that out further. I would be very upset if this happened to one of my clients!
      Again I am so sorry you had this experience, hopefully it will help Disney learn from your issues to make the magic bands better for the future when they do go live. I am using the bands next week when I go, and will be sure to report back with my experience!

  27. Hi!
    Seeing as you attended the 2013 Earmarked conference, I thought this would be worth a shot! I’m looking for the “I Am Incredible” MagicSlider. If you or anyone you know is willing to part with theirs, I would appreciate you pointing me in the right direction. I’ve been loving the MagicBands (I’ve already accumulated six!), but I haven’t found any other MagicSliders that I like as much as this one. Thanks in advance for any help! :)

    • I’m sorry i’m fairly certain this was specifically made for the earmarked attendees, and don’t think anyone will want to part with sucha special item! GOod luck!

  28. We are getting ready to book a trip for sept ’14 and obviously have never been with Magic Bands. My question is, are you limited to only the three fastpasses that you can reserve in advance? Can you have more than that or is it those three and then that’s it? Can you get a regular fastpass at the park like normal? Thanks!

    • I have the same question. We often used 5-7 fast passes a day. At times we would get a fast pass, stand in another line, then be able to use our pass and get another one. Can you only do 3 even if all of their times are completed? Can you do 3 ahead of time then more regular passes in the parks? Can you do 2 at one park and 1 at another?

      • Right now, magic bands are just in testing phase, so it’s just three. It is rumored that eventually it will go to more with hopping ability. Right now you can’t park hop with them. There are no more regular passes in the park, they did away with them.

  29. I love the idea of the magic bands, but I don’t think they should let people reserve fast passes ahead of time. In the past the Disney fast pass system was fair, giving everyone who entered the park an equal chance at getting fast passes. But now fast passes will sometimes be gone by the time other guests enter the park, which takes away some of the fun from people who aren’t staying at Disney hotels. I hope Disney will go back to distributing fast passes when someone is actually at the park, because it’s more fair to all park guests.

    • They are actually doing the opposite they are letting off property guests reserve in advance too but only thirty days as opposed to 60 which I think is fair. The on property guests pay a premium to stay On site and should get some kind of incentive to do so in my opinion :)

Mentioned elsewhere:

  1. Disney MagicBands Review

    Last week when I was in Disney World for the Earmarked conference for authorized Disney vacation planners

  2. […] was located on the 4th floor in room 4315 with a Savannah View. Heather and I were testing the new MagicBands and had them all set up and ready to try out.  The rooms are darker than I would like but I loved […]

  3. […] read her opinions here. Also, Heather from Through Heather’s Looking Glass posted her review here. I’m sure that there are others who have reviewed either the MagicBand, the FastPass+, and/or […]

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