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My experience with Walt Disney World’s MagicBands

by Meghann on November 14, 2013

You know you’re a Disney nerd when you’re not sure what you’re more excited about: running the Wine & Dine Half Marathon or testing the new MagicBand.

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I didn’t even know I was getting one, so when the nice lady at check-in brought out the MagicBand box, I immediately whipped out my camera phone and started squealing like a kid on Christmas morning. Eeekk… so exciting!

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So what’s a MagicBand? It’s your room key, your credit card, your park pass, your fast pass, your meal plan, and some other things I’m sure I’m missing. Basically it’s Disney’s all-in-one ticket to all-things Walt Disney World Resort.

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They’ve slowly been rolling out the MagicBands over the last year. Currently you only receive a MagicBand as a resort guest, but rumor has it they should be making their way to annual passholders in the next month or so.

If I had realized I was getting a MagicBand, I could have logged onto the My Disney Experience App and selected my favorite band color ahead of time. If you don’t select a color, you automatically receive gray MagicBand at check-in. I debated asking for another color, but I didn’t mind the gray. Plus, it was easier to select “bandits” that didn’t clash.

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Yes, you have the ability to add some bling to your MagicBand. I looked for the “Bandits” all over Disney, but I could only find them at the store in my resort. I got 3 for $6.95, which isn’t bad for Disney standards.

The band was already loaded with my hotel key and I was able to connect it to my annual pass by adding my hotel reservation to the My Disney Experience App. The whole process was really easy and took all of two minutes to complete. They also connected my credit card at check in (however, the credit card option is currently only good while you’re a resort guest). For the rest of the weekend, the MagicBand acted as my hotel room key and pass into the park. I was also able to use it to get back in the resort’s parking lot, however, the parking attendants at the parks still aren’t equip to scan the band when you park at the theme parks (if you qualify for free parking).

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I LOVED the band. I felt like I could leave my hotel room with just my Magic Band and be fine. I didn’t have to worry about carrying a wallet or digging in my purse or pockets searching for my hotel key when I made it back to my room. It simplified everything and I never had a problem with it giving me an error.

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Probably one of the cooler perks is the ability to load FastPasses on to your Magic Band via your My Disney Experience App. While I was drinking mimosas in Megan’s hotel room, I was able to schedule my FastPasses for the day. The downside is you can only set 3 a day, but since I only had limited time in the park before I drove home, it actually worked in my favor.

I selected which rides I wanted a FastPass for and the app gave me a few options.

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Once I selected the FastPass schedule that worked for my time, everything was confirmed in my itinerary for the day.

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Then I hopped the treadmill to Magic Kingdom and walked right on Space Mountain.

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That part was pretty awesome. There was a little bit of a line to scan the Magic Band to get in the FastPass queue, but nothing crazy. I think that process will go a lot faster once everyone’s more familiar with the system.

The bands are waterproof and I’m happy to report the band survived the ultimate sweat test when I wore it during the Wine And Dine Half Marathon last weekend.

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Also, good news, it didn’t bug me at all during the run.

Have you used the the MagicBands? What did you think?

{ 37 comments… read them below or add one }

1 chelsey @ clean eating chelsey November 14, 2013 at 9:21 pm

So do you keep the Magic Band and use it every time you go? Or do you turn it in to the front desk when you leave? Awesome concept!
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2 Meghann November 14, 2013 at 9:22 pm

You keep it and use it every time you go. My annual pass is permanently loaded on it for future visits.

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3 chelsey @ clean eating chelsey November 14, 2013 at 9:24 pm

Love it! Now I’m even more excited to head back to Disney. My husband told me we could go (and by we, I mean me, my mom, and my girls – he isn’t a Disney fan. He’s not human.) the summer before the twins turn three. Sooooo I’ve got a long way to go.

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4 Stacy @ Gluten and Dairy Free Getting Real April 5, 2014 at 10:16 pm

Chelsea! I always read your blog!! too Funny I stumbled upon you here, I was googling magic bands and this came up first, I’m a disney mom contributor, our little girls have had them on 4 days and i’m glad i didn’t buy accessories, she scraped hers and was not so happy, they’re 4 and 5. nope, we were at grand floridian, we kept ours for play at home 😉

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5 Laura @ Prairie Sewn Studios November 14, 2013 at 9:32 pm

That is SO cool. I’ve often wished I had something like the Magic Band just for “life” so I didn’t have to always remember to bring everything with me!
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6 eb @ Running on E November 14, 2013 at 9:41 pm

Wow, I hadn’t heard of the magic band before. It sounds like the perfect vacation and park item when you don’t want to carry a bag!! So cool!
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7 Anne @strawberryjampackedlife November 14, 2013 at 10:32 pm

We used them last month and had the same reaction you did. We didn’t know that we were getting them, and you would have thought it was jewelry when the cast member opened the box at check in. We couldn’t do fast passes with ours (because we were getting into the parks with a cast member), but everything else you said is spot on. I loved them! We got so used to using them to pay for everything, that I missed it when we got the airport. 🙁

They also made it ridiculously easy to get food at the Wine & Food Festival, maybe a bit too easy. 😉 Seriously, great idea, Disney!
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8 Anne @strawberryjampackedlife November 14, 2013 at 10:38 pm

Oo! Oo! You forgot the best part: THEY SAY YOUR NAME ON THEM! 😀
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9 Christine @ BookishlyB November 14, 2013 at 11:00 pm

I’m guessing they’re pretty secure so they won’t fall off? Or does your picture pop up at the register when you use it?
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10 Anne @strawberryjampackedlife November 14, 2013 at 11:11 pm

They are pretty secure. And you have to have a PIN to use it to buy stuff. Plus they use them with a bone density test to get into the parks. So if you lose yours, nobody can do anything useful with it.
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11 Jen November 14, 2013 at 11:00 pm

I just got an email telling me to set up my magic band for my visit during marathon weekend. I’m not crazy about the idea of putting a credit card on it. What if it somehow gets lost? It’s probably pretty cool in action. I’m kind of intrigued.
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12 Stefanie November 15, 2013 at 4:41 pm

You have the option of linking your credit card to the band.

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13 Sara @ LovingOnTheRun November 15, 2013 at 12:09 am

I have never heard of these but they look like a really awesome idea!!
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14 Ashley November 15, 2013 at 12:15 am

That’s pretty freaking cool! And even better than you basically now have VIP access for the season!
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15 Erica November 15, 2013 at 12:18 am

Only Disney! They’re so innovative. I want one…just because 🙂

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16 Michelle @ A Healthy Mrs November 15, 2013 at 12:37 am

So cool! It would be great to not have to lug around a purse/wallet/etc and just wear the band! Love it!
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17 Mary November 15, 2013 at 2:08 am

Wow! Love it. Even more of a reason to make a trip to Disney! 🙂
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18 Elizabeth @ Positive Change November 15, 2013 at 8:14 am

I have had plenty of friends use the band and they LOVE it! I really hope we are able to use the band when we go in January!!
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19 Lesley November 15, 2013 at 8:21 am

I’m with Jen, I don’t like the idea of putting my credit card on there. That’s one thing I always like to keep separate. But the Bandits look intriguing. There are too many characters I’d want to personalize with.
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20 Melissa November 15, 2013 at 8:45 am

Wow, what a neat concept! I had no idea Disney was doing that, but it seems like it would make things a lot easier and more organized.
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21 Laura @ Sneakers and Spatulas November 15, 2013 at 8:48 am

They sound so neat and convenient to use! I’d definitely want a fun color!!
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22 caitlin November 15, 2013 at 10:31 am

that is really cool! i would *love* to be able to walk around the resorts and not have to worry about my wallet and room key – very cool.

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23 Megan @ I Run For Wine November 15, 2013 at 12:07 pm

I LOOOOVE my Magic Band. And for those who are concerned about putting credit cards to it, you have a pin number which you assign to the band…..just like your debit card. You don’t have to worry about pulling out a card or cash when you buy stuff. This is the smartest thing Disney has done in a long long time 🙂
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24 Kathy November 15, 2013 at 12:43 pm

What an awesome concept!!! Leave it to Disney to figure that out….I wonder how others will try to copy that idea in every day life.

We are going back in January and staying at a resort…can’t wait to use it!! (Assuming we will get it?)

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25 Allison November 15, 2013 at 1:45 pm

Nice!
Btw. Your eggs look awesome in the bottom photo. So muscular!

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26 Kristie November 15, 2013 at 4:19 pm

See, this just doesn’t seem that different from the card you (used to?) get when you stayed at a resort before – served as room key, park entry pass, meal card, payment card if you wanted because you could connect your credit card… I think the fast pass aspect is the only extra thing – and I would prefer a slim easy-to-stick-in-a-pocket card over a bulky band. My in-laws like to do a big family trip to Disney every few years though so maybe I’ll change my mind when we go in a couple years.

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27 Meghan November 15, 2013 at 8:03 pm

Disney truly is the greatest place on earth. It’s just so beyond happy. My favorite spot to be. Gees I need to go again!!! Love the new technology there!
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28 Molly @ There Goes Molly Rose November 15, 2013 at 9:25 pm

Didn’t even know there was such a thing – brilliant! Oh Disney
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29 Meaghan November 15, 2013 at 11:19 pm

I never have used one but that’s such a great idea for families running around with kids! I’m brand new to the blogging scene but hoping that this time next year I can run the race and recap it on my blog like you did! Congrats on the race!!!

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30 Jen November 16, 2013 at 6:51 am

Ha so I didn’t even realize I ran the half with it on until I just read your post! You’re right — ultimate sweat test indeed. I loved the bands too but we had to get them re-set a few times because they wouldn’t work for our room.For a new system though, I was really impressed.
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31 Lisa November 16, 2013 at 10:32 am

Thanks for the review! I’m excited for our trip in 3 weeks. I’m just hoping they stay on the little ones wrists and don’t big them. But I love having everything already loaded and fast passed picked. I was stressing about rides and wait times with toddlers and this eliminates that. Thanks Meghann

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32 Diana November 16, 2013 at 8:32 pm

I got. Y magic band for wine & dine weekend too. It was awesome. I have to get those band-its. They are too cute
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33 Andrea @ Run, Eat, Date, Sleep November 18, 2013 at 12:34 pm

I can’t wait to get one as an Annual Passholder! I’m usually not one for stuff like the Bandits, but I really think I might buy some!

The bands can also be used for PhotoPass.
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34 Jessica November 18, 2013 at 1:03 pm

I am glad you wrote this post. I was at Disney a few weeks ago and received one of these. The lady gave me the low down but she didn’t share all the goodies you just did. Can’t wait to go to Disney and use mine again. 🙂

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35 Alan Molitoris December 7, 2013 at 11:18 am

Not sure why anybody would be happy with these bands ? It should not be up to Disney World to tell me how I can spend my time in the park. To let me only get fast passes for three rides per day is wrong , then to not have a place to get them outside the ride is also not right . I am very unhappy with this system !!

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36 Bob January 5, 2014 at 2:43 pm

Not fond of having my every movement tracked. And yes, they will track you. Read Disney’s own website. They clearly state that the MagicBands will be picked up by long-range scanners.

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37 Rebecca Beall March 23, 2014 at 7:12 pm

When you have the Magic Your Way Band, you have 3 limited reservations for fast passes. Are the 3 reserved rides are the only times that you can use the fast passes? Because with the paper fast passes, I was able to get 5 fast passes in. With the new system, is 3 the only times you’re allowed to use fast passes?
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