Do You Need the Disney MagicBand+: Are MagicBands Worth It?

Should I get MagicBands was one of my first questions when I was checking in at our hotel at Disney World. I ended up getting a MagicBand+ and I have good things to share about it, but you don’t necessarily NEED a MagicBand+ (or the older generation of MagicBand). It’s not free so I can totally understand if you decide not to get it.

In this post, I will share with you everything I know about MagicBands, what it does (and doesn’t do), alternatives to MagicBands, how to get it for cheap, and why I like it.

What is Disney MagicBand+?

Disney MagicBands Plus is the newest wearable device for those visiting Disney World and Disneyland. These interactive devices sit on your wrist like a watch (but it’s not a watch) and you can use it to do a variety of functions like opening your hotel door, tap in at lightning lane checkpoints, etc.

They are interactive, meaning they will show vibrant colors and vibrate when you do certain actions or when you are at specific locations in the park or during certain evening fireworks shows.

Essentially the MagicBand+ replaces your room key and credit card while you are at the theme parks and a Disney owned hotel, making things a lot more convenient and easy for you.

MagicBand Plus at Disney

How much are MagicBand+ at Disney?

I was surprised at the price of the MagicBand+ but again, what things don’t cost a lot of money at Disney? I immediately went to the store next to the Check-in desk to check out the MagicBand+.

So yes you can buy them from a store in Disney, and there are three different “tiers” or MagicBand+ (they don’t sell the older version of MagicBand).

  • Sage (basic solid colors): $34.99
  • Slate (with patterns): $44.99
  • Lilac (certain limited release): $54.99

I’m not really sure what makes something Slate or Lilac (and with the $10 price difference). I personally only wanted an ivory one so lucky me I got the cheapest one. (even though. $35 is by no means cheap. for something you only use at Disney).

Disney MagicBand Worth it - Cost of MagicBand+

How to get Magicband Plus On Sale at a Discount

I wasn’t very well prepared since I only bought the MagicBand+ when I was checking in at a hotel and our Cast Member was asking me if I had a MagicBand to link our room too.

But if you are reading this post before your trip, then you can save some money on the Magicbands by purchasing them online at the Disney Store. The official Disney online store often offers buy 2 get $10 off deals. You can probably see patterns here that you don’t see at the physical store too.

If you are staying at one of the Disney WORLD resort hotels and have linked your reservation to your My Disney Experience app, you can buy MagicBand+ at a discount through the app. This only works if your reservation is linked to your app and only for Disney World.

Lastly, you can get an older generation MagicBand at Disney’s Character Warehouse (outlet store in Orlando). I was able to get a regular MagicBand (not a MagicBand+) for $15, which is a HUGE discount.

The biggest difference between the MagicBand and MagicBand+ include:

  • No charging cord for MagicBand
  • No cool color changing and interaction inside the theme parks

Honestly it’s not a big difference in my opinion, and you don’t always need the latest and the greatest. So if you want to save some money, get the older MagicBand from Character Warehouse when you are in Orlando.

What can I do with MagicBand+?

There are so many things you can do with the MagicBand+ and that’s why it’s just so convenient! I only learned how to use it after I got the MagicBand+ so it’s really simple. In the section below I’m going to cover all the most important things you can do with your MagicBand+.

Opening Disney Hotel Room Door

What can MagicBand+ do

If you are staying at a Disney resort hotel, then a Cast Member can help you link your hotel room to your MagicBand on the My Disney Experience App.

Every door at a Disney resort hotel has a RFID reader, and all I had to do was to put my MagicBand+ against the reader and the door would open!

If you don’t have a MagicBand+ you can just use your phone (with the My Disney Experience App) or the Key to the World Card (free) to open your hotel door.

If you are not staying at a Disney resort hotel, then this feature would not be applicable to you.

Tap into the Theme Parks

As long as your MagicBand is linked to your My Disney Experience App and you have a valid theme park ticket linked to your app, then that theme park ticket is also linked to your MagicBand.

This may not seem like much but I literally forgot my phone back at the hotel when I went to Animal Kingdom. Not having my phone or my key card (I never used the key card since I had the MagicBand), I wouldn’t have been able to get in without my MagicBand+!

Tap into Lightning Lanes

Another cool function I thoroughly enjoyed was using my MagicBand to tap into all my lightning lanes. Sure you can do it on your phone (if you have the app) or with the key card, but nothing is as cool as using your MagicBand+, which makes the reader blink and vibrate to say that you are in!

Again, since I forgot my phone that day at Animal Kingdom, I totally had to rely on my MagicBand+ to get on rides (after using my friend’s phone to book the rides).

Pay for Everything at Disney

One really awesome feature of the MagicBand+ is that you can use it to pay for all your expenses at Disney (assuming it’s linked to your app and hotel reservation) and have it charged back to your room reservation.

When I didn’t have my phone (or wallet) with me at Animal Kingdom, I used my MagicBand+ to pay for food and games at Dinoland (that place is dangerous to the wallet). All I had to do was tap my MagicBand+ to the reader and enter my 4 digit code.

However, occasionally this function may not work properly if there is a system/ computer issue somehow. When I was buying ice cream at Animal Kingdom, the Cast Member told me there were some issues but it worked when I tried to pay.

If you are not staying at a Disney Resort hotel, you won’t be able to use the MagicBand to charge back to your room.

Cool Interactions (Colors and Vibration)

One cute feature of the MagicBand+ is that it is interactive. There are currently two games you can play with the MagicBand+ in Disney World (one is at Hollywood Studios and another involves waving at statues).

In addition during some of the night time shows (like World of Colors and Fantastmic), your MagicBand+ will also glow with colors and pulses with vibrations.

Link Photos to your Account

Tron-ride-photo

I didn’t realize this at the time but I was super surprised when all my lightning lane attraction photos just suddenly popped up on My Disney Experience App! Later I realized that it was because I had my MagicBand+ when I tapped into the lightning lanes, and with that advanced technology they knew who I was and were able to send me my photos.

If you ask a Disney PhotoPass photographer to take your photos, you can also let them scan your MagicBand and the photos will be linked to your app for you to see, download, and purchase.

MagicBand+ is Rechargeable

MagicBand+ Charger

Although this does not fall under the “what can MagicBands do” category, if you are curious about why the current generation of MagicBand PLUS is “better” than the older MagicBands, this is one biggest difference.

MagicBand+ comes with a small charger, so you don’t have to worry about the battery dying if you use it everyday.

What can’t I do with MagicBand+?

A few of the functions of the MagicBand+ mentioned above require you to be a Disney Resort hotel guest.

If you are not staying at a Disney Resort hotel, then you cannot:

  • Use MagicBand+ to open your hotel room door
  • Use MagicBand+ to pay and charges things back to your hotel

MagicBand+ Alternatives

If you don’t want to buy a MagicBand+, there are certainly (free) alternatives. Again, you don’t NEED a MagicBand, as some of these alternatives work (almost) just as well.

  • Free Key to the World Card: you can get this plastic card for free when you check in at your Disney Resort hotel or from Guest Relations outside of the theme park entrances. This works just like the MagicBand+, except it is a card that you can carry around. Each person (includes kids) needs their own Key to the World Card to scan into the park and scan at Lightning Lanes.
Key to the world card lightning lane

  • MagicMobile Pass: You can set up the Disney MagicMobile Pass in your My Disney Experiences app. Once set up, you can use your phone to scan and enter the parks, tap into Lightning Lanes, connect PhotoPass images, and charge purchases back to your hotel (but you cannot use MagicMobile Pass to open the hotel room door). Again, this is best for someone who is staying at a Disney Resort hotel.
Use My Disney Experience To Unlock Door

  • Use your Apple Watch: If you have MagicMobile set up, you can turn on express mode, add it to your Apple Wallet, then use your Apple Watch instead of your phone to do all of the things mentioned above. Using an Apple Watch (with MagicMobile) is probably the closest you will get to a MagicBand without having one.

You cannot use Apple Watch or MagicMobile at Disneyland, only at Disney World!

Brief Summary of MagicBands (plus) vs. MagicMobile vs. Key to the World Card at Disney

MagicBands (plus) vs. MagicMobile vs. Key to the World Card at Disney

Are MagicBands Plus Worth it?

MagicBands are worth it if you frequent Disneyland/ Disney World, you hate carrying your phone or wallet around, or you simply want a cool souvenir to take home.

Given that there are free alternatives to MagicBands, if you are not into the “cool” factor, then I don’t think MagicBands are worth it, you can just use your Apple Watch instead.

Below is a summary of why someone would (or would not) want MagicBands.

Read My Other Disney Blogs

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Is MagicBand+ Worth it
Should you get a MagicBand+ at Disney


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