Do you every worry about your Magic Band or Disney account being hacked while you’re in the parks? Apparently, it happens, enough that some guests are swearing off using Magic Bands from now on.
In a world that’s increasingly growing more and more dependent on information sharing through wireless technology, the risk of leaks and hacks to personal data such as logins and banking is on the rise. Disney parks have seen an evolution in these same technologies, requiring access to Disney accounts through a Magic Band to enjoy park experiences fully.
Recently intertwining all Disney account log ins to apps such as My Disney Experience, Hulu, ESPN, and others, guests are understandably cautious as many of these, especially apps used to enjoy parks at Walt Disney World, often have direct access to their banking information, debit, or credit cards.
Enjoying an app that handles your reservations, payments, shopping, and plans in one place is convenient. You can even use it to add a Disney gift card. Although the forward-thinking approach to your Disney park day makes life easier, it could also mean disaster if hackers compromised your app or connected Magic Band.
How Safe Are Magic Bands
Generally speaking, the technology behind items such as Magic Bands, which allow Disney park guests access to planning, reserving, and paying for attractions and services, are relatively secure and safe to use.
As the ID number for each Magic Band can only be used once, there’s little concern once you’ve linked a new one to your My Disney Experience application. After it’s been linked, Magic Bands are non-transferable, meaning they can’t be assigned to another person or account.
Although Magic Bands allow you an easy and convenient option for checking in for Individual Lightening Lanes, saving Disney Photopass shots to your catalog, or entering the parks, they aren’t the engine behind what really makes park days easier for guests.
My Disney Experience
Linking your magic band to your My Disney Experience account does give you access to quick and simple features. However, the app itself is the real powerhouse at play here.
My Disney Experience is where you can store your park ticket or Annual Pass, make your lightning lane selections, or even reserve exclusive dining options around Disneyland or Walt Disney World. The app and its Disney Genie function are the fundamental tools behind the magic while on vacation. Your Disney Magic Band is the vessel in which you empower the tool!
The MDE app gives you exclusive access to many fun features, including, but not limited to, lightning lane selections, park reservation systems, and Disney Photopass Magic Shots. It’s also where you go to link your new Disney Magic Band. So, typically speaking, without your login or password, your Magic Band, which can be turned off from the app, doesn’t have a ton of power other than quick click purchases and unlocking your Disney World Resort hotel door.
Still, as you can connect your payment methods to your My Disney Experience app and utilize your magic band to pay certain items, signal readers (called sniffers) and hacking indeed become a concern for many.
The Technology Behind Magic Bands Helps Prevent Hacking
Both your Magic Band and your Magic Band+ options utilize radio frequency (RF) technology. With newer bands (Magic Band+), this technology may pick up on where you’re located on Disney property and allow you to interact with items such as the 50th-anniversary statues.
Using both short-range and long-range readers, Walt Disney World tracks and interacts with guests in several fun ways. They can play bounty hunting games around Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge at Hollywood Studios or watch as their Magic Bands help light up the sky during Happily Ever After at Magic Kingdom.
Sadly, RF “sniffers” do exist. Using spectrum analysis, these devices can detect RF signals and relay information back to users. This means that long-range and short-range signals can be picked up, and personal information, such as your credit card and debit card numbers linked to your MDE account, could be accessed by hackers.
A Claim of Magic Band/ Disney Account Hacking
This exact situation was referenced recently by a user to Reddit going by the handle u/CLyane.
Since the intial post was made, it has been removed. However, comments are still visible. Either way, the original poster claims that the users Magic Band was hacked. However, later updates to the post suggest that their Disney account was hacked via their Magic Band.
“My Disney account was hacked after entering the park and used to buy two tickets. Found out because their LL/Genie+ were available. Thought it was my magic band but definitely seems to have just been a hack,” says u/CLyane in an update to their original post.
The origianl post suggests that the user’s account was hacked via their Magic Band upon arrival to their Disney resort. They go into great length regarding what happened, providing detailed information regarding the reported purchase of Genie+ and Individual Lightning Lanes on their account. Oddly enough, the user suggests that whoever “hacked” into their account removed their card on file and replaced it with their own prior to making any purchases.
How Safe Are Magic Bands From Hacking
Users were quick to offer up other solutions outside of assuming that someone hacked into a My Disney Experience app via Magic Band on this occasion. Still, it does raise safety concerns for some.
Firstly, it’s highly unlikely that Disney hasn’t put any thought or effort into securing the hardware of their app and Magic Band technology. In a time when hacking has evolved far beyond what we’re used to seeing in popular movies and shows, Disney certainly understands the severity of losing information provided by RFID through hacking.
Although I don’t know from experience, I would feel very comfortable making the assumption that Disney’s server security (where your information is stored on the My Disney Experience app) rivals just about any financial institution you’d find on the planet.
Secondly, hacking into a Magic Band should not provide any critical information. As all of your private identifiers, photos, and payment information is stored with the My Disney Experience apps, someone would need to access this or your login information to make purchases or change account details. You Disney Magic Band is solely a quick flick to pay for an item using your debit card on your account, check in for a ride time, or to be your door key.
Although Magic Bands can be used like a debit card, they don’t contain an actual card number, PIN number, or any other billing information associated with your banking account. You can’t put in the ID for a Magic Band to pay for something on shopDisney, right?
Also, there are multiple safeguards built into your bank, and my My Disney Experience account to help protect you in the rare instance you do come across someone who possesses the rare skill and technology to hack into your Magic Band and somehow access your My Disney Experience application.
This Redditt user suggests that when they get home, they’re going to “smash all of their Magic Band pucks.” Sadly, that’s the only real crime here in this situation, as even if their account was hacked, the person took the liberty to change their payment information prior to purchasing anything.
Do you feel like Magic Bands are safe to use? Do you every worry about your Magic Band or Disney account being hacked?