Top 8 Disney Pro Tips for MagicBands At Walt Disney World

Credit: Disney

First offered to a limited number of guests in 2008, MagicBands began to revolutionize the way visitors experience their Walt Disney World vacation. Disney has since expanded the use of MagicBands to nearly all resort guests with only a minority declining them for personal reasons. This wearable technology belongs to the MyMagic+ family, providing guests access to a variety of services with a simple device. To get the most out of using your MagicBand, consider these top eight tips.

8. Early Orders

Ordering early means making your reservations at a Walt Disney World resort at least ten days before check-in, although making them much earlier will serve you well. Disney ships your MagicBands directly to you, allowing you to link them to your Disney account ahead of time. Last minute reservations will restrict your choices, as you’ll have to wait until check-in to receive generic, gray MagicBands to link to your account. If you aren’t staying at a Disney Resort hotel or you want a specific design, then you can purchase bands at the Disney Store website, your local Walt Disney World shop, or the Shop Disney Parks mobile app and link them to your reservations and park tickets when they arrive. Early ordering and linking of MagicBands speeds up the arrival and check-in process; just remember not to pack them away, since you’ll need them for Disney’s Magical Express at the airport. It also gives you ample time to personalize them.

7. Customization

You need to act fast if you want to use Disney’s built-in customization features. At least eleven days prior to check-in, Disney resort guests and annual passholders can choose the color of their bands and have their names printed on it. Customize your bands right after you make your room reservations or activate your pass to avoid missing your ability to choose. First, you need to create or sign into your Disney account and link your reservations or passes to it. After that, navigate to the MagicBands and Cards page by placing your mouse pointer on the My Disney Experience icon at the top right corner of the home page and searching the drop-down menu. Click on your linked reservations, choose your colors, and enter the names. Even though names appear on the bands, you should consider assigning a different color to each family member to avoid mix-ups and arguments. Soon, the boxes will arrive, creating excitement in your family for their upcoming Walt Disney World vacation.

6. Decorating It

Want to stoke up your family’s enthusiasm even more? Have a MagicBand Decorating Party with your kids. You can decorate your MagicBands with any of the products sold at Walt Disney World shops, the online Disney Store, or other retail outlets like Etsy.com. Even with colors and names to identify your bands, realize that other people at Walt Disney World will own the same colors. A specialized MagicBand makes identification easier if it falls off or is lost. Consider painting them, adorning them with stickers or rub-on tattoos, or gluing any number of glitzy materials to them to make them unique. Coating your bands with clear nail polish or a sealant like polyurethane will protect your artwork.

5. Functionality

MagicBands act as your room key, theme park ticket, FastPass+ entrance, credit card, PhotoPass card, and more. Understanding the versatility of MagicBands helps you to make the right choices for you family. You can decide what level of functionality your party members can access, so restricting or limiting purchasing features on an overspending teenager’s MagicBand becomes an option. Also, MagicBands enhance your enjoyment at theme parks by connecting you to interactive experiences such as playing Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom or designing your Chevrolet Custom Concept Vehicle at Test Track. More functions of MagicBands will likely emerge in the years to come, so look out for more spherical touchpoints in the future.

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4. Potential Surprises

Disney hints that long-range scanners detecting your MagicBand may deliver unexpected “surprises” while you’re visiting Walt Disney World. Though these surprises aren’t identified or listed by Disney, they certainly exist in light of the resort’s history of randomly blessing its guests with free experiences. Disney fans have reported unexpectedly receiving unlimited Fastpasses for the day, lodging in the Cinderella Castle Suite, or serving as Grand Marshal of a parade. One known surprise occurs after linking your MagicBand and Memory Maker to your Disney account. A long-range reader detects your MagicBand’s Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) chip on attractions taking ride photographs and then magically includes them in Memory Maker.

3. Keeping It

Many travelers toss aside maps, tickets, and other freebies soon after their vacation ends, while others create elaborate scrapbooks or stowed away their memorabilia in the attic. Even if you don’t think you’ll be returning to Walt Disney World for a few years, you should keep your MagicBands. They make perfect souvenirs for your children that remind them of the happiness they enjoyed for years to come. Of course, you may reuse them during future trips, but MagicBands also help you to discover “Easter eggs” hiding in select Disney products. For example, your kids will experience a treat if they touch a MagicBand to a Disney Infinity game base. The sensor in the base reads the MagicBand’s chip and unlocks surprises within the game. So whenever you buy a new Disney-related device, just give it a touch of your MagicBand and cross your fingers.

2. Power Solutions

Your MagicBand contains two RFID chips inside. The passive chip doesn’t require an electrical source, since the device reading it supplies the necessary power. It works when you tap a sensor with your MagicBand to enter the park, pay for a souvenir, or gain FastPass+ entrance. On the other hand, the active chip is powered by a watch battery with a lifespan of two to three years. This chip connects your MagicBand to long-range readers at Walt Disney World that provide special services, like the Memory Maker photos mentioned above. The passive chip works as long as the device remains undamaged, but the active chip dies with its battery. Store your band at room temperature to help extend the life of the battery; and no, refrigeration will not preserve power, but will drain it.

1. Frequent Upgrades

Perhaps you purchased a limited edition MagicBand that features your favorite Disney character, or you beautified your band with hand-painted graphics and lots of glitter. You’ll probably want to keep it working for years. However, complimentary MagicBands delivered to resort guests and annual passholders should be replaced as often as possible. Disney constantly innovates to make the MagicBand experience better for guests, so upgrading isn’t just about the active chip’s battery life. Currently, Disney’s developers are thinking up new MagicBand designs with removable pucks that house RFID chips and circuitry. The user will enjoy the versatility of wearing easily exchangeable wristbands or ditching the bands in favor of carrying a puck in their pocket.

About D.W. Noonan

D.W. Noonan was blindsided by the magical universe of Walt Disney when he married a dedicated Disneyphile in 1994. His wonderful wife dragged him into countless days of binge-watching great Disney films. As children began showing up in the Noonan home, D.W.'s growing passion for all things Disney led him to vacationing with his family in Walt Disney World each year and taking a journey to visit Disneyland. He is especially proud of his two teenage daughters, who danced for Disney Performing Arts at Walt Disney World in 2015. Though D.W. lives in Maryland, he longs to hear these familiar words when he returns to the resort: "Welcome home."