We love our Disney World MagicBands. What’s not to love? These adjustable, versatile, waterproof bracelets do IT ALL when you're at the theme parks, water parks or resort hotels.
It’s hard to believe they’ve only been around for three years. Can you recall a time when the only ticket options were the plastic cards that doubled as resort room keys? (Sadly, WE can! We even remember the paper E-tickets, but that’s the kind of memory you carry around in your noggin when you’re DISNEY 4 LIFE!)
Back in the day (you know … ALL THE WAY back in 2013), MagicBands were issued to Disney World resort guests and, eventually, annual pass holders. They were gray. They served as wearable room keys and park tickets, and you could link a credit card to them to pay for meals, snacks and merchandise at the parks and resorts.
Today, we’re looking at the evolution of the MagicBand, plus all the cool Disney MagicBand customization options you now have for them. Keep in mind that you don't have to have a MagicBand. They are free to Disney World Resort hotel guests, but anyone can purchase them and use them in the parks. If you're staying off-site and want to get a hop on purchasing and linking your MagicBands ahead of your trip, some selections are available from the Disney Store online. (For full details about how MagicBands work with My Disney Experience, you should hop over to our guide to FastPass+.)
What Can You Do with a MagicBand?
Now, with an active MagicBand linked to a valid park ticket or annual pass in My Disney Experience, you can use it to:
- Enter the theme parks and water parks
- Check in to the Fastpass+ line during your reservation time
- Take advantage of cool surprise extras, such as seeing your name “magically” pop up with a personal “good-bye” on the wall of farewells at “It’s a Small World”
- Save your images with the photographer at every Disney PhotoPass/MemoryMaker location in the parks
- Activate special Fastpass+ light effects and sounds at the ride and attraction entry points
- Access your post-ride photos on most of the iconic thrill rides and other locations within the parks
If you're staying at a Walt Disney World Resort hotel, you get additional MagicBand benefits. You can use your MagicBand to:
- Unlock your room
- Pay for meals and merchandise in the parks and resorts (you must enable this feature and set up a pin)
- Gain entry at the parking lots at Epcot, Magic Kingdom, Animal Kingdom and Hollywood Studios
See what I mean? And who knows what kind of great functions the Imagineers will come up with in the future. And as for those gray bands … well, they were cool when they were the only game in town. But soon came COLORS! (Naturally, we are partial to green, but we also had to try out purple when it came out.)
Eight colors, to be exact: gray, blue, red, purple, yellow, green, orange and pink. Nice, right? Pretty! Unique! Fun! Next time you’re at a Disney World park, sneak a peek at the other patrons’ wrists. DON’T MAKE IT SO OBVIOUS! Just take a quick look and see how many colors walk by.
Frog Family Insider Tip: Parents, you can even make a fun counting game out of spotting MagicBand colors with your kids. Everybody guess what color you’ll see the most during a prescribed amount of time, then help them keep count of the different colors they spot!
But, oh, wait! The Disney MagicBand customization options were just getting started. In 2015, colorful, artistic sleeves called CoverBands were put on sale and became popular for a time. Soon, MagicBands printed with special graphic art became the rage.
Disney MagicBand Customization Options
Today, there are hundreds of customization options for MagicBands. If you have a Disney favorite–a character, a movie, a ride, an iconic park feature, almost anything you can think of–you can express your love with a personalized MagicBand.
And they come out with new options all the time.
There are several levels of MagicBand customization. It starts with the different colors, mentioned above. You can specify what color you want when you make your resort reservation or when you order an annual pass online. The MagicBands will be mailed to you if you reserve them that way, or you can pick them up at the resort when you check in.
You also can buy a different-colored band at many merchandise locations within the parks and at Disney Springs. Two of our favorite MagicBand locations are the Emporium on Main Street USA at Magic Kingdom and Mousegear at Epcot.
Both of those large merchandise centers carry a wide variety of MagicBands, including the limited-edition releases that are associated with new movies, Halloween, Christmas and the Epcot festivals (Flower & Garden in the spring and Food & Wine in the fall – although there will be no Food & Wine Limited Edition MagicBand for 2016).
Imagine wearing Mickey, Minnie, Darth Vader, Pluto, Han Solo, Boba Fett, Cinderella, Elsa, Olaf, Goofy, Haunted Mansion, the Tree of Life … it just goes on and on. Who or what do you love about Disney? You can wear it.
If you already have a MagicBand linked to your ticket or annual pass, the cast members at the MagicBand merchandise centers can link your new MagicBand for you. The MagicBands available at those locations cost between $14.99 and $22.99 (a bit more for the super-cool limited editions). In addition to custom bands, each of the merchandise locations in the parks and resort gift shops offer MagicBandits, rubberized or plastic icons featuring all KINDS of fun Disney characters, iconic figures and shiny gems. They come in packs of three or four and cost $5.99-$8.99.
Oh, and don’t forget the MagicBand Sliders, which (as the name suggests) slide over one side of the MagicBand for an extra dose of customized fun.
WAIT! How could we forget one of the coolest and most useful new functions of MagicBands? Now, you can even use them to TELL TIME!
That’s right, at most of the merchandise locations, you can buy a Minnie Mouse watch ($24.95 on DisneyStore.com) or a gray digital version that slides right onto your MagicBand and covers the mouse emblem. How cool is that?
In fact, now is a great time to mention that in addition to purchasing a customized MagicBand at the parks, resorts or Disney Springs, the online Disney Store offers a HUGE variety of MagicBands that can be linked to your annual pass account or resort reservation at any time.
So, OK. We’ve saved the COOLEST way to customize your MagicBand for last. It’s the fancy, futuristic D-tech on Demand kiosks located at the Marketplace Co-op at Disney Springs, Tomorrowland Light & Power Company at the exit of Space Mountain in Magic Kingdom, and Star Wars Launch Bay at Hollywood Studios.
Now, you might think of the D-tech on Demand kiosks first and foremost as the places to select and purchase super-sweet smart phone cases. And sure, you can do that, too.
BUT. You will not believe the mind-boggling selection of MagicBands they’ve made available, especially at Disney Springs and Magic Kingdom (the D-tech kiosk at Hollywood Studios offers only Star Wars-themed phone cases and MagicBands).
And? In addition to just about a GAZILLION graphic options, you can (are you ready for this?) have your NAME printed RIGHT ON THE MagicBand! And if you get a Star Wars-themed MagicBand, you can have your name printed on it in Aurebesh, the funky writing system used in all the Star Wars movies.
Customized MagicBands with your name printed on them cost $32.99.
Whew! There are now so many Disney MagicBand customization options, and we’re sure there will be more. What would your dream MagicBand look like? Let us know in the comments below!