MagicBands have made it to the Disneyland Resort! If you've ever visited Disney World and used a MagicBand, you know how convenient they are for entering the park or Lightning Lanes with the tap of a wrist. If you’ve never used a MagicBand, this guide is mostly for you. There are some minor differences between how you can use MagicBands at Disneyland versus Disney World, so fans of both parks may want to tune in. We’ll go over what they are, how to purchase and all the ways they can be used for function, play and entertainment. We know you may have a lot of questions about Disneyland MagicBands, so we’ll do our best to answer them.
Frequently Asked Questions About Using MagicBands at Disneyland
What Is a Disneyland MagicBand, and How Is it Used?
Disneyland MagicBands are wearable tech bracelets that are worn on your wrist, like a watch. The MagicBand uses radio-frequency identification (RFID) electromagnetic fields.
You link it to your park ticket or Magic Key pass so that the MagicBand can be used for park admission and to redeem Lightning Lanes with Genie+ or other services, such as scanning in for Disability Access Service (DAS). It makes acquiring PhotoPass images so much easier by linking the images right to your account.
For hotel guests at Disney World, MagicBand can work as a hotel key. That feature does not work at Disneyland. We don't know if and when that will come to Disneyland Resort. But you can already use the Disneyland app to unlock a room door at one of the Disneyland Resort hotels.
What Is MagicBand+?
The Disneyland MagicBand is actually a MagicBand+ — the next generation in MagicBand technology. Besides its functional capabilities, it also enhances the park experiences in fun ways.
MagicBand+ reacts to entertainment and interactive elements in the park. Guests can enjoy immersive elements and surprises when the MagicBand+ syncs with nighttime spectaculars during special moments (and other smaller shows as well). It pulses with colorful lights and vibrations. That also means that the MagicBand+ is rechargeable and comes with a charging cord. But even if the charge wears out, it would still work to scan into the park and Lightning Lanes. What a relief!
It is adjustable so you can get one for your tadpole. There were 20 designs available at launch, but we see new designs popping up all the time. We toadally had to have the new World of Color band with Mickey wielding his magic paintbrush! And then a Winnie the Pooh band appeared! Some designs are exclusive to Disneyland. Magic Key holders can purchase a specially designed MagicBand+ that has a unique light-up sequence. Additional designs are available at ShopDisney.
You can pair your MagicBand+ with a smartphone. While the MagicBand+ launched with several convenient features, more capabilities are to come! MagicBand+ is the only MagicBand that will function at Disneyland, whereas older technology still works at Disney World. Unlike at Disney World, you cannot use an Apple Watch via Disney MagicMobile service in place of a MagicBand+ at Disneyland.
Disneyland MagicBand Purchase and Setup
When Are MagicBands Available and How to Buy?
Disneyland MagicBands became available to everyone to purchase at Disneyland on Oct. 26, 2022! Magic Key holders and Disney Vacation Club members had early access to MagicBand+, as of Oct. 19.
You can purchase MagicBand+ at the following shops in the Disneyland theme parks and around the resort:
- Downtown Disney District: World of Disney, Disney’s Pin Traders
- Disneyland Park: Emporium, Pioneer Mercantile, Tomorrow Landing
- Disney California Adventure Park: Elias & Co., Trolley Treats, Oswald’s, Seaside Souvenirs
- Hotels of the Disneyland Resort: Disney’s Fantasia Shop, Mickey in Paradise, Acorns Gifts & Goods
You can also purchase one on ShopDisney.
Just like at Disney World, Disneyland MagicBands come in different colors and styles. You can find one themed to your favorite Disney character, color or park attraction. They are one size fits most. You can peel off part of the band to make it shorter for a child or a smaller wrist.
Tips for Choosing a MagicBand+
Having been through the process of using a MagicBand at Disneyland, here is our advice:
- Pick a style that matches your style or common clothing colors.
- Pick a character or style that is meaningful to you.
- Consider that the center is mostly what you will see when you wear it.
- The center design lights up. We love the "D" on our Disneyland MagicBand, but you might prefer seeing Mickey, Spider-Man or a castle. The design will affect how it looks when it lights up.
- Colors of lights. You can customize your band to display specific colors. Some MagicBand+ designs have additional custom color choices for lighting up. Our Disneyland fireworks band has two extra multicolor light choices. The Spider-Man has a special red, white and blue color sequence as well as different red and blue choices from the standard solid color choices. Our Jack Skellington band has a red setting for Jack and purple for Sally. The plain bands only have solid-color choices, as does the purple Minnie band.
- The way the band lights up with multiple colors for nighttime spectaculars is the same for each band (but the design varies). The customized color lights are for redeeming Lightning Lanes and for other park functions.
Other things to consider:
If you are a watch wearer, having a watch and a MagicBand+ on your wrists can be a big change. It's bulky for small wrists. If you don't want to wear the band or are worried about tadpoles losing it, some creative sellers have items you can purchase to make it more convenient. The puck (center light-up part) is removable.
- You can purchase a MagicBand+ puck holder or watch adapter from Etsy or other unofficial sellers if you want to remove the puck from the wristband and attach it to a watch band or bag.
- If you are worried about your kids losing the band, you can buy inexpensive locks through Etsy to secure them better so they don't rip off the wrist.
How Do I Set Up a MagicBand?
After you purchase, it's time to set up the MagicBand. Make sure you have your Disney account set up in the Disneyland app and tickets linked to your account.
Follow these three steps to set up a Disneyland MagicBand:
- Power on MagicBand+ by pressing the button on the back once, then holding the button for three seconds and tapping the band to the back of your phone.
- You’ll be directed to open or download the Disneyland app. The app will walk you through the process.
- Follow the instructions in the Disneyland app to link the MagicBand+ to your Disney account, assign it to a ticket or pass, and pair it to your smartphone.
To get to the MagicBand+ area in the app, tap the three horizontal lines in the bottom right of the screen and then scroll down to the MagicBand+ square. (FYI: The square's location moves around.) You will likely need to update the software (which takes about 3 minutes) and keep the band next to the phone through this process. You'll want to hold the band to the upper right corner of your phone when pairing and updating. If it is taking a while, make sure you do not have your phone in low-power mode.
If you need help troubleshooting setup, pairing or updating, here are a few tips that worked for us.
- Make sure the MagicBand+ is fully charged or being charged.
- Make sure your phone has a good signal (Wi-Fi or cell).
- Plug your phone into a charger or other power source.
- Place the camera of your phone directly on the band and leave it there throughout the updating process.
- Power off the MagicBand+ (hold button for 6 seconds until you feel two pulses and you see a red light), and then power it back on (press button).
Once you are set up, updated and linked, you can manage your MagicBand+ through the Disneyland app. You can reassign a ticket or Magic Key pass to your band at any time or unlink it if you need to. When you tap a MagicBand from your list of linked bands, you can customize, connect Bluetooth, and affect how the band lights up and vibrates. It's also where you can see if you need to perform any updates.
Choose your light-up theme by changing color. In settings, check your light, brightness, vibration and gesture recognition. Make sure you are set to be connected to park experiences. If it's turned off, you cannot access Bluetooth-enabled park experiences.
Using MagicBands at Disneyland
How Do I Use the Disneyland MagicBand with Genie+ or Individual Lightning Lanes?
If you are using Genie+ or are purchasing individual Lightning Lane, you will still use your phone to make ride selections or purchases. When it's time to redeem a reservation, you'll simply hold your MagicBand up to the scanner, the light will turn green and you can enter! It's the same for people who use Disability Access Service (DAS). The person who has DAS goes first. Then everyone else can scan in after them. If some party members do not have a MagicBand, they can still use their phone or a park ticket to redeem. The MagicBand+ is simply another option.
Which Shows Interact with Disneyland MagicBands?
You can experience vibrations and pulsing lights. If you will be visiting Disneyland for the holidays or the Disney 100 Years of Wonder anniversary celebration (kicking off Jan. 27, 2023), you can have fun using your MagicBand+ with the new (or holiday) nighttime entertainment.
It even glows blue during snowfall at Holiday Time and interacts during Mickey's Mix Magic projection shows!
How Do I Use My Disneyland MagicBand for PhotoPass?
Instead of pulling up a PhotoPass code to be scanned by the PhotoPass photographer, the photographer will tap your band so the images link to your Disney account. What a time saver!
At Disney World, we use our MagicBand to easily link on-ride photos to our account. This is not in use at Disneyland. You still have to type the PhotoPass number into the Disneyland app.
How Does the Play Disney Parks App Work with MagicBands at Disneyland?
Our tween, Tad, has had fun using the Data Pad in Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge with the Play Disney Parks app, but MagicBand+ takes the adventure to a whole new level. You can use your MagicBand+ to explore Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge with the Star Wars: Batuu Bounty Hunters interactive quest.
The vibrations and lights from your MagicBand+ will help you find virtual bounties across the Black Spire Outpost. They are usually hiding behind doors. Look for the panel on the wall and hold your MagicBand to it. Once it turns purple, you've found one! After you've found your bounty, use the augmented reality thermal viewer in the Play Disney Parks app to reveal characters hiding in the shadows. When you complete your mission, the local guild master Raga Bua will reward you with galactic credits.
We played around with this interactive game! You need to update to the latest version of the Play Disney Parks app. You'll open the Batuu Bounty Hunters game in the app and it will walk you through the steps. You may need to turn off low-power mode for this to work. You'll scan your band on the medallion on the bounty board to receive your assignment. The board is to the right of the landspeeder garage. Stay until it finishes, or you will not receive your assignment. Then, as you move closer to your bounty, your band will turn green. As you move further away, it will turn red. It will be easier to see this at night than in bright sunlight.
Once you have located your target and tapped your band on the correct panel, it will turn purple. Then you head to the Guildmaster's Hideout to collect your credits. It is located to the right of the Bounty Board.
Are There Any Other Interactive Features for MagicBands at Disneyland?
There will be magical touches to certain entertainment at Avengers Campus. Our MagicBands vibrated and glowed red when Spider-Man flew through the air. Our bands also lit up and vibrated during certain moments during Dr. Strange: Mysteries of the Mystic Arts. Our bands also lit up unexpectedly at times throughout the day and even on some rides! We used it to tap in to redeem our virtual queue for entrance to World of Color at night.
Did You Say that the MagicBand+ Lights up on Rides?
Yes! We are actively researching this fun surprise. Our bands lit up blue and red before boarding and after exiting WEB SLINGERS. We saw cloud colors after exiting Soarin'. We had multicolor lights as we looked at our on-ride photo for Guardians (and on the actual ride too!). The band lit up on the ride and after exiting Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters. And it does light up and pulse red (like a heartbeat) after you exit your Doom Buggy on Haunted Mansion. Make sure you have "connected park experiences" turned on in your settings. Has your band lit up for you on any rides? Please share them in the comments section below.
If the band needs a charge, it may stop interacting with rides and shows. We carry a MagicBand+ charging cord with us in the park so we don't miss out. It's best to start your day with a full charge.
Do I Have to Purchase a Disneyland MagicBand?
With a price tag of about $35 to $55 for MagicBand+, you may be wondering how this item fits into your family's theme park budget, especially if you have a large family to buy for. Discounts apply.
You may be hoppy to know that using a MagicBand is completely optional. You can continue to use your phone to scan your ticket into the park and to redeem your Lightning Lanes with Genie+. The MagicBand is simply a convenience that helps you avoid having to pull out your phone all the time. It will save your phone battery and keep your hands free.
MagicBand makes the lines move faster as more people use the MagicBand+ technology. It's a lot faster for each person to tap a MagicBand than it is to pull up codes on a phone and scan in for multiple people. Plus, it's fun if you want to engage in some immersive games in the park, especially in Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge.
If you do not plan to use Genie+, DAS or take many PhotoPass photos, you probably do not need a MagicBand at Disneyland. If you want to play games and see it light up with entertainment, as well as use it for Lightning Lanes and PhotoPass, then it may be worth it. To us, it's worth it to spend less time pulling out our phones. Plus, we visit more often than most families. It might not be worth it for a one-time trip. It does not eliminate the need for a phone, but it is much faster and easier to tap a band than open the Disneyland app.
What we do love about MagicBand+ at Disneyland is that we can quickly reassign the bands. So if Leap is not joining me, I can reassign his band to a niece or nephew or friend for the day. The changeability makes it more worth it for our family.
Can I Use My Disney World MagicBand at Disneyland?
Yes! You can use a DisneyWorld MagicBand+ at Disneyland and vice-versa. However, older technology, such as the original MagicBand or MagicBand 2, is not supported at Disneyland.
Is It Waterproof?
Yes! Ride the water rides to your heart's content or go swimming. No worries!
Can I Use Disneyland MagicBands to Make Purchases?
Disney World hotel guests may enjoy using MagicBand to make purchases, eliminating the need to bring money or credit cards to the parks. Disneyland will not be initially offering this service.
Are There Any Times It’s Better to Use Your Phone Instead of the MagicBand+?
In rare cases, there may be times when you might want to pull out your phone to scan in a particular ticket you plan to use if you are a person who hoppens to have a variety of Multiple Experiences passes in the app.
Let’s say that you have acquired several multiple experiences passes due to ride breakdown (we go over these in detail in our Genie+ multiple experiences post). Some passes work for top-tier rides and some do not. If you have a specific multiple experiences pass that you would prefer to redeem for a ride, you should pull out your phone to make sure you redeem the one you want to use rather than relying on the system to select the right one.
Can I Change the Ticket or Magic Key That My MagicBand Is Linked to?
Yes! At Disneyland, you can assign a MagicBand+ to any ticket or Magic Key pass on your Disney account. You can reassign a MagicBand from a ticket or pass to a different one in your app. You can also unlink it from your account and link it to a different account. This is different from Disney World, where the MagicBand is linked to a person and cannot be unlinked. You can assign and link or unlink MagicBand+ in the MagicBand+ section on the Disneyland app.
That being said, a MagicBand can only be linked to one ticket or pass at a time. If not everyone in the group has a MagicBand, the people without a band can use their phones instead.
You can, however, link more than one MagicBand to a particular pass or ticket. It's super easy to reassign a MagicBand to a different admission type. I have three bands assigned to my ticket at the moment, so I can use either one. If I bring a friend or family member, I can reassign one of the bands to them for the day and then later reassign it back to my ticket with the tap in the app.
Disneyland MagicBand Battery Life and Charging
How Do I Charge or Update My MagicBand+ at Disneyland?
MagicBands at Disneyland come with a rechargeable battery and a 6-inch USB cord. There are no charging stations at Disneyland. When you purchase your Disneyland MagicBand+, charge it to high battery levels (green). Certain functions and features, such as software updates, customized settings and in-park interactive experiences, may not work properly if the MagicBand+ is not charged. Bring a portable charger or purchase a Fuel Rod in the park. Charging cables are for sale separately at Disneyland Resort if needed.
Charge your MagicBand+ after a day of use. When it flashes green it's fully charged. Power it off until you are ready to use it. You'll hold the button for about six seconds until you feel 2 pulses and the band turns red to turn it off. How do you know it is off? When the band is on and you tap the center two times, it lights up for a few seconds. If the band is off it will not light up when you tap it. To turn it back on, push the button once.
Press the button quickly on the back of the MagicBand to check the battery status:
- Red: Charge as soon as possible
- Yellow: Low battery — charge until green
- Green: High battery
You can also check the battery status in the Disneyland app if you have paired the band to your device. A fully charged MagicBand+ lasts one to three days, depending on use. We used our band from park open to close and left it on overnight and the next evening our battery was still at green.
Besides having a strong battery, you'll want to make sure you have installed the latest software. Our bands came charged when we bought them, but some bands may need a charge when you get them, so be prepared with a charger. We needed to update the software right away after purchasing. We found that the MagicBand+ paired and updated best when connected to the charger. Expect to spend a few minutes getting set up and updated. If you run in to any problems, Guest Relations kiosks can help. If you have any issues accessing park experiences, also go to Guest Relations.
What If My MagicBand+ Battery Is Depleted?
Even if the battery is depleted, you can still use it for basic features such as:
- Park entry
- Lightning Lane and DAS redemption
- Disney PhotoPass photographer scanning
Certain functions and features, such as software updates, customized settings and in-park interactive experiences may not work properly with an uncharged MagicBand+. Bring a portable charger or purchase a Fuel Rod in the park.
What other questions do you have about using MagicBands at Disneyland? Drop your questions in the comments section below!