Walt Disney World's MagicBands: How It Works and What It Costs

by  Kimberly Button | May 5, 2014
Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom
Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom / Photo courtesy of Christine Dayao

Forget plastic hotel key cards and paper tickets. The Walt Disney World Resort has forged full speed ahead into the 21st century with a snazzy new tech-based system called MyMagic+. The star feature of the program is a customizable plastic bracelet, dubbed MagicBand, with which you can seamlessly access every aspect of your next Disney vacation. Here, a look at how it works and what it means for your wallet.

How It Works
At the resort, Your MagicBand doubles as a room key, ticket, and itinerary master. It opens your hotel door with just a touch to the radio frequency (RF) readers now installed all over the resort; stores your park entrance tickets, dining reservations, and PhotoPass pictures; and allows entry into auto plazas, select resort pools, and more. But, perhaps more intriguingly, the MagicBand also functions as a payment device. With a tap, souvenirs and dining purchases are logged and charged to your guest room. (This is currently only available to resort guests but may change in the future.) If you're traveling with a shopaholic or young relatives, don’t worry. You can designate which MagicBands actually have purchasing power and set spending limits – each band must have personalized pins to make purchases.

For those who like planning in advance, up to three FASTPASS+ times can be scheduled beforehand for each day of your stay. For certain rides and attractions as well as character meet-and-greets, this works much in the same way that the old system did: Show up during your one-hour time slot and go through a dedicated line. For shows, parades, and fireworks, FASTPASS+ reservations let you nab a coveted spot. You can make your selections 60 days in advance if you’re staying at a resort or 30 days in advance if you’re a day guest. Plans changed? You’re free to switch up your chosen times, so long as there’s other availability. And once the first three times have been used each day, you can check for additional times, one by one, at kiosks in the theme parks.

What It Costs
All guests staying in Walt Disney World Resort hotels will receive a free MagicBand with their stay. Visitors who only buy a ticket package can purchase a MagicBand that's theirs to keep (and reuse in the future) for $12.95. Otherwise, regular tickets are also RF-enabled and allow you to access FASTPASS+, but none of the other MyMagic+ features laid out above will be available.

Find The Best Cruises
Find a cruise

Find the best deals!

Click on multiple sites to get the lowest prices

Click on multiple sites to get the lowest prices