10 Things to Know About MagicBands

 

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1. If you’re not staying at a Disney resort, you don’t need a MagicBand

The reason every resort guest gets one is because it is utilized as a room key. However, everyone can use them! MagicBands can be connected to your My Disney Experience account to be utilized in lieu of a plastic card ticket. This is significant, because it means you can use it not only for entering the park, but also for redeeming FastPasses (the literal act of physically tapping either card or band at an attraction touch point). Instead of shuffling through your bag, or praying that kids will keep a responsible eye on their cards, MagicBands allow that media to be easily transported [look ma, no hands!]

2. Resort guests can personalize names and colors prior to arrival

If you are staying at a resort, be sure to log on to your My Disney Experience a few weeks prior to arrival. There window for making modifications is limited, but anywhere from the point you book the reservation to those few weeks prior, you can visit the MagicBands section and personalize them for each person in the party. There is a wide variety of colors to choose from, and you have the ability to modify the name associated with it up to a certain character count. This is the name that will be physically printed on the underside, and also what will appear on Cast Member’s screens when you utilize a touch point. If you have a preferred name, that’s a great place to put it. But I have also “named” my magic bands according to how I personally decorated them (i.e. “Riverbend” for a Pocahontas themed design, “Hunny” for Pooh Bear, etc.) Because I have been lucky enough to experience many stays at Walt Disney World Resorts, I find this helps me to distinguish my bands from one another on My Disney Experience. Please note, if you do not personalize the MagicBands prior to arrival, they will arrive at the Front Desk in classic Steamboat Willie gray.

3. MagicBands are one-size-fits-all, but can be modified for children

I’m always surprised by how few people seem to notice that the MagicBands themselves are marked with directions for how to adjust the band for children (or people with small wrists, like me!) The first generation of MagicBands were released with relatively thick rubber, and not the most comfortable to wear, especially if you had to deal with a lot of overlap. As time has gone on, Disney has modified the rubber to be thinner, more flexible, and AHA! adjustable in size. Actually, this last feature has always been possible with each generation, but it’s the one thing I find myself consistently pointing out to parents who don’t know to ask. If you look at the underside of your MagicBand you’ll notice an arrow more toward the interior of the band. That outer dark grey is actually fairly easy to peel off. What remains is a smaller, more kid-friendly version that doesn’t fall off so much! The catch here is, once you peel it off, that extension can’t be put back. Test the band first, see where it comfortably connects on your wrist, and if that outer shell is superfluous, say bye bye! Any Resort Front Desk will be happy to recycle the rubber for you.

4. Your MagicBand does not store information, it connects it

Having lived with a hyper-vigilant, security-oriented mother, I completely understand the fear of losing anything that could potentially have personal information attached to it. The good news is, your MagicBand is pretty darn safe. If someone found your MagicBand, they could not physically open it and find information stored inside. The MagicBand works with an RFID (radio frequency identification) to associate your account number to a number of programs utilized across Disney property. Generally, the only thing that will read your information (in a limited capacity) are the programs used by Cast Members [i.e. the cash register to identify how many dining credits you have left, the attraction touch point to confirm if you have a FastPass and when, etc.] Even Cast Members themselves (depending on their role) generally have a very narrow scope of what is happening in your account. This is intentional! This is to protect your information! No one could use your MagicBand for purchases without knowing the PIN number you created, no one could use it as a ticket without having your exact bone density in their finger, no one could learn your room information without having a matching ID to authorize that sharing of information at the Front Desk. Disney has worked very hard to ensure your information is protected. Losing a MagicBand is far from the end of the world.

5. Lost MagicBands can be temporarily or permanently deactivated

Should you lose your MagicBand though, it is a simple fix! First of all, if you’ve lost yours in a park, you should first seek Lost and Found, typically with Guest Relations at the park entrance. MagicBands are treated as high value items, and if discovered they are generally walked straight there. If your band has not been found however, Guest Relations or your Front Desk Cast Member can temporarily or permanently deactivate your Band so there is a 100% guarantee that no one can use them (even though this is highly unlikely to begin with!) In fact, if you’re using My Disney Experience, you can even modify that information right from the app!

6. Having multiple active MagicBands can slow their responsiveness

Actually, I would highly encourage anyone with multiple MagicBands associated with their account to turn off MagicBands that are not in use. I have met Annual Passholders who have 15+ bands, but leave them all active! While I can see how some may like to wear different colors or characters depending on the day, keeping only one band active at a time is good practice. Any time you touch your band, or the resort tries to add information to your account (like a room number) the system is trying to access all active bands at once. To save yourself a headache and prevent you from wasting your own time, this “one-Band-at-a-time” rule of thumb is the best route to go.

7. MagicBands are convenient, but they’re still technology

This is what I desperately tried to remind anyone who visited the Front Desk. MagicBands are incredibly handy: they are room keys, tickets, FastPasses, payment methods, dining plans, and as pretty as you want to make them. However, they are also technology. Like any technology, they have shortcomings. They sometimes don’t work. They are not always going to come through when you need them to just like any computer, phone, car, or television you’ve ever owned. It is not wise (as tempting as it may be) to show up to a park with only a MagicBand. I would still bring a purse or a wallet. Keep a separate payment method handy (and bring an ID if you plan to buy drinks!), because if the system has an outage, you now have no way to buy food or souvenirs, and there’s no worse feeling than that. The purpose of the MagicBand is to prevent you from having to constantly dig out these tickets or cards, and hopefully, to prevent you from losing them by doing so. But you should always bring something, just to be safe.

8. When using your MagicBand different color responses mean different things

This one is pretty simple:

When using your MagicBand as a ticket or a FastPass, green means good! Your information has correctly processed and you should come on through. Blue means bad! This is usually not a big deal, just look to the Cast Member who will let you know what went wrong (maybe you’re a little too early for a FastPass or you used the wrong finger associated with your ticket).

When using your MagicBand as a room key, again green means good! Wait for the lock to click and head inside. Yellow/orange means the door does not recognize your key for this door. Double check the number, and if it’s correct, see the Front Desk for assistance in fixing it. Red mean the door battery needs to be changed. This has nothing to do with your band. If there is no Cast Member around who can help you enter, see the Front Desk, they will ensure you get inside and they will call engineering to have it fixed as soon as possible.

9. New MagicBands allow the information puck to be removed for different forms of wear

This is, I think, one of the coolest things Disney has done with the MagicBand 2.0 redesign. By allowing the main information puck to be removed, those like myself who do not enjoy the feel of wearing a MagicBand can attach it to any number of things. I prefer wearing it on my lanyard, but it can be attached to purses, necklaces, pretty much anything that’s convenient for you. Keep in mind, these pucks do not attach to anything on their own, you will need to purchase a case with a clip to use this feature, but it’s a great alternative to wearing the full band.

10. Yoga is not required to use your MagicBand

Since the introduction of the MagicBand, this concept has brought me endless fits of laughter. Being a Cast Member and watching the bizarre ways people will contort themselves to get their MagicBands to a touch-point is honestly a hilarious way to pass the time. I’ve never really understood why people are so weird about it. Here’s the thing y’all, we aren’t expecting anyone to have done deep stretches before their park day. There are always touch points on either side of any entrance. Go to the side most convenient for your wrist. Don’t sprain anything. You’ll hear it over and over “touch Mickey to Mickey.” It’s that simple. No downward dog necessary.

Thanks for tuning in. Keep those ears up!

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