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What Are Disney Magic Bands?

January 10, 2020
Booked your first trip to Walt Disney World and have no clue what a Magic Band is or how to use it? Here's everything you need to know. #disneyworld #disneytravel #disneytraveltips #disneyworldforbeginners #wdw #magicbands

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If you’ve never been to Disney World, your first trip can be full of little surprises that you’ve never heard of before and let’s be honest, the less confusion when on vacation, the better right? Magic Bands are one of these little confusions for new guests but they really don’t have to be.

What are Magic Bands?

Guests staying at the *Disney World Resort are given a Magic Band for every member of the travelling party. If you live outside of the USA, these bands will be kept at your Disney hotel until you arrive but for those lucky enough to live close by will be able to have their Magic Bands sent to them via post before their trip begins. (This makes me very jealous…)

The Magic Bands basically look like a coloured watch but without a clock face and guests are able to choose a colour (or can upgrade for a particular character design) in advance by using their My Disney Experience App or website.

And if you feel like it, you can even personalise each band with a name to stop any sibling arguments.

Essentially these bands really are magic because during your Disney World stay, these bands will make your life a lot easier depending on how you want to use it. It’s all up to personal choice but either way, they look pretty cute right?

What can I use them for?

There’s so much that you can use your Magic Band for and if you are staying for a couple of weeks, you will find yourself returning home trying to pay for things on your band that is really no use anywhere else. But hey, it will give someone a laugh. Been there.


So, I guess one of the biggest ways you can really utilize your Magic Band is by using it as a way of making payments throughout your stay. This can include dining purchases or that much need shopping trip that you really deserve. All you have to do is ask a Cast Member on arrival to help you link your debit or credit card. Boy could that be tempting…

Now don’t worry, this isn’t for everyone and you certainly don’t have to link up any card if you prefer to deal with money separately. I personally have never linked my cards but only because I know I can’t turn down a new spirit jersey. But really who can?

Little Tip: If you have received or bought a Disney gift card that can be used at the parks, you can load it onto your Magic Band so you don’t have to carry it around.

Room Key

Forget the old card system (that I still keep in my purse as a memento) to get into your hotel room, all you need to do is touch your band to the Mickey touch pad and volia! It’s undoubtedly the coolest door key you will ever have right?

Plus, the bands are waterproof so you don’t have to worry about finding a safe spot for them when having a splash in the pool. (I made that mistake one year too)

Dining Plans

Much like a payment system (only less expensive) if you have invested in or have been gifted a Disney Dining plan, you can keep track of your credits from your band.

When you have finished a glorious meal at one of Disney’s dining locations just let your server know that you are on a plan and they will happily scan your band and let you know how many credits you have remaining (and it’s on the receipt). Just remember that any restaurant (that’s not a quick service location) where a tip is required you will still need to carry cash unless payments are set up on your Magic Band.

Snack credits will also work in the same way if you fancy grabbing a snack at a Disney cart, dining location or store.


Remember me talking about PhotoPass spots before? Well here’s where the Magic Band comes in. Let’s say you have an essential shot in front of Cinderella Castle (because it’s a must) but you don’t have a camera and want to make the most of Disney’s PhotoPass sytem. Who could blame you?

Well you simply let the PhotoPass photographer scan your band after you’ve posed like a pro and away you go. Those incredibly cheesy Instagram-worthy shots will be on your My Disney Experience app ready and waiting.

And for some of Disney’s true magic (because you know I’m obsessed with magic here), when you go on a ride where there’s a photo opportunity, those photos magically scan your band too. It can be a dream come true or a real nightmare depending on how you look when you scream.

Fastpass +

Well I had to save the best for last and really who doesn’t love a FastPass? Maybe you’ve pre-booked your Fastpasses at home or you are scanning the app throughout the day, either way when you have a FastPass and your arrival time has started, you just wander over to the ride and touch that band to the Mickey symbol. Simple!

One of my favourite features is scanning my band at the Haunted Mansion post. Next time you have a Haunted Mansion FastPass booked, make sure you listen carefully.

Can I change the look of my band?

I hear ya, red doesn’t go with every outfit but it seemed like a good choice at the time. (Literally me last trip)

Luckily for you (if you want to spend the cash) you can purchase different colours and designs in the Disney Parks. If you want to be really prepared, you can make a purchase from the US ShopDisney website and go nuts.

And if you are finding it difficult choosing your favourite, you can link more than one band at a time.

Got a favourite design? Let me know in the comments.

Want to add some more magic to your day? Follow me on Instagram @hollydoesdisney and subscribe for new post alerts in the sidebar.

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