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Disney in a Minute: What is a MagicBand?

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We’re here with a series of quick posts, “Disney in a Minute,” bite-sized nuggets of information that can better help you understand a Disney term or planning topic. Enjoy!

What is a MagicBand is a bit of a trick question. MagicBands, introduced in 2013, are plastic bracelets embedded with RFID (radio frequency identification) chips. They are designed to interact with readers at Disney locations to perform a wide variety of tasks. The trick part is that the original MagicBand was effectively discontinued (though old ones still work) and has been replaced by the MagicBand+. MagicBand+ is now the only version of the band available to purchase, but most people continue call this updated product by the old name.

MagicBand+ can be bought while you’re purchasing a Disney vacation, at dozens of shops within the Disney parks and resorts, and on shopDisney.com. Prices start at about $35 for solid color bands, up to about $60 for bands with limited edition artwork. MagicBand+ must be re-charged daily with a special cord.

A few of the many ways MagicBand+ may be used include:

  • Linking PhotoPass pictures to
  • As a payment method at most WDW retail and dining locations
  • As a room key at Disney resort hotels
  • As your theme park admission ticket
  • Tapping in to a Genie+ or Lightning Lane reservation
  • As an interactive game device

That said, while MagicBands can be useful and entertaining, there is absolutely zero imperative to have them. There are plenty of other great ways for a family of four to drop well over $100 at the Disney parks. With the exception of some game features, everything else a MagicBand does can be easily replicated with a plastic park ticket, room key, or credit card.

Have a question about a Disney term that is unfamiliar to you? Suggest it here for an upcoming Disney in a Minute segment.

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Erin Foster

Erin Foster is an original member of the Walt Disney World Moms Panel (now PlanDisney), a regular contributor to TouringPlans.com, and co-author of The Unofficial Guide to Disney Cruise Line. She's been to WDW, DL, DL Paris, Hong Kong Disneyland, Aulani, DVC Vero Beach, and DVC Hilton Head. She's a Platinum DCL cruiser and veteran of 10 Adventures by Disney trips. Erin lives near New York City, where she can often be found indulging in her other obsession - Broadway theater.

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