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Interactive DisneyBand+: MagicBand Tech Coming to Disney Cruise Line

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If you’ve ever wished that opening your stateroom door on a Disney Cruise could be as easy as tapping your MagicBand during a stay at the Disney World resort, your wish is about to come true. Disney has announced that “DisneyBand+” will be making its way onto all of the fleet’s ships beginning this summer and fall. I’m sure you have questions! We have answers below …

What Can You Do With DisneyBand+?

A smiling family watches as a small girl taps the band on her wrist to open the cabin door.
© Disney

You’ll be able to:

  • Unlock your stateroom door
  • Charge purchases made onboard and on Castaway Cay (and presumably on Lighthouse Point when it opens next year)
  • Have PhotoPass photographers scan your band to automatically link photos to your account
  • (For kids) use the DisneyBand+ as an Oceaneer Band to access the kids clubs
  • Discover enchanting surprises and extra moments of magic throughout your cruise

Curious about that last one? Yeah, we are too … and we’ll update here as we have details. The bands are rechargeable (and will need a daily or every other day charge for full functionality). But based on what we know about MagicBands, we expect it’s likely that many of the non-interactive functions such as opening doors and charging purchases will work if the battery is dead.

The bands are also waterproof, and Disney advises that they are “adventure proof”.

What kind of MagicBand is DisneyBand+?

At Disney World, there is MagicBand and MagicBand+. MagicBands can do anything that your admission ticket can do, but MagicBand+ can do more. MagicBand+ has two-way interactivity with elements of the park and can be used to play games within the park.

It’s clear that DisneyBand+ is the same technology as MagicBand+, and the reason this matters is because although they are calling it DisneyBand+ on the ships, the bands themselves are MagicBand+. That means that you will be able to use your DisneyBand+ in Disneyland or Disney World, and MagicBand+ that you may have already purchased will work as a DisneyBand+.

© Disney

DisneyBand+ will still have a touch of DCL-only to it though. I’m sure you won’t be shocked when I tell you that there will be designs available exclusively to those with a Disney Cruise reservation.

How Much Will DisneyBand+ Cost? When Can I Get One?

Solid bands cost $34.99, and themed designs cost $44.99, plus tax. So it’s good news that if you already have a MagicBand+, you can use it on board should you choose to.

You can’t currently order a band in advance of your sailing, although that will change as rollout dates are announced for each of the ships. The first ship to use DisneyBand+ will be the Wish, where the band will be available this summer.

When bands are available for advance order, you’ll be able to take a $10 discount by purchasing in advance instead of buying them onboard. And of course, if you already have a MagicBand+, then you’ve got a DisneyBand+ … and your question is just whether the tech will be available on your cruise.

Are Key to the World Cards Going Away?

No, Key to the World Cards are not going away on Disney Cruises. A DisneyBand+ is an extra-cost, optional add-on. A Key to the World Card is free and will be issued when you get on board.

What do you think about DisneyBand+? Will you buy it? Let us know in the comments!



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Jennifer Heymont

Jennifer has a background in math and biology, so she ended up in Data Science where she gets to do both. She lives just north of Boston with her husband, kids, and assorted animal members of the family. Although it took three visits for the Disney bug to "take", she now really wishes she lived a lot closer to the Parks.

8 thoughts on “Interactive DisneyBand+: MagicBand Tech Coming to Disney Cruise Line

  • Did I read the fine print correctly, only for ships leaving from US ports, and you have to pay for them? (any idea why the limitation? We’re doing a Rome/Greece cruise this summer)

    End of the day, as a California resident, we loved the convenience of the free ‘bands we received for our DW trip in ’18 but even with DL slowly rolling them out, don’t see where we’d get 3×35$ of value out of this.

    • Hi R, I’m going to disclaim that my close reading interpretations are not supported by specific answers from the Walt Disney Company. That out of the way …

      – Yes, you did see that it’s U.S. Ports only but my interpretation of that passage is that only U.S. ports will be equipped with tech where you can use it during the check-in process at the port. I don’t think the bands will be limited only to sailings that depart from U.S. ports. Think of it kind of like … when Magical Express was still a thing, you could tap in to your ME reservation with you MagicBand, but if you were renting a car you had to wait until you actually got to WDW property for the bands to have any functional use. (I hope that makes sense.)

      – Yes, you have to pay for them. That’s one of the reasons I put so much emphasis on “it’s really a MagicBand+” in the article. Maybe it’s just my thrifty soul, but I imagine other people will find this a much more appealing thing if it’s able to be used more places. That said, I know other people in my family who will be like “Oh, they’re so convenient, I can’t imagine going to WDW without one anymore, it’s a $5K cruise what’s another $35?”, and I’m sure they’re not alone. One thing I think we’ll have to wait and see about is what the interactive elements are. If they’re really good? Then there’s a market (which could include even me) that will look at it as buying a game, that incidentally opens your door.

      • Not having to pull out my KTTW card for every photo is a huge plus for me. No more fumbling for my card to get into my room when my hands are full. I likely wouldn’t buy one just for DCL, but if it’s the same band for DCL and the parks I’m in.

  • Can you use the regular Magicband to open your door?

    • Hi Goofy, you can use a regular MagicBand to open your door at Disney World. You probably will not be able to use it on the ship. “Regular” MagicBands are a Disney World only thing; that’s the only place they do anything. So a regular MagicBand will almost certainly do absolutely nothing on a DCL ship. Only MagicBand+ can be used outside of Disney World.

      • I wonder about this. The reason that you can’t use regular magicbands at Disneyland is because their readers are barcode/QR code and wallet/bluetooth based. Magicband+ use bluetooth, but the old ones don’t. I haven’t seen the Wish, so I don’t know if the cabin key readers are different than the other ships. The other ships use RFID, which all magicbands use and the ticket scanners/LL points at Walt Disney World use. If the Wish cabins use RFID, then it may be possible to use regular magicbands, unless they do something in the linking or reading software to prevent it. I know it says that they are not usable, but I guess we will see.

      • Hi Sonia, I agree it’s a question, and importantly I think it’s central to whether or not the DisneyBand+ will work to open your door if the battery is dead. (If not, can you just imagine them installing tiny charging docks next to the door so you can get enough juice into your band to unlock your room and get in? Crazy idea, I know, but kind of amusing to think about.)

        Anyway, I do really hope that they are using the RFID and not Bluetooth for door/purchasing activity on the ships, because it will definitely make a big difference in the convenience if you are still able to do the basics even if you forgot to charge last night. (I’m assuming they will, but like you I don’t know.) But I don’t think that they need to do something to actively prevent using regular MagicBands.

        You have to link a MagicBand+ to MDE for it to work at Disney World. You link it to the Disneyland app to use it at Disneyland. And presumably you’ll link the DisneyBand to Disney Cruiseline Navigator in order for it to work on the ship. There’s no way to link a regular MagicBand in the Disneyland app – even if you couldn’t do anything with it once you got it hooked up, you can’t even get the connection in place. So unless Disney provides a mechanism for regular MagicBands to link to DCL Navigator (which they have no reason to do), you wouldn’t be able to use them on the ship, because those RFID readers aren’t communicating with MDE – they’re checking your ID against a different platform.

      • Thank you

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