Walt Disney World to End Complimentary MagicBands

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I’ve said that in a weird way, due to the Coronavirus pandemic, it’s kind of a nice reset for the Walt Disney World Resort. It allows them to take a look at the things that are and aren’t working and tweak them so that they could work better. Today Disney announced that another one of those aspects of a Disney vacation that is now being tweaked.

When MagicBands were introduced, it was really right on the cusp of smart phones becoming not only prevalent, but also incredibly advanced in the ways we do things. Due to smart phone technology, it really made MagicBands kind of a unnecessary thing right out of the gate. Now, while MagicBands aren’t going away, Disney is going to be making some tweaks with this system.

In 2021, Disney will unveil an innovative new offering as part of the My Disney Experience app that will bring features of a MagicBand to your smart devices. With this new offering it will mean that complimentary MagicBands will no longer be offered to Disney Resort hotel guests for new reservations with arrivals beginning January 1, 2021.

Now, don’t worry. If you still would like to use a MagicBand on your vacation and you are a Disney Resort hotel guests you will continue to have the option to be able to purchase them at a discount. Those Guests who prefer not to purchase a discounted MagicBand will be able to use the My Disney Experience app or a Key to the World card during their visit.

MagicBands will still be offered for sale in retail locations and on shopDisney.com, and guests will be able to continue using them throughout Walt Disney World Resort. All that’s changing is that technology is making it so you don’t really have to, if you don’t want to.

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Rikki Niblett

I am a co-host of the Be Our Guest Podcast and do lots of other fun Disney stuff all around the interwebs! You can follow me on Twitter or Instagram at @RikkiNibs or on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/rikkinibs

11 thoughts on “Walt Disney World to End Complimentary MagicBands

  • June 19, 2020 at 12:23 pm
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    And how are people to keep their phones charged a whole having to use it in this way?

    This is really short sighted; but feels like just another way for Disney to extract money from people.

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  • June 19, 2020 at 1:32 pm
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    Glad they are still continuing the use of magic bands – I don’t have a smart phone. I do not mind paying for the magic band – far more convenient and a lot smaller than a phone anyway. Now if they come up with a wearable phone then maybe . . .

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  • June 19, 2020 at 1:33 pm
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    I wonder if this is a move to a system similar to Disneyland and MaxPass. If it is, we could see an additional cost like at Disneyland.

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  • June 19, 2020 at 2:33 pm
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    I assume you could link a previous magic band to your reservation if you didn’t want to purchase a new magic band. This, Im sure, is a cost cutting strategy on Disney’s part.

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  • June 19, 2020 at 4:12 pm
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    I’d rather use a MagicBand. But I get discontinuing complimentary ones. Many Disney fans already have more than they need. I do like that they will continue offering discounted specialty bands for Resort guests.

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  • June 19, 2020 at 5:36 pm
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    All your old magic bands will still work with new reservations. Remember, they’re just keys into your one MDE account so you can have as many as you want. For as long as Disney keeps the touch points active they’ll continue to recognize reservations, park passes, dining reservations, etc.

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  • June 19, 2020 at 9:20 pm
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    I wonder if this will somehow be linked to Disney’s own touring plan software that was announced last year.

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  • June 20, 2020 at 6:36 am
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    A bit disappointed at the seemingly blanket, you can no longer have a magic band. I think you should be able to request one at the time of booking if you need one. I understand that the magic bands do not last forever someone told me around two to three years and we only ever have visited every three years so not sure I can use previous ones or I would. I don’t normally take my phone on holiday as I don’t need it, didn’t used to 10 years ago so why now. I do take my netbook but it stays in the safe during the day and I am not carting it around so that I can keep logging into the mydisneyapp to access my room even if that was possible. So it looks as though we are taking a backwards step and using the plastic cards again. Oh I see I have the option of purchasing a band, to be honest after paying £000s I think the least they could do is include a magic band if needed.

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  • June 20, 2020 at 6:48 am
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    How is this going to effect on-ride photos for those who purchase PhotoPass?

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