There has been a lot of discussion lately regarding Disney’s upcoming MyMagic+ program which aims to combine every aspect of your Walt Disney World vacation into one seamless and digital experience. With MyMagic+, park tickets, resort room keys, dining reservations, PhotoPass photographs, payment options, and even FastPasses will all be contained in your My Disney Experience account. Your account can then be customized on both Disney’s website and on the smartphone app. Some aspects of MyMagic+ have already been released, like My Disney Experience for dining reservations, but the full program is expected to be rolled out sometime later this year.
When FastPasses, reservations and other parts of a trip are added to a My Disney Experience account, guests will use the MagicBand, a wristband containing an RFID chip, to access their information while in the parks, resorts, and all over Walt Disney World property throughout their stay. The MagicBands will be provided by Disney to every guest with a resort reservation and will be available in different colors and may even be customizable later on down the road with designs or accessories. Similar to the Key To The World cards Disney uses today, the MagicBands will consolidate a lot of the necessary items you carry while vacationing.
A few days ago, a DISboards thread announced that MagicBands and the upcoming FastPass+ system has been released for guest testing in the parks. We have heard from a source that this is not correct, and that the MagicBands and other MyMagic+ features will begin testing next week for Cast Members and their guests only. We are also hearing that this test will most likely be open to only ‘higher up’ Cast Members in management roles. If all goes well with this test however, it is reasonable to expect a wider test base including guests maybe even by summer of this year.
Recently, I was able to get a firsthand look at one of the new MagicBands – I even got to try it on and play around with it. Check out the photos below and a brief review of what I thought of wearing the actual MagicBand. My first impression of the band was that it was surprisingly comfortable and easy to wear.
The MagicBand is made of a soft vinyl plastic material making it really easy to put on – it feels very similar to a plastic watch band. One surprising factor about the band is the range of size it can accommodate. I have fairly large wrists and there are still four or five holes available to make it larger. On the opposite spectrum, it is very easy to make the band smaller. There is an option to remove the outer layer of plastic and use only the inside band. There are instructions in the inside of the band, however you cannot add the outside piece back on so it’s important to be sure that you want it shortened before you do so.
The center part of the MagicBand where the large Mickey Mouse head is located is the only firm part of the whole band. It holds the actual RFID chips and the battery inside. This is the piece that you will need to touch to the RFID readers throughout the parks and resorts like turnstiles, cash registers, FastPass+ machines, etc. It’s important to note that the Mickey Mouse head on the MagicBand must come into contact with the Mickey Mouse symbol on the actual RFID readers. For example, when wearing the MagicBand the traditional way, you must turn your hand upside down at a touch-to-pay machine at a register.
The MagicBand we were able to see is the basic color, which Disney is calling ‘Iconic Gray.’ This is the band that will be offered from resort front desks as backups or for guests who did not specify their color choices at least five days before their reservation date. Here is a breakdown on the color options and the timeline for customizing your MagicBands:
Available MagicBand Colors:
- Red, Blue, Green, Pink, Yellow, Orange, Iconic Gray
Names on MagicBands:
- Guests can choose to have their name printed on the backside of the MagicBand, just above the Mickey symbol and Band ID information. The limit for the number of characters will be around 9 or 10 characters.
MagicBand Guest Reservation Timeline:
- From booking until 10 days prior reservation date: Each guest can choose a specific color for their band and get their name printed. Guests can also choose to either have their MagicBands shipped directly to their house or to their resort to be picked up from the front desk at check-in. If shipped home, the MagicBands will be sent no earlier than 30 days from the reservation date.
- From 9 days prior until 5 days prior reservation date: Guests can choose their color online and specify a name, but the only option is to have the MagicBands sent to the resort to be picked up from the front desk at check-in.
- From 5 days prior until reservation date: Guests can no longer select their color and all guests in party will receive ‘Iconic Gray’ MagicBands at check-in.
In the future, there will probably be options for guests to purchase specially designed MagicBands and even special accessories like Jibbitz that will fit into the holes in the band. Similar to the Jibbitz charms Disney sold for Croc shoes, the ones for MagicBands will most likely feature different characters and be sold around Disney property.
Another interesting fact that we’ve heard about the MagicBands is that they’re waterproof up to 50ft. This means that it can be worn throughout your entire vacation – water attractions, pools, showers, etc. I’ve also been told that the battery only lasts about 2 – 3 years and is non-replaceable. This would definitely impact some guests’ willingness to pay for an upgraded design, especially if it means that the band could only be used for one or two trips.
Stay tuned to The DIS Blog and The DIS Unplugged Podcast as we learn more information about MagicBands and Disney’s entire MyMagic+ program! You can follow us on Twitter, @TheDIS and on Facebook at facebook.com/the.dis for all of the latest Disney news!