Disney FINALLY revealed that MagicBand+ will be available on July 27, 2022! So what’s so magical about MagicBand+?
What is MagicBand+? As mentioned in my article, What Happened to MagicBand+?, MagicBand+ is an updated take on MagicBands, which allow you enter the Disney parks, unlock your Disney Resort room, make payments, and connect to Disney PhotoPass. MagicBand+ will do all of that and more, including featuring color-changing lights, haptic vibrations and gesture recognition. Basically, think of it as MagicBand-luxe. According to Disney, there will be over 25 different designs to choose from.
What Features Will MagicBand+ Offer? The basic premise of MagicBand+ is the ability to interact with the parks. Disney is touting the following interactions:
- Disney Fab 50 Quest. Remember those golden statues around the four theme parks–known as the Disney Fab 50 Character Collection–that were installed to celebrate the Walt Disney World 50th Anniversary? Well, they are still there. And apparently you will be able to interact with each of the statues with your MagicBand+. This will likely be a fun experience for kids, or something people will share on their social media profiles. I am interested to see whether the statues (and the interactions) will stay beyond the 50th celebration. Disney’s MagicBand+ promo video featuring Disney Legend Jodi Benson is enjoyable and it worked: I now want to try this out these interactions during my next visit.
- Star Wars: Batuu Bounty Hunters. MagicBand+ will enable guests to partake in a virtual bounty hunting experience in Galaxy’s Edge at Hollywood Studios. According to Disney, the MagicBand+ vibrations will guide guests along their journey, which works in tandem with the Play Disney Parks app. I will reserve final judgment for this one until I see the final product, but, as a huge fan of the attractions and shows, I am unsure whether I will take time out of a park day to play this game. However, I can imagine that major Star Wars fans of all ages will enjoy Disney’s continued expansion into the Star Wars-verse.
- Fireworks Shows and Beacons of Magic. Perhaps most exciting is MagicBand+’s ability to sync with two nighttime fireworks shows: Disney Enchantment at the Magic Kingdom and Harmonious at EPCOT. The lights and vibrations will complement the show, akin to a concert experience. I am eager to see how this looks, especially considering how many people record the shows these days. MagicBand+ will also sync with the Beacons of Magic the occur every night at each of the four park icons (Cinderella Castle, Spaceship Earth, Twilight Zone Tower of Terror, and the Tree of Life). As many fans agree, Spaceship Earth’s display has truly stolen the Beacons of Magic spotlight, and I am eager to see how MagicBand+ adds to that experience!
How Much Will it Cost? MagicBand+ starts at $34.99. Disney confirmed there will be a discount for Annual Passholders and Disney Resort guests, who must log into their respective accounts to ensure the discount is applied to their purchase.
How Can You Buy MagicBand+? Disney Resort guests can preorder MagicBand+ online “at special prices” before their trip. MagicBand+ can also be purchased in-person at the following Walt Disney World locations:
- Magic Kingdom: Emporium
- EPCOT: Pin Traders – Camera Center
- Hollywood Studios: Celebrity 5 &10 and Tatooine Traders
- Animal Kingdom: Discovery Trading Company
- Disney Springs: Disney’s Pin Traders
- Unannounced “select merchandise locations at Disney Resort hotels.”
What About MagicBand and MagicMobile? Interestingly, Disney will continue to offer MagicBand and its Disney MagicMobile Service. If you would like to learn all about the differences between MagicBand and MagicMobile Service–and learn more tips to planning your Disney vacation–check out my easy-to-read book, The New Parents’s Guide to Disney World. For now, just know that MagicMobile Service is a way to link your MyDisneyExperience account (and most importantly, your payment method associated with your account) to your phone’s digital wallet, enabling you to use your phone to enter the parks and make purchases. Think of it as a MagicBand in your phone, without the band, and some of the magic.
Thankfully, Disney’s website includes a helpful table comparing the features of MagicBand+, MagicBand, and DisneyMagicMobile Service.
Which Option Should You Choose? Of course, that is up to you and your preferences. MagicBands were an enormous success, and it is likely that many will purchase MagicBand+ to enjoy the newest iteration, and to show their status as a Disney Parks fan. (I most likely will purchase MagicBand+, assuming there are not supply chain shortages.)
As you can see from the table, MagicMobile Service–the cheapest option, considering most phones have digital wallets–offers all of the important capabilities, and is available on Apple and Android devices. This is a great option if you are looking for the convenience of a MagicBand, want to save money, and do not feel the need to take part in the interactions. I have used MagicMobile and was pleasantly surprised with how convenient it was to use. Also, Pro Tip: you are free to buy one of the bands AND set up Magic MagicMobile Service. I have small kids who tend to unintentionally rip off my MagicBand, usually when I am carrying one around the parks. On more than on occasion I was glad I had the ability to make a purchase or open my Disney Resort room with MagicMobile Service when my MagicBand was laying on the ground.
MagicBands remain a great, cheaper alternative, so long as you won’t miss out on the interactions. Also, it may have the edge up since it does not need to be recharged–note in the table that MagicBand+ is the only option that “has a rechargeable battery.” Only time will tell how long the batteries last during a trip to the parks, but according to Disney “The rechargeable battery comes with a 6-inch USB charging cable. The battery can last an estimated 1 to 3 days, but it is recommended to charge the band overnight for the most optimal usage.” Disney trips require lots of planning, so some may not want to deal with the hassle of charging another device on their visits to the parks.
Are you excited about the imminent release date of MagicBand+? Will you be sporting MagicBand+ on your next Disney vacation? Let me know in the comments!
Oh, and check our my book, The New Parents’ Guide to Walt Disney World here.
Listen to the Defacto Dad Podcast.