This is one of the most commonly asked questions of first timers or people who haven’t been to Orlando in a while – so don’t worry you’re not alone!
Firstly, it’s worth saying that Magic Bands are only available on, and work in Disney property. They are bands that you wear around your wrist that come in a variety of designs. If you get a character one I’d recommend you show that character – Chip & Dale loved mine!
What Do They Do?
Essentially they are used for exactly what your ticket card is:-
- Used as your access to the park at the entrance turnstiles
- Used to store your Fast Passes and you will scan it at the entrance to the attractions you have Fast Passes for
- Used to store all your photos from PhotoPass photographers
- It will also receive ride photos from some of the more modern rides. Disney magic will sense you’re on the ride and send photos directly to your band.
If you are staying at a Disney hotel it will do all of the above in addition to:-
- Acting as your room key
- You can use it to make purchases at shops and restaurants across Disney property
Do you Need One?
Well… the simple answer is no. You may hear that it’s absolutely imperative to buy one but it’s really more a matter of convenience. It does exactly the same as your card ticket, which is free so it’s up to you to decide if the convenience is worth it.
If you don’t want to have to go digging through your bag or pocket for your ticket every time you have a photo taken or use a Fast Pass then it’s brilliant. If you have children there’s no worrying about losing their tickets as it’s literally attached to their wrists.
We bought them last time and I do think it was really useful. The rest of my family managed without and I think they really regretted it. Seeing us scanning in and out of everything so easily whilst they constantly searched for their cards made them decide to buy them next time.
They last about 2 years according to Disney cast members which means we can use them time after time and you can link multiple tickets to one band. The battery will die eventually (some people report them lasting much more than 2 years) and this will only effect long distance functions such as the ride photos. You should be able to scan for entry and Fast Passes for far longer than the two year estimate.
How much are They?
Well if you’re staying on Disney property or an annual pass holders they are completely free! For everybody else you have to pay and you have three options.
- Option one: a coloured band (there’s a choice of about 8 colours) that you can add clips to to brighten up. These are the ones that Disney guests get for free so you’ll see hundreds of people wearing them in the park. They are $12.95 + Tax.
- Option two: a band with a design on it. There’s loads of options to choose from and you’ll see far less people wearing the same one as you. I chose a ready made Chip and Dale one and didn’t see anybody else wearing it whilst I was there. This was $22.99 + Tax.
- Option three: a band you can design yourself. This gives you the choice of LOADS of design options and then you select a background colour of your choice. My boyfriend wanted a Pirates of Caribbean magic band which isn’t held in stock in Disney stores so he went for this option. They then make it for you and you go back to collect it (it took about 20 minutes). This was $24.99 + Tax.
Where Can I Get One?
You can buy them on the Disney Store website if you live in the USA. They do not ship them to the UK so if you’re like us you’ll need to buy them when you get there.
Your first option is to buy them in Orlando airport. Once you get through immigration you’ll come out into the general lounge and you’ll spot a Disney store. If you’re going to the parks on your first morning this is a great option because you’ll be set up and ready to go before then.
We went to Disney Springs on our second evening and bought them there. This is where you’re likely to find the biggest choice as there’s such a variety of stores. We bought ours from Pin Traders. They helped us connect them to our tickets so make sure you take your tickets with you. Wherever you buy your magic bands they should help you connect (just in case you’re not too good with technology – don’t panic!)
There’s also multiple locations in each park where you can purchase Magic Bands – the Main Street Emporium being a great option with loads of choice. However, if you’re British and waking up early you want to make the most of the park being quiet in the mornings on your first day. So use your standard ticket, wait until the rides get mega crowded and then go and sort out your Magic Bands.
And that’s it, Magic Bands in a 900 word nutshell. If you see them mentioned left right and centre when planning your holiday you now know as much as any of us!