Disney MagicBands

Guys (and gals), planning a trip to Disney World is complicated. I remember way back when you could go get your ticket at the gate, rush to the restaurants to make reservations (Cinderella's Castle FTW!), and stand in line for hours waiting to ride the most popular rides in the sweltering heat. Honestly, I'm surprised no one in my family melted a la wicked witch of the west style from Wizard of Oz. Florida heat can be miserable.

Recently I've been dealing with MagicBands for the first time ever. I booked our hotel at Travelocity back in January, but then I had to add a day due to complications. When I went to add that day, our hotel was sold out, so I had to pick another hotel. Because of our intentions not to get a rental car (or drive the 7 hours to Orlando), we decided to stay one more night on the Disney property. A bit more expensive than other properties elsewhere in the city, we were hoping to saving money in other ways.

Somewhere between the second hotel booking and my purchase of Disney park tickets from Undercover Tourist, I became (more) aware of magicbands and why my husband and I might need them.

So, first, let's talk about what magicbands are.

• are your ticket into the park (or can be). If you have a magicband, you can link your e-ticket and not have to go to will call to pick it up. This means fewer lines and more fun.
• hold your hotel room key. Use your MagicBand to enter your Disney Resort property hotel. (This does not work at other Orlando area hotels.) You can ask for a regular rfid card if you are uncomfortable with using magicbands.
• get you onto rides faster using FastPass. After you sign up for an account on the Disney website and link your park tickets to the magicband, you can choose up to 3 rides per day to skip the line for. You'll get all of the important rides done faster and have more time to enjoy the park.
• If you make restaurant reservations online, you can scan your magicband when you get to your restaurant to let them know you are there.
• offer other perks as well. The bands have long range readers allowing Disney to provide you with a personalized experience a lot like casinos. If they know you've been waiting in a line too long at one ride, they can offer a free ice cream cone… or something to make up for that and keep you happy.
• link your credit card to your magicband. No need to carry a purse or wallet at Disney World if you don't want to!
• link any dining certificates to the magicband in case the kids want to go off with grandma.
• can be connected to any shuttle reservations you have to get you back to the airport.

I had a complicated reservation with Disney World wherein I booked one hotel (Port Orleans) through Travelocity and one (Coronado Springs) through the Disney website. When I booked CS through the Disney website, I was prompted to pick a magic band color, because every person who stays at a Disney resort gets a magic band for free. I was also able to link up my tickets almost immediately (before I even received the bands in the mail!). Then, through phone conversations with Disney I hooked up our Travelocity hotel (PO) and shuttle reservations to our bands. All of this will make travel easier and keep us from losing our minds when we are there.

All of this is to say:
• If you book a DISNEY RESORT hotel using a third party website (Travelocity, Expedia, Orbitz, Kayak, etc…), call Disney and ask them to link it to your account. If you don't already have a MagicBand, this should prompt the website to offer you one.
• Do make an account with the Disney website especially if you want FastPasses, Restaurant reservations, or magicbands. It doesn't cost anything and prevents you from having to use a credit card to hold your restaurant reservation when it's for a Disney dining property.
• If you are staying at a hotel off of Disney property, you will not get a magicband. You will need to buy one for $12.95 at the Disney store (online or at most malls in the US) or at a store on the Disney property (there are many located outside of the parks that you can access if you want/need to).

Magicbands are complicated. You don't need them; they have their benefits (and drawbacks). It's nice to have fastpasses and to only worry about a wristband rather than your whole wallet, but at the same time, who really wants Disney using long range readers to know exactly how many times a day you go to the bathroom? And if they know how much people like me usually spend at their restaurants, will that prevent them from offering me a discount? This is definitely Justin's least favorite part of the Disney planning experience; he is not thrilled with the data Disney can obtain with these bracelets.

Readers, what do you think about MagicBands? Have you ever been to Disney World? Share your experiences with me! I'd love to hear what you think! 

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