You’ve seen them everywhere and you want to get Disney MagicBands for you and your whole crew to make your whole vacation experience easier, but you’re not staying at a Walt Disney World resort.
Can you get a MagicBand if you are not staying at a Disney resort?
Yes, it is possible to use a MagicBand even if you are not staying at a Disney resort. However, there are some limitations like not being able to use it to pay for food and souvenirs, if you are not staying at a Disney resort hotel.
But that then leaves a couple more questions:
- What can you do with a MagicBand if you’re not staying at a Disney hotel?
- Is there a fee for using a MagicBand if I’m not staying at a Disney resort?
- If you get a MagicBand, what options do you have – what can you get?
The good news is that anyone, regardless of where they are staying, can purchase their own Magic Band. With multiple colors and styles from which to choose, there’s something for everyone!
But before you rush off to buy one, it’s important to understand how the bands work and what benefits come with wearing one. In this article, I will explain everything you need to know about the Magic Band system so that you can make an informed decision.
Before we get started, if you’re a fan of all things Disney and love discussing theme parks and planning Disney vacations, then I want to announce the launch of my new private Facebook group, the Disney Park Advisor Community. This is a place where Disney fans can come together to share their love of all things Disney, ask questions, get advice, and make new friends. Click the link to request membership. I can’t wait to see you in the group!
Can you use a MagicBand if you’re not staying at a Disney resort?
Getting a MagicBand (or even a MagicBand+ that has haptic vibrations!), is a great way to add a little magic to your Disney vacation. Even with the limitations, there are several ways you can use it during your stay:
Access theme park tickets
Even if you are not staying at a Disney resort, you can still take advantage of the convenience of using your MagicBand! You can easily link all your theme park tickets to the MagicBand in the My Disney Experience app on your phone. This allows you to just tap your band at the parks to enter instead of having to keep track of physical tickets. All you need is for all your tickets to be linked together in the app, and then all you have to do when you arrive at a park is scan your MagicBand over a sensor and it will let you know whether or not you have valid admission. It’s quick, easy, and convenient! Plus, it also eliminates any worry about losing your tickets since you always know where they are – on your wrist!
Use it to check in for Lightning Lane reservations
If you’re visiting the parks and want to reduce your wait times at select attractions, Lightning Lane is a great service to take advantage of. With this service, you don’t need to wait in standby lines and can make reservations with your MagicBand. This makes it easy and convenient for you to get the most out of your trip without needing to carry around an extra card or ticket.
To use Lightning Lane, all you have to do is reserve your spot with your MagicBand. You simply link it up with your account on the Disney Parks website and make a reservation in advance. Then when you arrive at the park, simply present your MagicBand at the attraction entrance and enjoy skipping ahead of everyone else in line! With this service, you can rest assured that you’ll be able to ride all the attractions at the parks without worrying about long wait times.
Connect your Disney PhotoPass pictures to your My Disney Experience account
Your MagicBand is a fantastic tool for making the most out of your Disney experience. Not only can it be used for quick, contactless access to theme parks and other venues, but it can also be used to link your Disney PhotoPass images to your My Disney Experience account. To take advantage of this feature, simply have the participating Disney PhotoPass photographer scan your MagicBand so that all photographs taken by that Cast Member will be conveniently accessible from your account. This makes it easy to browse and save all the amazing pictures you or family and friends took — even those spur-of-the-moment snapshots! What’s more, conveniently downloading photos right onto your device saves you both time and effort when compared with collecting physical prints. So grab your MagicBand and start capturing special moments with ease!
Limitations of using a MagicBand if your’e not staying at a Disney Resort
One of the biggest challenges is that you won’t be able to make purchases with your MagicBand because there’s no way to link a credit card to it when you’re not staying at a Disney Resort hotel.
In addition, it’s currently not possible to connect a Disney gift card directly to your MagicBand. If you’re looking to use a MagicBand to pay for food or souvenirs, you’ll need to visit the check-in desk at your resort to pay down your balance. While this does work, it’s not as convenient as being able to link your gift card directly to your MagicBand.
Same thing that goes for the parks also goes for Disney Springs too. Since you can’t link any kind of payment method to your MagicBand, you won’t be able to use it to pay for food or souvenirs there either.
Although there have been rumors about MagicBands being phased out, they are still available for purchase and use in Disney World.
MagicBands make it easy for you to enjoy your Walt Disney World Resort vacation, giving you quick access to tickets, Lightning Lane reservations and PhotoPass accounts with the simple touch of your wristband.
First, it’s worth noting that there may be a delay before your PhotoPass pictures show up on your My Disney Experience account if your MagicBand isn’t linked to a Disney Resort hotel room.
Another thing to keep in mind is that MagicBands are not strictly required for your Disney vacation. While they’re certainly a convenient option, you can also use a combination of MagicBands, the variety of tools available through the My Disney Experience mobile app like Genie and MagicMobile, and cards to access your park tickets, reservations, and more. So if you’re not staying at a Disney resort and don’t want to purchase a MagicBand, you’ll still be able to fully enjoy your trip.
What to do if you’re not staying at a Walt Disney World hotel and don’t want to carry a card
No doubt it’s disappointing to learn that you don’t have all the same perks of using a Disney MagicBand that hotel guests do. But that doesn’t mean that you can’t get one, or that it won’t make an awesome souvenir!
It also doesn’t mean that you have to carry a bulky wallet with you into the theme parks.
Using Apple Pay or Google Pay on your smart device is one of the most convenient options for paying for food, souvenirs, and other expenses during your visit. All you have to do is add your cards information into the virtual wallet so that it’s always easy accessible. This eliminates the hassle of having to search through your bag or wallet for the right card every time you make a purchase – especially if you’re in a rush!
Apart from its convenience, using a virtual wallet comes with many security benefits. Both Apple Pay and Google Pay use something called tokenization when making payments, which means that card information isn’t stored on your devices. Instead, unique token are used so even if your device gets lost or stolen, no one will be able access to all your important sensitive financial information.
How do MagicBands work?
When you plan a trip to Walt Disney World in Orlando, one accessory you definitely need is a MagicBand. MagicBands are wristbands that make it easier for you to access your tickets, check in to your resort room, and more. The bands are connected to the vacation plans stored in the My Disney Experience Account, eliminating the need for paper tickets or FastPasses.
Once you arrive at the resort, you will be given an official Disney MagicBand that you can wear as a wristband. If it’s not your style then you have other options: they also come in card, keychain and pin forms. Alternatively, if you’re looking for something slightly different then MagicBand+ bands might be right up your alley – these special versions provide extra features like lights and special effects that’ll help immerse you more deeply into the experience of being at Disney World.
Of course, regular old MagicBands are still a great option too – and if those aren’t available upon arrival at the resort then don’t worry! You’ll also be able to purchase and use them during your stay at Disney World.
Here are some ways in which you can use your MagicBand:
- Room key: Your MagicBand can be used as a key to open the door of your hotel room. All you need to do is hold up your MagicBand to the detector on the entryway, and wait for the luminescence to become emerald. Presto! Your door is unsecured. This only works for those staying at Disney resort hotels.
- For tickets at the theme parks: This is without question one of the greatest places to use a Disney MagicBand. As long as your tickets are connected in your My Disney Experience app, your MagicBand can be used instead of the card. This also works with Lightning Lane reservations.
- Connecting Disney PhotoPass pictures to My Disney Experience: Just scanning the MagicBand of any member in your party, and all pictures taken by that cast member will be accessible through your My Disney Experience account. The cast member photographers will scan your band at character meet-and-greets – and it will sync with your account. The best part is that all these images can be viewed and downloaded from the comfort of home, so you can savor the memories long after you’ve returned from vacation. Plus, you can even check out fun extras like digital frames and themed borders for a customized look.
Customizing Your MagicBand
As you plan your Walt Disney World vacation, you may be wondering about the possibilities for customizing your MagicBand. The good news is that there are a variety of ways you can personalize your MagicBand to make it truly your own.
Disney’s MagicBands, which can be ordered along with your resort booking, are personalized with your name. The first time we saw this, we were pretty blown away – it’s very cool.
If you book your stay at a Disney resort ahead of time through My Disney Experience, you will have the opportunity to personalize your experience with a name of your choice! You’ll also be able to pick from an array of vibrant colors like red, blue, green, yellow, purple, pink, gray, and orange.
Having your name on your MagicBand really comes in handy if more than one person in your group chooses the same color so you can make sure you don’t get your MagicBands mixed up with other people in your group.
If you want something more than a simple solid color, there’s no shortage of options to choose from when you purchase your MagicBand. From Star Wars to Mickey Mouse; from Special Editions to park-themed bands, there are so many to choose from.
Disney MagicBand Skins
If you want to take your customization to an even higher level you can pick up MagicBand skins which are essentially vinyl stickers you apply to your MagicBand to spice up your look. Amazon has an extensive collection of MagicBand skins. You can also find them tons of them on Etsy.
It’s a great, affordable way to add a super-customized look to a MagicBand, and since these are vinyl decals they won’t interfere allowing the RFID signal from your band and should be easy to remove when you’re ready to try sometime new.
You can also get slider locks to make sure that your MagicBand doesn’t get unfastened, you can get charms that will attach via the holes – some very high-end, others also made of the material your MagicBand is made from. These are great, but they can also be easily lost, so proceed with caution (my wife and daughter would always get new charms for each visit and we’d only ever leave with a fraction of those we purchased!).
You can also get what’s called a puckholder. The puck in the center of the MagicBand, the part that contains the RFID, is removable. That puck can then be inserted into a puckholder.
Puckholders are preferred by people who are already wearing a watch, or a smart watch. This way, watch you don’t have to wear multiple bands on their lists.
Alternatively, you can get a MagicKeeper keychain which works like an accessory that you can clip on via a D-ring or keychain.
As you can see, there are many options for customizing your MagicBand to make it truly your own. Whether you’re looking for a basic customization or something a little more flashy, you’ll be able to find something that fits your style. So go ahead and make your MagicBand truly magical!
Is there a fee for using a MagicBand if I’m not staying at a Disney resort?
There is no additional fee for using a MagicBand if you are not staying at a Disney resort, however, if you’re not staying at a Disney resort hotel, there are some limitations to using your MagicBand. For example, you won’t be able to make purchases or directly connect a Disney gift card to your band. When you have your photos taken by Disney PhotoPass photographers, they will be added to your My Disney Experience account but it may take a while longer than usual if you don’t have your MagicBand linked to a Disney Resort hotel room.
The next step is connect with other Disney fans. Join the Disney Park Advisor Community group to connect with other Disney fans and get tips and advice on planning the perfect Disney vacation. This private Facebook group is the perfect place to share your love of all things Disney and get insider knowledge from other Disney enthusiasts. Simply click the link below to request membership and become a part of our community.