It is no secret that the Walt Disney Company is always using the latest technology in the theme parks. What may seem like a secret however is how to use this technology. With smartphone apps, MagicBands, Memory Maker, and more, planning a trip using all of this technology may sound overwhelming. Whether you’re a first time guest, or you haven’t been to the Walt Disney World Resort since smartphones became popular, you may find some insight in questions you never thought to ask:
1. What is a MagicBand?
MagicBands are your all-in-one pass for convenience during your Walt Disney World vacation. They come in a variety of colors and may be worn around your wrist for added convenience when entering the parks, using FastPass+, entering your hotel room, taking PhotoPass pictures, and making purchases.
All of this is made possible thanks to the use of Radio Frequency technology. At its most basic level Radio Frequency (or RF) allows you to cause reactions using frequencies rather than physical movements. The RF technology in a MagicBand means that you do not need to swipe, insert, or scan the band while making purchases for instance, simply touching the Mickey shaped piece of the band to a reader will do just fine.
While RF technology is still relatively new in consumer use like MagicBands, the Walt Disney Company has actually been using it for years. Parade floats for instance, and many theme park ride systems are controlled by the same technology-- the vehicles have chips just like MagicBands, and various places along the track pick up the frequency to move them along in a certain way.
2. Do I need to use a MagicBand?
You are not required to use a MagicBand at all during your visit if you do not want to. Guests staying at a Disney resort have the option to have their MagicBands sent to them in the mail prior to their stay, or pick them up at the front desk, however non-resort guests do not receive complimentary MagicBands. For non-resort guests (or any guest looking for a new Band) the most affordable options may be purchased through the Shop Disney Parks app or at the Walt Disney World Resort for $12.95 plus tax. (Customized and limited edition MagicBands can be upwards of $40 depending on the model!)
If you do not want to use or purchase a MagicBand, you are welcome to use a regular park ticket (and room key if needed) in the form of a regular plastic card. Some guests do not like wearing the Bands on their wrists, others may not feel comfortable with the RF on their person (such as guests who have pacemakers and insulin pumps)-- whatever the reason, you can always request a classic card at Guest Relations or the vacation planning kiosks outside of the parks, or at the front desk of a Disney resort.