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Do You Need Magic Bands at Disney World?

A magic band is a waterproof wristband that has a touch-point sensor linked to your My Disney Experience account.

It has the same features as a Key to the World Card, the card provided to you for free when you check-in at Walt Disney World resort.

Though a magic band helps you travel lighter, it’s not compulsory at Disney World as much of the functions it offers are similar to what the Key to the World Card offers.

However, that’s not to say that magic bands are excessive or needless. They do have their fair share of advantages.

Let’s go through some of their features and help you assess their benefits.

What Can you do With a Magic Band?

Screenshot of the Disney MagicBand Website showing the benefits of getting a MagicBand

A magic band has various features that can help you organize your Disney World trip and make things far more convenient for you. 

For instance, a magic band can:

  • help you unlock your hotel room.
  • offer you access to Disney World’s theme parks and water parks provided you have valid tickets, theme park admission, and park pass reservations.
  • connect Disney PhotoPass images (including ride photos) to your account.
  • charge dining and merchandise purchases directly to your hotel room.
  • give you access to your lightning lane reservations, etc.

To use the magic band, you’d simply need to tap the Mickey symbol on the band to a receiver on your room door, checkout register, or at the turnstiles.

As you can tell, a magic band works as an all-in-one tool.

Now, if you’ve decided to get a magic band, here’s how you can purchase them at a discounted price.

How to Get a Magic Band at a Discounted Rate

Pink Disney Magic Band on a white table

Previously, magic bands were complimentary to all Disney Resort hotel guests. 

Unfortunately, no such perks are available now. Hence, to get one, you’d need to purchase it.

Currently, your standard Disney magic band sells for around $19.99 at shopDisney. 

Magic bands that feature Disney characters or icons cost more, somewhere in the range of $24.99 to $30. 

And, as far as limited-edition bands are concerned, they can reach a price upwards of $50.

If you want to purchase a magic band at a discounted rate, I’d suggest you place an order up to 10 days prior to your arrival.

If you live in the US, your magic band will be delivered to you at your doorstep, about a week or two after you’ve placed your order.

Those living abroad will receive their magic band at the hotel when they arrive.

Though magic bands can be purchased at online stores such as Amazon, I’d recommend getting one directly from the Disney website for ease of use.

What to Do After Getting Your Magic Band

After getting your magic band, you need to create or sign into your Disney account. 

Then, you must link your newly acquired band to your Disney account (My Disney Experience app).

Upon doing so, you’ll have access to all your vacation plans, resort reservations, park tickets, lightning lane reservations, dining plans, and park tickets. 

You can share all these plans/information with others too.

Can a Magic Band be Used Over and Over Again?

Yes, magic bands are reusable. They operate on a small battery that can run for up to two years.

In other words—you can use your magic band for as long as the battery works.

Are Magic Bands Waterproof?

People swimming in the Typhoon Lagoon at Disney World

Disney magic bands are waterproof and as such, can be used while you swim or enjoy the water attractions at Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon water park and Blizzard Beach water park.

Do you really need a magic band?

Whether you need a magic band or not boils down to personal preference, choice, and circumstance.

The Key to the World Card offers the same functions as a magic band.

However, this card, which is around the same size and shape as a credit card, is not wearable like a magic band. 

This means that you’d need to keep track of it regularly as you try to enjoy the attractions at Disney World.

Right now, it’s also possible for guests to access magic band features through the Disney Magic Mobile service on their smartphones. 

Guests can easily register for this service via the My Disney Experience App. Plus, the fact that this service comes for free is truly the icing on the cake.

To use this service, you’d simply need to hold your phone up to the access points.

Is There a Disney Magic Band Upgrade in the Pipeline?

Disney has recognized the fact that the magic band no longer offers exclusive functionality.

As a result, the company has been working hard to debut the much-improved magic band plus for a while now. 

If everything goes to plan, Disney is expected to introduce the magic band plus in the summer of 2022.

From what I’ve heard and read, magic band plus will be able to come alive at various times during the day with flickering, color-changing lights, vibrations, and gesture recognition, thereby, offering a more immersive storytelling experience.

If early reports are to be believed, magic band plus will have features that allow users to unlock magical moments throughout the Disney theme parks.


As you must have deduced by now, whether you need magic bands at Disney World or not completely depends on your personal choice and circumstance.

If you don’t think your traveling party is responsible enough to keep track of their Key to the World Card, it is perhaps best for everyone to get a wearable magic band.

However, if your traveling party is full of young, responsible adults perfectly capable of using apps and navigating through their phones, it’s better to save money and opt for the free Disney Magic Mobile service instead.

After all, everything that can be done by the magic band can be done by your phone via the Disney Magic Mobile service.