Disney World Trip ’14: MagicBands!

When we booked our March Disney trip back in November, we were excited to find out we’d be receiving the new Disney MagicBands! These are the all-in-one bracelets that allow you to enter the parks, manage your FastPasses, organize your dining plan, buy Disney merch, and so much more. Since we booked the resort package, we were able to pick out our band colors in advance and receive them in the mail weeks before our trip. It was such a tease to look at those bands every single day while we waited to go to the happiest place on earth!

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Annabel wanted pink, Daniel green, Daddy picked blue, so I grabbed the yellow.  They even had our names written on the inside. You can reuse your bands for different visits, so try not to lose them! (More on that later…)

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The first thing you need to do is register your MagicBands online at www.MyDisneyExperience.com. You can manage your entire visit on this website. It’s awesome. You should also download the My Disney Experience app to your mobile phone. Hubby and I had it on both our phones so we could see our dining and FastPass times the entire vacation. We navigated the parks using the app’s GPS-enabled map which also showed character greeting locations and event showtimes. It helps you stay organized and on time while you’re hanging out at the Disney parks.

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(Tip: Make sure to sit down before your trip to download and organize all your FastPasses from the FastPass+ feature on the DisneyExperience menu. You can book up to three FastPasses a day. Once you pick your three rides, the website will assign you the times. But you can go back and change the times by clicking on each ride. It took us awhile to figure out the plan for our five days, but once it was done, we were all set. And we never had an issue with any of our FastPasses at the parks.)

When we checked in at the Wilderness Lodge on Thursday, we started using our MagicBands exclusively. You have to present a credit card for all the extras. The kids had a blast opening our resort hotel room door with just a touch of the band. No key needed. Hubby and I used our bands for the dining payment. All you need to do is present your band and enter the four digit pin number that you selected at check-in. It’s the same deal for any of the Disney shops. It can be dangerous, because they make it SO EASY!

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When we had lunch at the Be Our Guest Restaurant in Magic Kingdom, we ordered our food from a standing kiosk. Then we sat down at a random table in Belle’s giant main ballroom. I wondered how they were going to find us to deliver our food and then, all of sudden, a waitress arrived at our table with our exact order. She said it was “magic.” Yep, these bands are pretty cool.

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The bands are also great for managing all your Disney Park photos. You can present your band to the photographers and all your special park entrance snapshots and character meet-and-greet pics will show up on your Disney Experience account. You can place your orders from there.

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We had a wonderful experience using the MagicBands to enter the gates, eat at the restaurants, and purchase treats at the stores. The best part was definitely the FastPass+ program which was easily managed on our Disney Experience phone app.

Note: Right now, everyone who books their trip at a Disney resort, or is an annual pass holder, will receive the band. A full rollout is expected by this summer. But there are no more Fastpass paper tickets. You have to go to a FastPass Kiosk in the park to register for a Fastpass on your entry card or your MagicBand.

(Tip: There were a couple of times when one of the kids opted out of one our selected FastPass rides. But we just switched bands and two of us could ride twice!  Daddy and Annabel did back-to-back rides on Expedition Everest in Animal Kingdom and all the folks waiting in the long regular line were super jealous.)

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The bands are adjustable for little wrists and we never had an issue with them falling off in the parks. BUT, my husband did lose his in the resort pool. The bands are waterproof, but we’d recommend taking them off for swim time. After searching the water and the entire pool deck, Hubby had to give in and get a new band at the resort guest service desk. It was not a problem to cancel out his old band and get a new one. But he was given the standard gray model instead of the fun personalized blue one. A small bummer.

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I still have our four bands to reuse the next time we visit Disney. Right now they’re sitting on my desk as a reminder of the fun time we had. We definitely give the new MagicBands eight thumbs up! And Hubby is warming up to his new gray color.

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Have you used the new Disney MagicBands yet? Comment below!

Update 3/25/14: There are now fashionable cover bands for your MagicBands. You can pick from Star Wars, Mickey classics, wedding/ celebration options, and more! Click HERE for more info on the cool covers!

And for Disney World Trip ’14: Frozen Meet-and-Greet click HERE.