Do I need a Magic Band to go to Disney World?

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One common question that comes up when helping plan a Disney vacation is whether or not to purchase Magic Bands. These bands can make many things on your trip easier but there are definitely ways around purchasing them if you don’t want to spend the money.

What is a Magic Band? Magic Bands are a bracelet like device that can be purchased and linked to you through My Disney Experience. These bands can act as your park ticket which also means they will be how you scan into Lightning Lanes. Your Magic Band can also be your hotel key and can be attached to your charge card and set up as a payment method.

When you order Magic Bands with your resort stay, you can choose different designs and colors for the different members of your family.

How do I get a Magic Band? If you are staying at a Disney resort, you will have the option of ordering Magic Bands at a discounted price prior to your stay. If you are not staying on property, you can purchase Magic Bands through Shop Disney. Purchasing from a third-party vendor can be a risky choice and I would recommend staying away from that. You can even purchase Magic Bands during your Disney vacation if you don’t purchase in advance. Many of the Disney souvenir stores will have Magic Bands available for purchase. Current Magic Band prices range from $34 – $64. Magic Bands are available in a wide variety of colors and designs many of which feature your favorite Disney characters.

Can I use a Magic Band from a previous trip? The short answer for this is yes. Disney will tell you that after a few years your Magic Band will go inactive. Currently, my hubby is still using his Magic Band from our 2018 trio without any problems but I can’t make guarantees about how long they will last.

What’s the difference between Magic Band and Magic Band Plus? Magic Band Plus is a newer version of Magic Band that has some additional features. These bands will interact with some elements of the parks like statues or fireworks shows. The bands will light up during these interactions and may cause the statues from the 50th celebration to make sounds related to what character it is. The Magic Band Plus also has an interactive game feature in Star Wars Galaxy’s Edge. While these features are fun, the Magic Band Plus doesn’t really provide any additional true functionality than the standard Magic Band and on average costs around $10-$15 more per band.

Magic Band Plus will light up in different colors depending on where you are in the parks.

How do I set up my Magic Band? Setting up your Magic Band is easier than you might think. Through the My Disney Experience app you just need to go to the My Magic Bands section and enter the number on the back of your band. This should link the band to your account and you can assign it to a specific person. Then you are all set to start using your band.

What if I don’t want to pay for Magic Bands? If you don’t want to purchase a Magic Band, you can get a physical card to use as your ticket or use Disney Magic Mobile. With Disney’s Magic Mobile in the My Disney Experience app you can add your park ticket to your Apple wallet or even share it to your Apple Watch. Be aware that with either of these options you will have to always have access to your card or phone when using Lightning Lanes. Use of a lanyard like the one linked here will make it easier to have quick access to your park ticket.

So, to answer the question of whether or not you need a Magic Band, well….it really depends on if you want to pay for the convenience factor. Magic Bands are probably not really needed if you’re only going for a day or two. They certainly do add a convenience factor in not having to keep getting card or phone out. If you are going for many days or know you will be going multiple times, they can prove to be useful and are more valuable because they can be used for multiple trips.


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