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10 Things You Need to Know About Walt Disney World Resort’s MagicBands and Fastpass+

There have been a lot of changes since this post was published back in 2013. We’ve listed some additional posts at the end.

Walt Disney World Resort’s new MagicBands and Fastpass+ systems are causing quite the buzz down in the Land of Mouse.  Many guests with upcoming vacations may not be sure how the system works, or that it even exists.  I had the chance to try it out last month during my stay at Disney’s Pop Century Resort.  In order to help eliminate some of the mystery and confusion surrounding the new program, I’ve come up with ten things every guest needs to know about MagicBands and Fastpass+.

10 Things You Need to Know About MagicBands and FastPass+ (Yes, MagicBands are waterproof!)

Everything you've ever wanted to know about Disney's Magic Bands and FastPass+ including tips and ideas for your next family vacation to Disney World.

Disclosure: Affiliate links within. Purchasing and/or clicking on some of the links in this post helps support Family Travel Magazine®.

Related: 35 Fun Must-Dos at Walt Disney World

The MagicBands and Fastpass+ system are still in the testing phase.  The rumored official roll-out is set for December 2013, but this can change at any time.  You can check if your stay is eligible for MagicBands by logging into the MyDisneyExperience website and looking for this popup:

MagicBands Fastpass+

Start familiarizing yourself with the MyDisneyExperience website and app now.  These portals will be used to customize your bands and add/change Fastpass+ reservations before you leave and once you arrive.  Can’t use your smartphone?  Fastpass+ kiosks are available in several locations in the theme parks and resort concierge Cast Members can help you add or change your Fastpass+ plans.

MagicBands come in one size.  For children and adults with smaller wrists, simply peel the backing away from the color portion of the band.  You can also purchase covers and accessories for your band at almost every Walt Disney World shop.  Eventually, guests will reuse their bands for subsequent trips and the accessories will make it fun to wear the same band again and again.

Magic Bands are waterproof!

MagicBands are waterproof.  I wore mine continuously for four days and even ran a 10 mile race with it.  It can get a little sweaty and sticky underneath during hot days, but it’s nothing that bothered me to the point of wanting to remove the band.  I still don’t know that I’d wear it down Summit Plummet, though.  We’ll be locking our bands up in lockers at the Water Parks, just to be safe.

You’re not required to wear the band on your wrist in order to use it.  If you have a small child or, like me, have a child with sensory issues who refuses to wear anything on their wrist, simply attach the band to a lanyard or carry it in a pocket. And, while my band never fell off, I still do not feel confident allowing my three year old son to wear it around the parks without taking it off and losing it.

MagicBands are shipped directly to your home in a plain, brown package.  If you’re trying to surprise your children with a Walt Disney World Resort vacation, do not throw away the outer box!  The Incredibles packaging inside is a dead giveaway, so you’ll want to keep it hidden.

Magic Bands Box

MagicBands are a mom’s best friend.  Being able to simply touch my band to my resort room door or to the register touchpad to pay for snacks makes life a lot easier when you’re trying to juggle sleeping children, balloons, toys, and stuffed Mickeys.  Entering a park is much easier when you’re not digging out and distributing tickets, too.  The kids get a kick out of making the Mickey head on the MagicBand posts light up.

As of now, guests can only select three Fastpass+ attractions per day and only in one theme park.  I suggest making them for the afternoon hours and using the morning to visit attractions with lesser wait times.  If you’re planning on a Park Hopper day, make the reservations for the second park, when wait times are at their longest.  Remember, you can always move your Fastpasses around via the kiosks or app!  The most popular attractions and experiences may be unavailable, but you may discover a great alternative.

Pay attention when you touch your MagicBand to the posts at certain Fastpass+ entry points.  You may just hear a spooky sound at the Haunted Mansion entrance or other special effects at different attractions.

Be patient!  MagicBands and Fastpass+ are new and there are many changes being made, almost daily it seems.  Cast Members may not have all of the answers.   Fastpass+ reservations may get jumbled up and the app may not work perfectly 100% of the time.  You’re still at Walt Disney World.  Forget the mix-ups and enjoy the magic.  I promise your vacation will still be just as magical without that Fastpass+ for Space Mountain.

Related: 9 Things to Know About the New FastPass+ System at Walt Disney World

So there you have it!  Ten things you should know about MagicBands and Fastpass+.  Have you had the chance to test out the new program yet? You can purchase MagicBands and accessories before you arrive on the Disney Store website.

Ashley is a thirty-something military wife and mother who writes about travel, her obsession with Disney, and trying to find time to train for her first marathon at FiddleDeeMe.com.  Find Ashley in smaller doses on twitter and instagram.

Newer posts:

Update: 9 Things About the New FastPass+ System

Update: Off Property Disney Guests – Things You Need to Know

Everything You Need To Know About MagicBand 2

If you are going to Walt Disney World, here are some Disney tips. I recommend the following hotels. Note that I have stayed in some of these resorts as part of press trips, but all opinions are my own. You can also save up to 28% on Disney Resort hotels here, and see various discounts on Walt Disney World tickets here.

More Disney Posts:

Walt Disney World Crowd Tips
The Best Hotels for a Walt Disney World Vacation
Should You Stay On Property at Walt Disney World?

Looking for more Disney tips and tricks? Follow my Disney Pinboard here

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Autumn

Thursday 25th of June 2015

I will be going to Disney soon. I am excited about the magic bands and fastpass system! I'm not sure but from the comments I'm guessing only people on the Disney properties can really get a true advantage. This will be my sixth time staying at Disney and I have stayed at Universal even more times where only people staying at the Universal properties (now just the original properties) can automatically have access to fastpasses. Therefore, I think that it is not all that unfair because the lines are already long and it would be nice to have an extra perk especially since a lot of money had to spent to stay on a Disney property.

Amy

Tuesday 1st of July 2014

On a trip to Disney in May 2014 we used the Magic Bands. We linked it with Memory Maker (which is totally worth the money, book it before your trip to save $50). After you use your three FastPasses of the day you can book three more. It is awesome!

Allen

Sunday 8th of June 2014

Magic Bands.when to wear them,going to the airport before you go Orlando?Or when you are at the airport in Orlando?

Jodi Grundig

Wednesday 11th of June 2014

You won't need to wear them until you arrive at your resort!

Betsy

Sunday 8th of June 2014

Great information! I wish they would have the option of a "magic pendant" that could be worn like a necklace-I would be more inclined to use it, only because I am not fond of wearing things on my wrist in the heat and humidity.

Erika

Sunday 23rd of February 2014

Nicole, we're also a military family and just booked our first WDW family vacation. Or boys will be 3 and 1 at the time of travel. I looked into Shades of Green and it is actually cheaper to stay at Pop Century! I don't know your category (we are category 2 at SoG), so it might be cheaper for you, though the dining plan isn't available at SoG. We added the dining plan and are getting our tickets on base before we go. We also used an Authorized Disney Travel Agent (MouseFan Travel) and she was able to access military discounts with the resort. Our final cost was $300 more than we had initially expected, but we had been planning based on NOW and not our actual travel time. I've been thrilled with the level of service we've received from our agent, and since it's a free service, I don't think I'd ever not use an agent for future trips!

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