Are MagicBands Worth It for One Day?

green Disney magic band with Jack Skellington design

Do you get nervous at the thought of keeping everything organized and making sure you don’t lose one of your kids on a Disney vacation? Keeping track of the park tickets, dining reservations, hotel room keys, and more can get a bit too much. But Disney has a solution – it’s a cute little wrist band that takes all the hassle out of your vacation. Yes, we’re talking about MagicBands, of course. No doubt they make travel organization easier, but are MagicBands worth it for one day?

We’re going to say NO because even a basic solid color MagicBand retails at $14.99. For a family of five, you’re out of $75 before you’ve even entered a park (if every member of the family gets one). It just doesn’t seem worth it to us if you’re only visiting for one day.

The truth is that since the functions in the My Disney Experience app have been upgraded, there really is no need to get MagicBands for everyone. But there might be some circumstances when it may be worthwhile for at least one member of the family to get a MagicBand. And if money is not a big concern, then go ahead and get everyone their own fun MagicBands. They sure are handy! Keep reading to learn everything about Disney World MagicBands and why your family might want to consider getting them.

What is a MagicBand?

As the name suggests, a MagicBand is a colorful plastic wrist band that works its magic on your Disney World vacation. It’s a nifty little device that stores your Disney resort hotel reservation information, park tickets, FastPass+ reservations, and more. A MagicBand also works like a key to your Disney World hotel room. And it can function like a charge card if you’re staying on a Disney property and have linked it to a credit card (your purchases will be added to your hotel bill). Now, that’s what we call convenience with a capital C.

How does a MagicBand work?

There’s an RF chip inside each MagicBand that’s linked to your My Disney Experience account. This means all the information that’s in your Disney account is also in your MagicBand. When you’re at the entrance to a park, no more fumbling in your pockets for the physical park tickets. All you have to do is touch your wrist band to the touchpoint and you’re in. Similarly, when you show up at an attraction where you have a FastPass+ reservation, you simply scan your MagicBand and enter. What’s more, the MagicBand also contains your PhotoPass and MemoryMaker information. This means when you pose for pictures with your favorite characters, the Disney photographer will scan your MagicBand and Voila! your photo will be linked to your My Disney Experience account and you’ll be able to find it in PhotoPass. If you have MemoryMaker, then all the photos are included. Otherwise, at the end of the trip, simply choose the photos you want to buy.

If you’re staying at a Disney World Resort hotel, your MagicBand works as a room key. Parents who have fumbled for a room key with a sleeping toddler in one arm and a giant Winnie the Pooh plush in the other will know what a huge convenience simply flashing your wrist to open the room door can be.

Are Disney World MagicBands free?

Unfortunately, no. MagicBands used to be free for guests staying at Disney World Resort hotels and annual pass holders, but as of January 1, 2021, this is no longer true. Anyone who wants to use a MagicBand will have to purchase one. Prices start at $14.99 plus tax for a basic solid color MagicBand and can go up to $30 or more for exclusive styles, character designs, and special editions.

Where can I get a MagicBand?

MagicBands are available for purchase online through the Shop Disney app and at retail locations throughout the Disney World Resort and Disney Springs.

Do you need a MagicBand to visit Disney World theme parks?

No, MagicBands are not essential for guests visiting the Disney World theme parks. If you decide not to purchase MagicBands for your family, you can simply use the RFID enabled physical card tickets. These card tickets will essentially do everything a magic band does with one exception.

If you go on rides that are PhotoPass enabled, a photo is taken and displayed on screens at the attraction exit. If you have a MagicBand, all you have to do is tap it on the touchpoint corresponding to the screen with your photo, and your ride photos will magically find their way to your PhotoPass account. Without a MagicBand, you won’t be able to retrieve these on-ride photos. Keep in mind though that some rides that have on-ride photos do not permit manual selection in the ride exit area, so really, it’s a small perk.

Are MagicBands worth getting for one day?

Given that the price of MagicBands starts at $14.99 plus tax, we’re going to say no, they’re not worth getting for one day, and definitely not worth getting for the whole family. Your physical card tickets will work just fine and the money can be better spent in our opinion. If you really want to enjoy the benefits of the MagicBand, maybe one member in the family can get it and link it to their Disney account.

5 things to know about MagicBands

  1. If you want to purchase MagicBands before your trip, do it well in time, we’d say at least a month before your vacation starts, so that’s there’s enough time for the bands to be delivered to you. Otherwise, you can buy them after you arrive at the Disney Resort hotel gift shops, Disney Springs, or in the parks (you can’t miss them, they’re everywhere!).
  • A key advantage of MagicBands is peace of mind. If you lose a MagicBand, your ticket is safe. You can go to the “Manage My MagicBands” section in the My Disney Experience app or online on the Disney World website and deactivate the lost MagicBand. You can also go to Guest Relations at your Disney Resort hotel and have them do it for you. They will also activate a new MagicBand for you.
  • MagicBands are designed to be one-size-fits-all. Hard to believe that a toddler and her 250-pound dad can wear the same wrist band? There’s some Disney magic at work here. When you buy a MagicBand, you’ll see there’s a smaller inner layer that is revealed when you peel away the outer shell, creating a MagicBand that’s perfect for tiny wrists.
  • If solid color MagicBands sound boring, then get this – Disney lets you customize your MagicBands. You can buy premium MagicBands with your favorite characters, special edition MagicBands, and MagicBands in exclusive colors. There’s even a range of decals and skins available in online stores like Etsy, so you can go wild making your MagicBand as fun as you want.
  • If you’re staying on-site at a Disney Resort hotel, you can use your MagicBand to pay for merchandise at Disney shops as well as meals at table service restaurants and quick service snack spots throughout the Disney World Resort. Touch your MagicBand to the touchpoint and it will use your Dining Plan credits or charge your purchase to the linked credit/debit card and it will all show up in your hotel bill.

MagicBands are a great way to stay organized and save time and hassle on your Disney World vacation. But while the advantages are many, they come at a pretty steep price, starting at $14.99 apiece. We just don’t think they’re worth it for one day. If your family will go to Disney World again, however, then we’d say MagicBands are totally worth it. Your MagicBand will be active after your vacation is over and you can re-use it the next time you’re back in Orlando.

Dustin Baier

Hey, I'm Dustin a Dad of 4 and married to Sweet Pea Chef for over 15 years now :) We got engaged at the Disneyland Hotel way back when and love a vacation at Disney World, Universal Studios, really anywhere with theme parks!

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