The Disney MagicBand+ as a Piece of Tech

Disney’s introduction of MagicBand technology was a massive change for the theme park. The overall system began development in 2008, with the idea of reducing friction in the park, and the over $1 billion dollar project to integrate technology at Disney parks culminated with a rollout a decade ago in 2013.

I remember the first experience with the MagicBands, and an experience with family members where the Disney staff just couldn’t fix the problems and kept giving old school paper documents. But, most of those sorts of issues were resolved.


Until the


beginning of 2021, MagicBands were free to all Disney Resort guests….they’d even send you one with your name on it with advance reservations. But, in 2023, we have cell phones that can perform the same function and Disney added NFC support so you could use your phone in lieu. So, MagicBand became more of a collector’s item, or for children or other people without phone. Other guests can receive an RFID-enabled Key to the World card free of charge, and some people just put this in a lanyard in order to get the same utility of scanning as a MagicBand.

So, this brings us to MagicBand+, launched in 2022. It supports bluetooth pairing to your phone, software updates, and a bunch of ‘smart’ features. Disney compares MagicBand+ to MagicBand and to their MagicMobile Service(the phone apps). It’s waterproof, rechargeable, and unique to this device it ‘unlocks enchanting interactions’, in addition to what all of the choices do….unlock your room(if you have one), act as your ticket, check-in for virtual queues and lightning lanes, charge items to your account on file, link photos at rides.

So, I charged the thing up, linked it to the phone app via bluetooth, updated it, wore it for a whole day at Disneyland, and…well, it lit up once for five seconds. So…I was not enchanted. And I was not enchanted for $34.99. Reviews were equally mixed from others at both Disneyland and Disney World. You can’t seem to get original MagicBand anymore. So, the only use for this is so you don’t have to pull your phone out of your pocket to access things.

There are two types of scanners in a Disney park. The built-in ones you just run your hand over, and the mobile ones that ticket takers and others were using for other things, where they actually had to fiddle with it to put it into scan mode…so not much faster.

The MagicBand+ supports NFC, RFID, and BLE(for interactive experiences). It has 5 RGB LEDs as well as vibration ability. So, it is a nice little notification device. So, if you want, you could use an NFC/RFID scanner and use it to trigger events at home. There are some people trying to figure out how to connect to it over BLE and trigger the vibration and lighting system. I hope someone does the work on this, because it would allow me to recoup my investment more fully.

In researching this, the only device outside a theme park that can pair with it is an Amazon echo device, probably because of a partnership with Disney to allow certain experiences. People reported that they could pair the band and it would vibrate and light up in response to notifications. So, whatever custom pairing that requires a Disney app installed on your phone should be reproduceable. Other people reported that once paired, they were able to resend commands they monitored to trigger the device.

If not, there are other options for this that would be less expensive…the home options.

The idea Disney offered was interesting, but after all the money they spent on linking their experiences together, the band didn’t allow them to send me captured ride photos as promised, it didn’t present custom experiences, change screens in the park once it knew who I was…so, as a way of Disney customizing its was useless. But, now that I own it, I probably will reuse it just for the ability to wave myself into things over fumbling and unlocking my devices.




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