Walt Disney World is making lemonade out of lemons, with a great example of guest recovery following shipping delays to discounted MagicBand+ designs purchased pre-arrival by Walt Disney World resort guests. This post takes a look at the refunds and gift cards being offered, as well as our experience with the order fulfillment issue.
There have been a variety of supply chain issues with the MagicBand pre-arrival upgrade option in the last several months, all of which are beyond the scope of this post. Suffice to say, inventory has been extremely limited and delays are common. This made it all the more surprising when MagicBand+ debuted, and there were more designs being offered via the pre-arrival program than at Walt Disney World or on shopDisney.
The pre-arrival discount for MagicBand+ went live on the same date that the devices started being sold in stores at Walt Disney World and on shopDisney. Anticipating more supply chain chaos or other headaches, we were up bright and early, placing our order at around 5 am on July 27.
As it turned out, this was unnecessary. After the initial surge of morning purchases died down, all 33 MagicBand+ designs remained available later in the day…and week. Even right now, all 33 styles are still available. This is mentioned because it’s relatively unprecedented. Normally, if I share screenshots of regular MagicBand inventory at 9 am, readers report seeing different options by 10 am. This has been the case since the beginning of the upgrade program, and has been exacerbated by the supply chain challenges of the last several months.
Anyway, a few days before our Walt Disney World trip, we started seeing comments from readers that their MagicBand+ orders still had not been fulfilled even though they were about to leave for vacation. Others had their orders cancelled without notice or explanation. Some shared their experiences in contacting Disney, which suggested this was a known issue and problem that would impact a lot of people with trips in (at least) August 2022.
We checked on our order, and sure enough, same thing. The day we departed for Walt Disney World, the message on the Your MagicBand Order page still says: “Congratulations! You’ve made your selections and your MagicBands will be shipped to your home.” However, our order status is still “Processing.” Short of the device being teleported to us, there was no way we were going to get it before leaving for our stay.
We were advised that it was possible that our order had been re-routed from our home address to our hotel, so we didn’t bother doing anything more. There’s also the fact that this is a minimal amount of money, and Walt Disney World telephone hold times can be ridiculous.
To each their own, but there’s no scenario in which I’m going to spend 1-2 hours on the phone for a possible solution to a ~$35 problem. My personal philosophy learned over the course of many years in dealing with Disney is to try letting the issue sort itself out. This approach has been successful time and time again.
Our MagicBand+ order status did change to “Shipped” later on our day of departure, and was updated with USPS tracking info. At the time, it only said: “Picked Up by Shipping Partner, USPS Awaiting Item – DAVENPORT, FL 33897 – Shipping Partner: OSM WORLDWIDE.” There was nothing indicative of destination, so it was still unclear whether the order would be waiting for us at the resort or waiting for us at home when we returned.
Upon check-in, we inquired and found out that the MagicBand+ order was not at the resort (although the Cast Member did check as other orders had been directed to the front desk). They requested that we return the following morning to see if it had arrived then, and if not, they’d come up with a solution. This was perfectly fine by us, as it was late and we didn’t need to use the band that evening.
By the following morning, it was clear from USPS tracking that the MagicBand+ order wasn’t heading to the resort, so we returned to the front desk. Cast Members there issued a credit to our folio for the MSRP cost of the MagicBand+ device, which was a perfectly satisfactory solution from our perspective. The order would still be waiting for us at home, and we could buy another at the Emporium, where inventory was abundant.
From our perspective, this was a guest recovery win. Cast Members were friendly and helpful, the process was smooth and easy, and we felt more than fully compensated for the inconvenience. It gets even “better,” as Walt Disney World has sent out the following email to those experiencing this problem:
We are reaching out about the recent MagicBand+ order you made through My Disney Experience. Due to overwhelming popularity, we are unable to fulfill your order in time for your arrival at Walt Disney World Resort. Therefore, your order will be complimentary.
If you were charged, a refund will be automatically processed back to your original form of payment within 7 business days. Your MagicBands will still ship to the address provided, at no cost to you so you can use it for future visits.
In addition, if you’d like to purchase other MagicBands to use at the Walt Disney World Resort for this visit, to provide the discount you were offered online, we will be sending you a $50 digital Disney Gift Card that you may use toward the purchase of a MagicBand+ at a Walt Disney World Resort retail location, or you may apply it toward the purchase of other Disney merchandise or experiences (see DisneyGiftCard.com for details and participating locations). A separate email will be sent with your digital Disney gift card.
Please accept our sincerest apologies. Thank you for your understanding and we look forward to seeing you real soon!
So not only will impacted guests receive a gift card for more than the full price cost of a MagicBand+ device, but also a refund on the original purchase, and the original order will be complimentary. In other words, this amounts to receiving a windfall of the MagicBand+ plus $50 from Walt Disney World.
This is really great to see, and proves that Walt Disney World can still do an exemplary job of going above and beyond to fix a problem and recover from a bad experience. Over the years, we’ve heard countless stories like this, and even experienced a few ourselves. While this doesn’t undo all of the damage of the last few years, it does go to show that there are still people at Disney who care and know how to make right by guests. We love to see it.
In a nutshell, that’s the point of this post. Anyone who is impacted likely already knew about the solution thanks to the email (although maybe not–all of our MagicBand-related emails have been flagged as SPAM, no matter how many times we unflag them).
Nonetheless, it’s nice to know when Walt Disney World does something good–the old school approach to delivering exemplary guest service. We focus a lot on perceived negatives, so it’s only appropriate to point out the positives, too. It’s true that the company as a whole is putting profits above all else to a greater degree than in the past–but it’s also true that there are still people working at Walt Disney World who believe in the Disney Difference, and try to do right for fans and first-timers alike.
If there’s any other takeaway to this post, it’s to not call the moment you identify a potential problem with Walt Disney World. I’m 100% serious about this and my approach of letting things work themselves out, if at all possible. I only ever pick up the phone as an absolute last resort.
Quite often, issues like this aren’t identified internally as a trend impacting batches of bookings until after fans on the internet spot a trend and freak out. Those who call early will wait on hold, and usually receive an inconclusive answer. By contrast, those who wait will frequently have an answer “come to them” without being proactive about it.
Obviously, use your discretion when following or not following this advice. If the problem you’re experiencing seems like an isolated glitch related to only your reservation and the stakes are high, you should call ASAP. If it’s relatively inconsequential, maybe wait and see. My personal “test” is the likelihood anyone on the phone is going to have a satisfactory solution or whether I can ignore the problem until arriving at Walt Disney World and get it fixed in-person. If the latter apply, I wait. That definitely was the right approach with the MagicBand+ shipping delay!
The newest wearable also has new features, including color-changing lights, haptic vibrations, and gesture recognition. It also pairs to your smartphone using the My Disney Experience app. There are also MagicBand+ minigames revolving around Walt Disney World’s 50th Anniversary statues and Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge in Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Suffice to say, there’s a lot you can do with MagicBand+ at WDW. For everything you need to know about the interactive bands, see our FAQ for MagicBand+ at Walt Disney World!
Have you had any MagicBand+ order issues or shipping delays? Did you receive the email above with the refund and gift card information? Do you feel that this is a satisfactory–or better–solution to the problem? Other thoughts or points to address? Excited about using the MagicBand+ at Walt Disney World? Will you hold off on purchasing current gen MagicBands now, or do you not really care about the interactivity? Do you agree or disagree with our assessment? Any questions we can help you answer? Hearing your feedback–even when you disagree with us–is both interesting to us and helpful to other readers, so please share your thoughts below in the comments!