MagicBand+ Coming to Disney World & Disneyland!

During a sneak peek at what’s to come during the World’s Most Magical Celebration 50th Anniversary event, Walt Disney World announced MagicBand+. This post shares visuals of the next generation of MagicBands in action, details, and photos of upcoming designs. (Updated November 20, 2021.)

To begin, fears of the MagicBand’s demise were greatly exaggerated. Back when the MagicMobile contactless phone feature launched earlier this year, many Walt Disney World fans feared that meant the death of the MagicBand. To be fair, this was a valid concern–as Disney also did away with free MagicBands for resort guests.

Our perspective at the time was that Walt Disney World would continue to sell MagicBands as long as guests continued to buy them. MagicMobile is a free service, whereas the company makes a ton of money from fans who collect limited edition designs or casually purchase new colors and styles before every trip. To that point, Walt Disney World introduced more MagicBands in trendy new colors and more this year. (See New MagicBand Upgrade Options for a look at the 50+ styles already available–when in stock.)

The evolution of MagicBands at Walt Disney World will occur in 2022 with the launch of MagicBand+. Here’s the official announcement from the company:

The original MagicBand was introduced in 2013 at Walt Disney World, making the guest experience in the theme parks and resorts more convenient and hands-free for things like park and guest room entry, retail and dining, Disney’s PhotoPass service, and more. MagicBand+ will retain those popular features and add functionality that unlocks new moments of magic for guests.

After you enter a Walt Disney World theme park, MagicBand+ will come alive at various times with color-changing lights, haptic vibrations, and gesture recognition.

The wearable will allow you to engage with favorite Disney moments in new ways, including:

  • Play like a bounty hunter in a galaxy far, far away and find virtual bounties throughout Black Spire Outpost in Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.
  • Interact with the “Disney Fab 50 Character Collection,” the golden sculptures spread throughout the Walt Disney World theme parks.
  • Experience nighttime spectaculars in a new way as you see your band light up and complement the magic in the skies, including the new “Harmonious” at EPCOT and “Disney Enchantment” at Magic Kingdom.

MagicBand+ will be available for purchase beginning next year, including a discounted, pre-arrival price for Disney Resort hotel guests as well as new and renewing Walt Disney World Annual Passholders.

Current MagicBands will continue to be available, too, along with the complimentary Disney MagicMobile service that extends MagicBand features, such as park entry, to smart devices. MagicBand+ will help immerse you in Disney stories and connect with characters you love like never before.

November 20, 2021 UPDATE: In addition to Walt Disney World, the MagicBand+ wearable technology and “Hey, Disney!” voice assistant, recently announced for Walt Disney World Resort, will be coming to Disneyland Resort in 2022!

This will mark the first time MagicBand+ will be available at Disneyland Resort to enhance the guest experience with hands-free convenience. Some of the features of MagicBand+ will vary between Disneyland Resort and Walt Disney World Resort and we’ll share details in the months ahead. The “Hey, Disney!” voice assistant will work alongside Alexa on Amazon Echo devices and also will begin rolling out to guest rooms across the Hotels of the Disneyland Resort.

While Walt Disney World’s announcement didn’t comment on the Genie service (beyond a brief statement that it’ll be available “later this fall”), you can expect MagicBand+ to interface with those tapstiles, as well.

Above is a photo of the tapstiles installed at Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure. While this attraction was designed and built back in the FastPass+ era, there’s every reason to believe MagicBands–both current generation and next generation ones–will be utilized to access Lightning Lanes and virtual queues, in addition to everything else they do right now.

World of Color "Glow with the Show"

In terms of commentary, the first thing that jumps to mind with MagicBand+ is Glow with the Show.

You might recall those color-changing and “magical” Mickey Ear Hats that interacted with Fantasmic!, Wishes, Celebrate the Magic, and even the Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights.

Or you might not, since Glow with the Show was a colossal flop. It debuted at Disneyland, and even with prominent in-store displays and multiple giveaways and some truly cool PR photos, very few guests purchased Glow with the Show ears.

The problem was that they were bulky, cumbersome, and–critically–the person spending the money on Glow with the Show ears could not benefit from how they interacted with shows and changed colors, since you cannot see the top of your own head.

It would seem that MagicBand+ solves for that problem, as you can see your own wrist.

Interestingly, everyone in the teaser video watching nighttime spectaculars has their arm around someone else, so they also cannot see the interactive effects. Once we get one of these puppies, we’ll be holding our arms out during every nighttime spectacular!

The other thing this reminds us of is the interactive statues that Tokyo Disney Resort has done for pretty much every anniversary in the last decade.

With those, you’ve purchased a wand or lanyard, and those unlock a light and musical feature on the statue itself. I’m guessing this won’t be quite so elaborate since the statues appear pretty static, but it should still be cool. Moreover, it’s a window into the type of interactivity that could be possible in the future.

As someone who is absolutely obsessed with colorful lights and interactive objects (just wait until you see my photos and commentary for Beacons of Magic at Epcot; in a word–WOW!), I love the idea of the MagicBand+ and will probably end up buying one–depending upon the cost–when they’re released.

I’ve passed up a lot of MagicBands recently with designs I’ve liked because wearing one has felt a bit like ‘dead weight’ (especially with an Apple Watch on the other wrist).

I know there are ardent MagicBand fans out there, but I cannot be alone in this sentiment. When the device was released back in 2013, wearable technology wasn’t really a thing. In the years since, all sorts of smart watches and other devices have been released, raising the technical bar every single year.

By contrast, MagicBands have only seen one major redesign, and have felt–at least from a tech perspective–a bit archaic. I realize that for many people, that’s the appeal of MagicBands–having technology that doesn’t require looking at a screen but still makes life more convenient. Regardless, this should also revitalize and modernize the MagicBand, giving it a bit more kinetic energy. We’re excited!

Planning a Walt Disney World trip? Learn about hotels on our Walt Disney World Hotels Reviews page. For where to eat, read our Walt Disney World Restaurant Reviews. To save money on tickets or determine which type to buy, read our Tips for Saving Money on Walt Disney World Tickets post. Our What to Pack for Disney Trips post takes a unique look at clever items to take. For what to do and when to do it, our Walt Disney World Ride Guides will help. For comprehensive advice, the best place to start is our Walt Disney World Trip Planning Guide for everything you need to know!

Your Thoughts

What do you think of the MagicBand Plus? Will you be purchasing these new interactive wearables when they go on sale at Walt Disney World in 2022? Will you hold off on purchasing current gen MagicBands now that an overhaul/upgrade is on the horizon, 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!

54 Responses to “MagicBand+ Coming to Disney World & Disneyland!”
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