MagicBand+ is the next generation of Walt Disney World’s wearable technology, with interactive features for the 50th Anniversary. This guide covers everything you need to know: base pricing, launch date, photos of designs, and how the MagicBand Plus will work in Magic Kingdom, Hollywood Studios, and the other parks. (Updated July 13, 2022.)
To begin, fears of the MagicBand’s demise were greatly exaggerated. Back when the MagicMobile contactless phone feature launched last 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 recently. (See New MagicBand Upgrade Options for a look at the styles already available—when in stock.)
July 13, 2022 Update: It’s been a while since Walt Disney World last offered an official update on MagicBand Plus, which is (still) slated to launch in Summer 2022. Previously, it was our understanding–based on credible rumors–that the MagicBand+ would launch about a month ago. However, that did not happen.
This was despite an early shipment of the MagicBand+ being placed on shelves at World of Disney and sold in early May. Those were quickly pulled from inventory after being sold for only a few hours. However, that did result in a couple dozen MagicBand+ being “out in the wild” for over two months at this point.
We have not heard anything credible about the cause of the delay in launching the MagicBand+ at Walt Disney World. It could be a matter of inventory–that supply chain disruptions have meant insufficient supply for the company to be comfortable selling them at a larger scale.
It could also be because in-park infrastructure work isn’t quite finished. We had heard rumblings that the bounty hunter mini-game at Disney’s Hollywood Studios was the cause of delays, but we’re not certain of that. Regardless, this work now appears to be completed.
This summer, we had the chance to play-test the MagicBand+ and learned several things about it.
First, MagicBand+ works exactly like a normal MagicBand, meaning you can scan it to enter the parks or Lightning Lanes. Unlike those, when it’s activated, the MagicBand+ will light up in rainbow colors.
Next, the MagicBand+ will interact with the 50th Anniversary statues around Walt Disney World. This was previously announced, but the company didn’t clarify how that would happen.
Now we know that when you wave at the statue while wearing a MagicBand+, the characters will talk to you (those with voices) or a message or other effect will play. We tested this out with the Mickey Mouse statue, and he had a few different greetings.
This will also be integrated with the Play Disney Parks app on your phone, so you can also “collect” interactions with the characters by finding them all in every park. The app component of this has been dubbed the “Disney Fab 50 Quest.” It’s a scavenger hunt throughout the four Walt Disney World theme parks using MagicBand+ to “help spread pixie dust and interact with the golden character sculptures.”
This was all pretty underwhelming, especially as compared to what other Disney theme parks (see commentary below) have done with interactive anniversary statues in the past. It doesn’t feel like the statues were originally designed in tandem with the MagicBand+ interactivity, but instead interactivity was added after the fact. Kids might enjoy this, but it didn’t do much for us.
The other minigame is Batuu Bounty Hunters in Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. This one is much more interesting and engaging–you use your MagicBand+ to track down virtual bounties throughout the land, with hotter/colder interactive feedback from the band. Once you’ve located the bounty, you scan with the Play Disney Parks app to collect them to return to the guild master.
These bounties start out pretty easy to find, but get progressively more difficult as you continue to collect them. Imagineering indicated that this could be more of a long-form experience spread over multiple days if you wanted to move up the ranks. We really liked this and found it to be an iterative improvement on the interactivity already in Batuu. It’s also nice that most of this game revolves around the MagicBand+ itself, rather than the app screen.
You can learn more about these interactive experiences in MagicBand+ Minigames: 50th Anniversary Quest & Star Wars Batuu Bounty Hunters.
Below are all of the different MagicBand designs that will be released with the initial rollout:
As you can see, there are solid colors, 50th Anniversary designs, fireworks, the Partners statue, princesses and bounty hunters, and a variety of family options.
Walt Disney World has indicated that this is just the first batch of designs, with more to debut in the future.
We also have a few more MagicBand+ details to share. First, the retail price of the solid ‘core colors’ of MagicBand+ will be priced at $29.99. (Typically, there’s a pre-arrival discount for on-site resort guests, so expect this style to cost $19.99 or $24.99 for hotel guests once it’s available in that system…which may not be right away.)
Expect the limited release designs, like the Walt Disney World 50th Anniversary MagicBand+ styles, to have premium pricing. We don’t have specifics to share on those, but it’s likely the initial designs will cost $39.99 or $49.99 and increase from there, similar to regular MagicBands.
Second, unlike the current generation of MagicBand 2.0 products, the MagicBand+ must be charged for use. It comes with a charger and USB cord, which attaches to the underside of the Mickey head.
That’s all the updates for today. We’re still expecting a release date to be announced any day now. Unless further delayed, it’s highly likely that MagicBand+ will be released in July 2022. (We’d put the chances at over 80%.) If not this month, almost certainly in August. Problems are always possible, but the wearables themselves are ready to go and programming is finished…so it’s not really clear what the hold-up is at this point.
Earlier this summer, Walt Disney World issued an official update about its MagicBand upgrade program that offers discounted pre-arrival for on-site resort hotel guests as well as Annual Passholders. In this, Disney warns of Limited MagicBand Upgrade Availability.
In a statement, Walt Disney World says the problems are “due to ongoing, industry-wide supply chain challenges, MagicBands may have limited availability or be unavailable in some styles. Our teams are working to improve our selection over the coming weeks and recommend Guests continue to check back to see if their preferred style is available.”
While this update obviously does not directly concern the MagicBand+, it’s a related issue. There are a couple reasons for the delay of MagicBand+, one of which is the same underlying problem causing limited OG MagicBand availability: supply chain disruptions. As is evident from the construction walls in Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, there is also still some in-park programming to be done and touchpoints to install.
Even after the MagicBand+ does launch in Summer 2022, there’s no guarantee it’ll be easy to find unless the outstanding supply chain issues are resolved and the company is able to procure adequate inventory. It could be released in July 2022, with the entire initial shipment selling out in two weeks, and then nothing again October or December 2022. It’s also possible there’s sufficient inventory for store shelves, but not for shopDisney.com or the pre-arrival MagicBand upgrade option. We truly don’t know–and won’t know until after the official release.
Prior to this, Disney teased a variety of details about the MagicBand+ coming to Walt Disney World. Here’s the official announcement from the company about the next evolution of MagicBands, coming in Summer 2022:
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 in Summer 2022, 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.
In addition to Walt Disney World, the MagicBand+ wearable technology and “Hey, Disney!” voice assistant, 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.
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, 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!
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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 Summer 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!