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 May 1, 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.)
May 1, 2022 Update: We’ll start with the latest news, which is that an early shipment of the MagicBand+ was placed on shelves at World of Disney earlier today. Before you race out the door to Disney Springs, you should know that they were quickly pulled from the inventory and are no longer available for sale. (Thanks to reader Simonne C. who gave us a heads up in the comments!)
Presumably, the MagicBand+ is not being sold anywhere else at Walt Disney World, because the MagicBand+ was not supposed to be sold yet. The last we heard before today, there was no plan to sell it this month at all. This product release was an accident.
Because of this, those who purchased the MagicBand+ are unable to link them to their My Disney Experience accounts in order to use them at Walt Disney World. Guest Services is advising these guests that they won’t be able to do so for 2 weeks, which is when (they say) MagicBand+ will officially launch.
Outside of these reports, we have no reason to believe the MagicBand+ will launch in mid-May 2022. With that said, it’s entirely possible that the MagicBand+ linking functionality will launch in a couple of weeks or that there will be a soft launch (not the same as this accidental release) will occur before the official product debut date happens later in Summer 2022. Either way, don’t expect to purchase a MagicBand+ in May 2022 at Walt Disney World…unless another shipment is mistakenly placed on shelves at another shop!
From today’s release, we do 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. It’s likely these will start at $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, but we’re expecting Walt Disney World to fast-track an official announcement–presumably this week–now that the cat’s out of the bag!
Just last week, Walt Disney World posted on social media that the MagicBand+ is coming “later this year,” along with the cryptic message: “Fortune awaits. None can hide.”
It’s pictured in front of the Batuu Bounty Hunters guild mark, which is on a construction wall in Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge in Disney’s Hollywood Studios. It has been rumored that there will be a MagicBand+ exclusive Mandalorian minigame, with bounty hunting throughout Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge.
A couple of weeks before this, 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 June 2022, with the entire initial shipment selling out in two weeks, and then nothing again until July or August. 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 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!