MagicBand+ at Disney World: Everything You Need to Know (Pricing, Launch Date, Designs)
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!
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!
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!
Any new word on MagicBands at Disneyland?
We’ll be getting them for sure, they look fun. I have 14 ‘active magic bands’ but as memory maker comes free with UK tickets we tap every ride photo and love to look back at them, so we’ll take the plunge and buy them. This is our 4th attempt at travelling to Disney as COVID restrictions stopped us, so I’m throwing caution to the wind and going all out. 21 days and counting.
Thanks for the update!
Do you know if the pucks can be removed to attach to Apple Watch like you could with the old ones? If so, is the puck the same size?
I’m guessing that the magic bands that I got right after I made my reservations aren’t the magic band +. I got them in April for our trip at the very end of August. Now I have to order new ones??? Knowing that information would have REALLY been helpful a few months ago. Disney doesn’t seem to be very forthcoming with information unless you already know what to ask..
You don’t have to buy new ones. The ones you bought after booking your trip will work just fine.
I was thinking the same! we are going in October, but it looks like the OG Magic Bands will still work just fine!
What stopping me from getting the new magic band+, is the charging! No way! There’s already so much we have to do when we go to Disney World, I’m not messing with charging another watch. By the way, it’s insane that there’s no magic bands to choose from for our stay coming up in another month. I’m assuming they still sell magic bands at Disney Springs and the variety is probably plentiful? I’ll just choose a band that I really like there.
The charging does seem challenging. My family of 5 will be staying at the FW Cabins with 5 phones, a Nintendo Switch, my Mom’s ECV battery and a couple of Anker portable rechargers. If we wanted to add 5 MagicBand+, I’m not confident there would be enough outlets to plug in everything we’d need to recharge!!
I was just in Disney, went to Disney springs and looked for magic bands in the huge disney store and was told they do not have any magic bands for sale anywhere in disney world the cast member said only online. I assume they are waiting for the new ones to come out at this point.
Ironically the resort guest offerings aren’t even the same as if I go directly to shop Disney. That includes no solid bands available. I have doubts we’ll be able to get 3 bands prior to our stay in 300 days let alone the + versions with rate things are going.
Last year I tried using my Apple Watch in the parks for the first time, and it was super easy to get into the parks and for FastPass entrance. The extra features of the new MagicBand sound cute, but not really enough to justify the extra cost and hassle of charging them, not to mention storing them until our next visit. I purchased the previous version of the bands and somehow they got lost in the two years between visits.
Are you able to use your apple watch with the apple wallet app? Is that how it works? I am intrigued. I have an apple watch and have added my disney passes to my wallet but didn’t realize that my watch could work like a magic band. Is that what you are saying – that it works to access the lightening lane and your hotel room? If so, I may strongly consider that instead of purchasing a magicband. I am torn between buying a band because I understand that my iphone can act like the magicband. I just have reservations about having to have my phone out all the time.
I was more interested in MagicBand+ when it was first announced than I am now. None of these “features” wow me, and wouldn’t, even if they were free. I’ve found the Batuu parks games to be cumbersome and distracting – even my much tech savvier kids stopped playing after a few minutes. Pay to play talking statues as the primary feature of a 50th Anniversary celebration just depress me, and the whole “MagicBands offer a screen-less option” angle falls down now that absolutely everything else requires smart phone interaction. I’m 6-weeks out from my family’s August trip, in the thick of payments and advanced reservations, and I’ve got massive up-charge fatigue. I just can’t wrap my mind around the idea of throwing another $30 pp at a flashing MagicBand. We’ll be recycling our bands from the last trip.
Our family has a Disney World vacation in September. We have several Magic Bands from previous trips when they were included with the reservations. Do you know if they can still be used when linked to our new reservation?
I was in the same situation for our trip in May. The bands we had work at tap points (room unlock, park entry, purchases), but didn’t capture photos well. We were missing a lot of pics – no ride photos were picked up.
We’re going again soon so I bought 1 magic band to catch photos while we wait for MB+ to release.
Great info and thank you so much! We are long away from so many of the things that were once necessary with our kids. PhotoPass and now speaking to a statue aren’t on my need list. I just want to get in the park, unlock my hotel room, charge meals to my room/credit card and keep my costs down to a minimum. I guess the best plan will be link old bands and test diligently the first night at the hotel. If they don’t work just use the app. I love Disney but it just isn’t the same place we went almost every year so I could relax and not worry about anything. I never had to really think about anything but paying for the trip. Fast pass was easy, and I didn’t need to be on my phone all day. I’ll take a kiosk any day of the week. Thank you again so much for your response. I greatly appreciate it.
That’s due to the Magic Band battery. They wear out after a couple of years. With a dead battery they will still work on touchpoints, but not for ride photos because with no touchpoint, the band has to “broadcast” We don’t care much about ride photos so we use our 5 year old ones just fine for entry, LL, etc
Magic band+ is a total money grab. Can’t believe people would actually buy them. We loved the convenience of old Magic bands for my kids to link credit card for food purchases, open room door, get into pool area, scan for FP but I would never pay for any of the “+” features it offers. Complete waste of money.
Was hoping for these for our WDW March, 2022 trip. Going to Disneyland in November – any news on MagicBand+ release dates there?
They are rumored to be in stock at Disneyland, just not available for purchase yet. I even saw one yesterday at the park. This seems to be fairly recent too! Here’s an Imgur link for proof: https://imgur.com/a/1ZmTPFP
I love the Magic band plus! Does it tell you the time?
I’m sure you’ve answered this in the past but I’m a newbie when it comes to Disney. We purchased tickets with Genie+… We would like to know if the Magic Bands are necessary?
When I had my Glow With The Show ears, I took ’em off and held them in front of me so I could see them. But they were just too heavy/uncomfortable to wear all day.
What happens if you are staying in a hotel in the park and do not want to purchase a magic band?
You can use a complimentary Key to the World card from the front desk (or MagicMobile on your phone).
Did they say anything about battery life?
Not really, but based on other things I’ve heard…it might be an issue.
This is why I’m thinking of skipping them…attempting to keep 4 kids and 2 adults bands charged for an entire trip. (one more thing!)
Hey Tom, Any release day updates on this? Coming in September and my preplanning anxiety/OCD of not knowing when I’ll be able to tackle this is bugging me XD
The original date I was told has already been overshot by about a month. I have not heard anything specific since, but MagicBand+ should still be released sometime this month.
Whew, that makes me feel a little better 🙂 Thanks Tom!!
Any idea when the DLR rollout might be? I’m really hoping for our august trip! Also hoping that the original will work so o don’t have to keep purchasing more bands!
In follow up I spoke to a cast member at DLR and was told that they don’t know when OR IF the Cali parks will get Magic Band. @Tom do you have any further insight on the Cali parks and MagicBand?
I have heard absolutely nothing about the timeline for Disneyland. Even the announcement caught me by surprise.
Given that Disneyland just announced a bunch of hotel-related updates and didn’t even tease MagicBands, I’m guessing it’s been delayed.
They are rumored to be in stock at Disneyland, just not available for purchase yet. I even saw one yesterday at the park. This seems to be fairly recent too! Here’s an Imgur link for proof: https://imgur.com/a/1ZmTPFP
Is there any updates on the release of the MagicBand + We are going at the beginning of July and thought they would have been release by now.
Im really excited going to may 28th hopefully the magic band + will be available. We are staying at the grand Floridian until 6th of june
I am super excited for the magic band plus and TRULY TRULY hope that it will be available for our FIRST time ever at Disney World in October.