Discount Pre-Arrival MagicBands & MagicBand+ at Disney World (Winter 2023)
Discounted MagicBand designs are available for pre-arrival Walt Disney World hotel guests and Annual Passholders. This buying guide covers the upgrade purchase process, inventory shortages, Magic Band+ styles, and new options. (Updated January 2, 2023.)
To upgrade your Magic Band, use the My Disney Experience app or DisneyWorld.com, which allows you to choose from a variety of colors and designs inspired by characters, resorts, attractions, nighttime spectaculars, and more. The styles rotate with regularity, and there are dozens of MagicBand choices at discounted prices.
Walt Disney World typically offers dozens of MagicBand upgrade options, with new looks added as others sell out. As discussed below, the “new looks added” part of that has not been happening as much lately. Pricing varies, with options starting at $10 and costing as much as $30. We’ve now updated this post a few times with screenshots of the new MagicBands, plus info, and troubleshooting tips for what has proven to be a frustrating process.
Let’s start with all of the updates, as much has changed since this program launched. Last year, Walt Disney World eliminated the complimentary solid-color MagicBands that were sent to guests pre-arrival. Disney also stopped offering free MagicBands to Annual Passholders.
This means that all MagicBands now cost money–you don’t get free ones with resort reservations or for being an Annual Passholder. Upgrading to these designs, buying MagicBands in the parks, or via shopDisney.com is your only option.
As always, MagicBands are not required at Walt Disney World. For room entry, park admission, Lightning Lanes, and charging privileges to the hotel room, Walt Disney World offers plastic Key To The World cards. This can be provided at the hotel front desk, and is how things worked prior to the debut of MagicBands several years ago. Alternatively, guests can receive standard ticket media and use that for park entry or using Lightning Lanes.
Additionally, MagicMobile service is available at Walt Disney World via the My Disney Experience app. This can be added to your Android, iPhone, or Apple Watch digital wallet once enabled. This works just like a MagicBand with most features working by simply holding up your smart device near an access point. It can be used to enter theme parks, connect Disney PhotoPass images to your account, enter Lightning Lanes, and more.
In other news, MagicBand+ has debuted at Walt Disney World! The MagicBand Plus comes alive at various times with color-changing lights, haptic vibrations, and gesture recognition, and has the ability to participate in two in-park minigames.
MagicBand+ is now included in the pre-arrival purchase program, and there’s actually a lot more inventory for the new device than the regular MagicBand 2.0, as we’ll discuss below. For everything we know plus answers to common questions, see our FAQ to MagicBand+ at Walt Disney World.
We’ve also published our comprehensive and brutally honest MagicBand+ Review: Good, Bad & Ugly. If you’re on the fence about MagicBand Plus, that post should help you determine whether it’s for you.
If you’re really excited about the MagicBand+ and have already ordered one for each member of your family, you might not want to read that. Sometimes ignorance is bliss.
For those wondering how MagicBand+ and MagicMobile compare to the original MagicBand, here’s an handy chart:
When it comes to the regular MagicBand 2.0 (which is what we recommend for most people), options have been improving over the last several months after being in short supply in the spring and summer. Due to that, Walt Disney World has warned of Limited MagicBand Upgrade Availability.
Even as inventory has improved, there’s still a banner on the Walt Disney World website stating that “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.”
Speaking of which, here’s a current look at MagicBand 2.0 and MagicBand+ inventory as of January 2, 2023:
To start the year, there are currently 73 pre-arrival options. This is the most we’ve seen at any point in the last 12 months, probably longer.
That’s up from 68 last time that last time we provided an update in December, and also up from the low 60s number the inventory has been hovering around for the last few weeks.
Of the 73 styles, 55 are MagicBand+ and 18 of which are regular ole MagicBands (officially known as MagicBand 2.0). Honestly, there’s not much worth discussing when it comes to the regular MagicBand. The only noteworthy options are the ones based on “A Guide to the Magic Kingdom” that feature retro artwork from original 1970s park maps. We previously covered those in this post.
The number of regular MagicBands is actually a decrease of 1 as compared to December, and most are solid colors or bland designs. Our big fear is that Disney is actually ramping down production of the MagicBand 2 in favor of the MagicBand Plus, which would be a mistake given how much of a misfire the ‘plus’ version is.
Honestly, I would like to see more regular MagicBand styles released. I fear new MagicBand 2s will slow to a trickle in 2023 and beyond, but hope to be wrong about that. From my perspective, MagicBand+ is largely a flop–I’d rather pay less and stick with tried and true MagicBand 2. Here’s hoping that lower-than-anticipated sales of the MagicBand+ causes Disney to rethink its approach.
When it comes to MagicBand Plus, there are a handful of new designs. The latest to drop is a Ratatouille character MagicBand–great for fans of Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure at EPCOT.
Other recent additions here include characters like Winnie the Pooh and Stitch, Baby Groot, Mickey & Friends, Star Wars characters, and more. There are also new Walt Disney World logo and My First Visit designs. For me, the highlights of the recently-released designs are Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway and EPCOT 40th Anniversary MagicBand+ styles.
The most exciting new design of all is the Disney100 MagicBand+ in honor of the 100 Years of Wonder celebration. This kicks off on January 27, 2023 at Disneyland with the new Wondrous Journeys fireworks and World of Color – One. MagicBand+ will presumably have special effects during those nighttime spectaculars.
Walt Disney World is in the midst of its 50th Anniversary celebration until March 31, and hasn’t announced how or when the Disney 100th Anniversary will be celebrated after that. Our guess is that the return of Happily Ever After and whatever EPCOT gets in terms of fireworks will be incorporated into the festivities. This Art Deco-inspired design could be a fun MagicBand+ to get for those visiting Walt Disney World in Summer 2023 or beyond. (Or even now–no reason you can’t celebrate the major milestone before WDW!)
If you don’t like any of these designs–or there isn’t something for everyone in your party–there’s no harm in waiting until you arrive at Walt Disney World to purchase your MagicBand. The only downside is that you won’t be able to immediately use your MagicBand to open your hotel room door, enter the parks, etc–but the actual process of buying a MagicBand and linking it to your My Disney Experience account is simple and easy.
Speaking of which, you could walk into a Walt Disney World gift shop right now and find shelves and shelves of MagicBands. There is ample availability in the parks & resorts…but these are not the same product lines and the logistics of delivering to the parks is different than the fulfillment center for these MagicBand upgrade options. (A more resourceful company might figure out a way to reallocate supply, but Disney is no Amazon!)
Those opting for a pre-arrival purchase should know that the system works the same as before, and as described in the remainder of this article. The only difference is that the MagicBands upgrades now start at $10 each, as opposed to free.
Whether you should pay to purchase a MagicBand pre-arrival is a personal decision, but there’s one big upside in that it makes the vacation experience seamless and streamlined. You can bypass your hotel’s front desk, don’t have to hassle with separate payments, keys, etc. So there’s definitely an element of convenience for on-site guests.
Note that you have until 10 days before your arrival at Walt Disney World to customize and order your MagicBand if you want to have the MagicBand shipped to your home. If you order in under 10 days, you’re eliminating two of the biggest advantages in buying MagicBands.
Due to postal service delays, we recommend placing your order at least 14 days in advance to play it safe. Anecdotally, we’re also hearing of more guests having their orders delayed or cancelled completely, so even ordering far in advance doesn’t guarantee that your MagicBands will arrive on time–or at all.
With that said, here are our troubleshooting tips and the step-by-step process for ordering. (Just keep in mind that this was written when supply chain disruptions were not a thing–so you’re going to see a lot more inventory n the screenshots below that is NOT currently available!)
It’s hard to believe, but the MagicBand upgrade option went live a few years ago. Part of the reason that it’s hard to believe is because MagicBand inventory remains hit or miss. The system is also frustratingly glitchy, with problems requiring private or antiquated browsers, plus errors throughout the process–even after submitting payment.
We assumed the kinks would’ve been ironed out by now, but sadly, that is not the case. (How naive of us given the constant issues with My Disney Experience years after its launch.) Unfortunately, beyond this troubleshooting advice below coupled with persistence, there’s no good resolution. If reader reports are any indication, contacting Disney is unlikely to yield favorable results. (We’d love to hear your experiences in the comments!)
We cannot stress enough that this system is still having a tremendous amount of problems. If you’re having trouble completing the selection process, or getting this to work, we’d recommend using the desktop site instead of the My Disney Experience app or mobile site.
Additionally, if the desktop version of DisneyWorld.com won’t work for you, try private browsing, incognito mode, or a different browser entirely. Usually, we first try private browsing on Chrome, and that resolves the issue. However, a couple of times we’ve received a message that we do not have access to a certain page, or that our payment couldn’t be processed–both of those issues can be resolved by time-traveling back to Y2K and using Internet Explorer. (Don’t worry, you won’t have to use AOL or dial-up, too.)
We’ve found that this process gets hung up on several different pages, including on the selection and checkout process. Having a ‘clean’ browser will often resolve these issues. It’s not foolproof, but if you’re finding that things become unavailable right after you select them, that’s one explanation as to why.
If you’re having issues with inventory…there’s no great solution to that. We’d recommend watching the site, checking each morning at around 8 am for the day’s restocks, and ordering your MagicBands when you see a ‘good enough’ selection of MagicBands that appeal to you. Additionally, people are reporting issues with their orders actually shipping, but this seems to be a sporadic problem.
If your Walt Disney World vacation is not in the near future, we’d recommend being patient and waiting for a design you actually want. Now that Disney has a more accurate understanding of demand, they are (hopefully) more likely to increase the inventory to an adequate level to satisfy the incredible demand.
While we aren’t huge into Magic Bands, this will undoubtedly have collectors and character fans excited, as it means acquiring a new design for what amounts to $15 off. If you liked unique designs and already have a drawer full of the ‘standard’ colors from past Walt Disney World trips, jumping at the up-charge certainly makes sense.
Personally, I’ll probably just stick to the single, solid blue MagicBand that I’ve been using for the past several years…which itself replaced a different blue one that had to be “retired” because it was too dirty.
Not that you care about that. Anyway, here’s how the process works…
After clicking the “My MagicBands and Cards” link below the My Disney Experience drop-down on DisneyWorld.com or the “Choose MagicBands” button on your resort reservation, you’ll see the above screen.
As you can see, there’s a message on the screen indicating that the new upgrade options can be shipped to guests’ homes (U.S. addresses only) if ordered 11 or more days ahead of arrival. They can be personalized if done so at least 6 or more days ahead of arrival.
Once you click the “Choose My MagicBands” button, the above screen appears…once.
I started this on my phone and continued via desktop (where I didn’t see it again), which is why it’s the only mobile screenshot here.
This is what appears next, and once you hit “Select” the screen scrolls down on the same page, revealing all of this:
Through the magic of Photoshop, I combined every single page into a single view, so you could see each character and attraction-themed MagicBand.
Above is closer look at a single page, along with what you see when you hover over the MagicBand you want to select.
No Country Bear Jamboree, but ya can’t win ’em all. Hopefully, over time new designs will be added as part of special promotions, seasonal events, and that sort of thing. (I presume the ‘best’ designs that Walt Disney World believes will sell to collectors and enthusiasts will remain exclusive to stores, where they can be sold at full price.)
If I were going to order anything, it’d be this Spaceship Earth design. It goes nicely with my collection of ~372 grey Magic Bands.
Once selected, you arrive at this complete purchase screen where you can change your name. From there, you’ll enter payment info, a shipping address, and finish the checkout. Assuming the system works!
One of the upsides is that a range of new MagicBand choices are also being added on a regular basis. Newer options include a chic voyageur Mickey Mouse design for Disney’s Riviera Resort, Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, Toy Story Land, Figment, Spaceship Earth, Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort, and various movies.
In addition to these MagicBands, we’ve seen a variety of other options coming in and out of stock. On a “good” day, there are around 30 options in stock. These include it’s a small world, Disney Vacation Club, Haunted Mansion, and a variety of other movie and attraction designs. If you don’t see options you like and you have plenty of time before your Walt Disney World trip, keep checking back!
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 new MagicBand upgrade options? Will you be paying the $10 to $20 premium for one of these colors or themed designs? Any specific design catch your eye? Do you cynically think this is just a lame cash-grab? 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!
I purchased MagicBand+ for my party in advance of a November 2022 trip to WDW and had a NOT MAGICAL experience and ended up returning the bands. I attribute the on-going problems with establishing and maintaining a connection to the fact that everyone in my party uses Android rather than Apple devices. So, what exactly does NOT MAGICAL experience mean?
– Absence of print instructions (user guide). Fortunately there was some information posted to blogs (like this one!).
– Hours spent trying to connect the device to Bluetooth. Several hours the day before we flew to WDW (independently) and several hours the first night we were on-site (with customer service via phone).
– Over an hour with a cast member at guest services the first day we were in a park. She was empathetic and using an Apple iPad was able to eventually get my band connected and operational. Sadly, and frustratingly, my band disconnected and I was unable to duplicate her success on my band or any other band in our party.
– Second call to guest services to walk me through the connection process with no luck.
– Returned bands to front desk of our resort and used our “old style” Magic Bands for the duration of our visit.
I really wanted those darn MagicBand+s to work as advertised! That being said, perhaps the silver lining is that we were not overly focused on watching our bands and spent our time with our eyes up, enjoying everything (the magic) around us.
Moral of this long post, it seems that the MagicBand+ were created, tested, and optimized for pairing with Apple products only. My recommendation to Disney is that until the glitches are resolved there should be a disclaimer on compatibility issues when using an Android device.
I think the older 2.0 magic bands are better than the new versions. I have heard the magic bands + drain you phone battery and who is going to be looking at ones wrist at the light up feature when you paid to see the amazing fireworks. I am not sure why anyone would want to waste money on these new gimmicky magic bands+. I order the magic band 2.0 retro park maps and these bands should work fine for at least 3-4 years for memory maker. Thank you Tom for all your Disney and Universal information!
Suspect that Disney will make Magic Band + on My Disney Experience an all or nothing proposition and for a limited time are simply using up old stock of the affordable $10 bands. Don’t think redistributing the stockpile of bands on property to the website fulfillment warehouse is of any true advantage to Disney. If you want the pre-arrival discount in the future, you need to buy the pricier Magic Band + which cancels any real benefit of the discount for cost-conscious guests. I’ll try my 4 year old band on my trip and if the battery is dead, will buy a full price plain basic band on property. If I can still get the pre-arrival $10 bargain, I will. Agree that the basic band is worth it for convenience. Your ordering tips will come in handy for many of us over the next few months.
I travel in 12 days from the UK. Can I pre-order and collect at the check-in desk? It saves money if not time.
I am having ‘issues’ with Disney and how overseas guests cannot access things easily before they travel. I cannot arrange my DAS pass either, I have tried a couple of times using a VPN and the last time Disney ‘hung up’ on me because the connection ‘took them over their allocated time’
Not very much Disney Magic there !
Thank you for your help
We bought the 50 year anniversary MagicBand+ and I linked it to my credit card. It worked fine for admission and Genie passes but I couldn’t get it to work for any purchases. The Disney staff told me that only works if you’re staying in a Disney hotel. Is that true?
Yes. If you look in my Disney Account Experience under payment methods and then click the Disney Resort Guest tab it states guest can charge using the Magic band.
How did you “link it to (your) credit card”?
That is not possible for anyone.
The Magic Band is linked to one’s Disney account, which is linked to tickets, hotel bookings, dining reservations, etc. When USING a Magic Band to pay for food and merchandise, the Disney hotel guest is using it to authorize the purchase to be charged to their Disney HOTEL account, which is later paid with a credit/debit card, Disney gift card(s), or cash. That is why you were not able to use it to make purchases.
I’ve been using the same magic band for at least 6 years (between doing monthly one night stays on property and annual passes at one point I had nearly 100 bands linked to my account and it was causing a glitch where they wouldn’t work. I had to manually deactivate all except one). No problem with the battery as of early December.
Even with automatically linking on-ride photos (Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster, for example)? If so, I’m impressed!
Great write-up. As you explained above, some magic bands are only $10! Disney cannot include basic magic bands for free if you stay on property? Yes, this is nickel and dime-ing by Disney.
Observations from a trip in the past week for MagicBands and alternatives:
1. Magicbands from a trip 2 years ago still work. I could not verify this until I was on Disney property. The front desk at the Beach Club verified for us.
2. If you have stayed at a Hilton, Hilton offers a door unlock feature in their app. Disney does the same. Not as convenient, as you have to open the app before you open your door.
3. Apple Watch works great in the parks for park entry, ride check-in, and park photos with photographers. Apple Watch does not work at the Disney resorts or for charging to the room.
If you are not staying on Disney property and have an Apple Watch, take advantage of the feature. Disney will still take your money with Disney-themed Apple Watch bands.
I knew magic bands would “last forever “ but at some point since Disney can’t track you with them you won’t get your pictures etc via the magic band.
My question is now that everything is with your phone if you had your phone on would you get the pictures automatically from that?
MagicBands (version 1.0) do not last forever, but have batteries that do seem to last a long time. Disney’s official word is “2 years”. I have a MagicBand from 4 years ago that still shows power. Beyond that, my older MagicBands are not appearing on my account.
If you want to use old MagicBands:
1. Check them at the front desk if staying on Disney property. My 2-year old MagicBand worked just fine last week.
2. Have Guest Services check your old MagicBands at the parks if staying elsewhere.
If you don’t stay on a Disney Resort it doesn’t seem there are many options for magic bands and the prices of them are absurd. Feeling as though these are not worth the money?