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Disney MagicBands are wearable technology designed to make the experience at its parks more convenient. You can use MagicBands to unlock your Disney Resort hotel room, store your park ticket and Lightning Lane reservations, make purchases and more. You can find them in an array of colors and themes, some of which are limited editions.
The device has undergone a few makeovers and improvements since its launch. The original MagicBand was released in 2013. The next iteration was MagicBand2, introduced in 2016. The latest addition to the MagicBand product lineup is the MagicBand+, which came out in 2022. While the MagicBand+ has the most advanced features, it typically comes at a higher cost.
If you’re deciding between the original MagicBand versus MagicBand+ for your first band purchase, or if you're thinking of upgrading, here’s what to know.
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Where MagicBands work
If you are visiting Disneyland in Anaheim, California, you only have one option when it comes to MagicBands. Only MagicBand+ works at Disneyland.
If you are visiting Disney World in Orlando, Florida, you can use any model of MagicBand. The original MagicBand, MagicBand 2 and MagicBand+ can still be used at Walt Disney World parks.
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New features of the MagicBand+
The MagicBand+ includes the old functionality of the original MagicBand, but with enhanced features. Here are the additional perks of a MagicBand+.
The original MagicBand doesn’t have the now-iconic Mickey “puck” that you’ll find with the MagicBand 2 and MagicBand+ models. MagicBand+ takes on more of a watch silhouette while the old MagicBand looks more like a bracelet on the wrist.
MagicBand+ adds another sensory level to visitors’ experience at the parks. Haptic vibrations and color-changing lights synchronize with nighttime spectacular shows. This feature provides an immersive experience that can be a delightful surprise as you enjoy the night’s entertainment.
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Customizable light displays
Aside from sporting a MagicBand+ color or theme that resonates with your personal style, Disney lets you further customize this wrist accessory with different colored light-up themes.
This feature is useful if you want to match the light theme to your chosen MagicBand+ strap design, especially if you like to change out your bands based on your Disney day outfit.
Interactive park experiences
Another unique improvement that the MagicBand+ introduced is motion recognition. At certain areas of the parks, you can engage the band with just a wave of a hand to interact with the Disney Fab 50 Character Collection statues, for example.
Additionally, you can join an intergalactic quest using the MagicBand+. When you play along with the Star Wars: Batuu Bounty Hunters experience, you’ll take on the identity of a bounty hunter. The band will vibrate and illuminate along your journey as you track down your bounty.
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MagicBand vs. MagicBand+: Side-by-side comparison
MagicBand / MagicBand 2
Parks where it can be used
Walt Disney World Resort.
Walt Disney World Resort and Disneyland Resort.
Access to the park
Check in to queues and Lightning Lanes
Links to PhotoPass
Customizable light pulses
Special park activities
$19 and up.
$34 and up.
» Learn more: How to go to Disney World for cheap
MagicBand vs. MagicBand+: Is upgrading to worth it?
The MagicBand and MagicBand 2 can perform the key conveniences you might be looking for in a band — as long as you're visiting Disney World. If that suits your needs and you don’t care for the added frills that MagicBand+ provides, there’s no need to pay more for the newer version.
Frequent park visitors who appreciate even the most subtle Disney touch will likely enjoy the MagicBand+ and its extra perks. Additionally, if you plan on using your band at Disneyland, you’ll need MagicBand+ since Disneyland Resort isn’t fully compatible with the standard MagicBand.
How to maximize your rewards
You want a travel credit card that prioritizes what’s important to you. Here are our picks for the best travel credit cards of 2023, including those best for:
Flexibility, point transfers and a large bonus: Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
No annual fee: Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card
Flat-rate travel rewards: Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card
Bonus travel rewards and high-end perks: Chase Sapphire Reserve®
Luxury perks: The Platinum Card® from American Express
Business travelers: Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card