MagicBand vs. MagicBand+: Is it Worth Getting the Newer Disney Wearable?

Disneyland visitors only have the MagicBand+ option, but Disney World visitors can choose between the models.
Jennifer Calonia
By Jennifer Calonia 
Published

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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.

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.

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+.

Redesigned look

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.

Haptic vibrations

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.

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.

MagicBand vs. MagicBand+: Side-by-side comparison

MagicBand / MagicBand 2

MagicBand+

Parks where it can be used

Walt Disney World Resort.

Walt Disney World Resort and Disneyland Resort.

Access to the park

Yes.

Yes.

Check in to queues and Lightning Lanes

Yes.

Yes.

On-site purchases

Yes.

Yes.

Links to PhotoPass

Yes.

Yes.

Haptic vibrations

No.

Yes.

Customizable light pulses

No.

Yes.

Special park activities

No.

Yes.

Rechargeable battery

No.

Yes.

Designs

Limited.

Multiple.

Pricing

$19 and up.

$34 and up.

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.

Frequently asked questions

The MagicBand is the original version of the band. It offers convenient access to park turnstiles, checking in at virtual queues and more. On the other hand, the MagicBand+ includes all of its predecessor’s features with the addition of haptic and light functionality and interactive park activities.

No. The MagicBand 2 is an earlier model than MagicBand+. MagicBand 2 offers the same basic features that the original MagicBand has, but it doesn’t have the new tactile and interactive features of the MagicBand+. The additions to the MagicBand+ include customizable light features, vibrations, gesture-based park activities and a rechargeable battery.

Technically, you don’t need a MagicBand+ to enjoy your next visit to the park. The MagicBand+ simply offers enhancements to your experience, such as connected light shows, interacting with the Disney Fab 50 sculptures and participating in the Star Wars: Batuu Bounty Hunters activity.


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