In short…love them! That’s not to say there aren’t issues, concerns or room for improvement, but we have to say, we who were once skeptics are now believers. Very convenient, easy and streamlined…once you know what you are doing. Here’s a short review of our experience.
It all started at MCO, Orlando International Airport. Had we known, we would have already been wearing our bands as we arrived at Magical Express, Disney’s transportation to the resort hotels. As we approached the Cast Member checking guests in for the service, we were asked for a band. Once I dug one out of my carry-on (you only need one band per reservation) it was scanned and we were on line for our short trip to Disney’s Art of Animation resort! Much more streamlined than the many other times we’ve waited in line with our voucher booklets.
Upon arrival, the Cast Member checking us in linked all three to our room and credit card, making the bands our room keys and charge card in one! For charging, you are asked to create a pin code which you will need to enter each time you purchase. If you don’t want the kiddos running up your bill, don’t share the pin code. 😉
We purchased annual passes that needed to be retrieved at Guest Services, so our tickets were not added at this time. The bands, all three, worked like a charm to open the door to our room and for charging priviledges at the food court and all throughout WDW Resort.
To add our tickets, we arrived at Guest Services outside the Magic Kingdom. No line, walked right up, retrieved our annual passes and they were linked to our bands. Voila!
At the park turnstiles, you simply line up the Mickey head on your band to the Mickey head on the scanner until a white spinning light begins to happen. Then, you put your finger on a biometric scanner (same finger each time) and both the Mickey head on the scanner and the biometric scanner give you the “green light”. Literally, they both turn green!
For FastPass, it works very similarly. We scheduled our 3 FastPasses in advance. Our first was for Big Thunder Mountain Railroad. We walked up, lined up the Mickey heads, got the green light and were riding the wildest ride in the wilderness in 5 short minutes! We used the band for every single purchase on this trip. It was great to have the convenience of not fussing with our wallets and to have a detailed record at the end of the stay of how much we spent and on what.
Magic Bands also serve as your photopass cards. We did not have to link anything ahead of time or after. When the Photopass photographer scanned our bands after taking the photos, the photos were already in our account. We were concerned about this, because we had not set up any Photopass account prior to arrival, but now it’s intuitively linked to your Magic Band. If for some reason the Photopass Photographers scanner is not working, they will give you a photopass card which you can add when you log in to view your photos. This happened to us at the Character Spot in Epcot.
I think it’s important to say that while we did not have any issues that caused us to wait on long Guest Services lines, we did see other people having to do this. The only “issue” with the band itself was one time, our daughter’s band would not register at the park gate. There was a cast member on hand immediately with a scanner who logged her in within seconds. No biggie, it is a testing period after all.
They are definitely not uncomfortable or cumbersome. They are waterproof and you can add “bling”. We loved the fact that you could remove the outer band to make it smaller for tiny wrists. Our only wish is that you could add more FastPass selections or at very least spread them throughout all the parks. Having to use all your allotments in one park per day was limiting and made park hopping less useful.
So what do you do with the bands when your vacation is over? You are encouraged to keep your bands and use them for future trips, which of course we will…especially now that we have annual passes!
We hope you enjoyed our review of Magic Bands! Please feel free to post a comment about our review, your experience or your suggestions on our Facebook Post containing the link to this page. Have a magical day!