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How MagicBand+ Work at Disneyland and California Adventure

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The original MagicBand was conceived as an accessory for Walt Disney World visitors to use as a type of all-access pass. With the MagicBand, Disney guests could have their park ticket, payment options, and Disney app profile available wherever they go and attached to their wrist. Since then, Disney has improved upon the concept with a second iteration and then a more advanced one called the MagicBand+. On top of that, the MagicBand+ has extended to include functionality at Disneyland and Disney’s California Adventure, making it a potential must-have for those who regularly visit the southern California parks.



What is MagicBand+?

MagicBand+ is a wearable accessory that fits the wrist like a watch. It features a light ring around the face (think of it like a watch without the clock) and has support for haptic vibrations. The MagicBand+’s main feature is near-field communication (NFC), which allows it to interface with different parts of the park like entry points, Lightning Lane, and Disney hotel rooms.

Although anyone can buy a MagicBand+, it is best suited for use within Disneyland Resort and Disney California Adventure park. They come in different designs themed after various Disney properties like Pixar and Star Wars, or more plain, single-color options. The MagicBand+ will fit a variety of wrist sizes and also comes with a perforated section that can be removed to better fit smaller wrists or children.

Each MagicBand+ package includes:

  • The MagicBand+
  • Proprietary charger with USB-A connection

Where to Buy MagicBand+ and Price

Disney sells MagicBand+ through its website or at dozens of locations in and around Disneyland. You will find MagicBand+ on sale from many of the retailers within the parks, where it is possible to find different design options. The World of Disney store in Downtown Disney has one of the largest selections of MagicBand+ in a single retailer, while stores like the Emporium within Disneyland have a fairly wide selection. The Disney online store, on the other hand, has a fairly limited supply.

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MagicBand+ price can vary based on the type of band. The basic, simple color bands are available for $34.99, while the more elaborate designs cost $44.99. There are also limited edition MagicBand+ that sell for $54.99. While many of the MagicBand+ designs capture longstanding popular brands, some are created to celebrate new releases like Ahsoka or Wish, or events like Disney’s 100th anniversary. These MagicBand+ can go on sale at Disney’s online store if the associated property falls out of style, but in most cases, unless you want a basic one or a rare one, you are looking at paying $44.99 for the MagicBand+ design you want.

How to Setup MagicBand+ and Charging

The first thing to do after removing the MagicBand+ from its packaging is to charge it. The charging cable grips the back of the MagicBand+ to make the connection, and then you plug the USB-A end of the cable into any port or outlet charger.

There is a light ring that circles the central design of the MagicBand+ and can glow in different colors. While the Disneyland accessory is plugged in, the ring will indicate the battery level of the MagicBand+ and tell you its charging status.

  • Flashing Red: This means the MagicBand+ has no battery and needs to be charged to operate.
  • Flashing Yellow: This means the MagicBand+ has low battery and is unlikely to make it through a full day at Disneyland.
  • Flashing Green: This means the MagicBand+ has full battery.

Even though the MagicBand+ may be out of battery, its NFC functionality will still work. This means you can still use it to enter the park, to make payments at stores, or to open your hotel room.

Once the MagicBand+ is fully charged, it is ready to connect to the Disneyland app. This is crucial for using the MagicBand+’s NFC functionality, and it is recommended that you link the device and your mobile app before visiting the Disney parks. To do so:

Step 1: Open the Disneyland app and click the three lines on the bottom right menu.

Step 2: Select the MagicBand+ button.

Step 3: Click the “+” button at the top right of the page.

Step 4: Make sure you are on the “Tap” section and press the “Open Scanner to Link” button.

Step 5: Bring the MagicBand+ close to your smartphone device to make the connection.

Step 6: You should now see your MagicBand+ on the MagicBand+ page.

After connecting the MagicBand+ to your app, the next step is to connect the MagicBand+ with a Disneyland ticket or Magic Key pass. From the MagicBand+ page select the button that says “Assign to a Ticket or Magic Key pass.” You will now see any linked tickets in the Disneyland app and can select which ticket or Magic Key pass you want to link to the MagicBand+. Now, the MagicBand+ will act like a ticket and more.


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Ways to Use MagicBand+

Park Entry

With the MagicBand+ linked to your Disneyland or California Adventure ticket or your Magic Key pass, all you need to do is hold your device out to the Cast Member at the park entrance and they can scan it. This should allow you entry if you have a valid ticket and reservation for that day. If it is your first time using the ticket, the Cast Member will also take your picture to protect against identity theft.

Hotel Room Key

Similar to the parks, the MagicBand+ can be used as a room key for any Disneyland Resort hotel (Disneyland Hotel, Grand Californian, Pixar Place Hotel). After linking your hotel to the Disneyland app, all you need to do is tap the MagicBand+ to the lock on your hotel room and it should open.

Lighting Lane Entry

If you have purchased Genie+ for your Disneyland visit, you can use the MagicBand+ as entry into the Lightning Lane. It’s a bit confusing, but Genie+ is the paid service that lets you book access to rides at specific times and Lightning Lane is the unique lane that you can only enter with a Genie+ booking. These lanes are shorter and gain access to the ride quicker.

In order to enter the Lightning Lane, you have to scan the tickets of everyone with the Genie+ booking via the screen reader built into the little pylons at each ride’s Lightning Lane entrance. Or with MagicBand+, you can just tap your wrist to the button at the top of those pylons, as seen with the Spider-Man ride WEB Slingers. It’s a slightly faster way of confirming your Genie+ booking and gaining entry to the Lightning Lane.

Park Interactions

Throughout your time at Disneyland and Disney’s California Adventure, the MagicBand+ will light up and/or its haptics will vibrate with select experiences. For example, while exiting Haunted Mansion, the MagicBand+ will light up red and pulse like a heartbeat. Perhaps the biggest connectivity, though, is with the nightly fireworks show or World of Color, where the band will light up and vibrate along with the music.

Special Games

Currently, Disneyland only has one interactive MagicBand+ experience called Batuu Bounty Hunters located in Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge. By using the MagicBand+ and the Play Disney app, guests will be sent around the Star Wars-themed land in search of bounties. Guests can start the game by visiting a terminal in Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge.

Is MagicBand+ Worth It?

The question whether MagicBand+ is worth it comes down to two things: how often you plan to visit Disney theme parks and how much you love Disney and its theme parks? If the answer to both questions is, “more than the average person,” then MagicBand+ is worth buying. Even if you don’t plan to visit the parks that often, but you love the designs, they are well-made and the designs are cool. And as Disney continues to expand the lands within its Southern California parks, like the announced area themed after Avatar, presumably the MagicBand+ functionality will expand as well.

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