MagicBand or Smartphone?

Message in My Disney Experience

A few months ago, Disney announced they would no longer provide complimentary MagicBands when you make a resort hotel reservation at Walt Disney World for January 1, 2021 or after. I’m not surprised by this and also not concerned about having to buy new MagicBands yet since I have several that are still in working order. In fact, Disney had already made my MagicBands for my April 2020 trip that had to be cancelled, so if any of the others stopped working, I have those to use.

But now I’m wondering how using smart devices is gonna work out in the place of MagicBands. Last month I wrote about my WiFi woes at Disney World so, of course, I’m wondering if those who try to use their devices are going to have issues. Even with MagicBands, I’ve had and seen my fair share of problems. Most frequently, the RFID chip in the bands couldn’t be found on the entrance turnstiles or at FastPass+ entries. I guess with a device, that wouldn’t be an issue, but there have been plenty of times that somehow someone’s ticket became unlinked to the My Disney Experience account. I guess that’s related more to Disney’s computer system than the MagicBand or the app?

I even had a problem using my phone to unlock my room one time at Coronado Springs after my MagicBand wouldn’t open the door. I got lucky that a housekeeper was nearby and was able to call someone to help me over the phone so I didn’t have to make the trek back to the front desk from the Casitas section after a long day.

I’m curious how this will work for kids, though? Will all the ticket info be loaded on a parent or guardian account and that person has to use the device for each kid? I suppose this is where Disney counts on families to go ahead and buy MagicBands for everyone, or at least any kids that aren’t old enough for or don’t have a smartphone. That sounds like it could get messy if there are no bands or physical tickets being used.

Just like the idea of MagicBands when they first came out, I’ll wonder about it, think I might hate it, then might be surprised that I like the new feature. I’m definitely ready to find out about this and see how it ends up working out next year and beyond. °O°



  1. Just got back from Disney! Woo hoo! Although both options were available, we opted for using Magic Bands for most of our trip. It was much easier than pulling out the phone and bringing up the app all the time because it was already on our wrists. I even picked up a Limited Edition Tinkerbell at the Pin Trader at Disney Springs. –Andrea

    • Hi Andrea! I’d love to hear about your thoughts on your trip! I definitely would think MagicBands would be easier to use than the phone but I can see using the phone sometimes too!

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