Battery life on Magic Bands

I read some where that the patent put the battery life at about 2 years.

That would be great! Thanks @TheGraceysButler.

While there are active RFID transponders, the much more prevalent and cheaper type are passive. This means that there is no battery onboard. I’d be surprised if magicbands aren’t of the passive type. The passive transponder (magicband) receives a radio frequency signal from an interrogating transceiver, this signal is the energy that powers the chip to generate a response. The response is just the unique id (think serial number) of the chip. The interrogating transmitter then reports the received unique ID and compares it to a database that it is networked to. The database has all the permissions stored in to so that it can tell the interrogating receiver whether to permit access. Some interrogators, such as door locks, have onboard storage that store a subset of the master database (such as just a listing of the magicband ID’s that grant access).


People have dissected the bands. Two RFID chips and a watch battery, so I assume one active and one passive?

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ok, a bit of research by me does suggest that there is some active RFID going on. My apologies.


My head hurts


Our very first bands still work - we brought all of these last trip and every single one worked (I was a problem guest, but I was curious to see if they all worked)


By our April Trip I should have 15 between my wife and I. I plan on disassembling one ant either making a magic wand or a fingertip glove out of it.



So, at the expense of potentially causing further pain to @MDU, even if the battery fails, I would expect the vast majority of the magicband functionality to remain.

The passive portion (not powered by the battery) is anything where you have to hold up your band to something else for it to work. So, any mickeyglobe functionality (entrance, payment) and room access are most likely using the passive RFID which should work in perpetuity (until electronics failure). The active portion that uses the battery is sending out a signal in a ~15 ft bubble around you. My guess is that this is what is used for the interactive Mickey at town hall. There is a more limited amount of info that is being broadcast this way. Disney doesn’t want your band broadcasting a payment in a 15 ft bubble because everyone in line to pay would be registering payment for whomever is checking out. (similarly, you don’t want to pick up everyone in line for entrance, just the exact person at the globe).

So, magicbands should work for the passive stuff for a very very long time. Second, just because the magic band works for entrance and/or payment, doesn’t mean your battery isn’t dead and that your band is fully functioning.



@rcbarker - Great explanation of the MB technology! For all the bad wrap they get, the technology is only scratching the surface of how it can improve Disney Park touring!

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@rcbarker - I think I love you. I’m a huge nerd for techie stuff like this. I don’t have the technical background to always understand the scientific underpinnings, but I still love to read all about it. Thanks.

I’m thinking that the automatic connecting of ride photos onto your PhotoPass account is an example of the active functionality. If I wear my old blue MB on an attraction, I will double-check that the photo was linked before leaving the area. Just in case.

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I used our March ones on our trip last week with no problems. You can always test them on your room door each morning before you leave. The odds of it crapping out mid-day on a day you are there are pretty low, I’d imagine.

I remember hearing a rumor about the ending of IASW, where there are all those signs saying goodbye in different languages, possibly becoming interactive and saying goodbye to you in your own language – which would also use that 15 foot bubble thing…

@999HappyHaunts Again, the room door is going to use the passive portion that is not dependent upon a battery and likely to last for years and years. This will give you no indication on whether your battery is good.

Also, as a clarification, it is possible that the active and passive portions are sending out the same information, but rather that they are operating at different frequencies. The things they want to be near field are going to look for information at the near field frequency. Payment and access systems won’t be looking at the frequency of the active (powered) RFID so as to not be getting an undesired ID from the next person in line.

Also, if anyone was watching the Apple presser today, it was stated that the new Apple Watch has NFC, which is a form of RFID. It was further stated that Disney World and Disneyland are going to be compatible by December. Accordingly, an Apple Watch is likely able to operate as a Magic Band. (at least for the near field functionality)


I see… But then what functionality would be compromised by the battery? Just photopass recognition? With FPP and gate entry I’d imagine its the same passive tech as the door?

Sorry, I see that you explained more of this above :slight_smile:

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Just another reason to get the Applewatch or iwatch as it should have been called!

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I’m with you. Yes, I was skeptical when they first were announced but as I see the photopass and ride options that Disney has planned, the meet and greet possibilities that are opened up by a princess having access to MY little princess’ name and favorite color…wow. Just wow!

Thanks @rcbarker for the details. I, too, love to understand the guts of this system. I was amazed by the Oklahoma PikePass system 23 years ago and when I found out it used this thing called RFID, I was fascinated. Even more so today, when I see what Disney can, eventually, do with them!

FWIW, I’ve had an RFID EZ-Pass on my car to pay tolls in the northeast U.S. for well over a decade now. This may or may not have any relevance whatsoever, but based on what I’ve read, it must be the passive type, though the readers are many feet above the car in lots of places.