Looking to cut costs from last trip but need some advice

Last time we stayed onsite, got magic bands and Memory Maker. The trip was 7 days in the parks. This time we are staying offisite and it’s 4 days (we are going to Universal and Sea World this time).

So my questions are - do you have to have a magic band to use Genie+ or Lightning lane? Also, I’ve said on here quite a few times that my daughter has autism. Do we need one to use the DAS pass? If we do, could we just get one magic band to use for the whole party?

I looked and the lowest price MB was around $35. Is there a way to get them for less?

Is it still worth it to get them if we are staying offsite?

Thanks in advance. We haven’t ever stayed offsite with kids, so I’m sure I’ll have more questions, but trying to budget now and cut costs where we can.

1 Like

You don’t need them and I wouldn’t get them, especially if staying offsite. You can use your phone or get a card. And everyone needs their own, you can’t use as a group.


Where do you get a card?

If using a phone, can you just swipe to get to each ticket?


On my last trip, we stayed offsite and didn’t do magic bands because we weren’t planning on using Genie+ or LL, so we didn’t see the point in using them. I have an Apple Watch and loaded my and my kids’ tickets in my Apple wallet. We were staying in a condo with a kitchen, so we got some groceries, ate breakfast there, and made PB&J sandwiches to bring to the park. We ate one sit-down meal and a special snack in the parks daily.


How long ago was your last trip? Do you still have those magic bands? They might still work.


One more reason to get a MB+: to play the Bounty Hunter game in Galaxy’s Edge. It’s pretty cool. However, IMO one MB+ for the party suffices for that - everybody else can play along or take turns.


It was 2019, so I’m certain they don’t. I’m not even sure that we still have all of them.

I’ve bought some gift cards for parking, some food, and a few ornaments. I’m not sure we are going to pay for Genie+, but I don’t know yet.

I don’t think we are going to go with Memory Maker.


You mention money for ornaments – I like to look online before my trip to get an idea what I “need” to buy in the parks vs. order online (when they offer free shipping.) Sometimes things are cheaper online or they have better variety.

We don’t usually get Memory Maker but I look through the photos after to see if there are a couple I want to buy. So make sure to scan on the rides or at photo pass because without a Magic Band, it won’t automatically register to your account.

I hope that someone who has stayed off site recently can tell you if you can get the plastic card-style ticket at Guest Services so that each of you can have a way to scan in easily.

For other cost cutting, we do the usual things: we eat breakfast in the room or on the way to the bus and we split QS meals, buying the food we need. No one goes hungry and we can enjoy a lot more variety that way. We’ve done so many TS meals that we no longer bother with them unless it’s a restaurant we really love. (This isn’t just an expense thing, but we don’t like the time constraints of having to be somewhere at a particular time.)

I like the idea of bringing what food you can and using your money for the things that are special.

1 Like

You can re-use your magic bands. No need to get new ones. If you are off site, the only thing you would use magic bands for is to tap in to parks and for LLs. You can get hard ticket cards that do the same thing. If I were off site I definitely would not buy new magic bands.


The tapping in function of bands work forever. Older bands won’t pick up long range photos where there is no tap if the battery has died.


We will definitely be doing this. I have a Mickey waffle maker and golden malted so we will make our own Mickey waffles. For my daughter that has autism, we will stop for her whereever she wants so we get breakfast outside the parks.

1 Like

Our magic bands from 2018 worked last summer. I did not buy any new magic bands in either our 2020 or 2022 trip.

All you need is your ticket media, from wherever you buy tickets. That ticket media might be a card for each family member.

As for Genie or LL, we’ve never bought either. We also quit using Fast Pass the last few years. If an attraction had a line longer than we cared for, we did something else. Our patience for lines is short. 20 minutes if it’s hot out.

We usually decide what our goals and priorities are for a trip. For a kid, they may want to look for plush Tramp to go with their plush Lady. Someone else may want more Stitch pins. If a restaurant was closed or a ride down on the last trip, that may be a priority this trip.
Always a priority is making memories with family.


For photos, you can use your own phone, or you can do a Memory Maker share. I’ve participated in those, and it makes the cost very reasonable. For instance, if five family groups share one, then your cost is 1/5 of normal. You get unlimited photos, and you can use that whatever ticket media (card, phone, old MB) for those.


My bands from 2019 worked perfectly a few months ago, except for some long range ride photos.


Have also participated in Memory Maker shares.

I’m on the fence. The Disney photographers can be a time sink, waiting on line. Not all the special effects always show up. Maybe most aggravating to me is that most have no eye or interest in posing their subjects sensibly. I can’t imagine paying full price.
I have also looked on line after a trip and bought the one photo I was interested in.


The Magic Bands are very convenient to easily scan into the parks, LLs, and ILLs. Like everyone else has said, your old Magic Bands will work perfectly for those. I think it is easier to use Magic Bands than to scan everyone in using the tickets in MDE. You can also get physical tickets. The old Magic Bands may not work for long range ride photos.

If you want MM, do a MM share. I led one early this year with a dummy account. It was super easy to set up and use. Pictures are time consuming and photographers are terrible at posting and waiting for better moments. We hardly waited in lines that were longer than 3 deep.


You can get the key cards at any guest services location (we have done this on our past three trips even when staying onsite - we usually get them right at the hotel upon check in, or at Disney Springs guest service location). They work just as well as Magic Bands in our experience, we dont feel we’re missing anything and dont need to worry about them falling off or charging them overnight (for MB+) Easy cost saver.