Magic Bands confusion

We haven’t been to WDW since 2010. I don’t completely understand the Magic Bands. We won’t be staying at a WDW resort, so at what point will we receive ours? Are they mandatory? Are they free? If so, why are they being sold at the Disney store for $20?

I understand what’s coded onto the bands. I just don’t understand how I will procure bands and why I would want them if they’re optional.



Magic Bands are your Disney resort door key that is also linked to your profile in my Disney experience ( so your tickets get linked). They are free if you are staying at a Disney resort. You can buy one either before your trip on while you are there and link to your account to have your tickets, but you do not need to. Link your tickets to my Disney experience and make your fast passes. Bring your tickets with you to the park.

Thanks for the reply. But since we’re not staying at a WDW resort, why would we need bands? I don’t even know what a My Disney Experience is…they didn’t have that in 2010. Fast passes were on paper then, and they didn’t have +'s. I’m beginning to think it’s too much tech-y effort to go to Disney anymore…

I went through the same thing you did! Don’t sweat it! I’m staying offsite, I purchased magic bands just for the convenience of having our tickets on our wrist versus a lanyard. My Disney experience is actually pretty good. It tracks all of your dining reservations and your fast pass vouchers, which aren’t on paper anymore. You can sign up for a free account on the Disney site…

You don’t need them, they’re just another way to carry your ticket if you’re staying off-site. If you’re staying on-site, they’re your room key and allow charging to your room.

  1. Your ticket will be on a plastic card like always. It works to get you into the parks and to allow you to book fast passes. You don’t need magic bands at all.
  1. You can get fast passes in two ways:
    a) Sort of like before - you go to a kiosk in the park. Before you would just get the next time slot for a given attraction. Now, you go to a kiosk and interact with it to pick three different fast passes, for three different (non-overlapping) 1-hour time windows. Once you’ve used those 3 fast passes, you can go back and pick extra fast passes at a kiosk, one at a time.
    b) Sign up for MyDisneyExperience (MDE) on the Disney site. It’s about as difficult as signing up for TouringPlans. Then, if you bought your tickets ahead of time, you can link your tickets (by the number on the back) and in fact book fast passes up to 30 days BEFORE you even get to the park. This is great if you want to do popular rides later during peak times and don’t want to trust the whim of the old-fashioned fast pass machines. After you pick fast passes, you can still change them or cancel them or swap them to a different park (but all 3 must be for the same part to start).

Disney designed the “techy” stuff to be approachable even to the utter technophobe. Since you’ve navigated this forum, for sure you can navigate it just fine. There’s much debate and no question that the new MDE/Fastpass system is not without its downsides, but overall most people seem to like it okay.

1 Like

I think everyone answered why you might want bands but I want to add to @mossymom great answer! If you go to you can create a My Disney Exoerience account (drop down, top right corner). If you add your ticket numbers to your profile you will be then able to book fast passes 30 days before your trip (3 a day- has to be in the same park). You can make others at kiosks after you use your first three (one at a time). Since people staying onsite make fast passes at 60 days you will get the best fast passes if you set up the account and get them 30 days out.

None of the “techy-y” stuff is required. You can just show up with your park ticket and enjoy the day, All of the other options are just that - options to enhance your trip. It may be overwhelming at first, but take a step back and you will see that it actually makes things a lot easier. ‘My Disney Experience’ is just a way to make an itinerary and track your plans. You can make all of your reservations (dining, FastPass) via the website and it will all be saved there for you and available for you if and when you choose to reference it.

Thanks, everyone. I’m a planner and have used Touring Plans and Fastpass for our previous family WDW trips (2008, 2010) with great success. I like to be as prepared as possible in order to maximize our time at WDW. It turns out I already have a My Disney Experience account…I just didn’t remember that that’s what it was called. :confused:

Now I just have to find out where to find the cheapest tickets…

Thanks, again!

1 Like

So my question is similar - staying at swan so don’t get the bands. But I have signed up MyDisExperience.

Can someone please confirm
1 - All my fast passes etc are still linked to my park pass (if I link them to MDE)
2 - I can change my FP / Reservations etc either via the APP or via Kiosk in the park - correct?
3 - I still need to pull out my Park Passes for fast pass (there aren’t the Paper tickets anymore if I use MDE?)


Correct on all three, but once you use your first 3 FPP you have to get the next from a kiosk, you can no longer use the app at that point. However, I was able to use the app for a different park than what I had used my first 3 for.

While on the subject is of magic bands…have already booked a March trip,stay at Yacht Club, dinner reservations, and memory maker, picked band colors for us. Do I have to “activate” the bands for the photos or is it like the old photo pass wherein the first photogropher sort of got the whole photo pass thing started or do the bands already have the memory maker key installed?

There’s nothing stored on the bands. The bands are just a way to call up your My Disney Experience account. If your Memory Maker shows up on your account, you’re all good.

Yes, you can use the app if you get a 4th FPP from a kiosk. This is possibly the most effective way to swap around FPP - go to kiosk, get 4th, then use MDE to swap time/ride without a CM breathing down your neck. We lucked into 7DMT that way.

You can book at 60 days too!

I miss the days where a FAST PASS was sending the “scrappy” kid running for the attraction at rope drop - HA

TRUTH!!! This new FPP+ system makes me crazy!

“then use MDE to swap time/ride without a CM breathing down your neck. We lucked into 7DMT that way.” What does that mean?! Particularly the swap part…

Get 4th FPP at kiosk (e.g. Haunted Mansion).
Then log into MDE.
Go into “change FPP” then select the recently added 4th FPP and choose “change experience”.
Then change to a different ride (e.g. 7DMT, Winnie the Pooh, etc) and/or time.

I didn’t mean photos stored on MBs - I was just wondering if the MB alerts the photogropher that we are enrolled in MM. Thanks