MAGIC BANDS- worth it for a family off five off site?

I’ve seen this topic posted a few years ago but was curious if it is worth it. We are staying off site, have a four day park hopper pass and our kids are 9, 11, 14. We live on the West Coast, so have typically done Disneyland in the past and likely won’t be back to Disneyworld anytime soon.

For our family of five, this is an extra $75 that would be nice to have for lunch and dinners. Is this an expense that is worth it?

My wife and I just use our tickets but we bought a band for our son last time and he loves having it. It makes him feel special, and links us for the on-ride photo opportunities (because he’s in our group in MDE). In your case getting one for each kid would be $45 and while you’re only saving $30, every dollar counts at Disney!

Will you have memory maker? If you do, you will miss out on some photos and videos that are picked up by magic bands but have no place to tap. Off the top of my head, PotC pic, SDD pic, 7DMT pic and video, TOT video. There will be others but most you can just tap your ticket to get the photo.

I don’t think it’s worth it personally. You could maybe get one but then I’d imagine everyone would want one.

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Our family knew we wanted to do MagicBands for certain. If you’re getting a Memory Maker / Photopass, I would highly recommend them. They are great souvenirs, and while you’re in the park, there are little extras that are triggered by the MagicBands, especially when seeing rides and shows. You even receive occasional ‘voicemails’ to your MDE photopass account from Disney characters depending on rides you take (e.g. Buzz Lightyear Space Ranger Spin will leave a VM from Buzz and Woody, while Mickey’s Philharmagic triggers a VM from Mickey and Minnie). Most ride phots save automatically when you’re wearing your magicband, and it’s the only way to get photos from some of the rides.

If you played/owned the Disney Infinity video games, Magicbands can be used on the game reader to unlock some items as well.

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Voicemails? Is that new? We didn’t have anything like that in either August 2016 or August 2019.

My Feb 2020 trip was the first in 10 years for us. Can anybody else who goes more often say when these started being issued? It shows up as a sound file (.mp4) in the photopass account.

Yes, absolutely worth it! We visited WDW for the very first time in 2019. 6 of us, including a set of grandparents, me and DH, and our 2 sons - the youngest of whom is 11 y/o and autistic. We stayed off-site, so they were an extra expense, but we found them to be totally worth it. They make it so easy to tap into the entry gates, tap in for FP+ at the rides and for ADRs. They also work for on-ride photos, even if you don’t have Memory Maker. If you don’t have Magic Bands, then you’d have to fish out everyone’s ticket/cards at the gates and at the rides for every FP+ and risk dropping or losing them. It was so easy for everyone to just have them on their wrists and ready to go. Our 11 y/o quickly got the hang of tapping in for rides with his MB and loved it! I know you mentioned not planning another trip to WDW, but they do work for additional trips if that does end up being in your future. At first, DH was against the extra expense, especially because we stayed off-site but during the trip he said they were great and wondered why Disneyland does not use them?

We did not purchase magic bands and did not feel like we were missing out at all. We had to keep track of our tickets and keep taking them out, but that felt worth the cost savings.

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Our trip in 2016, we did not use MBs, even though they were in full swing at the time. For the most part, it was okay. I kept a hold of the actual tickets to scan in for our FPs, etc because I was afraid someone would accidentally drop and lose their ticket otherwise.

BUT, it certainly isn’t as convenient as using a MB. This was particularly the case at Test Track, where you have to scan your MB or ticket in multiple locations. We didn’t know this, and so we weren’t ready to scan our cards just as we were about to board the ride vehicles. As a result, we lost out on one of the fun aspects of the ride. Had everyone had MBs, it would have been no issue at all. (You can still do it without MBs and just the tickets, but it becomes a bit of a juggle.)

So, I’d say, consider the $75 an investment in souvenirs of MBs as well as convenience. For our May off-site trip this year, I’ve made sure everyone has MBs.

We stay offsite, and bought them for the convenience and the on-ride photos. It did not disappoint. Plus, the kids really liked picking out their own style bands. Now, my wife did not care at all. :rofl:

If you don’t go with MB nothing will happen, enjoy your extra 75.

But be aware that MBs are fun, your kids will love them and see them everywhere. As people mentioned, you won’t get the photos. And you will have to pull out 5 ticket cards to scan at the gate individually, scan at each fast pass individually, scan at the park you hop to individually.
No big deal but it does add up. Maybe individual lanyards with transparent ticket holders around each neck if you trust your kiddos to not lose those?

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I actually feel like we don’t see that many. But we go in high crowds when most visitors are offsite anyway.

If you do buy them, I’d also buy bitbelts on amazon. They are fairly cheap and we lost a magic band our first day.


We just got back from a trip, stayed off-site and did not get magicbands. We didn’t care about photopass, so we were happy to save the money. We never wished we had them, using the tickets was no big deal.

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Really? I kinda noticed them at every tap in… maybe it was the envy in me?

I went in April of last year and got a couple “voicemails” from mickey. One was philharmagic and the other was from a character meeting. My 2 yo son loved it!


We went this past August and in June of 2016 and I consider them worth it. I liked not having to pull out tickets for getting into the park and fp (I know not a huge deal, but it was convenien), my son and his cousin went in EE several extra time and it was cool being able to grab them fp’s and not having to hand them tickets to drop and lose. my sister had Memory Maker and since we all had shared plans it made it so pictures of all of us showed up even when we split up.

In 2016, I felt like we were the only ones who used hard tickets rather than MBs when we were arriving for FPs. In fact, it took us so much longer to get through the tapstyles that usually one or two families would tap through using MBs in the time it took us to tap through all of our tickets.


We stayed offsite in December 2019 and chose to buy Magic Bands. (We are also from the West Coast on our second trip to WDW. We may or may not return a third time. And if we do return a third time in 6-7 years, the batteries in the Magic Bands would be dead.) However, we got the cheapest Magic Bands at 40% off from We also decided to buy them because we were planning to buy Memory Maker. To get the ride photos, we needed Magic Bands. The ride photos were the deciding factors for us. Since we are all adults, we each got Magic Bands to facilitate PhotoPass and ride photos when not all 4 of us would be together. The Magic Bands for each of us made life very convenient.

BUT, I if we didn’t get Memory Maker, we would not have purchased Magic Bands. Each person would have just have worn their tickets in a pouch with lanyands. We could easily tap into the park and into the FPP lines with the tickets like that without digging out tickets from our wallets. But then, our 2 kids are in college and theoretically are responsible enough to keep track of their own tickets!

Updated: I was dubious about the Magic Bands’ staying on our wrists, too. I didn’t know about the bitbelts. So, I saved some rubber bands from herb purchases from the store closer to the trip and put them on our Magic Bands. They kept our Magic Bands on.

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Yeah I think it’s tied to specific attractions. I get a voicemail everytime I visit the Philharmagic. Think I also got one for a celebration message upon entering the kingdom. But I honestly don’t know exactly where it came from, just showed up in my feed.