MagicBands, MK Parking, Mobile Order Questions for staying off property

Thank you liners for everything you do to help with planning a Disney trip. You guys truly are the best!!! so… I need some help!

We are staying off property for our upcoming trip and I have a few questions that I can’t seem to find the answers for…

  1. Do we need a MagicBand? If not, what are we using to get into the park? I purchased tickets, so will they be available on MDE app? I see them there now, but what am I showing to scan in at the parks now? And does that mean I’m showing my phone to CM for child swap, etc, too?

  2. Can you add funds to your MDE app? Or to a magicband, if we do end up getting them? Or is that only if you are staying on property? I can’t imagine having to pay with a card at every stop we make for a treat, gift shop items, etc… Hoping there was a way to make this easier?

  3. Since we are staying off property, can we still get into the parks early? I’ve read that some are letting guests in earlier and I was hoping it wasn’t just for on-property guests!

  4. Should we park at MK or try to uber there? Which is easier and what’s the best option. We want to get there early (before rope drop) to ride 7DMT. Family of 5 and 1 will need a carseat. Planning to be there on Monday, March 22nd. If we drive and plan to park- What time should we plan to get to the parking lot? Park official opening is at 8am that day. Should we try to do a counter service mobile order at Contemporary? Help!

  5. If we mobile order food, how are we paying for it? If we can’t link a CC to the MDE without a magicband, etc. Maybe I’m just not understanding this now.

  6. How far in advance should I place a mobile order?

Thanks for any and all answers and advice!!

Need them? No. But they do make life a little easier. Without a MB, you can use the plastic physical ticket cards (if you received them). I’ve never had just e-tickets for Disney, so perhaps someone else can describe that. I THINK that you have to take your confirmation to guest services on site and they will give you actual physical tickets…but I might be wrong about that.

Sort of. For Mobile Order, you can charge directly to a credit card, Disney gift card, or a Disney rewards card. But you can’t “charge” to your MB, if you have one, unless you are staying on site. Of course, while we were on site, I always paid using a card directly and never charged to my room using the MB. Paying with a card is no problem whatsoever.

Yes…but not AS early. (And Disney is likely going to change this policy in the future.) But right now, gates open to the parking lots generally about an hour before park opening, so you can get into the parks when they open. There is going to be a change, though, coming where on-site guests get daily early-entry (30 minutes)…once that is officially in place, I think off site guests will lose the opportunity to get into the parks early.

You can place the order any time, day-of, including before you even enter the park. You select an arrival window. Once you are within your arrival window time period, you then have to tap into MDE to say you have actually arrived, at which point they will start preparing your food. Personally, I’d tap in that you’ve arrived about 5-10 minutes before you actually arrive unless it isn’t that busy. You will receive a notification once your food is ready, and they will let you in.


I’ll add a bit to @ryan1’s great answers… Put in your mobile order for lunch as early as possible so the time slots don’t fill up. A CM told me you can select “I’m here, prepare my food” 10-15 min before your MO arrival window opens. And I think Lyfts drop off near busses at MK, I’ve seen Minnie Vans near there pre-covid when they were still running and that might save you some time getting to MK before those (Like me) that drive and park a POV. Oh, paying for things… it’s still contactless if you have a chip card. And MO are prepaid so you’ll have to set up some kind of payment ahead in your MDE account.


Oh I forgot, “WELCOME, to the forum!”

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Unfortunately regular Lyfts don’t drop off where the buses do. The Minnie Vans did, but they are more expensive than a regular Lyft. Pretty sure they aren’t running right now?


No, no Minnie vans now. And rideshares drop off at the TTC. If they could drop by the WDW buses at MK, there wouldn’t be as much (still some) need for all the complicated plans to let rideshares drop you at CR or GF.


Hope springs eternal… :joy: Minnie Vans are NOT running :worried: I don’t know where ride share drops for MK :woman_shrugging: Sorry. I know where they drop at all the other parks though.


Yes, you will need to pick up the plastic cards for each person for scanning info the tapstiles.

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I typed out answers to your questions and then realized that everyone else answered them. So now all I have to say is welcome to the forum! and Happy planning!

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Thank you so much Ryan for all of this info! You have helped me with your replies so many times over the forums from other people’s questions! I broke down and purchased some MagicBands for us all! I think it will just add to the excitement!

And, just for some more clarification-
Currently, they are letting all guests in about 30 minutes early to the parks? Or JUST guests that are staying on-property?

We are staying off property March 21st- 26th, and I’m trying to decide how to RD correctly! LOL. I can’t afford to get this wrong or I risk the family being in bad moods all day!

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Thank you! And thank you for all the help!!!

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Currently they have been letting everyone in early…usually more than 30 minutes early. But Disney announced back in January that coming soon on site guests will get 30 minutes early access to any park each day of their stay. This is in replacement of early magic hours pre COVID. This also means once they officially start this, off site guests will likely not be allowed in. I don’t think they have announced an official time because they have to first be sure they can safely accommodate a large number of guests queueing outside the gates. But you shouldn’t necessarily count on early access if you aren’t going in the next few months I think. As vaccination rates increase, I think Disney will start to be able to relax some if their distancing rules a bit and so be able to switch to the new early entry. Anyone’s guess for sure, though.

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I can give a detailed report when driving to AK and HS from the week of 3/1.

Ahead of the parking booths there will be a flashing security vehicle parked on the road with cones up. This opens up 60 minutes prior to official opening when at that time you are allowed to pull ahead to the parking booths and wait there.

If you pull up to security before the 60 minutes early time, you will be forced to leave and make a loop to circle back. You will also see vehicles pulled along the side of the road ahead of the road block. This is what I did, just for a few minutes. At exactly 60 minutes before opening time, the cars along the side all pulled onto the road and they let you through.

The parking booths opened at exactly :14 after (46 minutes before opening time). We were tapped into the park just before 30 minutes before official open and had great success rope dropping multiple rides.


I do wonder if they will run it like late EMH and let people in but scan you at the attraction. That way they won’t have to worry about crowding at the taps.

Either way, when it does happen, that is an incentive for me to be on property. I’m a RD person, and there will no longer be the option to just avoid the EMH park.

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That’s an interesting idea I hadn’t thought of. If they do it that way, it still has some advantage for off site guests to RD because you can at least start lining up for your preferred first ride ahead of all the other guests not there for early entry.

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Fairly certain they won’t do that. Just means the parks are way too crowded to be a perk in any way. And it means long queues building whilst guests try to blag their way in and are turned back to join the stand-by line. They also called it Early Entry.

I think it’ll work like morning EMH did before, And that means it won’t start until they can ease the social distancing sufficiently to have people lining up before the tap stiles (or the Hub in MK, perhaps).


I thought about that too. You might be able to get in to one of the RD locations in the park. That would allow for a little bit more distancing. I do think I read somewhere, though, that people were predicting not until fall for this change.

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If there are onsite guests that drive to parks, and there are, will they start letting ppl into parking earlier ( for EMH when they start)? And I was thinking of another thread that reported resort guests being told they could drive themselves to the parks due to bus delays; what’s the point of staying on property to use internal transportation if they are going to tell you to drive BC they didn’t schedule enough busses?!?!

I think the message about driving to the parks was because of the long lines at the resort bus stops, not delays.

And I’m seeing such different reports about the buses. Some people who are visiting every month or so are saying they have never once missed the gates opening at any park by using Disney buses. And others saying they never got there on time. I think it comes down to how early you line up at the resort.

But when EMH was happening pre-Covid you could usually get to the EMH park in time if you were ready 30-45 minutes before EMH started. So no reason to think otherwise with the Early Entry, especially since by then the buses will be able to take more people.