MagicBands are wearable devices that can function as a guest’s park ticket, hotel room key, contactless payment method, and more.
The MagicBand is integrated with a guest’s My Disney Experience account, which helps consolidate plans and reservations without the need to carry multiple physical tickets, cards, and keys.
Since being introduced in 2013, Disney World hotel guests and Annual Passholders have all received a free, solid color MagicBand; and recently received the option to select an upgraded MagicBand design for a discounted rate. But soon, that practice will be changing.
Disney has announced that beginning in January 2021, Disney World hotel guests and Annual Passholders will no longer receive a free MagicBand with their reservation or pass.
Instead, Disney plans to launch new offerings as part of the My Disney Experience app that will bring the features of a MagicBand to guests’ smart devices. This will involve expanding upon the app’s Digital Key technology which allows guests to unlock their rooms using their smartphones.
Despite the discontinuation of complimentary MagicBands, Disney has stated that they WILL continue to release new colors and designs, and Disney World hotel guests will have the option to purchase MagicBands at a discounted price.
Guests who prefer not to purchase a discounted MagicBand will be able to use the My Disney Experience app or a Key to the World card during their visit.
In other words, MagicBands will still be functional and guests will have the ability to reuse bands they already own, or purchase new ones. Or, they can opt to use a Key to the World card (similar to the process before the introduction of MagicBands) instead.
With this upcoming change in mind, we reached out to our followers on Instagram to ask, “Will you still use MagicBands in 2021 when they’re no longer free?” And of the 485 responses we received, a resounding 407 said YES, they will still continue to use MagicBands. Of the remaining responses, 50 said NO, and 28 said they’d “wait and see,” or “Wait…WHAT? MagicBands Won’t Be Free?”
Let’s take a look at the reasons some of our readers gave behind their responses!
“Yes, I’ll Still Use MagicBands in 2021!”
It looks like a lot of our readers are still pretty passionate about their MagicBands — 84% said they will still use them in 2021. Many respondents commented on the convenience they provide. “Absolutely! Makes it so easy compared to using a phone for everything.”
While most of our readers still plan to use MagicBands, there were differing opinions on whether or not they plan to invest in new designs.
Some plan to reuse their old bands: “Yes, but I probably won’t buy new ones.” While others love collecting new options: “Probably because I already buy limited edition ones when I visit the parks. Not much difference.”
A number of others also said they feel that MagicBands are part of the experience, and they enjoy keeping them as a souvenir from their trip. “Yes, because they add your own personality and add to the magic of Disney.”
“No, I Don’t Plan to Use MagicBands in 2021.”
But not everyone plans to make use of MagicBands moving forward — 10% said they won’t be using them in 2021. Guests have always had the option to use a card (similar in size and shape to a credit card) instead of a MagicBand, and some said they plan to continue down that route. “Nope, don’t use it now.”
Others mentioned that they aren’t happy with Disney’s decision to change the complimentary MagicBand policy. “No, they shouldn’t make guests pay for them! They are near essential to the parks.”
Hopefully, the new smartphone features Disney has said they will roll out will be able to compete with the ease and functionality of MagicBands.
We asked our readers if they think Disney World face characters should be wearing face masks. Here’s what they said.
“I Might Use MagicBands in 2021, But It Depends…”
Making up the remainder of the responses, 6% weren’t able to say for sure whether or not they will use MagicBands in 2021. A few readers mentioned that they’re waiting to see how the new alternative technology will work: “Maybe. It will depend on the new smartphone features they roll out.”
And others hadn’t yet heard the news about the upcoming retirement of free MagicBands. “What?!? They’re not going to be free?!?” Sadly it’s true — we feel your pain!
While a few of our respondents said they plan to stop using MagicBands next year — or, in some cases, continue to bypass them — it looks like the majority of our readers are all-in on them. Between the convenience, customization, and collectability, our readers gave some pretty compelling reasons for their answers. And, of course, we’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments as well!
We asked our readers if they would take their kids to Disney World right now. Here’s what they said.
So, what do you think?? Will you continue to use MagicBands in 2021 when they’re no longer free for Disney World hotel guests and Annual Passholders? Let us know in the comments!