Buying a Disney MagicBand is one of the fun planning things the whole family can do.
A long time ago, in a resort far, far away, Walt Disney World resort guests and annual passholders would get MagicBands for free. Okay, so maybe it wasn’t that long ago, but the fact of the matter is that now, we all have to pay for our MagicBands. Many are a pretty basic $20. But why are some Disney MagicBands SO expensive? Let’s see if we can figure this out.
As we cover ways your MagicBand could end up costing you lots of $$$, we’re going to highlight the different types of MagicBands and places you can find them so you know what to expect ahead of time. No sticker shock here!
Not Ordering Ahead of Time
The option to pick your MagicBands before you leave for your trip is still a thing, even now that you are paying for the MagicBands. This is totally optional but before you leave is the best time to order. If you buy your band more than 10 days before your arrival, you are eligible for pre-arrival pricing. That could save you up to $15! Definitely order in advance when possible if you’re interested.
To take advantage of the pre-arrival pricing, you’ll need to make sure to select and order your MagicBands through the My Disney Experience App in advance. According to the Disney World website you should plan to order your MagicBands at least 11 days before your arrival if you would like your MagicBands shipped to your home and at least 6 days before your arrival to have them shipped to your Resort hotel.
Not Ordering Before a Price Change
If you have a vacation coming up and you waited to order your MagicBands, you may have noticed the price increase that took place in May 2021. The price of the MagicBands went up by a few dollars back in May, and you’ll now find that they typically cost $5 more than they did before.
It helps to order your MagicBands in advance, especially if you’ve planned your vacation well ahead of time. It might help you avoid future price hikes if they happen to occur.
Choosing Something Other Than a Solid Color
Solid color MagicBands are generally the most affordable at about $20 each (standard price, not pre-arrival). If you are looking for something a little fancier, perhaps with your favorite character or your favorite park represented, you’re going to pay a bit more. These themed MagicBands start at about $10 more than the plain, solid color bands, but some run even a little bit higher.
They do make cool souvenirs after your trip, though, and that’s not a bad price for a souvenir.
Purchasing a Pre-Arrival Exclusive
Sometimes, when you are choosing MagicBands for your upcoming vacation, you’ll come across pre-arrival exclusive MagicBands. These bands are ONLY available to Disney resort guests, and you can only purchase them in advance of your arrival. This means you won’t necessarily find them for sale around Dinsey World. Typically, these bands can cost as much as $15 more than the plain, solid color bands.
You won’t find these later on shopDisney so if you want them, ahead of time is the only time to get them.
Forgetting to Use An Annual Passholder or Disney Vacation Club Discount
If you don’t have time to pre-order your MagicBands, or if you just prefer to pick them out when you get to Disney, you’ll find them for sale just about everywhere merchandise is sold. But if you aren’t purchasing them with discounts you may be eligible for, you could be paying up to 20% more than you have to!
Show your annual passholder card or your DVC card and a photo ID to get as much as 20% off on your MagicBand purchase (if you happen to have one of these options!).
Matching Your Disney Dooney & Bourke Bag
If you’re like a lot of us, you have fallen in love with at least a few of the Disney Dooney & Bourke handbags and accessories. You may not know that you can find MagicBands to match. Most are limited runs of 1500—2500, and they come in specialty-themed boxes. Some also have special “sliders” — the little charms that slide onto your band. They start at around $50 — which is about double the price of a plain MagicBand.
Keep in mind, you ARE paying for, essentially, a designer band with a big name behind it. So if you’re in the market for a matchy-matchy purse/MagicBand situation, this is a great option for you (albeit pricier!).
Swarovski Crystal and Other Specially Made Custom MagicBands
If you’ve been browsing your MagicBand options, you may have come across some of the custom-decorated MagicBands on sites like Etsy. Some are super elaborate, adorned with Swarovski crystals, rhinestones, decals, and more. The more elaborate MagicBands will run you close to $100. That’s a lot of…sparkle! Keep in mind, these custom bands are NOT officially recognized by Disney, so buy at your own risk!
They may be really beautiful, but consider the amount of use you’ll get out of it, and you never quite know what you’re buying, unlike purchasing from Disney directly. Maybe check out some actual Disney-themed jewelry instead if you want more mileage out of your bling.
Limited Release MagicBands
Some MagicBands are available all the time, and they can be the most reasonably priced. Sometimes, however, Disney releases MagicBands that are only available for a short time. These Limited Release MagicBands are going to cost a bit more. They generally start in the $30 range, but they can go up higher. There’s no way to tell how long they’ll be available, so if it’s something you want, snap them up when you see them.
Limited Edition MagicBands
Like the Dooney & Bourke bands, these bands are limited to runs of somewhere between 1500—4000. Some of these bands offer special effects when you touch them to the Mickey head checkpoints going into the theme park. You’ll find these Limited Edition MagicBands in special boxes — sometimes with a surprise of their own — we’ve seen some that came in scented boxes!
The price of these MagicBands starts at about $40.
Purchasing MagicBands on Amazon, eBay, or Through a Personal Shopper
Finally, there’s one other option for MagicBands but it’s not one we recommend. Still it’s worth noting here so you know what you could be getting yourself into. You may have been looking for a specific band or a certain color, or maybe you want your MagicBands earlier than Disney will send them so you can surprise someone. Using an Amazon seller or a personal shopper (often running their own resale sites or working off eBay) is a way to get the MagicBands you want when you want them, but there is often a hefty upcharge and a lot of headaches that can come with it.
These sellers are typically not in any way authorized by Disney. Prices can be increeeedibly hiked up (we’re talking a 30 dollar band being sold for HUNDREDS at times!). On top of that, you don’t know if the band you’re purchasing has already been used. Once a band is linked to an account, it can’t be transfered to someone else to use instead.
It’s not too uncommon to buy (what you think is) a new band only to find you’re out of luck and it has been used! Plus, MagicBand batteries, according to Disney, last about 2 years. You could get a band with a dead (or close to dead) battery and not realize it til too late. Basically, if you’re in the market for bands, this option is there…but we wouldn’t recommend it. Stick to Disney and know you’re getting what you pay for with your bands.
And that’s it! There are quite a few reasons why one Disney MagicBand might cost more than another. You can save money across the board by opting for using the MagicMobile app, which works as well as a MagicBand for entering the theme parks and opening your resort room door (but it’s…you know…still FREE!). But even if you prefer a MagicBand, you don’t have to go all-in where the budget is concerned. Keep this list in mind to keep your MagicBands from getting so expensive.
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Do you prefer to use a MagicBand or Disney’s MagicMobile app? Let us know in the comments.