Disney World has eliminated free Disney MagicBands beginning with 2021 vacation packages.
We Nerds loveDisney MagicBands and have shared all the ways they make vacationing at Disney World easier and better. Now, a new MagicBand will cost $5 per person for the solid color bracelets (there are still plenty of upgrade options available if you want to spend more…and get a cool MagicBand with your favorite scene or character).
While not substantial, it does have the feeling of being “nickeled and dimed” on a Disney World vacation package where you are already spending thousands of dollars. There are still three free options.
Free Option #1
Of course, using an existing Disney MagicBand is a free option.
Free Option #2
Another option is to have the Front Desk of your Disney World resort issue Key to the World cards that is a room key, theme park ticket, PhotoPass, FastPass+ and room charge card all in one. Essentially, it’s a “MagicCreditCard” that is carried in your wallet instead of being worn on your wrist. A major downside to this choice is that it requires you to check in at the front desk – a huge time suck – before going to the parks or checking out your room.
Free Option #3
Another option is using the My Disney Experience app. Just like the other two offerings, it’s an all-in-one product. Plus, it is on your phone – something you’re likely carrying anyway. We think the downside is constantly taking out a phone all day often takes people out of the moment (plus your battery life might be an issue).
None of these is a bad option, though we Nerds don’t like anything that slows us down (so the Key to the World card option is out for us). If the Nerdlings were younger, the key card is out since it is easily lost and not as much fun. As a family, we always enjoyed selecting our colors, our nicknames and putting on our Disney MagicBands each morning as we prepared for the parks. In fact, we still enjoy this 🙂
There are many great upgraded Disney MagicBands like this it’s a small world version.And although our Nerdlings are older, we will opt for using an existing MagicBand or upgrading to a premium option. We’re not likely to add a new solid color to an ever-expanding collection. In this way, Disney World is probably on to something – repeat customers like us will probably forgo the MagicBand we didn’t really need (saving Disney World money) or upgrade (making Disney World money).
Stepping back a bit, we wonder if this is solely money motivated or if Disney World is moving away from the MagicBand concept. Some estimates put the Disney MagicBand project at north of $1,000,000,000 when it was first introduced. The original thought was that MagicBands would make their way west to Disneyland and that the company would integrate this technology, eventually, into all of their parks.
These technological marvels have evolved and improved since their 2013 introduction and now they have become a fashion statement and the focus of collectors with limited edition bands – like all things Disney – making their way to ebay to be sold at a premium. For these reasons, and their accompanying revenue, it is unlikely Disney is going to abandon them…at least not until the equipment upgrade costs exceed their value.