MagicBand+ at Disneyland Resort: A Complete Guide

by | Mar 9, 2023 | Disney California Adventure Park, Disneyland, Disneyland Parks, Disneyland Resorts

After years of waiting, Disney’s MagicBand+ technology has finally made it to Disneyland Resort! Here’s your guide to everything this wearable has to offer, both inside the theme parks and across the resort itself.

While Walt Disney World Resort Guests have enjoyed Disney’s MagicBands for over a decade now, Disneyland Resort fans have had to wait – and for many years, it was unclear if MagicBand would ever make its way out to Anaheim. However, in October 2022, everyone’s favorite piece of wearable technology from Disney finally launched at Disneyland! Now, MagicBand+ can be part of the experience when visiting Disneyland Park or Disney California Adventure Park.

But does MagicBand+ work the same way at Disneyland as it does at Walt Disney World? Is it worth getting for your next visit? We’re covering all things MagicBand+ at Disneyland here, from pricing to features to whether or not it’s a worthwhile investment.

Click on the links below to jump directly to any part of this guide:

What Features Does MagicBand+ Offer at Disneyland

Disneyland MagicBand+ park entry

MagicBand+ makes it oh-so-easy to enter the theme parks. Photo courtesy Winston Suk/Disneyland Resort

At Walt Disney World, the original MagicBand was introduced with a whole host of vacation-enhancing features. The MagicBand+ builds off of those original features, adding new and more advanced ones that offer more perks and a more personalized experience each time you visit a resort or theme park.

At Disneyland, however, MagicBand+ works a bit differently. Because this wearable tech is still relatively new to the Anaheim resort and theme parks, there are a number of features that are still to come – meaning Disneyland’s MagicBand+ will only get more features as time goes on!

Right now, here’s a look at what your MagicBand+ can do during a visit to Disneyland Resort:

  • Hands-free entry at theme parks: MagicBand+ will let you enter the theme parks and check in at Lightning Lane entrances without using your phone or a physical ticket.
  • Link Disney PhotoPass photos: You can tap your MagicBand+ with any PhotoPass photographer, and it’ll automatically link your photos to your account.
  • Enhanced park experiences: MagicBand+ interacts with some theme park experiences, getting you immersed in the action during World of Color, Fantasmic!, and other nighttime spectaculars with haptic vibrations and glowing lights timed just for each show.
  • Play exclusive in-park games: You can interact with Black Spire Outpost in entirely new ways with a MagicBand+, as the tech allows you to collect virtual bounties and participate in the Star Wars: Batuu Bounty Hunters game.
  • Interact with theme parks during special events: MagicBand+ will offer special interactive experiences during special events at Disneyland, like the chance to unlock interactions with Disney100 medallions.

This list of features is expected to grow in the months ahead. Currently, it’s important to note that MagicBand+ at Disneyland does not work as your hotel room key or a form of payment in the theme parks or at resort hotels.

Is MagicBand+ Worth Buying for Trips to Disneyland?

If you’re wondering whether you should invest in a MagicBand+ for your next Disneyland visit, the answer really depends on what you’re hoping to get out of the experience. For some, a MagicBand+ can enhance each visit – but for others, it’s simply an extra that doesn’t alter the experience significantly.

Here are our thoughts on how MagicBand+ can offer both benefits and drawbacks while you’re at Disneyland or Disney California Adventure.

MagicBand+ at Disneyland Resort lights up during nighttime spectaculars

Your MagicBand+ will interact with nighttime spectaculars at both theme parks. Photo courtesy of Winston Suk/Disneyland Resort

The Pros and Cons of MagicBand+

If you live locally and are considering getting a MagicBand+ for your trips to Disneyland Resort, here’s a look at how this tech can be valuable – and where it may fall short.

Pro: MagicBand+ Makes Park Entry a Breeze

If you’re tired of pulling out your smartphone every time you need to scan your Magic Key to enter California Adventure or Disneyland, a MagicBand+ will make it oh-so-easy! You can just rely on your band to scan into the theme parks, Lightning Lane entry at various attractions, and even sync PhotoPass to your account.

As WDW Reporter Kathleen Lee explains, “For local visitors, if you have a Magic Key, it’s very easy to just scan your MagicBand+ to get into the park [and] for PhotoPass. I think there’s value in that aspect for convenience.”

Con: MagicBand+ Doesn’t Significantly Change the Guest Experience at Disneyland

While MagicBand+ is fun and convenient to use at Disneyland Resort, it’s not yet as experience-altering as Walt Disney World’s MagicBands. As Lee explains, “When I go to Walt Disney World with my MagicBand, I use it in every way possible. I’ve gone to Disneyland about five times since I got my MagicBand+, and I’ve only worn it maybe twice, three times.”

This drawback is simply due to the fact that MagicBand+ is still so new at Disneyland! Right now, MagicBand+ is still building up its features and functionality – and it may need a little more time to become extra useful. 

As WDW Magazine CEO Stephanie Shuster notes, “I just did nearly back-to-back trips staying offsite with no MagicBand+, onsite with MagicBand+, and offsite with MagicBand+, and there was very little difference in my guest experience.” In time, the wearable tech will likely become increasingly important – but for the time being, its use doesn’t really affect your overall experience at the resort or theme parks.  

Pro: MagicBand+ Does Enhance Nighttime Spectaculars (and It’s Fun to Use!)

The cool haptic vibrations and illuminating lights that are part of the MagicBand+’s features are a lot of fun – and they do change your experience during entertainment at Disneyland Resort. From interacting with the Disney100 medallions sprinkled throughout the resort to feeling yourself pulled into shows like World of Color – ONE and Wondrous Journeys, these effects do make a noticeable difference!

As Lee explains, “During World of Color – ONE, I did notice my MagicBand lighting up during certain parts; that was really cool. At climatic parts and at the very beginning of the show, it definitely lights up and pulses, [which is] exciting.”

If you’re looking to get more out of entertainment at Disneyland, a MagicBand+ is a must!

Con: The Cost of a MagicBand+

One reason you might not want to invest in a MagicBand+ just yet is the price of the bands themselves. It’s not exactly a minor purchase – with prices starting at $34.99, it’s definitely a mid-range souvenir that will add to the overall cost of your vacation or visit. And if you’re looking at a character or themed MagicBand+, prices can range anywhere from $44.99 to as much as $64.99 per band.

Currently, with its more limited slate of features, the cost of a MagicBand+ at Disneyland doesn’t make it a must-have. According to Lee, “I don’t think – cost effectively – that MagicBand+ really added to my experience. It’s an extra. If I were to buy another one, I would probably wait for more features.”

Similarly, Shuster notes that Disneyland visitors on a budget may be better off skipping MagicBand+ in favor of other theme park perks and add-ons: “If you’re on a budget, it’s not worthwhile unless you want to play Batuu Bounty Hunters; then, I think it’s worth it for whoever in your party wants to play. But if you’re choosing between MagicBand+ or Genie+, or upgrading to park hopper or having an additional souvenir or dining budget, I’d wait and use the money elsewhere.”

The Bottom Line

Deciding whether or not MagicBand+ is worth investing in is a personal choice, and one that really depends on what you’re planning for your Disneyland visit. Ultimately, though, it comes with both pros and cons. We predict that MagicBand+ will only become more useful and feature-filled in the future – which means that while it might take a little time, it will ultimately likely match the fun of the Walt Disney World version!

And there is one key way in which MagicBand+ really shines: It offers some special virtual fun. We particularly think it’s worthwhile for anyone who wants to join the fun of Star Wars: Batuu Bounty Hunters, the game available within Galaxy’s Edge. If you or anyone in your party loves taking part in games throughout Disney theme parks, your MagicBand+ will turn Batuu Bounty Hunters into a great experience that gets you involved with the magic of Black Spire Outpost beyond the rides and sights to see. 

Star Wars: Batuu Bounty Hunters at Disneyland

Your MagicBand+ is especially valuable if you want to play Star Wars: Batuu Bounty Hunters! Photo courtesy of Winston Suk/Disneyland Resort

How Much Does a Disneyland MagicBand+ Cost?

MagicBand+ is free to use at Disneyland Resort. However, there is an initial cost that comes with the band itself.

Whether you’re shopping for MagicBand+ at the theme parks or online at ShopDisney, you’ll find that the price of the bands starts at $34.99 (and that’s before tax). Solid-colored, plain MagicBand+ designs are the cheapest; if you’d like a band with characters or a limited-edition design, prices will start at $44.99 and go up, depending on the exact design.

Frequently Asked Questions About MagicBand+

What’s the difference between MagicBand and MagicBand+?

For Disneyland visitors, there’s one big difference between the original MagicBand and the updated MagicBand+: MagicBand doesn’t work at Disneyland Resort! Only MagicBand+ will work at Disneyland, California Adventure, and across the resort itself. 

Although MagicBand does work at Walt Disney World Resort, the California theme parks never had the chance to utilize its technology. So, you can think of MagicBand+ as your only MagicBand option for Disneyland!

Can I use my Apple Watch like a MagicBand+ at Disneyland?

Unfortunately, while the Apple Watch does function like an original MagicBand at Walt Disney World, you can’t utilize that same functionality at Disneyland Resort. Because Disneyland doesn’t offer the MagicMobile service, you unfortunately can’t use your Apple Watch to enter the theme parks or take advantage of any other perks. You’ll need a MagicBand+ for that!

Do you need a MagicBand+ to enjoy Disneyland?

You absolutely do not have to use a MagicBand+ to enjoy Disneyland. You can still utilize all of the resort perks – like Genie, Genie+, and Lightning Lane, as well as advance dining reservations and seamless park hopping – with your smartphone alone. What you’ll skip without MagicBand+ are the unique games, special in-park interactions, and the convenience of carrying your ticket or Magic Key on your wrist. However, your smartphone will serve as the perfect solution!

Posts by Heather Adams

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Heather is a lifelong Disney fan who grew up at Disneyland and loves spending as much time as possible in the parks. As WDW Magazine’s Content Operations Manager, Heather is a content creator and strategist with experience at a wide variety of different outlets. She’s written for publications including Clean Eating Magazine, Fatherly, The Drive, Task and Purpose, Healthversed, Nation.com, and Car Bibles. Heather also authored the book Fidget!: 101 Ways to Boost Your Creativity and Decrease Stress.
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Authored by
Heather Adams

Heather is a lifelong Disney fan who grew up at Disneyland and loves spending as much time as possible in the parks. As WDW Magazine’s Content Operations Manager, Heather is a content creator and strategist with experience at a wide variety of different outlets. She’s written for publications including Clean Eating Magazine, Fatherly, The Drive, Task and Purpose, Healthversed, Nation.com, and Car Bibles. Heather also authored the book Fidget!: 101 Ways to Boost Your Creativity and Decrease Stress.
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