MagicBand vs MagicBand+: What’s the Difference?

by | Feb 28, 2023 | Disneyland Merch, DLR News, News Outside the Parks, Walt Disney World Merch, Walt Disney World News, WDW Blog

Wondering what the difference is between the original MagicBand and the new MagicBand+? We’re breaking it down in this guide to all things (and types!) of MagicBands.

When MagicBand premiered at Walt Disney World Resort back in 2013, it completely changed the game, bringing unmatched convenience to Guests. This simple piece of wearable tech could carry your park tickets and passes, your resort room key, and even a form of payment – making it a total breeze to park hop, pay for food and merch, and even enter the Fastpass (now Lightning Lane) queue for your reservations. But now, there’s a new version of MagicBand: MagicBand+. MagicBand+ premiered at Walt Disney World Resort in July 2022 and made it way to Disneyland Resort in October, offering a whole new list of features and benefits. But should you switch from MagicBand to MagicBand+?

We’re here to help you decide! We’re breaking down the difference between MagicBand and MagicBand+, covering the perks and drawbacks of each band type.

MagicBand and MagicBand+ Share Many of the Same Features

The new MagicBand+ on display at a Disney media event.

Photo by Danny Shuster

Before the MagicBand, Disney guests were at the mercy of their wallets and Key to the World plastic lanyard card holders. But in 2013, rummaging through your backpack at a park entrance to find your ticket and losing your room key at the resort pool became things of the past when the original MagicBand was released. The original MagicBand introduced a long list of handy, helpful features, including:

  • Acting as your resort hotel room key
  • Storing your park tickets and Annual Passes right on your wrist for easy park entrance
  • Working as a method of payment for food and merch at theme parks and restaurants
  • Allowing you to tap to enter attraction queues for Fastpass (or Lightning Lane) return times

With these features, MagicBands have made park visits and resort stays seamless for almost ten years. Luckily, if you’re thinking about upgrading to MagicBand+, you won’t lose them! MagicBand+ will include all of these same features from the original MagicBand.

So, yes, you can still use your band to unlock your resort room, enter the parks, clear Lighting Lane checkpoints, and purchase merchandise and food!

Note: MagicBand+, which is the only type of MagicBand that works at Disneyland Resort, does not include these same features. Disneyland Resort Guests cannot use their MagicBand+ as a hotel room key or a form of purchase. However, the bands will work for park tickets and Magic Keys as well as Lightning Lane entry.

MagicBand+ Introduces a Few New Features and Details

If the new MagicBand+ does everything that the old MagicBands did, then what’s so special about the newest generation of park wearables? Well, along with the classic features of the MagicBand we know and love, MagicBand+ introduces a number of new features that are unique to this latest iteration. Here’s an overview of how the MagicBand+ is different from the original.

Chic New Style and Shape

Ohana Stitch MagicBand Plus Styles Disney World Blanken

Visually, thenew MagicBands take on a slightly different style – the middle circle (also known as the “puck”) is slightly rounder, and the band follows the contours of this piece. While fan-favorite solid color styles are still available, the Mickey head in the center of the band is outlined in chic silver instead of the old charcoal color.

–👉 Click here to see all of the Current MagicBand+ Styles and learn more about their light sequences!–

The first release of MagicBand+ also boasts about 20 total designs, ranging from simple solid colors to Star Wars, Marvel, classic character, and Disney Parks-themed designs. Here’s a little secret you may not know about the new designs: Each one has its own unique light sequence that follows its theme!

Haptic Vibrations and Light Sequences

Charge MagicBand Plus Tinker bell Long

All MagicBand+ light up green while charging. Photo by Evelyn Long

The biggest – and arguably best – feature that sets the MagicBand+ apart from the MagicBand is the addition of haptic vibrations and unique light sequences. As you move throughout the theme parks and resorts, MagicBand+ not only lights up during select interactions, but also vibrates along with your park and resort experiences!

Your MagicBand+ will vibrate and illuminate during activities like:

  • Entering the park
  • Using Lightning Lane
  • Interacting with your environment
  • Unlocking your room
  • During nighttime spectaculars

You can also unlock special experiences with MagicBand+ that simply aren’t available for the original MagicBand. With new, immersive vibrations and dancing lights, your band will react in sync with what’s happening around you at Walt Disney World and Disneyland Resort. Here’s an overview of special experiences that will get you involved with your MagicBand+:

  • Star Wars: Batuu Bounty Hunters interactive quest, a game that guides you to virtual bounties and helps you earn credits across Black Spire Outpost at Hollywood Studios and Disneyland Park
  • Walt Disney World 50th Anniversary statues, which will interact with your MagicBand+ when you wave at the characters
  • Bringing nighttime spectaculars to life right on your wrist, as your band vibrates and illuminates with the music and moments of shows like World of Color – ONE and Harmonious

Although it may seem silly, these touches really make the magic come alive throughout the day. For example, embarking on Rise of the Resistance feels all the more real when you scan your Mandalorian MagicBand+ to use the Lightning Lane, which glows and vibrates in response!

MagicBand vs MagicBand+ Pricing

There is a price difference between the original MagicBand and the new MagicBand+. While prices for the MagicBand start at $14.99 for a solid color band and $24.99 for a character or themed band, prices for the MagicBand+ start at $34.99 for a solid color band and $44.99 for a character or themed version.

As increasingly more features are added to the MagicBand+, it may ultimately offer more value! However, as these two bands stand now, it’s really a decision of whether or not you’d like to pay for the extra perks of haptic vibrations, illumination, and those special in-park experiences.

Should You Upgrade from MagicBand to MagicBand+?

Be Happy MagicBand Plus Chiu

Photo by Tina Chiu

MagicBand+ brings the classic elements of the original MagicBand that made days at the parks that much easier and marries them with brand new tech elements that bring a new level of immersion to the world of Disney.

Although the new bands clock in at a higher price than the originals (about a $20 increase), their value will compound over time as new experiences become available.

Posts by Evelyn Long

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Evelyn Long is a proud University of South Florida Bull and Disneyphile. She has been going to Walt Disney World since she was a child and is now an Annual Passholder. Witnesses say she has unashamedly cried at the sight of the Magic Kingdom Rapunzel bathrooms on multiple occasions.
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Authored by
Evelyn Long

Evelyn Long is a proud University of South Florida Bull and Disneyphile. She has been going to Walt Disney World since she was a child and is now an Annual Passholder. Witnesses say she has unashamedly cried at the sight of the Magic Kingdom Rapunzel bathrooms on multiple occasions.
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