Magic Bands not required: Disney World introduces new technology to enter the parks

Mar 30, 2021

This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

In 2013, Disney World introduced wearable Magic Bands as a fun, colorful way for guests to experience a vacation that was free of managing room key cards, park tickets and constantly digging around for cash.

Instead, you could use the Magic Band on your wrist to tap into your Disney resort hotel room, pay for purchases, enter the park and more.

But, times change. While Magic Bands are still available at Disney World, they are no longer included for free with the cost of a resort stay. Increasingly, they aren’t even needed as your phone or Apple Watch can now do many of those same functions — and more — without having to wear a just-for-Disney wrist accessory.

(Photo by Melissa Ann Photography / The Points Guy)

Today, technology at Disney World took a big leap forward as Disney launched MagicMobile for Apple devices.

This means you can use your Disney tickets to enter the theme parks and more courtesy of the tech built directly into your phone or watch, which means one less thing to keep up with when you’re on vacation with Mickey.

Related: Disney tests face-recognition as a way to enter the parks

Set up Disney MagicMobile Pass

First things first: If you didn’t already bring a back-up phone charger on trips to Disney World, it’s time to add that to your packing list.

The My Disney Experience app is officially a must-have as it’s not only where you set up your MagicMobile tickets, but it’s also how you order food, make dining reservations, unlock your hotel door, access the virtual queue for Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance, check wait times, view your plans and Park Pass reservations and more.

You can no longer really maximize a day at Disney World without your smartphone, so having a portable power bank (or two) is now crucial.

When it comes to setting up the Disney MagicMobile pass, head to the My Disney Experience app on your Apple device and select the Disney MagicMobile Pass.

Related: Guide to visiting Disney World

From there, you can select which members of your Disney friends and family lineup you’d like to include in your MagicMobile account and customize the look of each MagicMobile pass with different designs.

Parents who need to manage passes for multiple family members who don’t all have a smart device can easily do that from one account.

When it comes time to enter the parks, you will hold your phone or watch near an access point, just like you would a MagicBand. You don’t even have to unlock your device or open the Disney app to use the MagicMobile pass when it’s in express mode, which seems pretty exciting for its ease of use.

However, if you’re managing multiple passes for friends and family, you’ll need to double click or hold your fingers on the home button to open Apple Wallet, then swipe the passes to use them.

Related: What to expect at Disney World in 2021

(Screenshot courtesy of Disney)

Bottom line

Disney World is always changing, and this year is no exception. You need a park pass reservation to enter the parks, Magic Bands are no longer free, the Disney Magical Express Bus will end after this year, Extra Magic Hours and FastPass+ are not available and now … your iPhone or Apple Watch can act as your ticket thanks to the magic of the new MagicMobile Pass.

Featured image courtesy of Disney Parks

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

WELCOME OFFER: 80,000 Points

TPG'S BONUS VALUATION*: $1,650

CARD HIGHLIGHTS: 2X points on all travel and dining, points transferrable to over a dozen travel partners

*Bonus value is an estimated value calculated by TPG and not the card issuer. View our latest valuations here.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,000 when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. Plus earn up to $50 in statement credits towards grocery store purchases within your first year of account opening.
  • Earn 2X points on dining including eligible delivery services, takeout and dining out and travel. Plus, earn 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 80,000 points are worth $1,000 toward travel.
  • With Pay Yourself Back℠, your points are worth 25% more during the current offer when you redeem them for statement credits against existing purchases in select, rotating categories.
  • Get unlimited deliveries with a $0 delivery fee and reduced service fees on eligible orders over $12 for a minimum of one year with DashPass, DoorDash's subscription service. Activate by 12/31/21.
  • Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more.
  • Get up to $60 back on an eligible Peloton Digital or All-Access Membership through 12/31/2021, and get full access to their workout library through the Peloton app, including cardio, running, strength, yoga, and more. Take classes using a phone, tablet, or TV. No fitness equipment is required.
Regular APR
15.99%-22.99% Variable
Annual Fee
$95
Balance Transfer Fee
Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
Recommended Credit
Excellent/Good

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.