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

Mar 30, 2021

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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

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