Should you buy the new MagicBand+ for your next Walt Disney World vacation?

MagicBand+ is now live at Walt Disney World, and with this guide we want to help you decide if MagicBand+ is right for you and your family.

With a starting price of $34.99 before any discounts, MagicBand+ takes all of the functionality of the previous MagicBand but adds some features that may be enough to tempt you into buying one.

Along with the usual MagicBand features like tap-to-enter at the park entrances, paying for purchases, unlocking hotel room doors, and linking Photopass photos, MagicBand+ adds interactions with various locations in the parks – made possible via haptic vibrations and lighting effects on the face of the band.

Comparison of MagicBand, MagicBand+ and MagicMobile Service

To power the extra functionality of the MagicBand+, the device uses a rechargeable battery that Disney says should be charged daily overnight. MagicBand+ is supplied with a 6-inch cable with a USB type A plug on one end and a proprietary dock connector on the other.

MagicBand+ retail packaging

The rechargeable battery brings some significant benefits to the useful service life of the device, but also brings with it some significant overhead that you will need to factor into your vacation.

Taking a family of four, each night, they will be charging four MagicBand+ devices, phones for the adults, and possibly watches. This brings the likely device charging count to eight for every single night of the vacation. It also means they will need 8 USB power supplies to do all of this charging. You can buy multi-port USB power supplies, but it still represents a logistical headache adding to an already complicated vacation experience.

MagicBand+ and charging cable

The main benefit to MagicBand+ beyond the rechargeable battery is the interaction with locations in the parks. Currently, this consists of a Star Wars Bounty Hunty game in Galaxy’s Edge, a game to discover the Fab 50 character statues, and synchronized lighting with Disney’s nighttime shows.

Star Wars Galaxy's Edge Bounty Hunter game

We’ve tried out the games and found them to be fun additions, especially for younger guests. The Star Wars Bounty Hunter game is the most impressive, using the MagicBand+ lights and vibrations to guide you around Batuu to find virtual bounties to exchange the credits. Disney built some new sets to handle this game, which works well.

Star Wars Galaxy's Edge Bounty Hunter game virtual credit retrieval

The Fab 50 interactions trigger audio from the statues, and the Play Disney app tracks your progress towards discovering all 50.

Fab 50 character statues interact with MagicBand+

Finally, the nighttime spectacular interaction brings some synchronized lighting to your wrist, working with the Beacon of Magic shows at all of the parks, Harmonious at EPCOT, and Disney Enchantment at Magic Kingdom. The LED light on the watch is relatively small, so don’t expect something like the Glow with the Show ears, but younger guests may find it neat to see their own MagicBand join in the show.

MagicBand+

If the MagicBand+ interactive features are worthwhile, it comes down to the individual guest. It is a great feature to have for those who place value in playing scavenger hunts and some extra distractions to a typical theme park day. Kids especially would probably enjoy the games. Others who visit the parks mainly for rides and shows or who are short on time will probably not make use of the interactive features.

MagicBand+ Avg

  • A rechargeable battery means the device has a long service life and can power new functionality, including lights and vibrations.
  • LED light and vibration give the MagicBand+ interactive feedback to power new experiences.
  • MagicBand+ features all of the functionality of previous MagicBands.

MagicBand+ Cons

  • LED lighting is difficult to see in sunlight and, in some cases, cannot be seen at all.
  • MagicBand+ battery needs to be charged daily overnight, which may be a hassle.
  • Battery life may not be very long if using a lot of interactive features. Disney says the band should last a day, but we have early reports of battery life being exhausted after 2 hours of heavy gameplay.
  • Out of the box, MagicBand+ is not fully charged.
  • More expensive than the regular MagicBand.
  • Not available in as many designs and styles (yet) as the original MagicBand.

Should you buy a MagicBand+?

MagicBand+

In short, if you are planning on buying a MagicBand and are okay with nightly charging, go with a MagicBand+. It offers more functionality for around $15 more, and being the latest device, we should expect to see more capability added over time. The games are a fun extra, and should be a hit with kids.

If you just want a band to get you into the parks, pay for merchandise, enter your hotel room, and use Lightning Lanes, buy a regular MagicBand and save $15.

But our suggestion would be to skip the original MagicBand and MagicBand+ and use the excellent Disney MagicMobile service instead. It uses your phone or watch to deliver all of the capabilities of the basic MagicBand in a device that you already own, charge and carry with you.

You can learn more about the MagicBand+ in our FAQ, and stay tuned for more coverage of Disney’s new wearable.

MagicBand+ display at Celebrity 5 and 10

.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *