Anticipating your upcoming trip?
We recently returned from a trip to Walt Disney World, using our MagicBands for the very first time. From a Newbie’s perspective (a newbie to MagicBands, that is) MagicBands are magical and sometimes, not so magical (see item #4.) Read on for some MagicBand observations, tips and tricks!
- Once you’ve made your reservations for your trip you are able to customize your MagicBands through Disney by color and by name. Color was easy in our family. Everyone just chose their favorite. Names got a little trickier. Oh sure, we could have gone with the standard birth-certificate-given-name. Or, taken a more personalized approach with nicknames. But I read on another site of families who used the Seven Dwarves names or the family of The Incredibles. Rumor had it that Cast Members will call you by the name on your band. What fun! My husband and son are huge Star Wars fans. My daughter, a Frozen Fan. With another Donald Duck fan and me (Giselle), who can quote Enchanted in my sleep, our names were set. After 8 days and countless scanning of our bands, we were never called by our band names. A big disappointment. But, I can safely say our unique names came in very handy for item #6.
- Your bands have arrived in the mail. Your names are set. Now what? Decorate, of course. In preparation for our trip, I pinned and pinned ideas on my Pinterest board. (Click here.) Depending on how crafty you are (I’m not.) there are elaborate ideas and simple ideas. My daughter (very crafty) used the nail polish, glitter, paint technique. They came out great and the design stayed fresh for the entire trip. I went the non-crafty route and purchased stickers online. I should have known better. While very cute, they didn’t last and my son and I were disappointed. Better to apply AFTER the trip when they’ll just hang around as a trip memento. At Disney World you can purchase band covers and buttons, called Bandits. Two members of our party chose this route. Cute, comfortable and a little pricey. Plus, my son’s Yoda Bandit would catch on things and come off a little too easily. After finding it (luckily) on two separate occasions, we tucked it away to re-attach once we arrived home.
- Once you check in (either online or the regular way) your bands are activated. They open your room, serve as park tickets, allow you into resort-guest-only pool areas and give you charging privileges. They hold your FastPasses and even the pictures you take on rides or in front of the castle. For charging meals and shopping excursions, simply choose a pin number before you leave home and link it on your My Disney Experience account. You honestly forget you have them on. My husband didn’t remove his at all during our trip. Because I’m used to taking off jewelry every night before bed, I did not sleep in mine, but easily could have.
- That said, there were times when I found the MagicBands a little awkward. While contorting my wrist to pay for souvenirs, the Cast Member (CM) taught me a little trick. Most people wear their bands as they would a watch, with the Mickey head facing outward. This CM suggested I wear the Mickey head on the inside of my wrist. This was helpful. For his particular scanner. But I found the outward facing Mickey worked best for our room and park entry. And if I wore the Mickey head on the outward-side of my wrist, this worked best for many FastPass attractions. So, I loosened my band a notch and wore it like a bracelet. This allowed me to rotate my band to whatever direction I needed. Problem solved!
- Worried about the band fitting your tiny toddler’s wrist? Disney thought of that, too. Simply punch out the smaller band that is inlayed in the full-sized band. Your child won’t wear their MagicBand? As long as they are with you at all times (and their band isn’t linked to your account with a PIN number), simply clip their band to the stroller, diaper bag, your belt loop or on an inside clip of your backpack.
- Or, is your child like my son and can’t seem to stop playing with their band by taking it off and putting it back on? My son, after being told a million times to stop playing with it, was embarrassed that he hadn’t listened (again!) and reattached it himself to his wrist, too loose. It fell off while going down the pool slide. He couldn’t find it. His little brother tattled (as little brothers do) and we sprang into action. And we couldn’t find it. Anywhere. The lifeguard, following protocol, told us that if it was found we could claim it at the front desk. We witnessed it being found, a few minutes later, and watched the exchange between lifeguard and staff member. We raced up to claim our MagicBand but they said we’d still have to claim it at the front desk with proper ID because the one recently found could be anyone’s band. My son was devastated because he had named his band after his favorite character. That’s when the light bulb when off. I went to the supervisor, explained our situation and told him I’d race back to the room to get our ID if necessary but my son’s name on the inside off the blue band was his favorite character, Donald Duck, without the a. Because I was able to provide detailed and unique information, my son’s band was immediately returned.
Overall, our experience with the MagicBands was, well, magical. They’re easy to use. We rarely had an issue with scanning them. They’re comfortable to the point that you forget you have them on. And they lighten the load. No more keeping track of room keys, wallet and FastPasses.
Checking everyone’s wrist before we walked out the door every morning was all I had to do.
And for this mom? A magical start to the day for sure!