(Image credit: Disney)
A trip to Walt Disney World has never been cheap but as time goes on certainly everything gets more expensive. Ticket and hotel prices go up, that’s to be expected but in recent years we’ve also begun to see Disney World charge for services that used to be included, and now that includes all MagicBands with the official debut of MagicBand+.
Yesterday MagicBand+, the new generation of the MagicBand system, were made available at Walt Disney World and while Disney used to provide MagicBands for free to those staying on property or to Annual Pass holders, the new versions will cost money for everybody, with the standard single color bands going for $34.99 and any of the designer looks going for $44.99. There will be a discount offered on orders made prior to a Disney World hotel stay, which is also available to Annual Pass holders with park reservations, but that’s the best deal you’re going to get.
To be fair, the new MagicBand+ is an upgrade to the old MagicBand and it has a lot more going on under the hood. They still act as your hotel room key, your park ticket and your credit card as well as your access to the Genie+ system as the old MagicBands were. However, they also light up with LEDs built in that can sync up to nighttime spectaculars and other special locations inside the parks, making your MagicBand+ part of the show.
Of course, that added technology also comes at a cost, as the new MagicBand+ requires charging just like your phone, meaning you now have another device you need to worry about keeping charged, although the basic functions of the MagicBand will apparently still function even if the battery is dead.
MagicBands were always an incredibly convenient way to get around Walt Disney World, and part of what made them so convenient was that Disney World just gave them to you, so you didn’t have to worry about it. If you wanted to spend money on a cool designer band, that option was always there, and lots of people spent lots of money on them, but you didn’t have to.
Now MagicBands follow in the footsteps of Genie+, the replacement for the FastPass+ system, which largely works the exact same way as the old system, but now costs money where it used to be free.
Still, I suppose it’s still better than no MagicBands at all. If you don’t care about the new designs to the LED lights the old bands still work, and considering there was a point when it looked like MagicBands were just being ended all together, this is certainly preferable to that.
MagicBand+ likely won’t change Walt Disney World in a massive way, but that may not be the case out west. The original MagicBands were never made available at Disneyland Resort, but MagicBand+ will be. While a release date at Disneyland has not yet been announced, when they do finally arrive there will likely be a lot of people who don’t mind paying for them, if only because they never got them for free before.