I’m here to tell you everything I know about the MagicBand 2.0, and hopefully answer some of your questions. If you are brand new to the concept of MagicBands, you can find the complete FAQs and answers via Disney’s website here:
Flashback to November of 2016. A new product unveiled at a weekend D23 event sent shock waves through the Disney fan community. This special weekend event happened at the Walt Disney World Contemporary Resort, called “D23’s Destination D: Amazing Adventures!” Serendipitously, I happened to be at Disney that weekend, having lunch with Disney Imagineer Terri Hardin. My phone blew up with Fantasy Fans asking if I’d seen the news! A new MagicBand design was coming out!
Of course, I had to get my hands on one. Here it is!
This announcement triggered mixed emotions raging among Disney fans. I’m typically not one to over exaggerate a situation when describing it, but ‘raging’ is entirely appropriate here. Disney fan reactions were intense and strong, and ranged the gamut on the emotional spectrum, all of them with a big capital D: Delight. Disgust. Disbelief. Dismay. Disdain. Doubt. The fans who were cautiously optimistic were few and far in between, at least from what I was reading on social media. Many people are resistant to change, and many Disney fans grumbled things like, “If it’s not broke, don’t fix it.”
The first press photos released from the D23 Amazing Adventures event were deceiving. This thing looked enormous compared to the original MagicBand. Many guests were worried about wearing something that looked much larger and bulkier than the original, which was already bulky. The first version of the MagicBand to hit the scene in late 2013 was incredibly stiff and uncomfortable. Disney updated that design to a slightly thinner more flexible version about 18 months later. That updated original band was lighter weight and more comfortable, and most fans liked it. So why was Disney changing yet again?
According to Disney, this new MagicBand style was created to allow more options to guests who prefer not to wear a wristband. The center piece is removable. Fans were calling it a “puck” due to its resemblance to a small hockey puck. Disney has named it an “Icon” after the Mickey-shaped icon in the center. This “Icon” can be removed and inserted into key chain accessories that can be clipped to a backpack, lanyard, stroller, wheelchair, etc. For families with little ones or special needs guests, this is a nice option. I’ve seen plenty of moms and dads in the parks with a handful of MagicBands on their wrist or attached to a lanyard because their kiddos couldn’t or wouldn’t keep them on.
MagicBand 2.0 Size
The new bands are half an inch wider across the face, and the wristband portions are almost identical in size. Once I had one in my hands, I was pleasantly surprised by how lightweight and flexible they are. They conform to the wrist better than the original band, and are much more comfortable. Despite the larger size of the band “Icon” area, the MagicBand 2.0 feels less bulky.
Similar to the original MagicBand, the MagicBand 2 can be made smaller to fit children or adults with a slender wrist. The dark gray portion of the band is perforated to break away, leaving a much smaller band in circumference. The photo below shows a size small purple band on my daughter’s wrist. She’s 8 years old and said, “Feels good, I like it.”
Mix and Match Options?
Many Disney fans speculated that this design change was implemented to save money on the expensive RFID technology, and also to relieve stress on the MagicBand network. I’ve heard rumors of guests who have experienced technical difficulties when having a LOT of MagicBands active on their “My Disney Experience” account (numbers in the dozens). Many fans speculated that you would receive the Icon piece as a Passholder or a WDW Resort guest, and might be able to buy just the empty wristband, thus allowing you to create new looks without a new RFID device. Disney reps have said that they will not be selling empty wrist bands or Icon pieces separately, which debunks this theory.
Still, where there is a will, there is a way! You may not be able to purchase an empty wristband, but you can mix and match with a friend or family member! The Icon piece can be removed with a small screwdriver, and swapped into another wrist band. JUST LIKE THIS:
“I’m going to lose that puck thing!” “Could my child take it out and choke on it?!”
Another early concern by fans was that the ‘puck’ would pop out and get lost, or could be a choking hazard. Not to be concerned! The Icon piece is held in by a cover plate on the back, with two tiny screws, similar to eyeglass screws. It’s a bit of a hassle to get out a tiny screwdriver to remove the puck and move it to another band, so this isn’t something you’re going to do daily.
So what’s the point of this removable Icon again?
As I mentioned before, regarding the removable Icon piece, Disney has said that they will not be selling empty bands OR the Icon pieces a-la-carte. Just this week, new MagicKeepers went sale in the park. These keychain-style accessories allow you to ditch the wrist band and wear your MagicBand Icon attached to a lanyard, bag or purse, belt loop, stroller, wheelchair … wherever you’d like!
My sources tell me that these retail at $9.99 for the plain oval MagicKeeper on a carabiner, and the Mickey and Minnie options are $12.99. Each MagicKeeper comes with a little screwdriver, and 2 tiny screws, similar to the type found in eyeglass repair kits. If you have trouble swapping out your Icon piece from MagicBand to MagicKeeper, ask a Cast Member for help! Note that these are not yet available for purchase online. You can only find them in WDW park gift ships, resort gift shops, and at select Disney Springs gift shops.
Will I get a MagicBand 2.0?
Fast forward to February. It’s been about 6 weeks since new and just-renewed Annual Passholders started receiving the MagicBand 2.0. Resort guests started receiving them in early January. I have still seen a few guests post photos of original bands arriving in the mail. However, the Walt Disney World travel company is now telling guests and travel agents that moving forward, ALL resort guests and Passholders will receive the MagicBand 2.0.
My family has a trip planned for December this year, and our MagicBand customization just opened up a few days ago. The My Disney Experience website is still showing the original MagicBand graphic when you log in to select your color and add a name. They still need to update the graphics.
Original MagicBands are still in circulation, and are still available for purchase both online and in the parks.
Of course I chose yellow. Big surprise there. Chances are good that my kids will change their mind on what color they want between now and November. You have until 1 month before your arrival date to select your color and add a name. Names are printed on the back of the Icon piece. If you do not select a color, you’ll get gray by default.
You can decline a new set of bands if you already have ones that are active … but why would you? When you split your stay at Disney between more than one resort, you’ll get a set of bands for each resort you stay at! More bands, more options! Choose two colors! Have fun with the names you put on the back! On our last family trip, we stayed at Art of Animation for a few nights, and Caribbean Beach Resort for a few nights. TWO SETS OF MAGICBANDS. Awesome!
US guests will receive their bands by mail roughly 3 weeks before their arrival date. International guests will receive their MagicBands at check-in.
So what do you do with your original MagicBands?
KEEP THEM AND USE THEM. The battery life of all MagicBands is estimated at 2 to 3 years, so the bands you have will still work. Make sure you leave them active on your My Disney Experience account. Once you deactivate a MagicBand and/or remove it from your account, it’s done.
I think that covers everything I personally know! If you have a question about MagicBands, leave a comment below!