Not too long ago Disney announced that complimentary MagicBands will no longer be given to resort guests, starting next year. That has caused a lot of confusion. Many people think that the program is being phased out altogether. That is not the case at all. MagicBands will still be part of your Walt Disney World vacation, you’ll just have to pay if you want a new one.
Even once the free MagicBands are no longer being offered, you will still be able to do all of the things that you are used to with them. You’ll be able to use it as your theme park ticket and for FastPass+ (when and if the system returns). If staying on property you’ll be able to use it to charge things to your room, and to unlock your door. None of that is going to change.
If you’re like me, you already have a sizable collection of MagicBands. Those should all still be connected to your account. The only way to take a MagicBand off of your account is if you remove it. Otherwise, it will be active, and you’ll be able to use any or all from your pile the next time you’re at Walt Disney World.
If you don’t have a MagicBand, you can still buy one once the free ones are gone. You can purchase one ahead of time through ShopDisney.com, or you can buy one once you arrive. My guess is that there will also still be choices in My Disney Experience when you book your vacation, they just won’t be complimentary any longer.
One common question is how long are the batteries in a MagicBand good for? The answer that I’ve heard from Disney (but I don’t remember the source) is two years. That said, I’ve had MagicBands much longer than that and they still work. The problem with some of the older MagicBands is that they no longer will register the ride photos, but they will still get you into the theme parks.
Disney did not say that Annual Passholders will no longer be able to receive free MagicBands, but I have a feeling that it is coming. The discounted bands with designs have been very popular, and it makes sense that Disney could move to only those. If that is the case, I don’t think that it will be announced anytime soon. Some Passholders are upset about the lack of available days under the Disney Park Pass System, I don’t think that they want to hear about another thing being taken away.