There have been a couple of changes with MagicBands, so I thought that I’d share the information that I’ve gathered. There is also a rumor about them that has no basis whatsoever, so I’ll address that as well.
I’ll start with MagicBands and a resort stay. There are no more free MagicBands if you are staying on property. You can still purchase one, I believe that the solid colored MagicBands are only $5. You can purchase a MagicBand with a design for a discount. The price depends on the design, but they’re still cheaper than the MagicBands that you would buy in a store. If you don’t buy a MagicBand but have an old one it should still work, as long as the battery is good. If you don’t have a MagicBand and don’t buy one Disney will give you a Key to the World Card.
Annual Passholders can still receive one free MagicBand a year. That’s the good news. The bad news is that gray is now the only free color. If you’d like a different color it’s $5. You can also purchase a design for a discount.
Now for the rumor. Many people think that Disney is doing away with MagicBands altogether. That is not the case. The rumor stems from a statement that Disney made that said that more features will soon be available on the My Disney Experience App. While that may be true, it won’t make MagicBands obsolete. The biggest draw of MagicBands is their convenience. It’s your ticket, your room key, and your credit card. When FastPass+ returns your MagicBand will be even more important. No one wants to pull out their phone constantly when you can do the same things using a MagicBand.
The other reason why MagicBands aren’t going away is that they are a collectible. Disney makes a decent amount on the various designs. You can buy MagicBands that feature your favorite characters. There are MagicBands based on movies. Each special event has a new MagicBand or two, and there are special MagicBands for Passholders. Some MagicBands are also limited edition. There is no way that Disney is going to suddenly get rid of such a money-maker.
Also, turning everything over to the My Disney Experience App is not a smart move anyway. Let’s face it, the app has plenty of flaws. It crashes all the time for my daughter, and her phone is updated as is the app. She’s uninstalled and reinstalled it with no luck. It just won’t work for her. My husband has a phone that is so old that he can’t even download the app. He has no desire to update his phone because it works for what he needs it for. He’s not going to pay hundreds of dollars for a new phone just so he can use the My Disney Experience App.
Not everyone has a smartphone. There are still plenty of people who like to remain unplugged while on vacation, so they don’t want to have to pull out their phones constantly. Ride photos are picked up by your MagicBand, not the app. Those are three more reasons why MagicBands aren’t going away.
Then again, I supposed that anything is possible. If Disney decides that MagicBands are costing more than they are making, they could get rid of them; but I would be shocked if that happens.