Walt Disney World begins MyMagic+ upgrade for annual passholders with hard plastic cards, RFID, and MagicBand preview

in Disney, Epcot, Theme Parks, Walt Disney World

Yesterday Walt Disney World began the next phase of rolling out MyMagic+, the project aimed at changing the way guests interact with theme parks. Now through May 19, Walt Disney World annual passholders can take existing paper passes to the Odyssey Center at Epcot, located between Test Track and the Mexico pavilion, and update them to hard plastic cards embedded with technology that allows access to the newest features.

MyMagic+ Walt Disney World annual pass RFID upgrade

The process of upgrading to the new annual passes is rather quick, taking just a few minutes after presenting an existing pass and photo ID. Guests can choose from four character designs: Mickey, Minnie, Goofy, or Donald.

MyMagic+ Walt Disney World annual pass RFID upgrade

MyMagic+ Walt Disney World annual pass RFID upgrade

Once converted, passholders have access to the new turnstile-free entry areas at the Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Disney’s Hollywood Studios, and Disney’s Animal Kingdom. Mickey-head adorned posts replace turnstiles presenting guests a chance to simply touch their passes against the glowing circle and place a finger on the security reader to gain access, as demonstrated in the video below.

Video: MyMagic+ touch-to-enter demonstration at Epcot

Walt Disney World Resort hotel guests can also currently use the touch-to-enter system as the “Key to the World” cards also have the necessary MyMagic+ RFID technology already built in.

In addition to touch-to-enter, these new hard plastic cards work with the existing FastPass system and will ultimately work with the FastPass+ system, once it officially begins. These cards will also soon be able to used for PhotoPass+, allowing passholders to simply touch their cards against PhotoPass readers instead of having them scanned.

MyMagic+ Walt Disney World annual pass RFID upgrade

But according to the cast members in the upgrade center, passholders looking to use the touch-to-pay feature that’s now available at most registers across Walt Disney World will have to use MagicBands. Linking a credit card to an annual pass for touch-to-pay access will not be possible. Each passholder will receive one in the mail some time within the next few months, though Disney isn’t saying when just yet.

The MagicBand is on display at the Odyssey, packaged in multiple colors, arriving to guests in the mail with names assigned:

MyMagic+ Walt Disney World annual pass RFID upgrade

MyMagic+ Walt Disney World annual pass RFID upgrade

In addition to the MagicBands, Disney is also displaying a few bonus pieces of theme park history in the Odyssey, including a Figment animatronic figure and one from Kitchen Kaberet, Tom Morrow 2.0, an “it’s a small world” doll, a Shrunken Ned boat (now removed from the Magic Kingdom), and more:

MyMagic+ Walt Disney World annual pass RFID upgrade

MyMagic+ Walt Disney World annual pass RFID upgrade

MyMagic+ Walt Disney World annual pass RFID upgrade

MyMagic+ Walt Disney World annual pass RFID upgrade

MyMagic+ Walt Disney World annual pass RFID upgrade

MyMagic+ Walt Disney World annual pass RFID upgrade

MyMagic+ Walt Disney World annual pass RFID upgrade

MyMagic+ Walt Disney World annual pass RFID upgrade

MyMagic+ Walt Disney World annual pass RFID upgrade

MyMagic+ Walt Disney World annual pass RFID upgrade

The Odyssey Center is currently the only location where existing annual passholders can receive the new cards, open during regular park hours. Those who need new passes or renewals will be able to get the new pass at any ticket window. After May 19, other ways will be made available to exchange passes as well.

More information can be found on Disney’s MyMagic+ Passholder web page.


  1. Matt

    Are those with weekday passes able to upgrade to this yet? We will be staying at a resort in April so I’m wondering if they can link our passes and room key to one of these.

    1. Ricky Brigante

      If you’re staying at a Disney hotel, your room key will already be equipped with MyMagic+ capabilities, including touch-to-enter and touch-to-pay.

  2. Eric

    Can you upgrade if you have the Disney Premier Passport?

    1. Ricky Brigante

      Great question. They’re not doing Premier upgrades yet. I believe they’re still figuring out what to do about those passes.

      1. Kevin

        Have there been any updates to this?

        1. Jim

          Any updates yet? Headed to WDW in October. They seem to get annoyed when you don’t have RFID enabled cards.


  3. Tiffany

    When will this be available for Disneyland CA Passholders?

    1. Ricky Brigante

      Not any time soon. There are no announced plans, though it’s likely MyMagic+ will eventually make it to Disneyland.

  4. Amber

    It was mentioned Disney will mail MagicBands to passholders at a later date, do we get to pick the color we want or is it just whatever is sent to us?

    1. Ricky Brigante

      Those details haven’t been announced yet, but Disney will likely allow you to choose the color. They will also have additional designs available for purchase, like pirates and princesses.

  5. Sandi

    I’m an adult with a tiny wrist, hope the bands come in sizes.

  6. James Candelora

    I was wondering. I’m going to Disney for two days on May 5th and am stayng at one of their value resorts. I read in one of your earlier articles that guests that stay at on-site hotels get the MagicBands. Will i recive one when I go?

    1. Ricky Brigante

      That much is not clear yet. It’s true that hotel guests will be among the first to get the MagicBand, but Disney hasn’t said when or which hotels first.

  7. Bryan

    Im going to Disney World on the 19th of May, will I be getting this feature or do i have to pay to have this?

    1. Ricky Brigante

      If you’ll be staying in a Walt Disney World hotel, you’ll have access via your room key. If you have an annual pass, you can update it once you’re here. The May 19 date is only the end of the updates in The Odyssey at Epcot. Disney will have other ways soon.

  8. Sandi Wilson

    I am a Disney Vacation Club member and an Annual Passholder. We are coming to Disneyworld at the end of June. Any idea what will be available to us at that time? Is there anything that we need to do to ensure that we are included in a test if it is not fully rolled out by then?

    1. Ricky Brigante

      After May 19, there will be other ways to update existing annual passes to use MyMagic+ features. This is just the beginning.

  9. Carson Uthe

    If you go on vacation at WDW several times but don’t have an annual pass will you use the same magic band or wil you get a new one each time? It would be nice if you could use the same one I think, what do you think it will be?

  10. Sarah Boye

    Does anyone know if Seasonal Passholders can upgrade as well? My husband and kids only have Seasonal, while I have an Annual.

    1. Ricky Brigante

      Yes, there are different versions of the new passes, with and without parking and blackout dates. Different colored stripes indicate them.

  11. trevor

    SOOO what about premier passholders who got our hard plastic cards at disneyland? Can we stick to the old way? Not sure i like this new stuff especially when they will try to limit fastpasses.

    1. Ricky Brigante

      These RFID cards still work with the existing FastPass system.

  12. Danielle

    I am both an annual passhold and DVC member – is there any news yet on how to obtain a MagicBand for a trip in May 2013?

    1. Ricky Brigante

      There is no news yet on when MagicBands will be available.

  13. Eddie

    I’m going to stay at the swan hotel from March 28th to April 5th. Will I get the MagicBands and MyMagic+ capabilities?

    1. Eddie

      Also, do you have to have an annual pass to get this. We don’t live here so this going to be our only trip. We want to make this trip the best we can. Any help is accepted. Thank You!!!

    2. Ricky Brigante

      MagicBands are not available yet. I don’t believe the Swan will have RFID-enabled cards either, as it is not a Disney hotel.

  14. Peter

    Can i assume that the bands are waterproof and that once attached to your arm they stay on for the duration of the holiday. Are they similar to the wrist bands that you get at all inclusive resorts ?.

  15. Shaun Fisher

    Would it be possible to load your child’s band with $50 for them to spend without attaching to a credit card?

  16. You touched on this, but if you are an annual passholder, do you know if you will be able to link your pass, room, and credit card on the wristband? Thanks!

    1. Ricky Brigante

      Yes, you will. The only difference between the MagicBands for day guests and annual passholders will likely be in how the FastPass+ system works. That hasn’t been revealed yet.

  17. LC

    I will be visiting in early July 2013, staying at the Contemporary – will we be receiving MagicBands?

    1. Ricky Brigante

      Another round of testing is currently underway. Some visitors were pre-selected to take part. It’s not clear yet when the program will be fully rolled out.

  18. Dillon

    Hi are the Magic bands out yet and If so if you are a Disney Vacation Club Member and are staying at the Animal Kingdom Lodge and going to all the parks within a week is it free to upgrade it.

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  22. Erik

    I’m staying at the swan and dolphin starting 11/1 for a few days and I’ve already purchased and linked my passes,dinner reservations and activities. What are the odds the bands will be ready to go by 11/1? Or that I get randomly selected

    1. Kate

      Swan and Dolphin are not included in the MyMagic+ program as they are not Disney hotels. I confirmed this with Guest Relations because I will also be staying there soon. Too bad – I got my band at my last value resort stay and it was lots of fun!

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  30. robby

    this is a money maker for disney pure and simple, its making people who do not stay on disney property feel like second class vistors although we still pay a hell of a lot of money to get in, fast pass booking 60 days in advance is disgusting,NOT EVERYBODY wants to plan there holiday like a military exercise, some people like to RELAX and choose what they do on a day to day basis,but not you can not as all the main rides will be booked up, and A LOT OF THESE PEOPLE MAY NOT EVEN TURN UP TO THE PARKS…the fun of disney is going THIS IS A MONEY MAKER ONE STEP TOO FAR,i will be spending my time at universal studios were you dont feel like you are being ripped off, DISNEY WILL BECOME FOR THE RICH ONLY….!!

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