Free MagicBands Discontinued?! Your Options for 2021 Vacations

in Walt Disney World


If you are heading to Walt Disney World Resort in 2021, there’s something that you need to know before your trip: you will not receive a free MagicBand. That’s right — Disney has officially discontinued complimentary MagicBands for 2021 vacations.

So, what does this mean? Can you still purchase a MagicBand or receive one in the mail before your trip? Can you reuse an old MagicBand? Or can you opt-out completely and navigate the theme parks without one? Here’s everything you need to know about your options for Disney MagicBands for your 2021 vacation.

its a small world magicband
credit: shopDisney

Below is an email that Disney is sending as a reminder to Guests with upcoming trips:

Your Walt Disney World vacation is right around the corner and we can’t wait to welcome you here! But before you go, we wanted to send you this helpful reminder.

MagicBands will no longer be provided complimentary to Disney Resort hotel Guests with arrivals beginning January 1, 2021. For Disney Resort hotel room entry, Theme Park entry and charging purchases to your hotel room with a valid credit card, you may use a Key To The World card (provided at the Front Desk). Or, you may use a MagicBand from a past visit (view potential limitations) or purchase a MagicBand prearrival. For more about these options click here.

In addition, we highly recommend using our Online Check-In/Direct-to-Room service, which allows you to get to the fun faster with real-time, room-ready updates. Sign up for room ready notifications and use the MyDisneyExperience app as a digital room key to enter your Disney Resort hotel room. The app is also a great tool to help you plan before and during your visit.

Thanks for your time. See ya real soon!

Screenshot via Disney World website

You Can Purchase a New MagicBand For a 2021 Vacation

Yes, that is correct. Even though complimentary MagicBands are no longer available, you can still purchase a new MagicBand for your 2021 vacation.

The My Disney Experience section of the Walt Disney World Resort website shares the following message on the MagicBands webpage:

Please note: Starting in 2021, we plan to unveil an innovative new offering as part of the My Disney Experience app that will bring features of a MagicBand to your smart devices. Guests staying at Disney Resort hotels with an arrival date through December 31, 2020 will continue to receive complimentary MagicBands. With the new My Disney Experience offering, MagicBands will no longer be provided on a complimentary basis with new reservations for Disney Resort hotel Guests with arrivals beginning January 1, 2021 and beyond.

Screenshot via Disney World website

Note that the price of adding a MagicBand to your vacation through My Disney Experience will cost you a fee of $5-20, depending on the MagicBand you select. For example, basic colors that were previously complimentary now cost $5, and other designs (such as those with characters, text, or various motifs) cost $10-20.

You Can Reuse an Old MagicBand For Your Upcoming Trip

Additionally, you can choose to reuse an old MagicBand from one of your previous trips. As MagicBands are no longer free when you book a Disney World vacation package, Guests are not obligated to purchase one. As Disney shares, “All your MagicBands and cards can be used interchangeably as long as they’re active.” This means that if you already own a MagicBand, you can make sure it is connected to your My Disney Experience account and therefore use it for your next Disney World vacation. You may not get a complimentary MagicBand, but perhaps reusing one of your existing MagicBands is the next best thing.

Credit: Disney

You Can Decide Not to Use a MagicBand

Additionally, you do not have to use a MagicBand on your Disney World trip. That is because everything you need is on the My Disney Experience app, the official mobile app of Walt Disney World Resort. Yes, your MagicBand is your “key to Disney World” — but so is your Disney World app. And, in many ways, the My Disney Experience app offers so much more than a MagicBand. That means you can use your smartphone to check into your Disney Resort hotel, unlock your hotel room door, and mobile order from a variety of dining locations. You can make dining reservations and even join mobile waitlists and virtual queues on the My Disney Experience app.

As we wrote above, even more offerings are going to be enhanced on the app. To reiterate Disney’s announcement, “Starting in 2021, we plan to unveil an innovative new offering as part of the My Disney Experience app that will bring features of a MagicBand to your smart devices.” Hopefully — as Disney has hinted and as more Guests have suspected — theme park tickets and Annual Passes will soon be scannable at the Disney World theme park turnstiles via the My Disney Experience app. We see this at Disneyland Resort, which does not use MagicBands. We’ll update this article as more information about the My Disney Experience updates becomes available.

MagicBands are highly convenient, as they bring your theme park tickets, room key, and payment method all to your wrist. But with so much being added to the Disney World app, MagicBands are not always a necessity anymore.

Cinderella Castle Makeover my disney experience
ITM Screenshot via My Disney Experience app

Related: What We Know About Disney World’s “Genie” Vacation Planning App

Book a Trip

Want to book a trip? We’ve got you covered. Our friends at Academy Travel are the most knowledgeable Authorized Disney Vacation Planners around. They know everything there is to know about Walt Disney World vacations and can help you navigate all of the changes and new offerings at the Disney Parks in 2021 and beyond. Academy Travel agents are experts on Magic Kingdom, EPCOT, Disney’s Hollywood Studios, and Disney’s Animal Kingdom, as well as Disney Springs and all of the Walt Disney World hotels. Plus, you know you’ll get an awesome deal on your upcoming trip when you work with Academy Travel — and their services are completely free. Click here to book a vacation!

Screenshot via Disney World website

So, what do you plan to do: buy a new MagicBand, use an old MagicBand, or just use the My Disney Experience app? Let us know in the comments!

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