Walt Disney World to End Complimentary MagicBand Distribution to Resort Guests

As part of the dump of announcements today, Walt Disney World has announced that they will be ceasing distribution of complimentary MagicBand to Disney Resort hotel guests.

Disney wants to move MagicBand functionality to smart devices, which would seem to suggest that touchless pay services like Apple Pay and devices like the iPhone and Apple Watch which may be able to be used in place of the MagicBand.

In the announcement in the Disney Parks Blog, Disney states –

As you begin planning your upcoming visits, we’re also exploring engaging ways for guests to use their mobile tech to experience the magic – particularly now as the use of phones and apps continues to evolve. 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, building on the app’s existing digital key feature. With this new offering on the horizon, we will be retiring our complimentary MagicBand distribution to Disney Resort hotel guests for new reservations with arrivals beginning Jan. 1, 2021. Disney Resort hotel guests will continue to have the option to purchase new MagicBands at a discount, and we’ll be introducing even more colors and designs featuring favorite Disney characters in the future. Guests who prefer not to purchase a discounted MagicBand will be able to use the My Disney Experience app or a Key to the World card during their visit. We will still offer MagicBands in retail locations and on shopDisney.com, and guests will be able to continue using the wearables throughout Walt Disney World Resort.

An important thing to note here.  At this time Disney is NOT getting rid of MagicBands, only the free ones for resort guests.

MagicBand 2.0 unveiled at D23 Destination D

Disney unveiled MagicBand 2.0 for the first time at Destination D. The new MagicBand features an updated look designed to be more customizable for guests. 

Attendees at D23’s Destination D: Amazing Adventures also got a look at some accessories that will be released in the future. The new band’s design allows guests to take out the middle disc and attach it to accessories other than the band, to be used for lanyards, keychains, etc.

Guests will need a small screwdriver to be able to transfer the disk between accessories. No word if any will be included in the future.

Disney plans to roll out MagicBand 2.0 to their Annual Passholders in the next few weeks. Guests will start seeing them available in the parks by the end of December. After that, guests booking resort stays at Walt Disney World will begin receiving the new band.


FCC Testing Reveals that Walt Disney World is Working on New Type of MagicBand

Standard FCC testing has revealed that Disney’s next generation of MagicBand is being worked on.

The original FCC filing was placed in May 2016, and has just been declassified by the FCC.

Named Model MB-R1G2 (the original as MB-R1G1), the band differs significantly from the first in that it does not appear to have a strap.

It may be possible that Disney is planning to offer straps separately from the main body of the MagicBand, which can then be attached, much like the Apple Watch. By doing this it would allow guests to change the look of the band, without having to dispose of the electronics and re-register the new band in the My Disney Experience app.

Like the original, the new model of the MagicBand has been developed by Synapse, and includes a 2.4GHz radio, along with a passive HF RFID tag radio.

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