Navigating you and your family's experience at a Walt Disney (DIS) park is virtually impossible without some kind of device. With Disney's MagicBand, park visitors should be able to breeze through their park experience with nary a worry and conveniently access all the experiences on their itinerary. Disney is now on its third version of the MagicBand, simply called the MagicBand+. And with several sparkly new interactive features, fans were very responsive. But like many of Disney's MagicBand plans, the latest Band's production is struggling to meet fans' expectations.
Currently, Disney has three ways to interact with the park digitally: MagicMobile, the original MagicBand, and now the MagicBand+. The initial MagicBand and MagicMobile were pretty comparable in ability, save for your phone not being waterproof or wearable. Both can link up to your My Disney Experience itinerary, both can be used at parks as entrance to the park, resort rooms, and to make purchases. You can even use them to access your Lightning Lane benefits.
The MagicBand+ offers newer, exclusive design bands featuring favorite characters. The MagicBand+ interacts with 50 special statues throughout the park and special light-up interactions with night events. Star Wars fans with MagicBand+ can experience the Bantuu Bounty Hunter experience when they visit Galaxy's Edge. The Band allows them to search for "virtual bounties" hidden around Bantuu. The experience ties in each of the Band's new features by vibrating and lighting up when bounties are near.
For roughly $10-$30 more, customers can choose from any number of limited-edition designs with all these new, exciting features. But those who were extra excited about a new way to interact with Disney are now upset at this fumbled roll-out.
Previous Complaints with MagicBands
Some park visitors looking to do Disney on a budget might struggle to justify the Bands' price to payoff ratio. The Bands, which used to be free with any Disney Resort stay, are now instead offered at a discounted rate, adding to the inflated prices of the Disney experience over the years. But with a careful itinerary and potential access to the front of the line, weighing time and convenience against cost looks different for every park guest. The MagicBand has the potential to be a very useful tool in that process -- if and when it works.
Some customers have reported some problems with their MagicBands. The Bands, which were supposed to come fully-charged right out of the box, were coming without a full initial charge. Even in the best case scenario when a watch arrived fully-juiced, the battery only worked for about 8 hours. Disney parks are notorious for offering very few opportunities to charge devices, despite the park's reliance on them. Customers looking to stay connected to their Disney experience should invest in one or two portable batteries and be sure to dutifully charge them between park visits.
Disney Didn't Send Them Out on Time
Unfortunately, no amount of device-charging prep will help several park-goers in the coming weeks. Orders for Disney's new MagicBand+ were met with overwhelming enthusiasm for Disney enthusiasts. So much so that Disney is reportedly falling behind on its shipment schedule -- meaning some guests aren't receiving their Bands in time for their vacations.
This isn' the first time the MagicBand has had difficulty getting its highly-anticipated product onto the wrists of eager fans. The MagicBand 2 was drastically affected by supply chain issues, meaning that many weren't able to preorder the product. Disney World even went so far as to encourage park visitors to opt for the comparable (but free) My Disney Experience app to access rooms, tickets, and more through the park.
Will this Band+ blunder result in less revenue for Disney's wearable new feature? That could depend on how quickly Disney can get their products out to the people who want them. One thing's for certain, if you're booking a Disney trip and you have a mighty need for a MagicBand+, be sure you book your tickets (and your Band) well in advance.