Earlier this month, Disney Cruise Line announced it would be implementing DisneyBand+ aboard the Disney Wish this summer. We recently had a chance to test DisneyBand+ on our sailing aboard the Wish, and wanted to answer your questions, and share our feedback and first impressions.
Some Frequently Asked Questions (Last Updated: April 19, 2023)
What is DisneyBand+?
If you’ve visited Walt Disney World in the last decade you are probably familiar with the MagicBand; a near-field communication (or NFC) wearable that enabled hands free theme-park access, room entry, resort charging, photo-pass linking an more at the Disney parks in Florida. In 2022, Disney rolled out MagicBand+, an updated version of the MagicBand that includes interactive light-up and vibration effects at various points in the parks. MagicBand+ was also rolled out at Disneyland earlier this year.
So, what is DisneyBand+? Well, it’s Disney Cruse Line’s version of MagicBand+. Today, Disney Cruise Line issues every guest a Key to the World (or KTTW) card. Your KTTW enables access to your stateroom, charging at bars and shops onboard, PhotoPass linking, and is how you check on and off the ship at ports (along with your valid photo ID or passport). DisneyBand+ replaces the KTTW card and, like MagicBand+, introduces interactive light-up and vibration experiences throughout the ship and at certain activities.
Do I have to use DisneyBand+ onboard Disney Cruise Line?
No. Disney Cruise Line (DCL) has said it still plans to issue KTTW cards to all passengers. During testing (and potentially during initial deployment) you may want to keep your KTTW card with you, in case you encounter issues with your DisneyBand+.
When will DisneyBand+ be available on Disney Cruise Line?
According to cast members we spoke with as a part of the onboard testing, we expect DisneyBand+ will be available on the Disney Wish starting in June 2023. Please note, Disney’s official documentation remains silent on the exact availability date.
Can I use DisneyBand+ on other ships outside of the Wish?
Eventually, yes. Initially, DisneyBand+ will only be available on the DisneyWish, but DCL intends to make DisneyBand+ available on other ships in the future. The timing of availability on the other ships is still unknown.
Can I use an existing MagicBand or MagicBand+ onboard?
Guests will be able to use their existing MagicBand+ onboard at the time of launch (initially on the Wish only), but Disney has been silent on whether existing MagicBands will also be supported. We were told only MagicBand+ will be supported at this stage.
Will DisneyBand+ be included with my Disney cruise?
No. DCL will charge an additional fee for DisneyBand+, it will not be included with your cruise fare. Whether DCL will offer discounted DisneyBand+ before sailing, much like Disney does with MagicBand or MagicBand+ for resort hotel guests is unknown at this time.
How much will DisneyBand+ cost?
Just like MagicBand+, DisneyBand+ will start at $34.99 (plus tax) for solid colored bands and $44.99 (plus tax) for themed or patterned bands. If you pre-order the DisneyBand+ (U.S. residents only), you can save $10 over the retail price onboard. Pre-orders will not incur additional shipping charges.
Where can I purchase DisneyBand+?
You will be able to purchase DisneyBand+ either in advance of your sailing or in the onboard shops – DisneyBand+ will be available initially only onboard the Disney Wish. International guests will only be able to purchase DisneyBand+ onboard, at least at launch. Once available on the Wish, guests will be able to pre-order DisneyBand+ between 11 and 45 days prior to sailing to have them shipped to their homes. Guests will be able to customize the bands with their names (which should help with the confusion we experienced testing identical bands for our family of three). You must be paid-in-full before you can order your DisneyBand+ (although PIF is typically 90-days prior to sailing, so well ahead of when you can order DisneyBand+). Disney has noted that pre-orders of the DisneyBand+ are “subject to availability.” Disney notes shipping of DisneyBand+ will take at least 10 business days from the time you order.
How can I use DisneyBand+ onboard?
DisneyBand+ can be used in exactly the same way you use a KTTW card today. DisneyBand+ can be used to unlock your stateroom door, check-in for the in-person muster drill, make purchases with your onboard account, link PhotoPass photos to your stateroom, and tap on and off the ship at embarkation, ports-of-call and at disembarkation. Essentially, anywhere you would tap your KTTW card, you can use your DisneyBand+. Initially, you’ll only be able to use your DisneyBand+ for embarkation if you pre-order ahead of your cruise. Disney’s official documentation states that your will still need a KTTW card, in addition to DisneyBand+, for embarkation and debarkation at ports of call. In testing we did find cast members asking if we had our KTTW card available when debarking at ports of call, although they tapped our band to scan us on and off the ship (as our KTTW cards were deactivated).
In addition, DisneyBand+ will enable “magical experiences” onboard (vibration and light-up effects) for certain experiences throughout the ship. During testing we experienced these effects in the Oceaneers Club, at deck parties and fireworks, and at shows in the Grand Hall. We expect additional experiences to be added over time.
Note: Disney advises that DisneyBand+ does not contain GPS and will not be used to track your whereabouts onboard.
Can I reuse DisneyBand+ on future cruises?
Yes, if it is supported on the ship you are sailing. At launch the DisneyBand+ will only be supported on the Disney Wish. Note: Disney recommends charing the DisneyBand+ at least once every six months between sailing to maintain a “healthy battery condition” for future sailings.
Will DisneyBand+ come in different styles and colors?
While we expect DCL to offer DisneyBand+ in many styles and colors, the version we tested came in a single style. Details on additional styles and colors are currently unknown.
Will DisneyBand+ work at the Oceaneer’s Club?
Yes. DisneyBand+ can replace the Oceaneer’s Band currently used onboard to check in and out of the Oceaneer’s Club. DCL will still offer those bands for kids who do not have, or do not want to use DisneyBand+. DCL currently charges a refundable fee for the bands it provides. Kid club bands are limited to accessing the Oceaneer’s Club and cannot be used for other purposes like unlocking staterooms, onboard charges, etc.
Will DisneyBand+ fit children or those with smaller wrists?
Yes. Just like MagicBands, MagicBand+ and the current Oceaneer’s Band, a portion of the DisneyBand+ tears away to fit smaller wrists.
Can DisneyBand+ be “locked” onto my child’s wrist?
Yes. Just like the Oceaneer’s Band can be locked onto the child while they are in the club; band locks will also work on DisneyBand+.
Do I have to charge my DisneyBand+?
Yes. Like MagicaBand+, you will need to charge your DisneyBand+ if you want to experience the “magical experiences” onboard. Like MagicBand+, DisneyBand+ will be sold with a proprietary charger. Disney claims the DisneyBand+ will last 1-3 days between charges, but recommends charging the band overnight. We are skeptical about the battery-life claim, as MagicBand+ can easily run out of battery halfway through a park visit – but perhaps the fewer onboard magic experiences will lengthen battery life for the DisneyBand+. We’ve been told DisneyBand+ will take 30 minutes to be fully charged.
Note: Disney recommends charing the DisneyBand+ at least once every six months between sailing to maintain a “healthy battery condition” for future sailings.
What happens if my DisneyBand+ loses its charge?
Don’t worry, even an uncharged DisneyBand+ can still unlock doors, be used for charging, etc. You will only lose the ability to experience the light-up and vibration effects onboard until you recharge the band.
How can I check the battery level of my DisneyBand+?
In testing, double tapping DisneyBand+ caused the band’s light to flash green, yellow or red. Disney’s official documentation suggests you will actually need to press the “pairing button” on the back of the band to see these indicators (which seems like a poor design choice to have to remove the band to check battery status). Green indicates a good level of battery remaining. Yellow indicates low battery. Red indicates minimal or no battery remaining. You will also be able to check the battery status of your band in the Disney Cruise Line Navigator app, according to Disney’s official documentation. We were not able to verify that claim in testing as no DisneyBand+ features were yet available in the DCL Navigator App.
Is DisneyBand+ waterproof?
Yes. We were able to swim with our DisneyBand+ at the pools onboard as well as the ocean at Castaway Cay without issue. DCL stressed that the DisneyBand+ is waterproof.
Can I use DisneyBand+ with Uncharted Adventure on the Wish?
No. Uncharted Adventure relies on additional technology in your phone or mobile device, such as accelerometers and cameras, to control the game experience. DisneyBand+ only has NFC built-in.
Can I used my DisneyBand+ at the Disney Parks?
Yes, for parks that currently support MagicBand+. You can link your DisneyBand+ to your My Disney Experience account, and use it as you would any other MagicBand+. In our testing, we were able to use our DisneyBand+ for our annual pass parking benefit, park entry, Lightning Lanes and PhotoPass linking at the Walt Disney World Resort. Disney advises that the DisneyBand+ will also work at the Disneyland Resort, at least for experiences currently supported by MagicBand+.
Can I control brightness and vibration on DisneyBand+?
Once linked to your My Disney Experience account you can control brightness, vibration effects, color scheme and other settings for your DisneyBand+ through the Walt Disney World app. Control of these features may also come to the Disney Cruise Line app in future updates.
Our Impressions and Feedback Based On Our Testing
Overall we had a very positive experience with the DisneyBand+. While we encountered some hiccups during testing, they were quickly remedied by the crew. During testing our KTTW cards were disabled onboard, forcing us to use the DisneyBand+ for all the things we’d normally rely on our KTTW card to do. We were able to use the DisneyBand+ to:
- Unlock our stateroom door;
- Check-in for the in-person muster drill;
- Make purchases are stores, bars and restaurants onboard;
- Tap to pay for laundry machines onboard;
- Tap on and off the ship at embarkation, disembarkation and ports of call;
- Check-in at the DVC member desk;
- Check our son in and out of the kids club;
- Link PhotoPass photos; and
- Experience some of the magical experiences onboard.
DisneyBand+, like MagicBand+, is a bit bulkier than NFC solutions currently being used by other cruise lines, like the Princess Ocean Medallion or Virgin’s minimalist onboard bracelet. That said, we didn’t notice the band on our wrists after an hour or so of wear, and found it’s ready access to be a huge pro over trying to dig our KTTW card out of its plastic sleeve, our bags and backpacks, or pockets.
That said, we did hear feedback from others testing the DisneyBand+ and also had some feedback of our own. Notably:
- Some found the band came off too easily if bumped, and some reported losing their bands because they fell off;
- Several testers, including us, would really like to see multiple band styles offered at initial sale, as having identical bands was difficult to manage across family members (note: we marked our bands with permanent marker, but it did rub off after a day or two);
- We would like to see DCL offer bands designed for Castaway Club status, as today that status is reflected through different lanyards used to carry your KTTW card;
- We also recommended DCL consider a DisneyBand+ for those in concierge, as the gold KTTW card issued today is used to determine concierge benefits and access in some cases; and
- Testers, including ourselves, did find the light on the band very bright in the dark cabins when charging at night; a problem that can be addressed once the bands are linked via My Disney Experience.
Ultimately, for us, DisneyBand+ was a hit. The exclusivity of the DCL-designed band was fun and a point of pride at the parks. We also found it very convenient and something we look forward to using in future on Disney Cruise Line.