When you stay at a Disney Resort hotel, you don’t have to bring your keys, wallet, purse, anything––well, except maybe your phone. Each guest gets a “Magic Band,” a bracelet that connects their hotels’ account to their wrist. If you want a soda, no need to dig for spare change; just hold the bracelet up to the pin pad, and the soda’s charged to your room’s account. But does the same process work if you want to use a gift card?
You cannot directly link a gift card to a Magic Band. However, if you’re staying at a Disney Resort hotel, you can use the gift card to pay off your room’s balance. You can do this by visiting a Cast Member at the front desk, and they’ll complete the transaction for you.
Despite this, you can still connect your debit card and credit card to your Magic Band. You can do this by entering your information into the My Disney Experience app. Read on to learn more about connecting your card information to your Magic Band.
How Can I Use a Gift Card without the Magic Band?
Disney gift cards generally range from $25 to $500. You can get them via email or physically from a major retailer. In the parks, they can pay for most items, from souvenirs to meals. And while they can’t be paired with a Magic Band to pay for things, you can use it to pay off your hotel’s balance.
For instance, suppose you visited Magic Kingdom, and on your Magic Band, you spent $200. You have a $50 gift card. By visiting the front desk, a Cast Member will take your gift card and deduct $50 from your room’s balance.
You can view your room’s balance through the My Disney Experience app. You can do this by:
- Opening the My Disney App
- Tapping the three lines on the bottom right-hand corner
- Choosing “My Plans”
- Selecting “View Charges”
The app will keep track of your purchases during and shortly after your visit.
How to Connect Your Magic Band to Your Credit or Debit Card
Even though you cannot connect gift cards to a Magic Band, you can connect your credit or debit card by:
- Downloading the My Disney Experience app. This is a must-have for any serious Disney fan. It lets you manage your account, check wait times, and make reservations. It’s available on the Google Play Store and App Store.
- Creating an account. You’ll have to share some information about the people in your party, your arrival date, and your email address.
- Go to “My Profile.” Once you’ve created an account and logged in, select the three lines on the screen’s bottom right-hand corner.
- Select “Payment Method.” Now, you’ll be able to share your credit or debit card information.
Is the Magic Band Only Used for Payment?
Aside from being unable to accept gift cards, there’s virtually no limit to what your Magic Band can do. It can:
Open Your Room’s Door
If you’re staying at a Disney Resort hotel, your Magic Band can open your room’s door. You don’t have to worry about losing your keycard on Space Mountain anymore. It’s worth noting the difference between a Disney Resort hotel and another on-property hotel.
There are 25 Disney Resort hotels, including:
- Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge
- Disney’s Caribbean Resort
- Disney’s Art of Animation Resort
- Disney’s Wilderness Lodge (including primitive camping)
- Disney’s Pop Century Resort
- Disney’s Contemporary Resort
Extend Your Visiting Hours
Magic Bands show Disney Cast Members that you’re staying at a Disney Resort hotel, meaning you get “Magic Hours.” For instance, suppose Magic Kingdom allows general admission from 8 am to 11 pm. However, its “Magic Hours” are from 8 am to 1 am.
If you have a Magic Band, you can stay even after the park “closes.” The big draw is wait times. You may find yourself literally “walking on” rides with typically 45-minute-long wait times.
Store Fast Passes, and Soon, Genie
Recently, Disney announced that they’re phasing out fast passes in exchange for a streamlined paid service. At its core, Genie allows you to “skip the line” whenever you want. However, they haven’t let the Genie out of the lamp just yet. Right now, Disney-goers can use the traditional, free, fast pass system.
You don’t have to worry about losing your passes or digging in your wallet for them–– Your Magic Band stores all that information. You can reserve ride times and change your fast passes if a better opportunity comes up.
Keep Track of Your Children
Disney’s parks draw large crowds. While Cast Members do a great job of locating lost children, the Magic Band has perfected it. Your Magic Band, to some extent, serves as a tracking device. If your child wanders away, Cast Members can pinpoint their exact location and return them to you.
While you can’t connect gift cards to your Magic Band, you can use it to pay off your room’s balance. The Magic Band can also open your room’s door, store your reservation info, and much, much more.