A new interactive layer to the Disney theme park guest experience is about to be unlocked. The newest generation of the MagicBand wearable device, MagicBand+, is launching this summer. Guests wearing the MagicBand+ will be able to access a new integration of the physical, digital, and virtual worlds on the Walt Disney World vacation for the resort’s 50th anniversary celebration and into the future.
Update: We were able to meet with the team at the Play Disney Parks app and MagicBand+ to get an early preview of the MagicBand+ in operation and a few of the styles that will be available to purchase. Watch here:
Later this year, the Hey Disney! digital voice assistant device for your home (or resort stay) will join in the fun allowing you to bring Disney’s storytelling magic with you wherever you go.
MagicBand+ Unlocks New Interactive Experiences at Walt Disney World Resort
The current MagicBand was introduced in 2013 at the Walt Disney World resort. In addition to allowing you access to the parks, connecting to a virtual wallet, and partnering with the Disney Photopass service, there was a promise to open a lot more interactivity in the parks.
That promise never fully materialized. But there were a few fun interactions within the attractions where your name would pop up in the queue or ride and eventually guests were able to use their magicband to open their resort rooms as well.
The MagicBand+ will retain all these features and add new features that focus on upgrading the guest experience with additional magic discoveries throughout the parks and resorts.
For instance, once a guest enters a theme park, their MagicBand+ will activate with haptic feedback vibrations, color-changing lights, and interact at certain points in the parks via gesture recognition. Sometimes it will work in conjunction with your Play Disney Parks app.
Some of the new interactive experiences Disney is highlighting include:
- The “Disney Fab 50 Quest,” where guests embark on a scavenger hunt throughout the four Walt Disney World theme parks using MagicBand+ to help spread pixie dust and interact with the golden character sculptures. With the Play Disney Parks app, guests can dive deeper into the experience to find hints and keep track of sculptures which will unlock digital achievements, including an augmented reality feature.
- In the “Star Wars: Batuu Bounty Hunters” experience, guests join the Batuu Bounty Hunters’ Guild in Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Using their MagicBand+ to find numerous virtual bounties hidden throughout Black Spire Outpost, guests will follow the band’s light patterns and haptics to complete their mission. Then they will return to the local guild master, who will reward them with galactic credits. Guests can also use the Play Disney Parks mobile app to help them reveal their virtual bounty using the app’s built-in augmented reality thermal viewer.
- Disney’s popular nighttime spectaculars will synchronize with the MagicBand+ as they light up and complement the magic in the skies, including the new “Harmonious” at EPCOT and “Disney Enchantment” at Magic Kingdom Park.
MagicBand+ will be available at Disneyland Resort later this year. Some of the features will vary between Walt Disney World Resort and Disneyland Resort. More details will be shared soon.
Although a few of these bands accidentally were put out on shelves at Walt Disney World last week, we’re still waiting on a more firm release date than ‘this summer.’ We will update this post as soon as we get something more concrete on the calendar.
As expected, Disney says hotel guests and annual passholders will be offered a discounted, pre-arrival price.
The existing Magicbands and Disney MagicMobile will continue to work as they do today for features such as park entry and photopass. If you just want the original Magicband, it will continue to be available for purchase.
The promise of Technology
When I first learned of what came to be known as the MyMagic+ technology, my mind went crazy with all the possibilities. For reasons I won’t go into here, but have been talked about endlessly on various Disney podcasts, that promise was never realized.
MagicBand+ is another bite at the apple for Disney’s theme parks and resorts. If you’ve been awake on the planet in the last 12 months, you’ve no doubt heard of the coming Multiverse. Disney certainly has.
The MagicBand+ isn’t full Virtual Reality, but it will get Disney closer to Augmented Reality than ever before. If the MagicBand+ delivers as promised, consider the door to the Multiverse opened at Disney.
The MagicBand+ reminds me of some of the promise of in-park games like Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom and the magic wand experience at the Universal parks. I have faith that Disney’s team will continue to innovate and find new ways to enhance the guest experience with the MagicBand+.
Let us know your feelings about the promise of MagicBand+ in the comments below.