Tips for Using Magic Bands with Photopass+

When I visited Disney in September, my family and I were lucky enough to have the opportunity to test the new Disney Magic Bands. If you don't know, Magic Bands are what Disney is introducing that will replace the Key to the World card, as well as have connections to many other aspects of your vacation, including PhotoPass+.  I will admit, I was nervous about using them. I had heard plenty of horror stories of the trouble people have been having with them. Luckily enough, we didn't have any major issues with ours. I did learn a few things though that can make using Magic Bands and PhotoPass+ together a bit easier.

  • Get your PhotoPass+ card soon after you arrive. On our trip, we got it as soon as we got the to our first park, Epcot. You can trade your voucher for the PhotoPass+ card at any of the Disney PhotoPass Photo Centers: Exposition Hall in the Magic Kingdom, The Camera Center in Epcot, Cover Story in Disney’s Hollywood Studios, Garden Gate Gifts in Disney’s Animal Kingdom. You can also trade your voucher at a number of merchandise locations: Team Mickey at Downtown Disney, M. Mouse Mercantile at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa, Trader Jack’s at Disney’s Polynesian Resort, Zawadi at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge and Beach Club Marketplace at Disney’s Yacht & Beach Club Resort.
  • After getting your card, get a picture taken as soon as possible. This is key for linking your Photopass+ card with your Magic Bands. When we picked up the card, they were unable to link the card and our Magic Bands until we had a picture on the card.
  • Soon after getting a picture taken, return to one of the Disney PhotoPass Centers and have them link your band.  We didn't do this right away, and so we weren't really trusting that using our Magic Bands for PhotoPass+ before linking them would guarantee that we'd have all of our pictures.
  • Once your PhotoPass+ card is linked to the Magic Bands, have the photographers scan your band as much as possible. Again, another mistake we made. We only had a few photographers scan our bands, and that resulted in different pictures on our bands and on our PhotoPass+ card. I do recommend wearing the lanyard with the card, so that the photographers know you are a PhotoPass+ customer (you most definitely get more attention from the photographer if you are).
  • Before you leave The World (booooo!) visit one of the PhotoPass Photo Centers and have them check your card and your Magic Band to ensure all of the photos are associated with your account. If they aren't, they'll be able to link the photos that are not. We did this on our last day, and boy were we glad we did.  We would have lost a whole series of photos if we didn't.
  • Be patient. Magic Bands are still in testing. Many Cast Members have not been fully trained on how to use them, and many are not yet comfortable with how to use them. Many of the Cast Members we met were happy to use them (they asked us for them at the airport and we used them to get on the Magical Express), but there are definitely still kinks in the system.

All in all, our Magic Bands made our lives so much easier. Pairing them with PhotoPass+ just made the whole thing even better.

  • Cayli

    Were you able to link more than one MB? We are going in February and I was wondering if my family separates would we able to get all our pictures on one card?! I am a little nervous with all the new stuff!!

    • Aaron

      Yes, all of our Magic Bands were linked together. I was so nervous as well, but it all worked out for us. Good luck!

  • tanya

    we are testing them when we come down at the end of the month. The resorts were booked for the first two days so we have to stay in the Hyatt. We purchased out photo pass plus with our resort package and were told we could go ahead and use it. What I’m wondering is will we have to wait to tie it to our armbands or will it start on our first day. (We already have the armbands. They shipped them to us three weeks ago.)

    • Aaron

      I would wonder about that too. For us, we stayed at the resort the entire time, and our Magic Bands were working at the airport. We used them to get on Magical Express. I’m interested to hear what happens when you go.

    • Steph

      Because you can use PhotoPass+ for 14 days, I would *think* it would work for PhotoPass from the first scan to 14 days later. But, the system IS buggy.

      I’ll be there is a few days and testing several scenarios. We are staying in 3 resorts and ended up with 6 MagicBands for the two of us. I will try scanning one from the end of our stay on the first day with PhotoPass and let you know how it goes!

      • Tanya

        Thanks! I look forward to hearing about it!

  • Fiona

    I’m really hoping this means I will be able to link the PP+ to my family’s magic bands. We are travelling in January and this is something that is concerning me. My husband and I often split up to do different rides with our children. We would hate to miss the ride photos because we didn’t both bave a PP+ card.

  • Robyn Fischer

    So what you are saying is that when a photographer takes our picture he has to scan our PP+ card and our MB?

    • Aaron

      Nope, actually the opposite. The photographer can scan either and once they are linked the photos should show up on both.

  • Kristi

    We had a heck of a time with this when we visited with October. After talking to several Photopass people (the manager at the Town Square location in MK was the most knowledgable) we finally figured it out. We could use our bands AND laniard for all photos and it would link it to our account (which you can look at on MyExperience). EXCEPT for ride pictures. Those you had to have the laniard for. So my husband wore it most of the time because he’s the one that takes the kids on those rides 🙂 If I was somewhere else doing a character spot or something with the little kids I had them scan the band. The few rides that I do ride on I had to get the laniard from him. It was a pain, but the manager told us in the future their goal is to have everything linked to the band. No more laniards. I don’t know when this will happen (has it happened yet?) but I really hope they figure it out soon!

    • Aaron

      Thanks for sharing your experience. We did use the card for the ride photos as well, so I never ran into the issue of trying to use it for them.

  • Teresa Roberts

    Thank You!!! I’ve been trying to find info out about photopass+ and the magic bands but there hasn’t been much info out there!

    • Aaron

      Glad we could help!!

  • Robyn Fischer

    Thanks for this information,Teresa’s right I haven’t found much info about MBs and photopass+.

    • Steph

      I’ve been testing a lot of things while I’ve been here and will have a post up as soon as I can!

  • brandy

    We went in March. Disney no longer gives lanyards for the photopass.

  • Nancy Taylor

    I see on Disney.com you can buy the magic bands there. Should we buy them before we go or are they in the package deal?

    • DailyDigiSteph

      If you are staying on site, MagicBands are included in the package.

      • Nancy Taylor

        Thank you!