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.