Is there a difference between the “New” Magic Bands and the “Old” Magic Bands?

A Comparison of the the “New” and Old” Disney World Magic Bands

A Comparison of the the “New” and Old” Disney World Magic Bands

Disney recently made some changes to their Magic Bands, so we took a moment let’s compare the “old-style” bands to the latest version. 

In case you don't know, MagicBands are included as part of Walt Disney World Resort room only reservations and vacation packages and are mailed to guests from the United States. Guests from other countries or guests who book less than a month prior to arrival will receive their MagicBands when they check in at their Disney resort.  You will need to set up a MyDisneyExperience.com to link your resort reservation and tickets (if purchased separately) to your MagicBands.  MagicBands can also be purchased at Disney World and online through the Disney Store. 

MagicBands contain a RFID chip that can be used:

  • To check in to your resort
  • To check in to Disney's Magical Express upon arrival.  Paper vouchers are still used on departure day.
  • To unlock yourhotel room
  • To enter the theme parks, if admission tickets have been linked to your account.
  • To access your resort feature pool & laundry areas
  • To use Disney Dining Plan credits, if you have purchased a Disney Dining Plan.  
  • To charge purchases to your room, if linked to a credit card and a 4-digit PIN has been set up.

Guests not staying at a Walt Disney World Resort hotel can purchase MagicBands at Disney World or prior to their trip through the Disney Store.  MagicBands can be reused on future trips and have a life expectancy of about two years before the enclosed battery dies.

Here is a close-up of my “old-style” band from our 2013 trip.

A Comparison of the the “New” and Old” Disney World Magic Bands - orange older style MagicBand. 

A Comparison of the the “New” and Old” Disney World Magic Bands - orange older style MagicBand. 

It’s their standard orange band, because they didn’t have the Little Orange Bird bands available yet. I am oddly fascinated by that bird, and the Anita Bryant song that accompanies it. Google it when you get time.   

Our new bands arrived today, so a side-by-side comparison was in order.

A Comparison of the the “New” and Old” Disney World Magic Bands - The new bands with their matching Disney character luggage tags in the original packaging. 

A Comparison of the the “New” and Old” Disney World Magic Bands - The new bands with their matching Disney character luggage tags in the original packaging. 

Please take note of something – the luggage tags are cleverly packed with the magic bands, and color-coded to correspond with the matching guest.  Pretty neat, right?

Anyway, I put an old band next to a new band, and here’s what I found.

A Comparison of the the “New” and Old” Disney World Magic Bands

A Comparison of the the “New” and Old” Disney World Magic Bands

First off, the one on the left is green.

My first impression was that the new band is a bit wider.

Toni’s first impression was that the new band is lighter. A quick “hold one in each hand” test yielded uncertain results, so I weighed them both on a triple-beam balance. Yes – I have one lying around. Don’t ask – the explanation is just too long.  

 Turns out, she was absolutely correct. The old orange came in at 20.5 grams. The new green band actually showed a lighter 18.3 grams.  Not much of a difference, but clearly enough to notice.  

A closer look yields two more discoveries! First, the new bands are also noticeably thinner. Second, each Magic Band has a unique ID number printed on the back of it.  (I blacked the number out for security’s sake. I don’t know what you would actually do with it, but it seemed like a good idea.)

A Comparison of the the “New” and Old” Disney World Magic Bands - the new bands are thinner than the old style MagicBands. 

A Comparison of the the “New” and Old” Disney World Magic Bands - the new bands are thinner than the old style MagicBands. 

A Comparison of the the “New” and Old” Disney World Magic Bands - the new bands are thinner. 

A Comparison of the the “New” and Old” Disney World Magic Bands - the new bands are thinner. 

The bands have all of the same functionality as the old bands, plus another feature the old ones didn’t have – one particularly for those who aren’t too happy wearing a wristband.

A Comparison of the the “New” and Old” Disney World Magic Bands - how to remove the puck from your Disney World MagicBand. 

A Comparison of the the “New” and Old” Disney World Magic Bands - how to remove the puck from your Disney World MagicBand. 

The center of the band (called a “Puck”) can be removed. The puck can be kept in your pocket, or (coming soon!) on a key fob-type of device you can clip to whatever you may need.  More updates on this feature as more information becomes available in the near future!

One word of caution - the puck can get lost a LOT easier once it’s removed from the band. Personally, I’m leaving mine firmly attached. Like its predecessor, it’s even waterproof.

To conclude, the new bands are lighter, thinner, a tad wider, and appear just as comfortable. The new removable puck feature should be a delight to those who wish to avoid wearing anything on their wrist. 

About the Author:  Ian and his wife Toni work together to help their clients have wonderful Disney World, SeaWorld, and Universal Orlando vacations.  There is no extra charge to get their expert help for your trip when you book your vacation through them.

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A Comparison of the the “New” and Old” Disney World Magic Bands

A Comparison of the the “New” and Old” Disney World Magic Bands