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Last year, Disney began offering an option other than the very popular MagicBands. Disney’s MagicMobile Service then launched and has now been in use for almost a year.
What is Disney MagicMobile? How does it compare to MagicBands? Is a MagicMobile pass the best route for you to go?
We’ll take a look at all of these questions to help demystify Disney MagicMobile Service.
What is Disney MagicMobile Service?
Simply put, Disney MagicMobile contains most of the functionality of MagicBands and puts it in your smartphone.
Here is what the Disney MagicMobile Service can do:
- Create a Custom Pass for each guest: Each ticketholder can create their own MagicMobile digital pass. There are several designs to choose from to allow for customization. There are even design options for Annual Passholders and Disney Vacation Club members. This pass can then be added to the “wallet” of your smart phone.
- Gain park entry: Your MagicMobile digital pass acts as your park ticket to gain entry to the Disney parks. This of course requires a park ticket and a park pass reservation.
- Link attraction PhotoPass pictures to account: As long as your phone is physically with you on a ride, it will now create the link for PhotoPass pictures on attractions. This is just like how wearing a MagicBand on a ride links the pictures to your account.
- Enter Virtual Queue Attractions: If you have a boarding group for a ride the requires a virtual queue, you can use your MagicMobile pass to gain access, the same as you would use a MagicBand.
- Tap Phone/Watch to redeem Genie+ or Individual Lightning Lane reservation
- Make charges to your Resort room: This is a key feature that was missing for a while, but now you can use Disney MagicMobile service to automatically add charges to your resort room tab (this is for Disney resort guests only).
- Other Functionality: Aside from these things, you can continue to unlock your resort room through the My Disney Experience app. This is separate from the Disney MagicMobile system and has been in place for some time.
- Digital Disability Access Service: This brings the funcationality of the DAS pass right to your mobile phone. Simply tap your phone at attraction touch points and you are good to go
It doesn’t provide a ton of details, but here’s Disney World’s official page on the MagicMobile service.
How to Set Up Your Disney MagicMobile Pass
First things first, you need to make sure you have an updated My Disney Experience app. You also need to have valid park tickets or a Disney resort reservation linked to your account.
1. Press the Hamburger Menu (Three Lines)
Once you are on the home screen of My Disney Experience, you’ll notice symbols on the bottom. The hamburger button is the three horizontal lines in the lower right hand corner.
This access much of the menu that details your account information.
2. Press Card Labeled “Disney MagicMobile”
This menu is a good place to familiarize yourself with, just in general.
But for our purposes today, you want to press the card labeled Disney MagicMobile.
3. Complete Authentication to Arrive at Set Up
Frankly, I don’t even remember what the authentication process is because it’s just quick and easy. But in general, be prepared with your password or biometric login. That’s my guess.
Once you complete authentication you arrive at the set up screen.
This screen gives you some basic information about some of the features you can expect with your MagicMobile pass.
4. Choose the Account You Want
At this stage of the game, you’ll see all of the people listed who you are able to create MagicMobile passes for.
If you have multiple family members (like your spouse and kids) whose tickets and reservations you control, you’ll see them show up here.
Your account, as the primary account of this My Disney Experience account is selected by default.
Disney Planning Tip: If there are any adults in your party (like your spouse) who would like to have their pass show up on their phone, they need to set up their own My Disney Experience account to do this. If not, their MagicMobile pass will be on your phone.
5. Select Design of Your MagicMobile Pass
Let’s face it, this is the fun part. Each member of your party can choose their own design. In fact, I recommend that you do pick different designs so you can identify them at a glance in your wallet.
There are several different designs to choose from. Each park has a few designs, annual passholders have even more, and then are some miscellaneous designs.
If you are an Annual Passholder or a Disney Vacation Club member, I HIGHLY recommend choosing the designs that correspond with that.
Disney has moved away from using the physical DVC cards in order to get discounts and benefits. It has to be done with your digital pass now.
I believe you can still use the physical passholder cards for the discounts and as your ticket, so it’s not as necessary to choose one of the passholder designs.
These screenshots are just a small sampling of some of the designs to choose from.
You’re going to repeat these steps for each of the passes you need to create.
6. Add MagicMobile Pass to Wallet
The ultimate destination of this step varies depending on whether you have an Apple product or an Android product, but you essentially want to add the passes to wherever the wallet exists on your phone.
For iPhones, you’ll put the passes in your Apple wallet. For Google based Android devices, you’ll put them in your GPay wallet.
The screens will prompt you to do this.
If you have an Apple watch, the passes will automatically load onto the watch.
This is where you want to set up the Express pass option if you have an iPhone. I don’t have one so I can’t even give you instructions on how to do it!
Disney MagicMobile Service FAQs
As with any new offering, there are some questions which need to be answered.
Who Can Use Disney MagicMobile?
The main answer is pretty much that any guest at Disney World can create a MagicMobile pass through their My Disney Experience account.
But the technical answer is that any guest who has a valid theme park ticket or a Disney Resort reservation is eligible to create their MagicMobile pass.
While it started out that only guests with iPhones could use MagicMobile, that has since changed and you can use it on iPhones and Android devices.
However, guests with iPhones and Apple watches have a distinct advantage over everyone else. They can turn on Express Mode which means you don’t even have to unlock your phone to scan your Disney MagicMobile pass.
How does MagicMobile Work?
To put it simply, MagicMobile service works in much the same way as a traditional MagicBand, plastic park ticket card, or Key to the World card.
You tap your phone or watch to the access point (tapstile, payment machine, etc.), and voila!
Once you choose the design of your pass you can load it into your Apple Wallet or Google Pay. From there you simply need to tap your smartphone, or Apple watch, just as you would a MagicBand.
You can store multiple passes on one device to streamline use for families.
What is the Main Benefit of Choosing to Use MagicMobile?
Frankly, the main benefit is that access to Disney MagicMobile service is completely free.
This is a massive advantage over MagicBands which cost at least $10 for Disney resort guests, and up from there.
Sure, the Key to the World card is also free for all Disney resort guests, but it’s simply not as convenient to use.
What’s NOT so Good about using MagicMobile Service?
The biggest disadvantage to using MagicMobile is it’s simply not as convenient. It requires way more steps than simply tapping a MagicBand.
This is especially true if you don’t have an Apple Watch, which does simplify the process somewhat. The Express function on iPhones also make it easier, you don’t even need to unlock your phone, the pass will register.
However, on my Google Pixel I need to unlock my phone, open my GPay wallet, click select more, scroll to the Disney passes, then choose the correct MagicMobile pass out of the four I have saved there.
Not exactly efficient.
If you are the keeper of the passes for your family, this requires you to scroll through and individually tap each of the tickets at the tapstiles every time you enter a park.
This is where the Apple Watch isn’t an advantage, either. Sure, you can tap your own park ticket on your Apple Watch, but if you are in charge of any one else’s passes, you need to individually find each of the passes on your phone.
Also, to use this with any of the PhotoPass photographers, you need to actually open up the QR code for them to scan.
Also, your Disney MagicMobile pass doesn’t actually unlock your Disney resort room door. So you can’t just tap your phone or Apple Watch to the door sensor to open it.
You actually have to go into My Disney Experience, into your resort reservation, and get the code to then open the door.
Free isn’t always as efficient as a paid service.
Are MagicBands Going Away?
Heave a big sigh of relief, MagicBand fans because no, they aren’t going away. The only thing that went away is getting a complimentary MagicBand for every resort stay.
Disney stresses many times through a couple of press releases that guest have the choice of using MagicBands, MagicMobile, or picking up a Key to the World card instead.
Disney resort guests qualify for discounted MagicBands through their My Disney Experience account. The inventory is constantly rotating, so you never know what designs are available when.
Can I Switch Between MagicMobile, MagicBands, and Key to the World?
Yes! They are essentially all interchangeable. This is probably one of the strengths of the whole MagicMobile system.
Let’s face it, we don’t often run out the door without our phones, especially when at Disney. This guarantees that you’ll always have all that functionality with you.
This comes in handy if you accidentally forget your MagicBands in your hotel room. Or if you happen to already have your phone in your hand.
Some More Thoughts on the Disney MagicMobile System
All in all, I’m fairly neutral about this whole thing. Personally, I’ll probably stick with using MagicBands because they remain an easier option and I already have some I can use until the battery dies.
If you are a Disney resort guest, you have access to a selection MagicBands at a discount. I’m more than willing to pay $10 per family member to have the extra convenience. Plus, it’s a neat accessory for the trip.
Initially, you weren’t able to charge to your room with Disney MagicMobile service, which was an absolute no go for me. That convenience is essential to my trip.
However, now that you can use MagicMobile to make room charges, this does level the playing field a bit more.
I still think that MagicBands have the edge in terms of convenience overall. For people with Apple watches it is a little more convenient.
But for the rest of us it’s just easier to use a MagicBand instead of pulling our phone out every time you want to pay for something.
And the door unlocking abilities of the MagicBand are simply vastly superior.
Before you decide what you want to do, I suggest that you read through my guide all about Disney’s MagicBands. This will help you truly understand the differences between the two options.
I do like the idea of guests having multiple options. You no longer have to worry about what happens if you lose a MagicBand or leave it back in your room.
Everyone can choose the method they prefer to use and just go with it.
What do you think of this new system? Will use this or do you still prefer MagicBands? Let me know in the comments below.