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Some Favorite Ways to Experience Epcot International Food & Wine Festival Sept. 25-Nov. 16

posted on August 25th, 2015 by Pam Brandon, Disney Parks Food Writer


We’re counting down the days and deciding the best ways to take advantage of all the food, wine, celebrity chefs, live music and more at the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival.

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Looking ahead, here are three ideas to maximize your fun. We love the idea of the new 20th Festival Tasting Sampler that gives you a credential (and a cool collectible pin) to taste your way around the fest. For $59 you get your choice of eight tastes of food or beverages at all of the 30 marketplaces plus priority seating at the nightly Eat to the Beat concert.

Your credential will include ideas for pairing a dish and a drink at the marketplaces – we’re excited to try some of the new dishes such as the pepper bacon mac ‘n’ cheese paired with a hard cider at Farm Fresh Marketplace (both new); lamb meatball with spicy tomato chutney and a pinot noir at New Zealand (both new), and the butter chicken with naan bread with a chenin blanc in Africa. There are 29 new dishes this year, and 72 new cocktails, beers, wines and ciders!

We’ve always had fun at Eat to the Beat, and this year’s dining package includes lunch or dinner at 13 different restaurants from Coral Reef Restaurant and The Garden Grill in Future World to France, Italy, Germany, Mexico, Japan, Morocco and United Kingdom. This is a nice “plan ahead” experience.

Price varies by restaurant, starting at $34.99 for lunch and includes appetizer, entrée, dessert and drink or buffets. And then you get guaranteed seating at the 5:30 p.m. Eat to the Beat concert for lunch reservations, and the 6:45 or 8 p.m. show for lunch or dinner.

Fan favorites are back on the America Gardens Theatre stage, including Wilson Phillips, Smash Mouth, The Pointer Sisters, Jo Dee Messina, Boyz II Men and Big Bad Voodoo Daddy. And there are four new acts in the concert series lineup — Tiffany, Everclear, Maxi Priest and Chaka Khan.

For a really special treat, set aside a week for the Food & Wine Premium Package that gives you VIP treatment from noon- 8 p.m. Monday through Thursday at the festival. Eleven shaded “Premium Package” areas are reserved for a spot to eat, drink and relax, and you get to choose an IllumiNations Sparkling Dessert Party to attend, as well as a Festival Center culinary demo or beverage seminar.

Cost is $199, and you also get a gift bag with your own wine glass, a bottle of 20th celebration festival wine, a Food & Wine Fest-themed MagicBand and four food tickets for food or beverage from festival marketplaces.

For reservations, call 407-939-3378. Admission to Epcot is required.

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Summertime Update About Retail MagicBands and Accessories at Walt Disney World Resort

posted on August 7th, 2015 by Steven Miller, Merchandise Communications Manager


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As the “Coolest Summer Ever” continues at Walt Disney World Resort, I wanted to give you an update about several new retail MagicBands and accessories. These items are a great way to show your Disney Side during your vacation. Here is a look at some of my favorites.

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The open edition retail MagicBands featuring Steamboat Willie and characters from Disney•Pixar’s “Finding Nemo” are currently available in select merchandise locations.

On August 14, we will release two additional open edition retail MagicBands. One will have Winnie the Pooh while the other will feature Jack Skellington from Tim Burton’s “The Nightmare Before Christmas.”

Open edition retail MagicBands have a retail of $19.95 each. Like all other retail MagicBands, these open edition items can be linked later making them great gifts.

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At the beginning of the year, we released a retail MagicBand with an image of Cinderella Castle from Magic Kingdom Park. Later this month, we will have three additional open edition retail MagicBands for Epcot, Disney’s Hollywood Studios and Disney’s Animal Kingdom. I’m thrilled to see Figment on the Epcot-themed MagicBand!

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Some of the coolest MagicBand accessories I’ve seen are the attraction-themed MagicSliders. These small rectangular images easily slide onto the side of a MagicBand. They are a great way to either showcase your favorite Disney attractions or to keep track of which ones you’ve experienced.

Attraction-Themed MagicSliders Available at Walt Disney World Resort Attraction-Themed MagicSliders Available at Walt Disney World Resort

There are three attraction sliders per MagicSlider pack. Look for three different packs of Magic Kingdom Park attractions, and two packs each for attractions at Epcot, Disney’s Hollywood Studios and Disney’s Animal Kingdom. Each pack has a retail of $6.95.

Finally, we are now offering some of the Disney character MagicBands including Mickey Mouse, Goofy and Donald Duck on our Disney Parks online store. You can find them along with select MagicBand accessories by visiting this page.

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Filed: Disney's Animal Kingdom, Disney's Hollywood Studios, Epcot, Magic Kingdom, MagicBands, MyMagic+, Walt Disney World Resort

Show Your Patriotic #DisneySide with Americana Themed Goods from Disney Parks

posted on June 30th, 2015 by Steven Miller, Merchandise Communications Manager


With the Fourth of July holiday right around the corner at Disney Parks, I recently found a few items to help guests show their patriotic Disney Side.

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Our newest retail MagicBand features Mickey Mouse standing in front of an American flag. This limited release item has a retail of $24.95 and can be found in select merchandise locations throughout Walt Disney World Resort.

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I adore the Fourth of July limited edition pin with Carl and Ellie from Disney•Pixar’s “Up.” This pin has an edition size of 3,500 and will be released at Disneyland and Walt Disney World Resorts. I also like the new, open edition Minnie Mouse bow decorated in red, white and blue.

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The Graphic Apparel team introduced shirts including a tank top along with short and long sleeved options. These designs will be similar in both California and Florida with the only differences being the name of the Disney Resort destination.

Show Your Patriotic #DisneySide with Americana Themed Goods from Disney Parks Show Your Patriotic #DisneySide with Americana Themed Goods from Disney Parks

Finally, guests visiting Heritage Manor Gifts in World Showcase at Epcot will find some unique Americana items including shirts. The location also carries USA Charm Bracelets by Alex and Ani in both gold and silver.

Happy Independence Day!

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Filed: Disneyland Resort, Epcot, MagicBands, MyMagic+, Walt Disney World Resort

Look Ahead to New Merchandise Coming to Disney Parks Later in 2015

posted on June 18th, 2015 by Steven Miller, Merchandise Communications Manager


As summer begins at Disney Parks, here is a sneak preview of items coming later this year. This is one of my favorite articles to write as I get to share some awesome things currently in development.

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Time For MagicSliders
One of the more popularly requested accessories for MagicBands at Walt Disney World Resort is a watch. I’m happy to report there will be two MagicSlider timepieces coming this summer – a Minnie Mouse analog timepiece and one with a digital display.

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Disney Pins From Regions Beyond
Memento Mori, the Haunted Mansion-themed shop located in Liberty Square at Magic Kingdom Park, inspired two open edition pins coming late summer. One pin resembles the brooch that female cast members wear in the location, while the other looks like a sign found outside the shop. You can see both of those items in this previous article.

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Cogsworth and Chef Figment
Cogsworth may be one of my favorite characters from Disney’s “Beauty and the Beast.” I was happy to see there will be a medium-sized figurine coming this September. This figurine is the companion piece to the Lumiere figurine we released in 2013. The best part – Cogsworth’s face is a working clock!

Also arriving this fall is a new 12-inch Figment plush created especially for the 20th Epcot International Food & Wine Festival. My favorite festival of the year returns to Walt Disney World Resort from September 25 through November 16.

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Villainous T-Shirts
This fall, Chernabog from Walt Disney’s “Fantasia” and Hades from Disney’s “Hercules” will be featured on new Disney Villain T-shirts. I love this artwork created by Disney Design Group artist Dave Keefer.

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Disney Theme Park Holiday Ornaments
This year, we will release ornaments featuring Mickey and Minnie Mouse dressed in attire representing different Disney Theme Parks. It’s probably no surprise that I adore the Epcot ornament especially since Mickey and Minnie are wearing their spacesuits from the 1980s.

Look for these and other items coming to select merchandise locations at Disneyland and Walt Disney World Resort.

Which item is your favorite? Please share in the comments below.

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Filed: Disneyland Resort, Epcot, MagicBands, MyMagic+, Walt Disney World Resort

PHOTOS – Merchandise Blooms at Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival 2015

posted on March 3rd, 2015 by Steven Miller, Merchandise Communications Manager


The Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival 2015 runs from March 4 to May 17 at Walt Disney World Resort. With beautiful flowers to see and delicious food to taste, I love strolling around Epcot a few times throughout spring. Here’s an update on some additional products created especially for this event. I also have a first look inside the Festival Center that will be open Fridays through Sundays in Future World between Mission: SPACE and Universe of Energy pavilions.

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In a previous article, I promised details about the retail MagicBand created for this event. This new item has an edition size of 5,000 and features Anna and Elsa in their “Frozen Fever” attire from the upcoming animated short debuting in theaters before Disney’s “Cinderella” on March 13. Like all other retail MagicBands, this item can be linked later. Look for it in select retail locations at Epcot (it will not be available via the Disney Parks online store).

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I also found a few apparel items for adults and kids including Olaf shirts in blue and green, a Sorcerer Mickey topiary shirt, a yellow Minnie Mouse shirt for women, and a specially designed shirt for Annual Passholders.

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Back by popular demand, we are releasing a new 12-month calendar featuring character topiaries from previous year’s festivals.

Guests will also find an iPhone 6 case with Anna and Elsa, magnets, headware, garden accessories, a new Disney Gift Card and much more.

While the Festival Center will only be open during the weekends, these items will be offered at several locations throughout Future World and World Showcase at Epcot (there are some great merchandise kiosks found along the World Showcase promenade).

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Finally, the Festival Center will host Disney artist Jerrod Maruyama on March 8 from 11a.m. – 12 p.m. and 1 – 2p.m. He will be signing his Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival-inspired piece titled “Spring Has Sprung.” I love his artwork so much!

Here are a few additional images from my visit to Epcot. I hope to see you this spring!

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Filed: Epcot, MagicBands, MyMagic+, Special Events, Walt Disney World Resort

Join ‘Galactic Gathering’ for Star Wars Weekends 2015 at Disney’s Hollywood Studios on May 14

posted on March 3rd, 2015 by Steven Miller, Merchandise Communications Manager


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Star Wars Weekends 2015 returns to Disney’s Hollywood Studios at Walt Disney World Resort on Friday, May 15. To kick off this event, Disney Theme Park Merchandise is holding a special ticketed event called “Galactic Gathering” on Thursday, May 14 from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Similar to the “Rebel Rendezvous” event held last year, this year’s event will give guests the first opportunity to purchase new products created especially for Star Wars Weekends.

Join ‘Galactic Gathering’ for Star Wars Weekends 2015 at Disney’s Hollywood Studios on May 14 Join ‘Galactic Gathering’ for Star Wars Weekends 2015 at Disney’s Hollywood Studios on May 14

Packages for the Galactic Gathering will include the following:

  • ‘Rebel’ or ‘Empire’ retail MagicBand (Guests can choose their side when registering online)*
  • Commemorative trading pin*
  • Darth’s Mall Light Speed Pass which gives expedited entry into Darth’s Mall for all five weekends.*
  • First opportunity to pre-purchase select merchandise including personalized Aurebesh nametags, D-Tech phone cases, Dooney & Bourke handbags, Galactic Gathering Disney Gift card, retail MagicBands, limited edition pins and Vinylmation.
  • First opportunity to purchase the new designs of Star Wars-themed Disney Gift Cards.
  • Han Solo-inspired popcorn bucket with popcorn.

Guests who attend this event will also have the opportunity to meet Disney characters, Disney Design Group Artists and Ashley Eckstein from Her Universe.

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Finally, attendees will be some of the first to purchase the new figures for Star Wars D-Tech Me including a Jedi Knight and a TIE-Fighter pilot.

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Tickets to this event are $250 per guest (theme park admission is not included but required to participate in this event).

Registration will begin on March 4 at 1:00 p.m. Eastern on http://www.DisneyParksMerchandise.com.

I hope to see you there!

*These items will only be available to Galactic Gathering attendees.

The number of packages available is limited and available while supplies last on a first come, first serve basis. Event package and content are not subject to discounts. Appearances are subject to space and time availability and are not guaranteed. Tickets are non-refundable. Event information subject to change without notice.

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Filed: Disney's Hollywood Studios, MagicBands, MyMagic+, Special Events, Walt Disney World Resort

Top ‘Cinderella’-Inspired Items from Disney Parks

posted on February 15th, 2015 by Steven Miller, Merchandise Communications Manager


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With the 65th Anniversary of Walt Disney’s “Cinderella,” I’m reminded of my younger sister who loved Cinderella. I remember her listening to a 33 ½ long playing record that had scenes from the animated film printed on both sides of the album. Today, her childhood bedroom in Ohio still has reminders of Cinderella with small figurines and framed prints. She found many of those items during visits to Walt Disney World Resort in the 1980s and 1990s. I thought today was a good day to share some of my favorite Cinderella-themed items currently found Disney Parks.

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To celebrate this anniversary, the Disney pin team released a limited edition pin that has an edition size of 2,000. Look for it in select pin locations at Disneyland and Walt Disney World Resorts.

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Costume dresses and accessories are some of the most popular Cinderella items at Disney Parks. Little ones ages 3-12 can also be magically transformed into Cinderella at the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique locations at Disneyland park, Magic Kingdom Park, and Downtown Disney Marketplace. I bet my sister wishes she had these options when she was a child!

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Speaking of Downtown Disney Marketplace, I stopped by Arribas Brothers to view an amazing Cinderella Castle Sculpture. The limited sculpture is detailed in hand-enameled metal and is set with 28,255 Swarovski crystals. The retail for this item is $37,500 and it can be found online.

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Finally, I have a sneak preview of a graphic MagicBand that is coming this spring. This Cinderella-themed retail MagicBand is similar to the Belle and Ariel MagicBands we released in January. While I don’t have a confirmed release date for this open edition item, the MagicBand development team thought it was the perfect thing for this Cinderella story.

Here is a gallery of other things I found including custom phone cases at D-Tech on Demand in the Marketplace Co-Op at Downtown Disney Marketplace, dolls, mugs and the Cinderella Castle playset.

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Filed: Disneyland Park, Disneyland Resort, Downtown Disney, Magic Kingdom, MagicBands, MyMagic+, Walt Disney World Resort

First Look at New Items for Disney Princess Half Marathon Weekend 2015 at Walt Disney World Resort

posted on February 10th, 2015 by Steven Miller, Merchandise Communications Manager


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I’m looking forward to the Disney Princess Half Marathon Weekend 2015 at Walt Disney World Resort that will be held February 19-22. My fiancée will be participating in the Glass Slipper Challenge, so I’m excited to cheer for her and other runners throughout the weekend. She recently asked me about the merchandise that will be offered during the event, so I visited the merchandise events team to get a sneak preview.

A Variety of Apparel Items with the Princess Half Marathon Logo Will Debut During the Disney Princess Half Marathon Weekend 2015 A Variety of Apparel Items with the Princess Half Marathon Logo Will Debut During the Disney Princess Half Marathon Weekend 2015

Like previous year’s events, we will offer a variety of apparel items with the Princess Half Marathon logo including T-shirts, jackets, tank tops and headwear. There will also be drinkware, pins and a necklace. I like the colorful new ear hat with an attached veil. There will also be an ear hat with Olaf for the Kids’ Races.

You may recall that we released a blue, runDisney-themed retail MagicBand during the Walt Disney World Marathon weekend in January. I’m happy to share that item will return along with a new pink MagicBand. Both of these items are limited release and will have a retail of $24.95 each. They can be “linked later” which makes them perfect gifts for someone training for a future runDisney race at Walt Disney World Resort.

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For those participating in the Glass Slipper Challenge, you will also find apparel and home goods. I think the taglines on the backs of both running jackets are great!

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We will also release a variety of Sweaty Bands and Bondi Bands containing event logos.

The D-Tech on Demand boutique in the Marketplace Co-Op at Downtown Disney Marketplace will also offer unique artwork for guests. You can create and customize a case for the following mobile phones: iPhone 4/4S, iPhone 5/5S/5C, iPhone 6/6+, Samsung Galaxy SIII, Samsung Galaxy S4 and Samsung Galaxy S5.

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Finally, we’ll have a few new Disney Princess-themed Dooney & Bourke handbags designed by Disney Design Group. Select bags will contain a specially designed Princess Half Marathon 2015 hangtag.

These items and more will be released at the runDisney Health & Fitness Expo at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex. The Expo will be open during the following times:

  • Thursday, February 19 – 10:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m.
  • Friday, February 20 – 9:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m.
  • Saturday, February 21 – 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
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PANDORA Jewelry and Other Gift Ideas from Disney Parks for Valentine’s Day 2015

posted on February 3rd, 2015 by Steven Miller, Merchandise Communications Manager


With Valentine’s Day only a few days away, I wanted to offer a few gift ideas from Disney Parks.

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PANDORA Jewelry – Last fall, we introduced charms inspired by some of Disney’s most beloved characters as part of the Disney Parks Collection | PANDORA. As part of its first assortment, we introduced 25 charms, with an additional 16 styles, including a Disney Parks bracelet, found only at Disney Parks. The best places to find these jewelry items are at Uptown Jewelers in Magic Kingdom Park at Walt Disney World Resort and at La Mascarade d’Orleans in New Orleans Square at Disneyland park. Stay tuned in the coming weeks, as I’ll give you a first look at some new charms arriving for spring.

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Apparel – Mickey and Minnie Mouse celebrate the season of love with four new shirts created especially for Disney Parks. I found these items at TrenD located in Downtown Disney Marketplace in Florida.

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D-Tech on Demand – Guests can create custom phone cases with new Mickey and Minnie Mouse artwork at D-Tech on Demand in the Marketplace Co-Op. We offer cases for the following phones: iPhone 4/4S, iPhone 5/5S/5C, iPhone 6/6+, Samsung Galaxy SIII, Samsung Galaxy S4 and Samsung Galaxy S5.

MagicBand-its – Add some love to your MagicBand with Mickey Mouse heart-shaped MagicBand-its. These small accessories can attach to the side of any MagicBand.

Vinylmation – The Vinylmation Eachez for Valentine’s Day this year has an edition size of 2,500. The Mickey Mouse figure is the more common figure while Minnie Mouse is rarer to find.

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Be My Villaintine – The pin team is releasing the “Be My Villaintine” mystery set on February 12. This 13-pin collection has 10 known pins and three mystery chaser pins. Each box contains one randomly selected pin. Guests may also find a limited edition pin featuring Anna and Kristoff from Disney’s “Frozen.”

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Duffy the Disney Bear and Disney Tsum Tsum – Duffy the Disney Bear is dressed in his Valentine’s Day best this year in a new 9-inch plush. I liked the idea of giving your significant other a Disney Tsum Tsum of the Little Green Men (you have been “chosen” to be my Valentine.) Finally, I love this ceramic Orange Bird figure which can now be found in Adventureland at Magic Kingdom Park at Walt Disney World.

There are some additional gift ideas that can be found on our Disney Parks online store.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

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Filed: Disneyland Park, Disneyland Resort, Downtown Disney, Magic Kingdom, MagicBands, MyMagic+, Walt Disney World Resort

10 Million & Counting: MagicBands a Hit with Walt Disney World Resort Guests

posted on January 30th, 2015 by Thomas Smith, Social Media Director, Disney Parks


If you enjoy MagicBands and all they can do as much as my family does at Walt Disney World Resort then you’re probably not surprised that we’re already celebrating a significant milestone – 10 million MagicBands distributed.

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Since our original announcement, MagicBands have become a favorite way for guests to make their visit easier, more personal and magical. The colorful MagicBands link your entire MyMagic+ experience together and can serve as a theme park ticket, access to FastPass+ selections, PhotoPass card as well as a room key for Disney Resort hotel guests. You travel lighter with MagicBands at Walt Disney World Resort.

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Recently, MagicBand was named one of Fortune Magazine’s “26 Coolest Gadgets of 2014.” MyMagic+ was also honored with an “Innovation by Design” award by the popular magazine and website, Fast Company. It received the top spot in the “Experience Design” category when Fast Company revealed the 10 best designs of the year at their annual “Innovation by Design” Awards and Conference in New York City.

As regular Disney Parks Blog readers know, you receive a MagicBand if you stay at a Disney Resort hotel or you are a Walt Disney World Passholder. If you are not staying at a Disney Resort hotel and are not a Passholder, you receive a card when you purchase park admission—and you have the option to purchase a MagicBand online or at select retail locations at Walt Disney World Resort.

Keep checking the Disney Parks Blog in future weeks for some new ways you can personalize and show your Disney Side with MagicBands.

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Filed: FastPass+, Hotels & Resorts, MagicBands, My Disney Experience, MyMagic+, Walt Disney World Resort