Heartbroken teen discovers MagicBands use common technology, not magic - Uncle Walt's Insider

Heartbroken teen discovers MagicBands use common technology, not magic

MagicBands. Photo credit: elisfkc via Wikimedia Commons

Albuquerque resident Terry Rice had a major letdown on his recent vacation to Orlando-area theme parks. Rice, 15, describes himself as a fan of both Disney and Harry Potter, and was excited when his parents announced plans to take he and his younger sister to Orlando for the first time. Although he enjoyed his time visiting the Walt Disney World Resort, Rice was dismayed to learn that Disney’s “MagicBands” were not magic at all.

“That was like the coolest thing ever,” Rice says of learning of the existence of MagicBands. “We got this book in the mail with all sorts of pictures in it about what the Disney part of our trip was going to be like, and I was like, MagicBands, cool! I thought the only real magic I was going to see was at the Harry Potter place in that other park.”

Rice excitedly chose his MagicBand color, red — for Gryffindor, his adopted “Hogwarts house” — in the My Disney Experience website, and then was thrilled when the bands arrived in the mail two weeks before the family’s departure. On arrival in Florida, Rice took every opportunity to use the band, just to see the “magic” work — opening the door to his resort room, purchasing snacks, entering the theme parks. “I felt like a wizard, even before getting to that Universal place. Pew! The door opens. Pew! The Mickey head lights up green. So awesome.”

Hollywood Studios cast member Kris Wallis, 26, inadvertently broke the spell while the family waited to ride Toy Story Midway Mania. “I was manning the FastPass+ entrance for Midway Mania, and Terry and his family came up to use their FastPasses. He was so excited about the MagicBands and loved waving his in front of the reader. He told me he was a fan of them and would give anything to know how they worked. So I told him.”

That turned out to be a mistake. “So this cast member is, like, telling me about RFID tags and radio transmitters, and that the readers pick up the ID number in the band and just look up your information on a computer,” Rice shares. “I was like, no way. And she thought I was happy to learn that, but it just totally wrecked it for me.”

Rice has not given up on finding magic in his vacation, however. “We went to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios today, and I got a real magic wand at Ollivanders. I can’t wait to get home and use it to jinx Adam Humphry, the guy who picks on me in 4th-period Spanish.”