Disney today revealed that it will soon offer smartphone NFC access points at its parks through new functionality it’s calling MagicMobile. Those who frequent Disney parks are likely already familiar with the MagicBand, which is a physical band visitors wear on their wrist that allows them to carry out a number of functions by simply waving the band in front of an access point. MagicMobile seems to work a lot like the MagicBand, only it drops the physical wristband in favor of a smartphone.
In fact, Disney directly compares the two in its announcement today, saying that MagicMobile is “a convenient and contactless way to access MagicBand features like theme park entry through the power of your iPhone, Apple Watch or other smart device.” MagicMobile users will first need to create a MagicMobile pass using the My Disney Experience app and then add it to their device’s digital wallet before it can be used in parks, but once that’s done, Disney says that most functionality can be access just by holding your phone up to an access point.
Disney doesn’t get too specific about what MagicMobile will be capable of, but knowing what MagicBand already does, we should be able to make some educated guesses. In addition to allowing park entry, MagicBand can also be used to unlock your hotel door within Disney Resorts, check in at FastPass+ entrances, save Disney PhotoPass images to your Disney account, and even charge food and other products you purchase in the park to your hotel room (assuming, again, that you’re staying at a Disney Resort when you visit).
So, it seems safe to assume that MagicMobile will be capable of all of those things as well, and Disney says that users will have their choice of using a physical MagicBand or a MagicMobile pass (or both at the same time) when they visit a park.
Disney doesn’t say when, precisely, MagicMobile will roll out, but it previously said that it was targeting a 2021 launch for the service. As the statement we quoted above suggests, Disney says that MagicMobile will roll out on Apple devices first, with no word on when the service might come to Android. We’ll let you know when Disney reveals more, so stay tuned.