Magic Bands and FastPass Plus for Shades of Green Guests

Magic-Bands-at-Shades-of-Green-smMany readers ask me about the status of Walt Disney World’s Magic Bands and FastPass Plus at the Shades of Green Resort.

They wonder:

  • Does Shades of Green provide Magic Bands for free?
  • How can I get a Magic Band?
  • Can I link my Shades of Green reservation to my My Disney Experience account?
  • Can I use a Magic Band when I stay at Shades of Green?
  • Will a Magic Band Open my Shades of Green room?
  • Can I use my Magic Band for FastPass Plus when I stay at Shades of Green?
  • Can I use my Magic Band for Charging when I stay at Shades of Green?
  • How many days prior to my Shades of Green vacation can I make my FastPass Plus reservations?
  • Will Shades of Green ever participate in 30 day FastPass Plus reservations like the Disney Resorts?

This post will answer all of those questions and more!


What Are Magic Bands?

Disney World’s Magic Bands are just one part of WDW’s My Magic Plus program. Granted they are the most visible as the device which guests use for many of their needs while on a Walt Disney World vacation, but there is a lot going on behind the scenes as well.

A Magic Band is a plastic and rubber bracelet, which come in several customizable colors with a Mickey Mouse icon where the face would be if it were a watch. There are also many different custom designs. There is a small RFID transmitter installed in the band, which interacts with various Disney systems on property. They are provided for free, by Disney to all Disney Resort guests.

Magic Bands can:

  • Be used as your Disney Resort Room Key
  • Be used as your park ticket
  • Be used for your FastPass Plus return time redemption
  • Be used to charge items to your Disney Resort room
  • Act as your Disney Resort Access (Parking, Pools, Club Level, etc.)
  • Be used as your PhotoPass/Memory Maker Token


What is FastPass Plus?

FastPass Plus is Walt Disney World’s new attraction reservation system, which took the place of the old legacy FastPass system.

Under the old system you had to physically go to an attraction to pick up a ticket with a time to return to that attraction. When you returned you would then bypass the standby waiting line and experience a short to no wait for the attraction.

With Fastpass Plus you can make attraction reservations before ever leaving home for your vacation! You’ll pick from available attractions and return times online using My Disney Experience. When you arrive at your scheduled time you will bypass the standby waiting line and experience a short to no wait for the attraction.

Those guests staying at a Walt Disney World Resort can make their FastPass Plus reservations for their entire trip (up to 10 days worth) on the 60th day prior to their check in date.

Those guests not staying at a Walt Disney World Resort can make their FastPass Plus reservations on the 30th day prior to the desired date.

See this post for more details on FastPass Plus.


Shades of Green Is Not a Disney Resort

This is the part which confuses many people.

Shades of Green is not a Disney owned Resort, it is a Department of Defense owned facility.

While it is located on WDW property and does participate in some of the Disney Resort benefits (Extra Magic Hours, package delivery), Magic Bands and linking your Shades of Green reservation to My Disney Experience are not included.

Will Shades of Green ever participate in My Magic Plus in the future?

I think this is highly unlikely for a couple of reasons.

  1. A large monetary investment would be required to tie Shades’ reservation system into Disney’s
    • This also opens up the issue of ineligible individuals making reservations at Shades
  2. Shades has been in operation at WDW for 21 years and there are still Disney benefits that they do not participate in (due to the cost)
    • Such as free theme park parking and Disney’s Magical Express airport transportation

But, even though guests at Shades are somewhat limited, it is possible to use My Disney Experience, FastPass Plus, and even Magic Bands during your stay there.

My Disney Experience for Shades of Green Guests

As a Shades of Green guest you will still use your My Disney Experience account to make your Fastpass Plus reservations.

Here are the steps to do so:

  1. Sign up for an account or log in here: You can use the website or the free My Disney Experience App
  2. Purchase your WDW tickets prior to 30 days before the first day of your vacation. You can buy them at your local Base Ticket Office, via phone/FedEx from Camp Pendleton, or pre-pay with Shades of Green.
  3. Link your tickets to your My Disney Experience account.
  4. 30 days prior to the first day that you want to make FP+ reservations, log in and do so.
  5. 30 days prior to the second day that you want to make FP+ reservations, log in and do so, and so on.

Now your FastPasses are all set for your vacation!

My Disney Experience

My Disney Experience Your Key to the World

How Can Shades of Green’s Guests Use Magic Bands?

As mentioned above, Shades of Green does not use or provide Magic Bands. You will use the actual park tickets that you purchased and linked to your account to enter the parks and for FastPass Plus. The tickets have a RFID transmitter just like the Magic Bands.

But if you would like to use Magic Bands for convenience  during your vacation, you can!

You can use Magic Bands that you purchase for your park tickets, for your FastPass Plus reservations, and PhotoPass/Memory Maker Token.

Keep in mind that your physical ticket will do the same things for you, but if you would like to use Magic Bands you can buy your own.

You can buy Magic Bands from the Disney Store online or from most Disney World gift shops once you arrive.


If you buy them ahead of time you can use the number printed on the back of each to link them to the person who will use each band using your My Disney Experience account.

If you get them after you arrive you can link them yourself with MDE or have a Disney Guest Relations location do it for you.

I Always Use Magic Bands

I travel to Walt Disney World often [someone has to do all the research ;-)]. Sometimes I stay at a Disney Resort, other times I’ll stay at Shades of Green or other locations, but I always use my magic band!

It is just a little more convenient, especially for larger parties.

Back in the day that we used tickets, my family’s standard was that I kept the ticket in my wallet (to keep the kids from losing theirs). When we got to a park I’d have to get out my wallet, pass out the tickets, and then collect them after entering. Then when entering a FastPass location, I’d have to pass them out and collect them again. I’d also have to get mine out at PhotoPass locations.

Magic Bands make that all unnecessary. You band is secured to your wrist and always accessible. 

So if you run into me at Shades of Green, you’ll see me sporting my Magic Band! Probably my patriotic one…

That’s it for our discussion and instructions.

How about you, are you going to use Magic Bands during your Shades of Green trip to Walt Disney World? Let us know in the comments below!

Disney Tickets and Technology Links


Disney's Armed Forces Salute Tickets The biggest military discount available on tickets

Regular Disney Military Discount Tickets The permanent Disney Military Discount

Stars and Stripes Passes From Shades of Green at Walt Disney World, are available to any Shades of Green eligible person who is staying anywhere on WDW property.

Disney Military Tickets – Your Start to Finish Guide

What’s the Right Military Discounted Disney Ticket for Me?

WDW's Park Hopper Plus Option Information


Disney World's new Fast Pass Plus (FP+) system and the Magic Bands are great new benefits that are part of the set of new technologies collectively known as Disney Next Gen or My Magic Plus.

Disney Technology Overview Page

New for 2017 Memory Maker and PhotoPass+ Military Discounts

My Magic Plus - What all this New Disney Technology?

Linking Disney Military Tickets And Fastpass Plus Reservations

Waiting On Your Walt Disney World FastPass Plus Window To Open (what you'll see in your account)

Disney FuelRod Stations are Available at Disney Parks for Recharging Your Devices

Magic Bands for Shades of Green Guests

FastPass Plus for Shades of Green Guests

Memory Maker and PhotoPass

All You Need To Know About Disney World FastPass Plus For The Military Traveler

Walt Disney World’s FastPass Plus - Creating a Classed Theme Park Society

FastPass Plus – Does It Really Work For Highly Desired Attractions?

Military FastPass Plus Ticket Options for Disney World

Disney World Lines iPhone App - Current Crowds, Recommended Parks, Wait Times, & Fastpass Return Times on your iPhone (Free)

My Disney Experience - The Official Disney iPhone App (Free)

Information on Shades of Green the Military Hotel on Disney World property

See all the current Shades of Green Discounts and Packages

A Special Note on Shades of Green Discounts: Something to be aware of is that Shades constantly changes the dates and discounts offered of their specials and packages.

Shades of Green Links

Planning a Disney Trip? Want to get the best military discounts that are available? Feeling a little confused? See our:

Learn about the Disney Armed Forces Salute the best military discount that there is for Disney. For where to stay see our Resorts/Hotel Overview Page. Disney doesn’t discount dining for the military, but there are a few places on property that do, see the Dining Overview Page to learn where plus more dining info. You can also learn about Transportation Options. Be sure to check out our Technology Overview to learn about Magic Bands and My Disney Experience to see how they work with military tickets. Walt Disney World visitors might be interested in staying at Shades of Green, WDW’s Military Only Resort.

Steve Recommends

Do you want all of your Disney Planning information in one place, organized in a step-by-step logical manner with an emphasis on Military Discounts and offers? I've written 3 Guidebooks just for the Military Community:

Walt Disney World for Military Families - Available in Print, Kindle, and Digital PDF Download

The Essential Guide to Shades of Green - Available in Print, Kindle, and Digital PDF Download

Disneyland for Military Families - Available in Print, Kindle, and Digital PDF Download

Here are my recommendations for products and services I've reviewed that can improve your Disney planning. This is a short list since it only includes my top picks.

Ears of Experience - My recommended Travel Agent, Fee Free, Disney Only, Military Family Owned

Need a Little Extra Help Planning your Disney Vacation? Check Out Ears of Experience's Concierge Service

Military Disney Tips Negotiated Military Discounts

Orlando Shuttle Service - $15 off basic round trip pricing to ANY Orlando resort use MDT15

Amusement Park Rentals - 10% Military Discount on Strollers and Scooters Use 10MILITARY at checkout

Other Planning Resources

My Disney Experience - The Official Disney iPhone App (Free iTunes Download)

Buy Your Magic Bands at the Disney Store

Best Ever First Timers WDW Book The Easy Guide to Your First Walt Disney World Visit The premier website for first time visitors to Walt Disney World!

The Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World The Ultimate WDW Guide! - The website of the Unofficial Guide - Crowd Forecasts, Pre-made Touring Plan, plus lots of detailed info

Follow Military Disney Tips

Like our very active Facebook Page - Follow MDT on Twitter  - Follow MDT on Pinterest - Get Steve's Free newsletter


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  1. We received our bands from the Disney Store online today. Can’t wait to use them in November while at Shades.

  2. For a last minute trip last year, Shades of Green was booked and we had to stay on property. I thought the bands were pretty convenient. However, if I understand this correctly regardless of paper ticket or band and staying at Shades of Green you can only book your fast passes 30 days in advance, the only benefit of the band is not having to drag out your ticket, right? And the cost of the bottom tier wrist bands would be $13.00 per person. Unless I am missing something I don’t think the extra $52.00 (for a family of 4) would be worth it. Is there some other benefit to having the band over a ticket while staying at Shades of Green?

    Thank you for all your help and resources!

    • Hey Tracy,

      You are correct, while staying at Shades the bands are really only a novelty item to replace your physical ticket for entrance and FP+.

  3. Just curious as to whether there is any benefit in using the magic bands instead of the physical ticket? Are the magic bands easier for kids?

    • There is a convenience factor Tania. You or the kids don’t have to dig the ticket out of your pocket or wallet every time you enter the parks or use your FastPasses.

      Some just like wearing the bands to make themselves feel more like they are on a Disney vacation.

      I have many bands and I always wear mine when I stay at Shades.

      • Ok so I have my tickets (vouchers) linked to My Disney Experience account. I don’t understand how the system knows when to start allowing me to schedule fast passes 30 days out. I don’t remember ever entering my travel dates any where! Our first day in the park will be Oct 15 so I was thinking 30 days prior would be today in order to do the fast passes but when trying to get a fast pass, only the month of September comes up, no dates for October. Help, please explain???

        • Hi Tania,

          When you have tickets linked the coming 30 days are always available (no matter what day you look at your account.

          Did you click on the little arrow to the right of where it says September 2015 above the calendar?

          • My question was similar to Tanya’s, if I send for Salute to the military tickets in January from Shades of Green, (assuming that Disney continues the 4 days tickets in 2016, which I pray they do!), Shades will send the ticket order form 45 days prior (January 1st is my 45 days prior) to my stay at Shades, , I send that back , they send me or email me the tickets within 2 weeks which would be January 15th, which is the 30 days prior to my stay and I can make Fast Pass reservations? How does Disney know I am staying there in 30 days if the reservations aren’t linked ? IS it just Fast Pass reservations are always available to everyone at 30 days ahead of time and I just need the tickets in hand to link the numbers?
            Sorry for all the questions but the last time we went to Disney was 5 years ago and we bought our tickets at Shades once we in Florida and we only had to go to a kiosk in the park to get a fast pass.!
            Thank you so much for your website,

          • No worries Susan,

            Yes, once the tickets are linked the coming 30 days are always open for fastpasses (up to the number of days on the tickets). You just need to wait till that 30 day window rolls to the first day you want fastpasses for to make them. the following day you’d make the next set.

  4. I was wondering about EMH shades of green guest have this benefit. However, everywhere I read online it says you have to show your shades of green resort ID to have access. I know if you are staying on site you just scan your magic band as you get on a ride but as a shades of green guest would the magic bands also be able to do this or is that something that can’t be linked to them?

    • No Karla, sorry.

      Magic Bands have no functionality as far as Shades is concerned. You’ll still need to carry and show your resort ID. The 2 systems (Disney/Shades) do not communicate.

      • Thank you so much. Very helpful, we are weighing our options for our trip in December. We’ve already booked Shades of Green since we’ve heard about them being booked up to a year in advanced but we are considering switching to a Value Resort that will be around the same price because of all the conveniences you get.

        Really appreciate your website, so informative. Best place to find information for military families that I’ve stumbled upon until now. And my online research has been extensive to but it lightly haha.

        • Thanks so much Karla!

          That is exactly why I do this, to help in my small way. Have a great trip.

  5. We were wanting to stay at pop century with tickets from shades of green. Is it possible to link those tickets to our magic bands? Also would pop century still give us a magic band if it says no ticket?

    • Absolutely to both questions Kelly.

      Just make your Pop reservation, link it to your My Disney experience Account, and then customize your Magic Bands.

      Then (or prior) order your Disney Armed Forces Salute tickets from Shades of Green, link them to MDE, and you’ll be all set.

  6. Like you Steve, I go to DW a lot to bring my clients updated information, first hand. I also share my stays between SOG and DW resorts… my MB and the convenience of it. …one of those must have accessories no matter where I’m staying…!

  7. Can you buy magic bands off eBay and use them or do they have to be new and unused? If one can buy them off eBay, how would one “reprogram” them?

    • Hi Rachelle,

      The original owner would have to have them deleted from their account prior to selling (by calling in). You’d have to trust that this was done.

      If they did that you simply add them to your My Disney Experience Account. If they didn’t you have some bands the kids can wear around the house when playing, as the system will not let you link them since the system has no way to know they are not stollen from the person who’s account they are linked to.

      I don’t go on eBay anymore, how much are you saving (with the shipping) off of the $13 Disney charges at the links above?

      Buying a Magic Band on eBay is as risky as buying theme park ticket there (I think).

  8. Just to make sure I’m understanding correctly with Magic Bands and Shades of Green…

    -The Magic Bands can’t be linked to a credit card (since we aren’t on a Disney Resort) for ease of food and item purchase?
    -The Magic Bands can get you in a park and get you pictures (if you purchase the package separately) and that’s about it?

    Returning to Disney isn’t something my family can do yearly, so I am working on weighing out the costs.

    Thank you!

    • Hi Amy,

      Yes correct on the purchases/credit card

      Regardless if you purchase the Memory Maker you can still use the bands for linking PhotoPass pics to your account for later a la carte purchases.

  9. Can I buy my Disney salute tickets in advance by mail through Shades of Green if we are not staying there? Will those be activated so that the service member (brother) can sleep part of the first day from driving so he would not need to go in with us? If we can buy tickets, will we be able to link them to our magic bands if they are not activated?