Coinciding with the transformation of the Disney Magic, the Youth Activities spaces onboard received more than just an overall. The Oceaneer Lab and Oceaneer Club aboard the Disney Magic are the first in the Disney Cruise Line fleet to use what they are calling Youth Activities Oceaneer Bands, or Oceaneer Band for short. For those who may not be familiar with the way the Disney Cruise Line’s secured Youth Activities programing works, children are issued an Oceaneer Band that is attached and secured to either their wrist or ankle. The bands are then scanned to check the child into and out of the secured spaces. The bracelets allow Youth Activities Cast Member to keep an accurate count and a general location of each child within the secured Youth Activities spaces aboard the ship.
In reality, the Oceaneer Bands are identical to the new MagicBands that are currently being rolled out as part of Walt Disney World’s My Disney Experience initiative. Not only are the Oceaneer Bands more comfortable then the Mickey Bands they are also much cheaper. The replacement cost for a lost or non-returned Mickey Band was $50, the new Oceaneer Bands have significantly lower price tag of $12.95. Unlike the Mickey Band which only incurred a charge if not returned, there will be an automatic charge applied to your stateroom folio on the first night of the cruise for each child registered with Youth Activities and assigned an Oceaneer Band. When the Oceaneer Band is returned at the end of the cruise, you will be issued a Oceaneer Band Return Receipt, which you should keep as this serves as your proof if the charge is not reversed on your stateroom folio.
Disney Cruise Line is encouraging guests to keep the Oceaneer Bands and bringing them back for future sailings. I tried to associate my daughter’s Oceaneer Band with her WDW Annual Pass on the My Disney Experience website, but the website would not allow me to link the Oceaneer Band stating the Band ID was invalid. While the physical band is identical, aside from the DCL branding, the Band ID associated with the Oceaneer Band must not be loaded into to the My Disney Experience system to add for use at Walt Disney World. Since we are discussing the bands, look at the back, it is not difficult to see who is helping Disney with the MagicBands… Look closely at the font as well as the wording… Designed in the USA – Assembled in China is very similar to Apple’s Designed in California – Assembled in China.
While the bands operate the same in the onboard clubs, the huge change is apparent at Castaway Cay. The old process of manually writing down the Mickey Band number on a sheet of paper (I know they had laptops previously, but they never seemed to work) has finally been replaced. Youth Activities counselors now have two laptops with a brown MagicBand reader just like those you may have noticed around the Walt Disney World Resort. Checking in and out of Scuttles Cove is easier than ever, not to mention a much shorter line during peak times! The portable laptops and usb MagicBand readers were also used in the Walt Disney Theatre to check in late arriving children for the end of cruise Friendship Rocks! show.
You may have noticed in the first photo a round grey piece of plastic on the Oceaneer Bands. This is actually a security clasp to ensure the Oceaneer Bands remain on your child’s wrist at all times. We were told in it’s a small world nursery that the security clasp is not being used on the younger guests’ as it is a potential choking hazard if it were to break off.
As you can see the, Oceaneer Band security clasp is actually an advanced wire tie that keeps the band in place. The piece you see in the middle is placed between the two pegs on the band to prevent it from sliding back and effectively locks the band in place. The security clasps also serve a secondary purpose if your child has an allergy. When registering a child with any special health or dietary preferences a red security clasp will be used. Youth Activities Cast Members will be able to scan the child’s band and instantly see any of the special requirements specified during the check in process. For example, when lunch or dinner is served children with red security clasps can be scanned to make sure any and all dietary restriction are accounted for to prevent any issuses.
An Oceaneer Band information and privacy letter was proivded to us during the registration process. It discloses how the Oceaneer Bands are used, who has access to the data along with the technical FCC warnings regarding the RFID technology embedded into the bands. The warning also notes that guests with certain medical devices check with the manufacturer and your physician to determine if there may be any unwanted interference as a result of the RF transmitters embedded in the bands and around the Oceaneer Lab, Oceaneer Club, and D Lounge. For even more of the fine print details on the RF technology you can visit WDW’s FAQ page on the subject.
It is safe to say this is a welcome change from the old Mickey Bands, not only are they more comfortable, they are slightly more stylish which will make those hundreds of character meet and greet photos that much better. Our daughter loved wearing her Oceaneer Band so much she wore it to school this week.
According to one Youth Activities counselor we spoke to at Scuttles Cove, the new Oceaneer Bands will be arriving on the Disney Dream, Disney Wonder and Disney Fantasy by the end of the year. Finally, at this time, the Oceaneer Bands are not programed for you child to use to open the stateroom door. I’m hoping this will eventually change and MagicBands will be used in place of the Key to the World (KTTW) cards while onboard. The one issue I see that would prevent Disney Cruise Line from discontinuing the use of KTTW cards altoghether is with the way security operates in ports of call where port security checks your photo ID and requests to see your ship issued KTTW card which includes the sail dates and the name of your specific ship.
Have you tried the new Oceaneer Bands or even MagicBands while vacationing at Walt Disney World? Did your kids enjoy them?