Disney to pilot electronic-only transactions at its resort hotels

Jan 16, 2018 in "Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge"

Walt Disney World will soon be testing a cash-less environment with a limited pilot program in February.

Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge Jambo House will be the first location to accept electronic payment only for all purchases and services. Guests with resort or dining reservations for the pilot period are now being advised of the change.

Valid forms of payments will be MagicBands, credit cards, debit cards, Disney Gift Cards, Disney Rewards Redemption Cards and contactless payments such as Apple Pay, Samsung Pay or Google Pay.

Disney has been at the forefront of electronic payments, accepting nearly every method of payment available, including being one of the first to accept Apple Pay back in 2014.

Although the resort will be cash-less during the pilot period, the resort will continue to accept cash for tips, and guests staying at the resort can use cash to add to their room charge capabilities.

The pilot begins February 12 2018.

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Article Posted: Jan 16, 2018 / 1:10pm EDT
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RteetzFeb 28, 2018

It’s only at AKL.

BigThunderMattFeb 28, 2018

If it's started yet, it's certainly not property wide by any means. Something this big is gonna take a little while to get off the ground.

willtravelFeb 28, 2018

Just curious if this pilot program will continue into March and how it is going?

21stampsJan 26, 2018

The person would have a magic band If staying on site, regardless of resort.

RustySporkJan 26, 2018

Even if you're staying on-site, chances are you're going to hop to another resort to eat while you're visiting. Don't forget the people renting condos and houses around the bubble as well. It would be absurd to assume anyone staying at the DoubleTree Disney Springs for example wouldn't book say Jiko or Ohana while they're in town.

CalmdownnowJan 26, 2018

Another UK resident with credit cards that charge fees for international expenditure. I take my ccs to Disney but don't use them -- they are kept in the safe and are my emergency funds in case I need medical treatment. This is following an incident when my sister was refused medical treatment in Florida because she didn't have a credit card with her. I also have had a bad experience at Animal Kingdom Lodge where I was up-graded to a one-bedroom (no, I didn't request an up-grade) and the front desk wanted a cc to charge the up-grade to. If I had done on-line check-in with a cc, I would not have discovered the up-grade charges until I opened the envelope on my door as I got ready to leave the hotel.

nickysJan 25, 2018

Well before we had currency cards, we used to take some cash (say $500) and then use CCs to take out $200 each time. We used the CCs for big spending (major souvenir shopping, entrance to KSC or Legoland) but pay cash for QS type meals and smaller purchases (less than $50 maybe). Once we started staying onsite we charged to the room when at WDW. I know a lot of people who still do this whenever they travel anywhere Use the CC to withdraw a couple hundred dollars at a time (or equivalent) and use that to avoid lots of transaction fees. A lot of our currency cards still have various fees. I use Caxton which I load from my debit account; I pay a currency conversion charge at that point, but any spending on it is fee-free. Others charge a fixed fee every time the card is used.

21stampsJan 25, 2018

I guess I just didn’t realize that many people still use credit cards that have foreign transaction fees. I’d be scared to death to travel with that much cash. Maybe, I just can’t imagine that it’s a large percentage of the restaurant at any given time. Hopefully Disney will have the policy listed on the restaurant page.

nickysJan 25, 2018

A) pretty high I'd guess - 90% B) low - maybe 10%, boosted by Cape May, Ohana, CM, Park1900 and breakfasts especially. I've also seen people pay using cash at buffets, where the price is fixed and it's easy to budget. Even families staying onsite. So at least 0.00000000000000001% then ;)

trojanjustinJan 25, 2018

Lots of people dine at Disney restaurants when staying at the Bonnet Creek resorts, Hotel Plaza Drive hotels, etc. I almost exclusively stay at the Four Seasons or Waldorf now and I eat mostly at Disney hotel restaurants.

nickysJan 25, 2018

I did say it wasn't too likely for dinner. But for casual purchases? Like I've said, minimum transaction fees can make small purchases ridiculous. And although pre-paid or currency cards are becoming more popular in the U.K., a lot of people will still have an "old fashioned" credit card with fees attached. Playing devil's advocate here. We stay onsite, so have no issue using our magic bands.

trojanjustinJan 25, 2018

I’d venture to guess that the vast majority of guests dining at California Grill aren’t staying at the Contemporary or those at the Trattoria al Forno aren’t staying st Boardwalk. The current system forces people to book so far out based on word of mouth that it’s rare guests at popular restaurants are staying at the hotel.

21stampsJan 25, 2018

Do people really go places, domestically or internationally, without a debit or credit card on their person? Or do they remove them from their wallets before going to dinner? I don’t know...this doesn’t sound like a very smart or safe way to travel.

nickysJan 25, 2018

The concept of visiting resorts when visiting Disney used to be totally unheard of here in the U.K. I remember the first time we brought the boys and we could book an Ohana breakfast through Virgin Travel and this was marketed as "exclusive" back in 2005 maybe? But now it's becoming more common. Not thousands but a fair number. Just for fun I made a reservation for Boma in the summer, fixed price of course. The email has nothing about payment by card only, nor does the reservations page. I'll keep it for now, see what happens as it gets closer. Whereas it might be unlikely people would turn up to dine at Disney prices without a card on them, if people were visiting the resort and wanted to get something from the Mara or the gift shop, that's when it's much more likely people will be caught out by the policy. Kid's want a drink - tough luck. Want a nice plush animal or another wee souvenir - sorry, can't take cash.