“A blue charge card with the Disney castle on it which you can use when you do your purchasing in the park and in our restaurants. You can pay with the card. It is attached to your credit card. The system is known as MagicPass and a spokesperson says “it has recently been deployed in all our Disneyland Paris Hotels.” It uses radio-frequency identification (RFID) to send digital data by radio waves.”
Jan 20, 2019, 06:33am
Disney has given a magic touch to its theme park complex in Paris by launching a wireless payment system (THOMAS SAMSON/AFP/Getty Images)GETTY
Theme park operator Disneyland Paris has launched a wireless system which allows guests to open hotel doors and pay for everything from park tickets to restaurants.
It is a whole new world for the French resort which has been using paper park tickets and meal vouchers since its ornate iron gates opened in 1992. They are being phased out in preparation for a $2.3 billion (€2 billion) expansion which will be launched in stages from 2021 and will see the addition of lands inspired by Star Wars, Marvel Comics and hit animated film Frozen.
Disneyland Paris began testing wireless access in 2016 when its Newport Bay Club hotel completed a full renovation. The nautical-themed property is one of the largest in Europe with 1,098 rooms and suites. They were originally accessible through the conventional mechanism of inserting a key card into a slot. However during the renovation they were upgraded to a wireless system which opens doors when the key card is held in front of the lock. That was just the start.
In an interview on completion of the renovation, Yves Wencker, director of lodging at Disneyland Paris, revealed that it was also working on another card system which seems set to give it a happy ending.
Wencker described it as “smart media. A blue charge card with the Disney castle on it which you can use when you do your purchasing in the park and in our restaurants. You can pay with the card. It is attached to your credit card.”
The system is known as MagicPass and a spokesperson says “it has recently been deployed in all our Disneyland Paris Hotels.” It uses radio-frequency identification (RFID) to send digital data by radio waves.
The card can be used to access park tickets, meal vouchers and add-ons (if purchased as part of a Disney Hotel package). It can also store Fastpass tickets which allow guests to cut queues on attractions in the park. Disneyland Paris is in the process of introducing the wireless room access system to all of its hotels and the MagicPass works with that as well. Wencker explained that “eventually I will be able to have a one stop so you will be issued with a card that will be able to do everything.”
He added that the plan to go wireless was put in motion before he joined Disneyland Paris in 2016 and said that it has taken “about five to ten years to introduce. It is a multi million Euro investment…We have 5,800 hotel rooms, so it is a vast project and it takes time to align the technology.”
Disneyland Paris is home to the fifth largest hotel complex in France with eight properties on site. It also comprises 55 restaurants, two convention centers, a 27-hole golf course and a 44,000-square-meter shopping and dining district. At the heart of the resort are two parks – the eponymous fairytale-inspired flagship Disneyland Paris and the neighboring movie-themed Walt Disney Studios. They attract around 15 million visitors annually making Disneyland Paris Europe’s most popular tourist attraction.
Wencker explained that the wireless room access and payment systems were tested alongside each other so that Disneyland Paris could decide which one would become its all-in-one solution. “You want to have options. You need to evaluate the risks,” he said, adding that the impact stretches far beyond the hotels themselves.