BREAKING: New Credit Card Payment Policy for Disney World Resort Guests Begins February 27th, 2019

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Beginning on February 27th, 2019, the Walt Disney World Resort hotels will implement a new payment card policy for guests who wish to put a payment card on file at check in. This new policy “better aligns with hotel industry practices.” Under the new policy, Disney Resort hotels will place incremental authorization holds on the payment card for estimated incidental expenses, in addition to any balance due on the reservation.

Under the new policy, on the day of arrival, Resort hotels will place an authorization hold on the card for any balance due plus $100 to cover estimated incidental expenses. If guest spending exceeds the original $100 hold, additional incremental holds will be obtained automatically. The holds placed on the card will never exceed the current balance due plus $100.

This is standard hotel industry practice, but until now Disney has only obtained a signature at check in as a guest’s promise to pay, and did not actually charge the card until checkout (as long as the balance due remained less than the cutoff amount, which ranged from $500-$1500 depending on resort). This new policy is designed to ensure that the often-significant charge at check-out is not rejected by the card issuer as a potential fraudulent charge or for being over the cardholder’s credit limit.

Guests have the option of not putting a credit card on file, but they will be unable to use their Magic Band for charging at the resort or in the parks. As is current practice, guests will be able to visit the front desk to apply cash or gift card payments against their balance due to avoid actual charges being placed on their credit card.

Guests will be advised of the payment card policy during online check-in through their My Disney Experience account or at the front desk. Guests who have already completed online check-in for stays beginning Feb. 27 or later will be notified later this month about the new policy.

About the author

Tom Corless

Tom has been regularly visiting the Walt Disney World® Resort from the time he was 4 months old. While he has made countless visits in the last 28 years, he did not become a truly active member in the Disney fan community until the summer of 2007, when he decided to launch the WDW News Today website and podcast. Tom has since become an Orlando-local and is a published author on Walt Disney World.
Contact Tom at [email protected]

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Randyland
Guest
Randyland

The question here would be WHY? Clearly there must have been enough problems in collecting those bills to result in a Change in policy. Could it be that Magic Band made it too easy to wave your hand and charge it! The REAL Magic comes at check out!

Tony
Guest
Tony

I believe the change is trying to make it universal at all resorts. Disney has always placed holds on credit cards at every resort I’ve stayed at. On my most recent Yacht/Beach stay (last month) my card was charged every 3rd day of the trip. In August at the Contemporary they authorized the card and then charged the charged after the 5th day. So it’s never been universal at any resort.

Jason Diffendal
Admin
Jason Diffendal

This is the practice that’s changing. The old way they would just authorize the card for $1.00 to make sure it was valid. Now they’re authorizing the balance due plus $100 to make sure you actually have the ability to pay, not just to verify that the card is valid.

Kelsey
Guest
Kelsey

Curious though….packages are to be off well in advance of travel. So what balance could possibly be due at check in?

Jason Diffendal
Admin
Jason Diffendal

If you book just the room and not a package, you pay a deposit and the balance is due at check-in.

Kelsey
Guest
Kelsey

That is unique to you then. I’ve never had holds on my card while at Disney.

Austin
Guest
Austin

I take it you never stay at a hotel outside of Disney. Holds are pretty common in the form of Security Deposit that gets refunded after checkout. Like they said, they’re adopting a common hotel industry practice. On my last trip we arrived a full day early and had to stay at the Best Western by Universal. That hotel placed a $50 hold on my account and was refunded a few days post-checkout. $100 for a Disney resort isn’t that extreme.

Chris from Orlando
Guest
Chris from Orlando

There were people that were abusing the system by getting a resort room for one night and the using some sort of prepaid card or a card with a low limit and racking up large amounts on their resort folio accounts and then never “officially “ checking out thereby sticking Disney with charges that can’t be processed . ( I am a front desk cast member)

Jason Diffendal
Admin
Jason Diffendal

Exactly. Just like gas stations authorize $75 or $100 to make sure the charge will go through after you are done pumping the gas. It’s actually rather poor business practice to do not do this; Disney is big enough to not go bankrupt, but a small business would be severely impacted but this hit to their bottom line.

Kelsey
Guest
Kelsey

How do you never “officially” check out? I just leave on the Magical Express when it is time. I dont ever go to the front desk for anything on the day I check out and Disney has never had an issue charging my card for my balance.

Ginger Firestone
Guest
Ginger Firestone

And they couldn’t just run the day’s charges each night? Of course I’ll go along with it, but I don’t like holds. It doesn’t really affect me as there is no way I could hit my limit unless I bought a car, but it’s the principle of the thing that matters.

Nicholas
Guest
Nicholas

This is going to be awkward for those who use gift cards to pay off the balance in lieu of credit cards. We’ll need to go down to the desk perhaps daily.

Jason Diffendal
Admin
Jason Diffendal

Actually as long as you put down a credit card it appears they will not actually charge it until the last day of your stay, so it might be easier this way. Before you would have to pay off the balance multiple times per trip if you hit the $500/$1000/$1500 limit.

Nicholas
Guest
Nicholas

Yup, realized my mistake almost as soon as I sent the message – they don’t seem to be changing when charges are put through, just putting through authorizations incrementally.

Mikayla
Guest
Mikayla

I just want to confirm… No more buying park merchandise by “swiping” your magic band? I kinda hate that…. 😓

Tara
Guest
Tara

We never use our band to pay for anything. Just at restaurants for the dining plan.

DynastyGo
Guest
DynastyGo

No they just say that if you don’t put a credit card on file to avoid the 100$ you won’t be able to use your magic band to pay.

Debbie
Guest
Debbie

Per the article, that’s only if a guest decides not to put a credit card on file.

Austin
Guest
Austin

Only if you don’t put a card on record.

Tammy
Guest
Tammy

Yes, you still do that. The are just putting a hold on the credit card.

harrison
Guest
harrison

to me it doesnt matter if they hold it or not. you are already paying grands if you coming outta state and depending on what you plan on doing. it shouldnt mattter about 100 dollars if you spwnt 2000 on the trip. plus what is 100 hold to see the priceless smile on your child or childrens face.

Mike
Guest
Mike

So I just called WDW directly and to sum it up this article is shit and completely inaccurate. They are doing nothing of the sort.

Jason Diffendal
Admin
Jason Diffendal

Glad you checked to verify that some random person you called knows the policy, as compared to all Disney travel agents who received direct communication from Disney about this, which is what the article is based on.

Random Person
Guest
Random Person

I know the policy Jason, I was trained by Robert Chapek on the art of money.

Jenna
Guest
Jenna

I’m confused. So any help is appreciated. We always pay for our hotel before arrival. When we get there, we put a c.c. on file and they give you up to $1500 on the reservation to use your magic band. Once you reach the limit you have to go to the front desk and clear it and re-set. Usually we pay the $1500 that day. Will this system still be in place?

Jason Diffendal
Admin
Jason Diffendal

That system is what is changing. Now, when you put the CC on file, they will put a hold on your card for $100. When you use the MagicBand to pay for things, that hold will be increased by the amount of your MagicBand purchase. As long as they can keep increasing the amount held as you purchase things, you don’t have to go to the front desk. If you want to use cash or gift cards to pay down the balance due, you can do that whenever you want, and then the hold will be reduced down to $100.… Read more »

Jeff
Guest
Jeff

Tip for people, don’t have a small amount of credit available before you go on vacation on your credit card(s). Make sure you have way more available then you will ever spend.

These holds are going to take away from your available credit right when you check in, so be prepared.

Randall
Guest
Randall

Yeah, I have a credit card with a pretty decent credit limit that I always keep paid up so this news isn’t worrisome to me at all.

Robo Chapek
Guest
Robo Chapek

Are you saying it isnt responsible to spend more than you can afford? I vehemently do not endorse this point of view

Charles H.
Guest
Charles H.

I’m not thrilled at this new policy. I always pay in cash. I don’t even own a credit card as I don’t believe in being in debt. If you don’t have the money don’t buy it. However when I visited Disney in the past I always gave the front desk cash up front and then charged everything back to my room. If I needed more I gave them more cash. I really don’t like carrying large amounts of cash at the parks for obvious reasons. In December 2017 I stayed at Coronado Springs and I was told they no longer… Read more »