Last Updated on August 15, 2019
Beginning February 27, 2019, a new payment card policy will go into effect at the Walt Disney World Resort hotels. Under this new policy, the resort will place “incremental authorization holds on the card for estimated incidental expenses, in addition to any balance due on the reservation.”
Guests will still have the option of not providing a credit card to keep on file, but if they chose not to do so, they will be unable to charge to their room or MagicBands.
The authorization hold placed on the guest’s credit card on file will be any remainder due on the reservation plus an extra $100 for incidental expenses. In the event that room and/or MagicBand charges exceed the original $100 hold, supplemental holds will be added to the card on file automatically. Authorizations on the guest’s credit card will not exceed the current balance due plus the $100 incremental charges.
Since the news broke out yesterday, there has been a lot of chatter on the forums regarding the guest implications.
According to most, this is standard practice among the hotel industry and Disney is just playing catch up. This is also prudent on Disney’s part because they are not just a hotel, they are a resort, with a theme park, containing a myriad of restaurants and shopping opportunities. If a guests card is declined at time of check out, it is unclear exactly how Disney recovers their costs. Or the cost of recover, for that matter.
On the other hand, there is great frustration among those visiting Disney on a fixed budget; that extra $100 hold on the card could be an entire day’s worth of meals or souvenirs.
There are also a great number of guests that pay for their spending using Disney gift cards – purchased with discounts, gifts from family, or just a way to prepay for expenses in a neat and tidy way. Having to hold their credit card while they intend to make the final payment using gift cards does not sit sell with them. And let’s not forget about those that do not own a credit card.
At the moment, you cannot link Disney gift cards directly to MagicBand purchases. You will have to use your MagicBand for purchases in the theme parks, then visit the Front Desk of your Disney Resort hotel to pay the balance with your gift cards. Keep in mind that each of the Disney Resort hotels has a limit on your account and once that limit is reached, the charge automatically goes to your credit or debit card. Charges can be reversed and sorted, but this does take time. I recommend downloading the My Disney Experience mobile app to keep an eye on your balance.
At the end of the day, Disney is looking out for themselves while trying to make it as easy and painless for their guests. If too many guests have skipped out on their bill, they will take appropriate actions to keep this from happening again.
If you don’t want Disney to put a hold on your card for $100 plus expenses, then simply refuse to link your credit card to your Magic Band. Your hotel has already been paid in full, so there is no reason. Simply pay cash, credit or Gift Card at the point of purchase.