Disney Parks Have Introduced A New Way To Pay For Souvenirs

by SharonKurheg

Since reopening in July, Walt Disney World (WDW) has done as much as it can to keep its guests and employees safe. They’ve stopped meet & greets with characters in favor of selfies from afar. Fireworks, most indoor shows, and scheduled parades are on hold to avoid crowds (the parades have been replaced with unannounced mini parades with just a character or two on a small float). Certain attractions are run at half capacity to allow for social distancing.

They’ve also ramped up their technology in terms of guests having to make reservations to enter the park (to ensure they don’t go over their attendance caps). Most of their payments are now cashless. And mobile ordering for their quick-service restaurants, via Disney’s app, has increased greatly.

But their most recent update will allow guests to not have to stand in queues to pay for their souvenirs. Instead, their Disney app will take care of all of it, via their new mobile self-checkout system.

Here’s how it works:

Upon entering select stores, there are several “Save Time With Mobile Checkout” signs dispersed throughout the store.

a sign in a store

Guests have the option to take a clear “mobile checkout” bag and then walk around and shop as usual. However as they’re shopping, they can use the camera on their cell phones to scan the barcodes of the items they plan on purchasing before placing them into their clear bag. When they’re ready to leave, they can tell the app they want to check out. They’re then able to skip the checkout line since they’ve previously preloaded their credit card information into the app, so their credit card gets charged automatically. When the transaction is complete, the app then sends a checkout QR code to the guest; before they leave the store, they show an attendant near the door their phone with the checkout QR code. Nearby a small kiosk has boxes and wrapping paper available.

a mobile checkout cart in a room

The shopping app can include all applicable discounts (annual pass holder, Disney Vacation Club, cast member, etc.), and keeps virtual receipts in case anything needs to be returned.

The mobile checkout system allows for fewer touchpoints, which is a plus for COVID safety. It also allows guests to save time by not having to stand in queues to pay for their items. From Disney’s side, it has the potential to eventually need fewer cashiers and checkout counters at its stores and merchandise shops.

One other potential positive of the mobile app – if items are limited edition or particularly popular, Disney will sometimes limit buyers to only a certain amount of them (i.e. 2 limited edition pins, 1 Disney Coach bag, etc.). Some buyers would buy their allowed 1 or 2 or 5 or whatever, but then go from shop to shop to shop and keep buying the same limited edition items, with the intent to resell them on eBay. That would usually mean the item would sell out much faster. By using the app, it will keep track of how many of the same item someone has bought and potentially not allow a buyer to purchase more than the allowed amount of items, even if they’re at different stores. That means regular buyers have more chance of getting limited edition items.

Disney, sometimes the innovator but also sometimes the copier of good ideas, isn’t the first company to offer a scan-and-go type of app. Walmart, Sam’s Club, 7-Eleven, Dollar General and Kroger’s King Soopers and Giant Eagle grocery stores have all tried similar systems, with varying degrees of success.

Disney’s mobile checkout is in the midst of a trial run. It’s currently being tested in WDW at Epcot’s MouseGear and Everything POP at Pop Century Resort, as well as World of Disney at both WDW’s Disney Springs and Disneyland’s Downtown Disney shopping districts.

Feature Photo: pxhere/public domain

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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary

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