Disney World’s turnstiles vanishing, replaced by Apple iPod Touches and RFID bracelets

Visitors to Walt Disney World know the drill: if you want to spin in a giant tea cup, drop down Splash Mountain, or wave to Snow White, you’ll likely encounter a less than magical turnstile before the fun can begin.

Recently, though, guests have been in for a surprise.

At Disney properties in Florida the company has taken out half the turnstiles and replaced them with “touch points,” globes with a mouse logo that lights up green when a visitor holds a valid ticket up to it, Disney told NBC News.

Turnstiles are being replaced with “touch points.” When Walt Disney World Resort rolls-out MyMagic+ later this year, guests will be able to enter the parks with the touch of a wireless wristband.

Turnstiles are being replaced with “touch points.” When Walt Disney World Resort rolls-out MyMagic+ later this year, guests will be able to enter the parks with the touch of a wireless wristband.

Choose this way to enter a park and you can just walk in. There are no more gates or turnstiles to deal with.

Visitors in wheelchairs or those with strollers can use the same entrance that everybody else does.

Park employees have also been equipped with iPod touches to scan tickets. The gadgets are part of a test and provide “another option to help with guest service,” Disney said.

The company has been quietly introducing the upgrades as part of its “MyMagic+” program, which will eventually get rid of turnstiles all together. It will also provide visitors with other high-tech features, such as the “MagicBand,” a wireless RFID bracelet that will function as a park entry pass, hotel room key and wallet. The program, still in the testing phase, is expected to be fully rolled out over the coming year.

The changes are designed to make moving around the parks smoother. The company hopes they will create a “more seamless and more personal experience,” wrote Tom Staggs, chairman of Walt Disney Parks and Resorts, in a blog post earlier this year.

Visitors can get in quicker without turnstiles, Disney pointed out, which may translate into shorter lines. Park employees will still be working at the entrances, helping visitors and monitoring the process.

Most people are “surprised and delighted” not to see turnstiles, Disney told NBC News. The new system is in place only in Florida for now, though visitors will likely see similar upgrades at Disney properties in other parts of the country and the world down the road.

Industry observers predicted the changes will likely pay off for the company.

If there’s less hassle for travelers to enter the park, that adds to their experience and makes them a little happier during their visit, said John Gerner, managing director of Leisure Business Advisors. That, in turn, can translate into more money for the park.

“This may give [Disney] a bit of an advantage in that people know now that when they come to visit a Disney park, it’ll be a little more convenient perhaps than other theme parks,” Gerner said.

It’ll be a while before the wristbands are handed out, but the disappearing turnstiles are already a reality.

Studies have shown that theme park visitors hate “double dipping” – or having to constantly go into their pockets to bring out more money or produce tickets – so the wireless wristband will likely appeal to guests by helping reduce the need for cash, Gerner said.

“In the time that they would have spent waiting at a turnstile to get in, those are a few more minutes that they can spend browsing in a shop or getting something to eat and that adds revenue,” said Gerner.

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Article via NBC News

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Rafael Nadal Joins Alex Zozaya to Share Property Updates at Secrets Aura Cozumel and Sunscape Sabor Cozumel

Alex Zozaya, CEO of Apple Leisure Group and Rafael Nadal

Alex Zozaya, CEO of Apple Leisure Group and Rafael Nadal

See bottom of page for SPECIAL OFFER for Secrets Aura Cozumel!

MÉXICO, D.F. (March 7, 2013) – During championship tennis player Rafael Nadal’s recent stay at Secrets Aura Cozumel, he joined Alex Zozaya, CEO of Apple Leisure Group, to discuss the latest updates Nadal’s properties have undergone since AMResorts assumed sales, marketing and management duties for the resorts.

As of December 15, 2012, adults-only Secrets Aura Cozumel completed the necessary renovations to bring the resort up to the Secrets Resorts & Spas’ brand standards. Guests of Secrets Aura Cozumel now enjoy 168 luxury rooms and suites with a balcony or terrace with Caribbean Sea and pool views. All benefits of the brand’s signature Unlimited-Luxury® concept are also available, including limitless access to four gourmet a la carte dining options and premium beverage brands; 24-hour room and concierge services; countless daytime activities; live evening entertainment; and more. Secrets Aura Cozumel features three main swimming pools, a newly revamped full service spa, a fitness center, non-motorized water sports, as well as suites with a private pool.

The 330-room Sunscape Sabor Cozumel is slated to begin operations under the Sunscape Resorts & Spas brand by April. Guests of that resort will enjoy the benefits of Sunscape Resorts & Spas’ signature Unlimited-Fun® vacation concept which provides limitless access to gourmet a la carte dining and top-shelf spirits, countless daytime activities, live evening entertainment, fitness facilities and more. Additionally, Sunscape Sabor will offer the brand’s signature Explorer’s Club for kids and Desires night club, along with diving and water sports centers, and three pools.

“The coming together of the Nadal family and Secrets Resorts & Spas is important for the brand, these resorts and the destination of Cozumel,” said Alex Zozaya, CEO of Apple Leisure Group. “We have immediately seen its effects in guests’ positive reception to the rebranding and the high occupancy levels we are enjoying.”

“I have quickly seen the positive impact and improvements brought about by the recent rebranding of my resorts in Cozumel,” said Rafael Nadal. “I’m a person that travels significantly and can say that in AMResorts’ hands, my properties have turned into the kind of resorts I like to stay at.”

“Cozumel is my home away from home. Here, I feel comfortable, and am able to enjoy the beauty of the destination,” Nadal added.

SPECIAL OFFER for Secrets Aura Cozumel: Rates from $120 per person, per night!
Click here for our Secrets Aura Cozumel page for pricing and availability and a custom price request form. Offer subject to end at any time.aura_600x600

AMResorts Enters New Destination with Two New Resorts in Cozumel

PHILADELPHIA, PA – September 12, 2012 – AMResorts, provider of sales, marketing and brand management services for Zoëtry Wellness & Spa Resorts and SecretsDreams, Now and Sunscape Resorts & Spas, announces the introduction of Secrets and Sunscape Resorts & Spas to the popular destination of Cozumel, Mexico.

AMResorts will assume sales, marketing and management duties of the Sabor Cozumel Resort & Spa, Sabor Cozumel Exclusive Resort & Spa, Aura Cozumel Grand and Regency Cozumel hotels while renovations take place to make the necessary adjustments and bring the four properties up to the brand’s Unlimited-Luxury® and Unlimited-Fun® standards.

Sabor Cozumel Exclusive Resort & Spa and Aura Cozumel Grand will be combined to become Secrets Aura Cozumel with updates including the addition of 15 room keys at corner Ocean Front or Ocean View locations for a total 174 redecorated rooms, restaurants modifications to include the brand’s signature Bordeaux, Oceana, and Windows restaurants, and a new shopping area set to open January 2013. The official rebranding will take place by December 2012. Guests of Secrets Aura Cozumel will enjoy the benefits of Secrets Resorts & Spas’ signature Unlimited-Luxury® vacation concept which offers limitless access to gourmet a la carte dining and premium beverage brands, 24-hour room and concierge services, countless daytime activities, live evening entertainment, and more. The resort also will feature three main swimming pools.

Sabor Cozumel and Regency Cozumel will be combined to become the 330 room Sunscape Sabor Cozumel. Modifications will include adding the brand’s signature Portofino, Da Mario, El Patio and Market Café restaurants and complete room remodels. The official rebranding is set for mid-January 2013 with enhancements done in phases and fully completed by April 2013. Sunscape Sabor Cozumel will offer its guests the benefits of Sunscape Resorts & Spas’ signature Unlimited-Fun® vacation concept which provides limitless access to gourmet a la carte dining and premium beverage brands, 24-hour dining options, countless daytime activities, live evening entertainment, fitness facilities and more. The resort also will feature the brand’s signature Explorer’s Club for Kids, Coco Café, and Desires, and diving and water sports centers, and three pools

Secrets Aura and Sunscape Sabor Cozumel will share a spa which will debut a signature hydrotherapy circuit and fitness center to be completed by mid-March 2013