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Apple Pay to be welcome at Walt Disney World

Starting December 24, visitors to Orlando's Walt Disney World can use Apple Pay to buy tickets, merchandise and other items.

James Martin/CNET

Apple iPhone 6 users planning a trip to Walt Disney World will be able to use their phones to pay for most items at the theme park.

The company will roll out support for Apple Pay at its Orlando, Fla., resort starting Wednesday, website WDWMagic reported on Sunday. In October, Disney was listed as one of Apple Pay's initial partners with the expectation that all of its retail locations would also support Apple's mobile-payment system by Christmas.

The support for Apple Pay at Walt Disney World is part of the entertainment company's effort to accept more types of contactless payments as seen through its MyMagic+ program. With the MyMagic+ program, Disney visitors can use wearable, touch-sensitive MagicBands and cards to enter theme parks, open the door at their Disney hotel room and charge purchases of food and merchandise to their room.

Now Disney is expanding the concept with support not just for Apple Pay but for other contactless payments, including Google Wallet and contactless RFID credit cards. Apple Pay will initially work for most types of purchases, according to the following statement from Walt Disney picked up by iMore:

Initially, most stores, quick service restaurants, bars and ticket sales booths will be included. Any locations that use portable payment terminals, such as table service restaurants, will be added later.

Apple Pay allows iPhone 6 users to pay for items simply by moving the phone within reach of a supported terminal or other payments system. Though Apple Pay is also available on the new iPad Air 2 and iPad Mini 3, only the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus include the necessary near-field communication (NFC) technology to enable users to pay for physical items at retailers.

Apple has been busy signing up more partners for Apple Pay, including retailers, banks and credit card issuers. The company recently recruited several new banks to handle Apple Pay, which Apple says can now support around 90 percent of all credit card transactions in the US. Signing up more partners is critical since Apple Pay isn't the only game in town, and many retailers have so far resisted.

A group known as Merchant Customer Exchange, or MCX, has collected a large number of retailers such as Rite Aid and CVS to support a rival payments service known as CurrentC. For now, CurrentC is at a disadvantage as it lacks the fingerprint recognition and NFC support that make Apple Pay convenient to use. Still, Apple needs to sign up as many vendors as possible if it expects Apple Pay to become a standard among iPhone users.

The actual roll-out of the contactless payment support starts Monday and goes through Wednesday, a Disney spokeswoman said. Visitors to Walt Disney World will be able to tell which areas accept Apple Pay and similar payment methods by looking for an EMVCo symbol, WDWMagic said. Apple Pay is expected to make its way to the Disneyland resort in California sometime next year.