Dating from as far back as 1999 and 2000, the old booking system was a simple yet not particularly user-friendly interface. Consisting of simple drop-down menus and selection boxes, it never gave a particularly dazzling first impression for people on their way to Disneyland. Not only that, but it stubbornly refused to work in several browsers such as Mozilla Firefox – not good for a resort which welcomes over 12 million visitors each year.

And so, finally, another piece of the circa-2000 website fades away. Visitors clicking the “Book Packages” option on the homepage of the official website are now redirected first to the resort’s new Hotels pages, where they can find the perfect hotel to suit their needs. Then all it takes is a click of “Book Now!” and they’re off to the brand new booking system…

The system appears in a similar design to the main website but removes all menus and Flash, giving a more friendly way to book your package. The first pages requires you to choose an arrival date and length of stay, with various options along the sidebar informing you of deals such as Half Board Meal Plans.

Once you’ve selected the number of people going with you to the magic, the screen clears and connects you to the resort’s booking system, with Tinkerbell floating around the screen and a message highlighting the special events for the 15th Anniversary.

System searched, the page next moves to the next step of the booking process and displays your ideal package offer along with two alternatives – a new feature for this sytem. The page displays all the features of each package in a good layout, allowing you to compare each offer or search again for a better deal. From this page you can also add options such as Half Board or change your room type with a single click – the options box opens within the same window and prices are updated automatically so you can continue to compare the packages.

The most major update with this new system, one which visitors from the UK in particular will be glad to see, is the option to finally book transport with your hotel, online. So far the system allows you to find flights with Air France (the resort’s airline partner) from a large number of airports and Eurostar from London, though at the time of writing the system was having trouble connecting to Eurostar’s booking option.

The pricing details here could be a little clearer, but the options now available give the system a major advantage over its predecessor and hopefully much more incentive for guests to book quickly and book everything together, a major plus for the resort’s all-important sales.

And if at any time during the process you need to check what you’ve selected so far, it’s just a click away. “Review my selection” brings up a useful window on the same page you’re looking at, displaying the details of your package so far without you having to reach the end of the booking process or hit “back” and check your selections. Another clever new feature is the ability to save “travel wishes”, so you can come back later to complete the booking.

Then, once you do reach the end, everything is displayed again in a modern and easy-to-read layout. Here you can even add requests to your booking, select insurance and see useful tips for your hotel and transport. The total cost is displayed clearly in bold at the top – as with most other websites and sales these days, they hope the clearer and simpler they make it, the more likely they are to get a booking.

Ready to book? Well, here we are – time to get entering all your details. With the new transport options, you’ll also need to select the ID you’ll use to pick up boarding cards and a number from the ID chosen. Finally, the price is once again displayed large and clear next to the credit card form – which comes with the resort’s partner “Visa” selected as standard, of course. A box provides a reminder that the website is SSL secured, and the entire process certainly does feel much more modern, substantial and secure than the basic former system.

The ticket purchasing system has yet to be updated, running on a separate website to the packages system, but this major step forward for the online sales of Disneyland Resort Paris is a sign that they’re still continuing to build their online presence, one of the key points Karl Holz announced when he became CEO exactly two years ago, back in May 2005.

Want to see the new system for real? Follow the link, choose your dream and select “Book Now!”. But maybe best to keep your credit card at arms length – you know how impulsive that Disney magic can make its fans.

Thanks to Jakub for the news!

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