Sunday musings: Disney ticket crackdown, Titanic Belfast, faulty hotel locks

Photo by HarshLight Flickr Creative Commons

Today we look at Disneyland, where fantasy cannot take a holiday from scammers. Visit Belfast’s Titanic museum that is taking tourism by storm. And, warn about faulty room locks in many hotels.

Disneyland takes photos of guests to crack down on ticket abuse

If you thought big brother was serious about security, think about big Micky. Disneyland, facing organizations that are purchasing multiday park tickets and then parceling them out a day at a time, is striking back by photographing visitors to their park.

There have been reports of delays at park entrances. But, Disney denies any significant holdups.

The scenario works like this: Ticket brokers might, for example, buy a three-day “park hopper” pass for $205 and rent the ticket to guests for $85 a day. The seller makes a profit of $50 and the guests, who would otherwise pay $125 for a one-day “park hopper” ticket, save $40.

Disneyland policy prohibits visitors from sharing multi-day passes, but the practice does not violate local laws.

To put a stop to the practice, Disneyland workers began Tuesday to photograph visitors who are using a multi-day pass for the first time, said park spokeswoman Suzi Brown.

Titanic Belfast is top tourist attraction

Northern Ireland has a new tourist attraction that is taking its travel and tourism industry for a good ride. Titantic Belfast, built on the shipyard where the Titanic was built, is breaking all Northern Ireland records.

Top tourist spots, such as the Giant’s Causeway and the Ulster Museum, have been left in the wake of the phenomenal success of the Titanic visitor experience since it opened for business in Belfast last March.

The team at Titanic Belfast is celebrating after new figures showed more than 650,000 visitors passed through its doors in nine months.

The world’s largest and most comprehensive Titanic visitor experience also saw a significant rise in popularity during December, forcing staff to put up the ‘sold out’ signs during the final days of 2012.

To put the numbers in context, according to the most recent government figures, the Dundonald Ice Bowl is Northern Ireland’s most popular visitor attraction (with 601,000 visitors in 2011), followed by the Giant’s Causeway (533,000 in 2011) and Belfast’s Ulster Museum (471,000 visitors).

What happens when the hotel room you thought was locked isn’t for a thief?

A problem with one of the major hotel room locking systems surfaced last summer. The locks in question were manufactured by Onity Locks and were hacked using a custom-designed kit that cost about $50. The company took months to work up a fix for the problem and now is negotiating with hotels about repair costs.

In the meantime, hotels with these locks are not exactly forthright about their problems. They have been urging customers to use the hotel safes and security locks when inside the rooms, but they’re not telling customers about the problem upfront.

Note: The fixes are in the process of being implemented; however, with more than 4 million locks to be fixed, pay attention to security at hotels.

To comply with its “duty of care” responsibility, a hotel in this situation should disclose the fact to customers and encourage them to take secondary measures, such as using the in-room safe and applying their door’s safety latch, says Barth, president of He also says travelers should first check those safety latches to make sure they are in good working condition.

“The issue here is that hotels that have Onity lock systems are aware of this flaw, so do they have a duty to warn their guests?,” he says. “Most hotels so far have taken the position that they’re not going to tell guests but encourage them to be sure to use the security bar.”

  • pauletteb

    I carry one of those little rubber wedges used to prop doors open. They work equally well as extra security against someone coming into your room while you’re asleep. An intruder might still be able to get in with a cloned key, but the additional noise made in forcing the door open against the wedge would at least wake you up.