Say goodbye to paper Fastpass tickets at Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom
Published: January 10, 2014 at 11:10 AM
Instead of getting a paper ticket with a return time, as they would from one of the old Fastpass machines, visitors now will be assigned a return time that will be directly associated with their park admission ticket. To get into the ride or show at their appointed time, visitors will tap their park admission tickets at the Fastpass+ return stanchion, where resort guests tap their MagicBands.
Tapping an admission ticket to a new Magic Kingdom "MyMagic+" entrance stanchion.
Cast members are reporting that visitors will be able to use the Fastpass+ kiosks to select and modify their reservations times, which is a big change from the existing Fastpass system, which spit out a take-it-or-leave it return time and then blocked you from getting any other Fastpass reservation for up to two hours. Now, you'll be able to select your three return times at the beginning of the day. You'll also no longer need to worry about losing those paper Fastpass tickets.
Visitors not staying on-site at Disney will not be able to make reservations in advance, and will not be allowed to make or modify reservations using the My Disney Experience mobile app. It's the kiosks on the day of your visit or nothing for attraction reservations. Of course, with "day" visitors getting the ability to make multiple reservations first thing in the morning, it's likely that attraction reservations will "sell out" earlier in the day than they did under the old Fastpass system.
Disney's been testing this new way of handing attraction reservations in Animal Kingdom for several weeks. With the Magic Kingdom coming online next week, we recommend making a visit to a Fastpass+ kiosk your first stop in those parks in the morning. Pick the three available attractions you most want to do, then go enjoy the rest of the park, knowing that you're guaranteed in at those rides or shows with a shorter wait. (Disney is expected to eliminate the paper Fastpass tickets at Epcot and Hollywood Studios within the next couple of months.)
Visitors will now have more options for reservations than under the old Fastpass system, which was limited only to the most popular rides. To use the new system most effectively, you should try to select rides that have the longest mid-day waits, either due to high popularity or low capacity (or both). There's no sense in using a Fastpass+ reservation on a ride or show that's a walk-on or under 20-minute wait at mid-day. Those are the attractions you should be visiting in the middle of the day when you aren't using your Fastpass+ reservations.
The most useful Fastpass+ reservations might be places in the no-wait, reserved seating areas for parades and fireworks shows, but it's not clear if any of those will be available to visitors who aren't staying at a Disney hotel. Those reservations have been available only on an intermittent basis to resort guests up until now, and get snapped up quickly when they do. It's hard to believe that many would be available to "day" guests, but, who knows?
Ride reservations are ultimately a big math problem, as Disney weighs the percentages of each ride's hourly capacity to devote to advance reservations, same-day reservations, and walk-up visitors. Disney's tweaked those percentages in the past and it's likely that the company will continue to do so as it continues its transition to Fastpass+ and the MyMagic+ system.
Have you used Fastpass+, either as a resort guest, or a day visitor in the Animal Kingdom? Please tell us about your experience, in the comments.