Walt Disney World to allow unlimited Fastpass+ reservations
Walt Disney World this week opened its Fastpass+ advance reservation system to all park guests. Previously, only visitors staying at Disney hotels and selected annual pass holders could make reservations in advance of their visit using Fastpass+. Day guests had to wait to make their reservations in the park on the day of their visit, as under the old Fastpass system. (The difference being that with Fastpass+, visitors could reserve three return times at once, as opposed to being assigned a return time for one attraction at a time, as was the case with the original Fastpass.)
Whether you used the advanced reservation feature or got your Fastpass+ return times on site, you've been limited to just three Fastpass+ reservations per day, and all in one park. That's going to change, according to Disney Parks chairman Tom Staggs.
Staggs said today that Disney is working to allow park-hopping with Fastpass+ reservations. And that Disney soon will allow people to make more than just three Fastpass+ reservations per day.
How badly do you want to meet Anna and Elsa? Photo courtesy Disney
Visitors will continue to be limited to three advance reservations using the Fastpass+ system. But once someone's used those three, a guest will be able to make an additional reservation inside the park on the day of their visit. It'll work like the old Fastpass system at that point, where you're eligible for a new reservation once you've used your previous one.
That should encourage savvy visitors to try to book their three advance Fastpass+ reservations early in the day, so that they can use those quickly and start getting additional Fastpass+ reservations while they are in the park. Of course, if you're going to use one of your three FP+ resizes for a reserved fireworks viewing spot, for example, then you wouldn't be able to get any other FP+ reservations in the park that day, since the fireworks happen so late in the day. Or, if the only Anna & Elsa time you could reserve in advance was for the evening, you'll have to decide if you want to forgo opportunities to get additional FP+ reservations in the park for the certainty of getting that time with the Frozen princesses. So fans will be facing a large number of tradeoffs to consider with their Fastpass+ strategy, given these new opportunities.
What do you think?
This appears to be he development that I was hoping for, in effect removing the issues I have had with Fastpass+ and making it much more like the old Fastpass but with some added features. I'll hold off jumping for joy just yet but I am greatly encouraged by the statement today and looking forward to seeing how it pans out over the coming months....
So this is when the real challenge starts. Let the games begin!
I think this is the news that everyone has been waiting for to make the new system just as good as the old one. Let's be real here...In the summertime and on holidays, guests were lucky to get Fastpasses for more than 3 attractions in a day, and the current Fastpass+ system certainly works fine for that while giving the desired pre-reservation advantages to on-site guests. By expanding and adding the unlimited option, it opens up the system to off-peak visitors who played by the rules and knew how to work the system to Fastpass half a dozen or more attractions in a single day. Call us "power users", "crazy people", or whatever you want, but I was one of those guests, and I'm thrilled to see that my upcoming trip in October will not require a dramatic change in touring philosophy.
Wow! Disney actually made things worse. I didn't think that was possible. Fastpass+ is already complicated and now they are making it more so. This is only going to lead to more guest confusion and headaches. Unless all of your FP+ advanced reservations happen before noon then you will never get anything good at the second park.
Russell - Didnt see your comment before I made mine. That is a huge issue with the FP+ system. I wish I could find those stats about how many reservations are never used for a given attraction.
Let the math begin!
Eric...I don't quite understand your complaint when it comes to Test Track and Soarin'. The tiered system of attractions was absolutely necessary to spread people out. The old system actually did this by forcing you to use your first FP before getting a second. Guests were faced with a choice of going to Soarin' or TestTrack, and are faced with the same choice with the new system. If you were in the park on a peak day, you typically got a FP for one and the FP for the other was late in the day, if you got one at all. In essence, nothing really changes, except the fact that on-site guests get a 1 month head start on making reservation over everyone else. So the typical strategy of grabbing a FP at rope drop and immediately riding the attraction through the standby line isn't really needed anymore, since guests will walk into the park with FPs already in hand, and are more likely to rush to an attraction that they don't already have a FP for.
One more number to know: Is the percentage of capacity held back for standby at a given attraction higher or lower now than it was under the old Fastpass system?
Robert, you mean the numbers that Disney will never release?
Disney World is now all numbers and no magic. Bet the kids are going to love all the lines.
First just let me say this: I'm a planner. I plan every trip we take to Disney and otherwise and usually have a general idea of the attractions we'd like to visit at a Disney park on any given day. However, my plans were somewhat flexible during our last few visits to Orlando, to allow for inevitable changes in what the kids felt like doing or how tired we were or whatever came up. This new system is going to take away any and all spontaneous choice from a day at the parks. What was already an intensive (yet fun I admit for those of us who like to plan) is going to because more complicated than doing your taxes! And what if your 6 year old doesn't FEEL like going on Pirates at 11:00am on April 20, 2015 when the time comes? You will be faced with the choice of reasoning with a preschooler (which we all know is futile) or throwing in the towel on your most carefully made plans. And what about the people who don't know the language or don't know that to have a chance at any top tier rides at the park without waiting 3 hours you have to plan months in advance? I'm just not sure I'm happy about all this even though I know in most cases people welcome another way Disney has come up with to manage crowds (as well as gather information on anyone who sets foot inside their parks...) There's my two cents for what it's worth.
Oh, algebra. The math of numbers whose values we don't know. ;^)
Russell - I will disagree with you on being able to do both with FP on the same day. My issue with the tiered system is that even with the new unlimited FP+ it will be near impossible to get a FP for both attractions. I used to do both attractions all the time with FP. You could get to Epcot at 10 or 11, grab one FP (usually Soarin first), wait two hours and then grab the other. Even if the second one was late in day it could be done, even on moderately busy days. FP+ and the tiered system makes it impossible.
For me this is a positive change if it happens. I've avoided WDW like the plague due to the mess of FP+. But I've tentatively scheduled a WDW vacation for the spring of 2015 since I thought the kinks in the system would be worked out by then. I've seen previous rumors of the additional fast passes as your original three expired. I welcome it if it confuses the novice, since it will be easier for informed fans like us to use the system to our advantage, not unlike the old fast pass system where people didn't use it since they didn't understand. I could never comprehend that. In my first trip ever to Disney, not knowing the fastpass system even existed, I was able to use the system easily. There must be some really dense people out there if they couldn't understand the legacy fastpass system. It was so easy.
This is a good development and it addressed one big complaint about Fastpass+. At the Disney Blog, they mentioned they will allow park hopping with FP+, thus another complaint addressed.
I'm not sure what days you've been to WDW Eric, but getting FPs for 2 Tier A attractions in a single day was not that easy. On peak days under the old system, Soarin' and Toy Story Mania FPs ran out within the first 30 minutes of operation. When the new TestTrack opened in late fall 2012, it was up there with Soarin' in terms of how quickly FPs ran out on busy days.
Anon Mouse brings up an important point that guests can only have one FP+ per hour return interval. That does serve has a huge limiter for "power users" who could legitimately hold 2 FPs at the same time (even after the enforcement of return times) since you can get a new FP 5 minutes after the previous FP's return window started. The system essentially prevents you from getting additional FPs until at least 3 hours after opening.
BUT..Does everyone really want to wait in a slow fastpass + line every time after they've used one. I personally still rather just quickly get my pass from the kiosks than wait to awkwardly talk to a staff member on an ipad. Anyone else agree?
Great news. Both that off site guests have some access to Fastpass+ and that folks can obtain more than three Fastpasses in a day. You can tour the way you want: schedule everything for early in the morning so you can maximize usage, or sleep in and know you have most of the key things reserved for later in the day. Genius.
I can do the math... it doesn't make a whole lot of sense to me. If you have two lines (FP and regular) with the same amount of people in them and they alternate every other turn, the regular line would move just as fast as the FP and vice versa. They may as well all be in the same single file line.
Sweet! We can now go back to complaining about why the Seven Dwarves mine coaster hasn't opened yet.
"The Math" per touringplans.com's site:
I'm super happy they decided to let day guests reserve passes in advance instead of waiting until the day of so we don't have to have a massive kiosk mess before our first ride of the day. All the other potential perks they are looking into is just icing on the cake! The potential of more fast passes would be nice, but just allowing me the to plan my three prior to the day of the visit was something to get happy about for me! We are going in May!
Hello. My name's Ty. I visit both the Florida and California resorts about once a year, and have been a fan of the Disney Parks my entire life.
Alright the problem is solved with Fastpass+ algebraic equations, multipliers, and powers to the tenth..... Just stay at one of the three on property delux hotels at Universal Florida, get the Express Pass for free, and go enjoy yourself on most rides as many times during the day as your heart desires in a fast line. The ease, the relaxation, the care-free attitude that a true vacation is supposed to be.... While fights, aggravation, and upset families doing math on vacation mind you....... I'll be singing yippie do da at Universal. Thanks Disney for bringing math to the all ready huge equation of why I don't visit your Orlando Parks anymore.....
Why doesn't Disney just start charging for Fastpass like Universal charges for Express Pass and stop all this madness?
This is definitely a positive change, but it isn't quite there yet. With the old system, you could get a new Fastpass as soon as the old one was used (technically as soon as the window opened). You shouldn't be required to use all three Fastpass+ reservations before receiving a new one, as that creates issues for those that use it on shows. Instead, why not make it so that each visitor can make an unlimited number of reservations, but only have three active reservations at a time? That way, after one is used, they can go straight to the Fastpass+ kiosk and add another attraction rather than waiting until all their current reservations are used. The tier system is good and should be kept, but this would allow someone who wants to ride two top tier attractions (for example, Soarin' and Test Track), to make one reservation in advance for as early as possible and then try for the second immediately after.
I'm very glad Disney is addressing the park hopper issue. It's quite a lot of extra $ for those tickets and guests that pay so much more should be rewarded a bit more.
Apple Butter, I feel the same way... Unlimited Express is like crack and basically kills any chance of us going anywhere else.
The reality is Disney World does not have enough new attractions to spread the crowds around. When you only have 2 (Or 3) attractions in each park that people are gaga over, there is going to be grid lock. There are way too many attractions at Disney that should be highly upgraded or just replaced. Even if Disney did decide to build new attractions it would take them 3 to 5 years…….Meanwhile down the road Universal has opened up Cabana Bay Beach resort, Transformers, Despicable Me, Harry Potter-Diagon Alley (almost open) and is doing site prep work for a King Kong ride and a Jurassic Park expansion. Oh, and I forgot they revamped and updated most of City Walk. I really wish people would wake up and realize how lazy the Orlando parks, aka Team Disney, aka the bean counters have gotten. Unless Disney can give me a FROZEN dark ride in the next year and a half…………..color me not impressed. I really don't want to spend half my day planning everything when I am supposed to be on vacation.
So, to my Disney mathematical geniuses, help a fellow planner out: We are going in June. I was planning (under the first FastPass+ system) to make all my FastPass+ Reservations in the evenings. That way, we could get to the parks early, hit some of the rides with shorter morning lines, and then have rides to go on in the afternoon with FP+.
That's really the biggest conundum right now, because it's impossible to predict how people will actually use the system. Will we see a return to the "power users" or will people just get their 3 reservations for the biggest attractions, and then not deal with the hassle of picking up more throughout the day?
Anon, with regards to your question on whether to change or stay with your touring plan, I think it depends upon whether you want to sleep in or if you want to be at the parks early for rope drop.
Just got back from a WDW trip ending 04/01. Bad for us was the 3 FP+ & 'one park only' limits (which have been changed as of 04/04 - thanks Disney...:rolleyes:).
I will be at Disney World next month (in May) for 7 nights on property. I think the FastPass+ is a wonderful idea. I booked all my Fastpass+. One of the days I will be there, I plan to sleep in and enjoy the resort amenities. So I have everything booked late afternoon/early evening at Epcot. No need to be by 1 pm at the park in order to be able to secure something for Test Track 5 hours later! I am very, very happy about this. I know it will not be everyone's cup of tea, but I really believe this is an overall plus. No more worries, having to be extra early to secure something... It really removes the overall stress that used to be with the old FP system. And if someone has a quick stay at WDW, they can now do their first 3 passes in the morning and then do the kiosk thing, which makes it basically like the old Fastpass. I can't wait to see it "in action"!
This change is progress. We were at DW over New Years and the roll out was a bit of a nightmare. Untrained cast members and differentiated rules per park made wrapping your head around the changes quite daunting.
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