Vote of the Week: Has Fastpass+ affected your plans to visit the Walt Disney World Resort?
Now that Walt Disney World has made its Fastpass+ advance reservations available to all visitors, has this new ride reservation system affected your plans to visit the resort?
Does the opportunity to make advance reservations for the rides, shows, and character meet-and-greets you most want to experience make you more likely to plan a visit to Walt Disney World? Or do reports about this new system lead you to look elsewhere for your vacation plans?
Does the disruption of a new system make you want to delay your new Disney World visit? Or do you want to hurry up and get there now, to be one of the first using Fastpass+ and the whole MyMagic+ trip-management system, with its MagicBand wristbands? Or, finally, does this not matter to you one way or another, whether you were planning to visit Walt Disney World at some point or not?
We'll make this our Vote of the Week. But first, if you'd like to learn more about Fastpass+, and the new "My Disney Experience" planning process for Disney World visits, we've got a great discussion going in the comments on our recent Blog Flume post about upcoming changes to the system. Please take a few moments to check that out, and maybe submit another comment if you've got some experience to add to the discussion.
Disney's making a very expensive bet that its new system ultimately will make a visit to the Walt Disney World Resort easier and more enjoyable for fans. But let me throw this out there for your discussion: Disney World's fans aren't just American families anymore. The resort attracts visitors from all over the world, including a great many tour groups.
Put yourself in the position of a tour group organizer. Wouldn't having the ability to book advance reservations for your entire group, and just give them a wristband to wear that would handle everything for them, make your job as that organizer infinitely easier? No more feeding dozens of tickets through Fastpass machines while someone else manages the group, or worse, the group stands around waiting for you. No more hassles managing tickets, room keys, charge cards, etc. You could use MyMagic+ as a power user to arrange your group's entire day in advance, allowing you to much more efficiently manage your group inside the park.
Non-English speaking visitors could take more time planning their days at home using a website in their own language, instead of trying to navigate Fastpass machines inside the park, where finding translation into your native language might be difficult. At the park, there's no more fumbling around trying to figure out which card is which. Just leave everything back in your room and stick out your wrist when you need something.
Wouldn't the existence of such a system make a Walt Disney World vacation much more enticing to these potential customers?
If building the new Fastpass+ system doesn't seem to be worth the expense and the hassle for English-speaking American families who were making the old Fastpass system perfectly well for them thankyouverymuch, let's remember that those American families aren't Disney's biggest growth market anymore. Isn't that something worth considering? Anyway, let's talk about this in the comments.
None of your categories felt like perfect fit for me because we weren't planning a trip to WDW in the near future anyway (this is our Disneyland year), but I'm sitting back and watching carefully, hoping all the bugs get worked out before our next Florida trip in a few years. It sounds like, with patience, everything will be as good as, or better than, the the old paper FastPass system before it's all said and done.
Since I visit Walt Disney World in the relative off season of late January, I’ve never had a need to use Fastpass to ensure I get to experience all the major rides and attractions. I like to do all the attractions in any given land, then move on, and standby lines at that time of year have always been reasonable enough to allow that to happen.
As a European it's tough to get into the US. Every few years the US government is forcing people who want to go to the US on vacation to hand over more information, special passports etc. Let me remind you we are a sister country so it's less difficult for me then other countries. It's starting to become more difficult to get into the US then it was to get into Russia during the cold war.
I visited WDW last sept for the 1st time since 2007, I'm from the UK, so it is an expensive trip for me. In 2007e, I couldn't get in to any of the restaurants I wanted to eat in, this time after reading your site I made reservations 180 days ahead. Unfortunately we then had to plan our days around where and when we were dining that evening, which as one of your other comments said, rather spoils the spirit of a holiday, Having to plan your fastpasses in advance fills me with dread. The other thing I noticed was that in 5 years nothing very much had changed apart from the fantasyland makeover which basically added a lacklustre mermaid ride. If disney can't spend money why should I?
I have been planning a trip to WDW for me and a few of my high school buddies I don't get to see very often. We are going to be staying off sight in Sept. The new news that they are opening up the Fastpass+ system for day trippers is great. I will be using a mishmash of left over days I have from previous trips. Only the last non-expiration tickets I bought in 2009 were able to be linked to My Disney Experience so I have 3 days covered. The only thing that stinks is that you can only get MagicBands in the parks or at Downtown Disney. If I could order one online I could link it to my already linked tickets and I would be ready to go before I even arrived in Orlando. I will have to wait and see. As fast as things are changing the MagicBands may become available online before Sept.
Though I spend a lot of time planning vacations, I'd rather have a spontaneous & leisure time once I arrive. I strongly dislike the advance dining reservations at WDW so I usually eat counter service while there. I did like the legacy fast pass system since it allowed me to do what I wanted when I wanted. We go off season, but the lines for most of the E & D tickets were still long, thus we used fast pass for them just about all the time. I thought the initial roll out of fastpass+ was terrible. I actually cancelled an already planned spring vacation at WDW last year & went to Universal twice for a total of three weeks due to the fastpass+ confusion. If they adapt the additional fastpass+ system that Staggs referenced the other day, it will be something I can live with, and I'll go next spring when they get the bugs ironed out. But, I now have a more relaxing and leisurely vacation at Universal by staying at their much more affordable & better quality on site hotel resorts utilizing the far superior Express Pass and never having to use my car since everything is so close. I still like WDW, but vacations there are too much of a hassle with all of the advance daily schedule required for the good rides & dining. I'd rather Disney have added new attractions than spend so much money on a system that didn't need fixed. I'm at the point where we vacation in Orlando twice a year, spend a lot of money since we always stay onsite, but I'll probably just go to WDW once every two or three years since the Disney vacation has lost it's spontaneous fun. I'll spend much more time at Universal & Sea World/Busch.
I also think it is a step too far. You cannot do Disney dining anymore on the day and I don't want to plan my holiday like a military operation I like to take each day as it comes.
As a local, my friend and I do not want to participate in the new band system. We are annual pass holders and prefer not to give Disney our private info. Going when there are fewer tourists may make things easier for us. BUT, then we both feel the much of the magic has gone out of Disney World. One only has to look at the lack of Christmas decorations in Epcot as a start. Perhaps this will be our last year for annual passes.
None of the selections matched perfectly. I am leaving in 3 weeks and I'm looking forward to the trip. Fastpass+ was an improvement, but it is merely one part of the MyMagic and MyDisneyExperience. The whole idea is to integrate the attractions, dining, and accommodations of a typical Disney World trip. This works best if you're staying on site. It is less useful if Fastpass is used without the other 2 branches. If you have many dining reservations, scheduling FP around dining is the best situation. You can also schedule around the lifestyle of the guest like the late riser. You don't have to worry about competing with other guests in the early mornings for FP tickets. Gone is the spontaneity, but what is so spontaneous about getting up early each morning and trying to get the same E Ticket rides that every other guest is doing.
I understand the need for a system like Fastpass, especially during the busy times of year. However, I feel that this system takes the spontaneity out of a vacation. Now it is more like work where we need to plan every little detail.
We have been driving down to WDW twice a year for the past ten years. This past October we stayed at the Beach Club(our usual)and had the new fastpass+. We felt constricted and tied to one park per day and ran into a major problem trying to ride standby on rides like Toy Story---while hordes of people were filing into it, we stood there in line for 30 minutes without moving. We left.
I have my Magic Bands, and leave for Disney tomorrow morning. So far, they sound great, BUT I have already had one problem.
As others have said, when on vacation I want to be able to get up when I want, eat when I feel like, go on whatever ride I'd like and so on. I don't want to have appointments/deadlines/pressure to be anywhere or to have to plan around. I have enough of that in my normal daily life. I hated fastpass and hate this even more.
I know I'm in the minority, but I voted that I would move up a visit because of Fastpass+. Don't get me wrong, I still would rather stick with the old method, but let's face it. The non-TPI crowd is so uninspired in doing research that a majority of them will probably not realize that they can, indeed, schedule their future rides. Therefore, they arrive at a park all confused while I'm happily zipping past them for more rides. However, the fact that I can schedule spots for night shows is a major plus (probably the only advantage FP+ has over the old version for me).
I was ok either way. I am not really going there for the fastpasses.
The problems with fastpass + before was that the fastpasses for the popular attractions go really fast. Over spring break, we went to Hollywood studios and hopped on to the fastpass line at like 10:00 A.M. After waiting for 20 minutes, we came to find that the fastpasses for Twilight Zone, Toy story and Aerosmith had run out. With the new fastpass +, everyone will be able to make reservations for rides days in advance.
comment from 22.214.171.124 states it perfectly.
There should be an I already had a visit planned and we were going regardless of the Fast Pass situation option.
I have always enjoyed planning my trips to any theme park, whether they have a fastpass type option or not. So Fastpass+ suits me fine. It really makes no difference on when I visit the parks.
I want to go on a *vacation* - but now you just have to plan everything in advance, which, for me, simply does not work. I am not going to visit this year - and although one should never say never, I have a feeling that I will never visit WDW again.
Having just retrurned, I would like to discuss a few comments above. First, the system certainly makes it harder for the people that do not want to pre-plan their entire vacation, so that group will dislike it. Second, (at the time I was there), it hindered the experienced Disney base since the inexperienced still had three guaranteed spots and lines were crazy all day with no ability to get more. We had to run to our rides early, and I mean run. Within an hour an a half, lines were nuts until the fireworks were done, so it did not benefit us. The only group I could imagine it benefits would be the planners that do not care to experience all the rides. I am glad to see changes, but they do not go far enough. You need to give an option for the truly hardcore to get more guaranteed spots. Universal does it with their express pass. Maybe something like an extra pass for staying in Disney resorts, being a pass holder, with extras based on the type of reort or passholder. My family is made up of thrill ride lovers. We go to Disney for the Tower of Terror, Aerosmith, Space Mountain, etc. Without a way to get more, all this system will do it mean less days at Disney and more at Universal. The method we used to have the most fun while we were there was one we always wanted to avoid. We got to the parks 45 minutes before opening. Ran to most popular ride and worked through to the least popular. Ate an early lunch. Passes were from 12:30 to 2:30. Went back to resort to the pool. Came back for dimmer. Visited unpopular rides until lines dissappated. Most did not. Left without being able to ride things we wnated to ride. Maybe the new changes will help. I do prefer the old system.
Ifastpass-+ indirectly affects my plans, if only because the money spent on the infrastructure might be better utilized building fresh and new experiences. I will be taking the family to Orlando this November, but our plans will center around Universal and the new attractions there. At most, we will do a day at the Magic Kingdom to see the new Fantasyland.
Our last trip to WDW in Feb was totally enhanced by the Magic Bands and Fast Passes!! We have a grandson on the autism spectrum and he has certain rides/features that are must see/so items as we go through the park. The fast passes really helped our need to bypass long lines with his inability to wait a long time in line and to be sure to do the things he remembers and rigidly requests in a predictable order.
Why are there so many anonymous people on this thread?
I suspect, Anthony, that because FastPass+ is such a hot-button issue and can really affect the quality of a vacation to Disney World in both positive and negative ways we are seeing many of the regular visitors to the site who enjoy the content, but don't bother to set up a profile or post regular messages.
Concerning Anthony and Annons.....
I 100% agree with Brett Blake.
@Tim Hillman I think you are right but I don't like the solution. They only park that is really popular is MK and the rides that are only popular in the other parks are a hand full of (mostly) E-ticket rides. Instead of Magicband+ Disney could have made the other parks more desirable. Levelling the crowds.
Mr. Niles the result of the changes has considerably increased the stress of planning a Disney vacation. We've visited Disneyworld every 2 years with our family over the past 15 years. We didn't mind scheduling our dining, but scheduling fastpasses with 3 limit and tiers and no park hopping has been extremely difficult and frustrating. After trying to navigate the rules, my kids finally just said to me "pick anything." They're dismayed, frustrated, and upset. The newest Disney experience. Maybe that was the purpose of making the system so restrictive and complex. I wish I'd known it would be this way, we would've done something else for vacation. We used to love going to disney. We'd discuss what rides we would go on and we'd meet up with cousins and friends in the park. Grab a fastpass and then ride together an hour or two later after lunch. Those days are gone. Well, at least as Disney has often emphasized we have our memories.
Fastpass+ does not change the fact that we visit Orlando every two years or so, but it has changed the way we are planning our next trip. We considered ourselves Fastpass "power users" when we used to visit, and typically got between 5-10 (sometimes more) Fastpasses per day on a typical visit to WDW. So, when Fastpass+ was first announced, we were scrambling to figure out how we were going to make the new system work for us. As the rules change, we have been resigned to the fact that we'll just have to take a wait and see approach since we're not visiting until October. We're gathering as much information as possible about the system and how it's working to figure out how to make the most out of it.
I'm with you 100% on your sentiments OT. I'm working on a number crunching article for the site, and I'll try to lay out the case for why Disney has to go to something like FastPass+ even though most of us would rather see the money spent on rides, attractions, or new parks in the US.
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