Fastpass+: The Benefits and Challenges of Disney's Crowd Management System
Few recent changes at the Walt Disney World Resort have divided fans more than Fastpass+. A vocal group believes the changes to the original FastPass program have diminished the guest experience. Others trust Disney and praise the ability to reserve their attractions in advance. I'll admit to being more in the first category. I visited the parks in the ‘80s and ‘90s growing up, so having only standby lines doesn't seem outlandish. There were benefits to the paper FastPass program, especially for determined visitors who knew how to game the system. Despite some unfortunate changes to the way lines moved, you could pile up the attractions. Frequent visitors used touring plans and strategically attacked the parks to maximize their visits. I wasn't on the obsessive side but understood the advantages, especially during slower seasons. I was upset about Fastpass+ but hadn't tried it out until my recent January visit. That trip finally gave me the chance to discover how the new service really affects your experience in the parks.
Planning the Trip
The first adjustment with Fastpass+ is making firm decisions on park days well before the trip. We stayed in an off-site condo, so I could start booking Fastpass+ reservations 30 days prior to our first day. Disney's resort guests can book 60 days in advance, which gives them a significant advantage. Beyond that gap, they also can plan the entire trip at that point. I could only choose Fastpass+ reservations on a day-by-day basis since my hotel stay wasn't connected to the My Disney Experience website. Disney's reasons for giving hotel guests this incentive are obvious. They understand that cost-conscious visitors often choose off-site locations with larger accommodations at cheaper rates. During busy seasons, some might consider the added cost as a suitable trade-off for grabbing early Fastpass+ reservations. For our off-season visit, the benefit wasn't enough to consider a Disney resort. Our large condo was just a short drive from the parks.
Navigating the Disney website is pretty easy, but it might confuse guests who aren't as Web savvy. When you choose three reservations, the system provides you with times for each one. The easiest way to change those times is to confirm these selections and then go back into the choices individually. There are multiple options given at the start, but they're often for different attractions. It's a strange approach for a perk that's marketed to make the trip easier. That theme appeared frequently throughout our trip. Fastpass+ functioned well, but the best route wasn't always easy to find. We have two young girls, so the most important reservation was for meeting Anna and Elsa at the Princess Fairytale Hall. I'd read a lot about the system and knew this was unlikely given the low hourly capacity for this attraction. There were no reservations for Anna and Elsa available when I originally booked them. However, I checked multiple times a day and snagged them two weeks prior to our trip. The downside was the 7:40-8:40 p.m. window, but I was willing to take it, knowing just how rare those selections appear on the site.
This example reveals a major challenge with Fastpass+ that contradicts the sales pitch of easily booking attractions in advance. With the most popular ones, you're at the mercy of the available times. This was true of the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, which had limited availability. We grabbed two reservations on separate days but had just a few open slots. Flexibility is essential. Less-popular rides are available at any time, so you must organize them around the headliners. Fastpass+ forces you to analyze more than which parks to visit; it also requires you to estimate time for movement between attractions. When you consider snacks, restroom breaks, and other events, it can be a little maddening. I'm a planner and don't mind setting a loose agenda in advance. Even so, it was a challenge to organize our days. Families with younger kids must consider factors like hunger and weariness into their selections. There's no perfect approach, so it's important to realize things will change on the fly.
It's easy for a skeptic to dismiss Fastpass+ because it changes the way you tour the parks. However, there are certain positives that became clear during our trip. I prefer to arrive early when the lines are shorter, but getting everyone out the door takes time when you have younger kids. Plus, this was a vacation. Going overboard to start early will just lead to unnecessary stress. Fastpass+ did allow us to arrive at the parks knowing that we already had reservations for popular rides like Toy Story Midway Mania, Soarin', and the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train. There was no need for rushing to the headliners to grab paper FastPasses. I never minded that approach in the past, but this way did lead to a more relaxed start to each park day. We still arrived pretty early but didn't have the same pressure to start so quickly every time.
Another benefit was the ability to change our reservations to later times using my iPhone. Disney's wifi was inconsistent, but we have enough data in our plan to make that less important. There were several occasions where I realized the times weren't going to work. When Pirates of the Caribbean broke down while we were in line, changing our Big Thunder Mountain Railroad reservation to a later time was easy. I should mention that the replacement time options became more plentiful once our return window had begun. We also visited during a slower time of year, so the ability to adjust reservations on the fly was easier. It's doubtful that a ride like Big Thunder would have that flexibility during the summer.
I'd heard about issues with Fastpasses not scanning correctly, but we only had one minor glitch. The cast members at Test Track informed us that we didn't have reservations when we did, but they adjusted it once I showed them our reservations on my phone. The main reason for the glitch was probably the chaos around the entrance at the time. We also arrived at Space Mountain for our return time and learned that it was closed due to mechanical issues. I checked the app a little later, and we now had a replacement reservation to use on a wide range of rides any time during that day. I wasn't aware of this feature and believe it solves a possible issue with advance scheduling. We returned to Tomorrowland later in the day and still had the option to ride Space Mountain with the original Fastpass+ reservation. That adjustment worked out really well.
The most glaring downside of Fastpass+ is its impact on wait times for mid-tier attractions. We've visited Disney World in January five times and rarely waited for Pirates, Haunted Mansion, and Spaceship Earth. All had waits of more than 30 minutes frequently during our visit. Disney's expansion of Fastpass+ to so many locations has reduced the efficiency of high-capacity attractions. Queues for rides that load continuously now have waits for standby guests to allow Fastpass+ riders. It creates an artificial demand and diminishes successful crowd management systems. In some cases, the cast members were more concerned with serving Fastpass+ guests than keeping the lines moving. We waited 45 minutes for Dumbo, and cycles occurred repeatedly with many empty vehicles. I observed more confusion and inefficiency with lines than I'd ever witnessed at the Disney parks. In another case, we stood at the intersection of the Barnstormer queue for 15 minutes while cast members waited for Fastpass+ guests.
To be fair, I expect the gains in wait times at these rides was offset by lower times at the headliners. With the exception of the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, the lines were pretty similar across the board. For example, Space Mountain wasn't that far above the Haunted Mansion. If Disney's goal was spreading crowds more evenly, Fastpass+ is helping that cause. That situation only applies to the Magic Kingdom, however. This system exposes the limited number of attractions in other parks. I love Epcot, but the only Fastpass+ reservations that you really need on most days are Soarin' and Test Track. In past visits, it was easy to ride both on most days. The tiering restrictions now limit that ability and create similar challenges at Disney's Hollywood Studios. Both parks need more headliners, and this new service can't hide that fact.
I should mention the ability to grab additional Fastpass+ reservations once the first three are used. We didn't end up using this service because of significant waits at the kiosks. It became a situation where the time savings by the extra reservations would have been mostly eliminated by the kiosk wait time. If this service was available through the app, it would greatly enhance the system. This change also would eliminate bottlenecks at the kiosks. When you're waiting in line to save time waiting in line, the logic gets murky. This leads to my final issue, which was the slow movement of many Fastpass+ lines. They usually were quicker than the standby queues but felt different than lines under the former structure. I wonder if Disney is releasing more reservations now to ensure visitors are able to grab them. Since they're unable to easily compare their experience versus the standby waits, there's no easy wait to quantify how much they're really saving.
What is the Future of Fastpass+?
While I'd love to see an experiment of a park day with no Fastpasses, Disney isn't going backwards. They'll continue to tweak the system behind the scenes and market the benefits everywhere. Fans will still visit the parks even if they hate the new service. Disney invested more than a billion dollars into Fastpass+ and the overall MyMagic+ vacation management experience, so its goals are loftier than just managing crowds. They can track guests' movements and tailor the parks based on that research. I've heard rumors about personalized interactions within rides, and that possibility is connected to Fastpass+ and other technological enhancements.
Disney is a much different entity today from the company that built the parks, and Disney is constantly seeking out new revenue streams. They've strategically decided to concentrate on internal efficiencies more than new attractions. The recent announcement of added capacity for Soarin' and Toy Story Midway Mania reinforces that trend. My concern is whether they're heading down the wrong path. My family still had a great time in our January trip, and we'll definitely return. Even so, changes like Fastpass+ and constant ticket price increases do make me question what I'll choose in the future. I was hooked to Disney World as a kid by the attractions, and there's a competitor down the road who's actively building new rides. Will Disney World evolve into a place that I don't recognize? I sense it might be heading in that direction.
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Very difficult to make fastpasses for 7 dwarf ride and toy story even having 60 days advance hopefully this year we will be able to make those reservations 9 days from now only time will tell
I figured it would be harder in busier times, even 60 days out. Toy Story Mania had a lot of openings, but there were very few for the 7 Dwarfs Mine Train even in late January. It took some work to get them on our days within the 30-day window.
I was there in late January, and FP lines were longer than standby lines. The parks were not that busy, and most waits were 20-30 minutes or less. I ended up making reservations for stuff I never intended to do, just so I could have the three. I've just resigned myself to now taking trips during times that might not be so crowded, and to going standby for all but the most popular rides. I think it has a lot of flaws. - Melissa
Melissa, you bring up a good point that we observed multiple times in January. We used our FP for Tower of Terror and waited 20 minutes, and the Standby line was 20 minutes. We also made reservations for three when we didn't need them, especially at the Animal Kingdom.
Although I agree that the competitor down the road is building new attractions, WDW is starting to make a return to that with all the changes at DAK (Pandora, night safari, Harambe Village Market, Rivers of Light, etc.), and I think most people expect the rumored massive overhaul ($1-$1.6 billion) at DHS with Star Wars and Pixar, to be true.
I disagree that fans will continue to visit even if they hate FastPass+. I'm a huge Disney fan. I hate FastPass+ and all the chaotic mess it has created.
I've never heard that $1-1.6 billion figure. Where does that come from?
FastPass+ "fixed" a problem that didn't really exist, actually made it worse in some aspects, and cost over $1 billion. Epic fail.
I think FastPass+ has the potential to be a really effective service. My main complaint from a visit this past summer, was that you were unable to book additional reservations via the mobile app. Mainly because the touch screens are some of the worst "modern" tech I've ever seen. They are not responsive at all, which contributes to the huge lines. No idea why they wouldn't invest in better screens for the kiosks.
I just returned from WDW and my issue is we all got sick throughout our stay which caused us to miss our fast passes for DHS which included my favorite ride ToT. Problem is I was never able to get another fast pass during our stay and the standby wait times were consistently 100 plus minutes for that attraction.
I've been an annual passholder for decades, and the Fastpass+ system is the worst for people like me. I make my decision to visit the parks only days before I go, sometimes as late as the day before. There are hardly ever any Fastpass+ times available for the top attractions, so I'm forced to wait in the now longer standby lines. And if my visit is one that I plan in advance, I only get the 30-day advanced reservation window. I've always felt that Disney doesn't do enough for it's annual passholders, as many of us live locally, so we don't need a hotel, and therefore, we don't get many of the benefits offered to on-site guests.
I used it in late 2013 with no issue. I am going again later this year and don't expect an issue again. However changes have been made so who knows. I used to ba able to abuse the old system and could do all of the parks very easily as many have. I have to agree though the constant price hikes and abnormal waits for standby and fp lines are causing me to rethink the following trip. We are committed for this year though.
I would note a great benefit of the FP+ system is the ability to make reservations for parades, fireworks, and shows. Except on the busiest days, I would not recommend making those type of reservations before you're in the parks, but if you schedule your first 3 FP+ reservations early in the day, you can easily get a reserved spot for a show, parade, or fireworks an hour or less before the start typically when other guests are already lining up. The Magic Kingdom parade FP+ seating was a really good spot on the castle side of the middle of the hub (it reportedly may change as construction walls come down and more space opens up). We grabbed FP+ reservations for the Festival of Fantasy Parade about 45 minutes before it started, and had plenty of time to ride two attraction through the standby line before we needed to get to our viewing area, which had no obstruction and plenty of room to move around while guests across the street were shoulder to shoulder.
Great comments, Russell. I'm with you on the complexities of setting up the FPs to line up right in advance. It's doable but takes a lot of effort. I expect some visitors won't spend the time that I did to make it work. I'm right with you on the app, which could work very well if you had the ability to add your extra FPs on there. The comment about the shows and parades is a great idea too.
The last time I was there, it worked without issue. Believe me, my family has tried to break Fastpass+ to the brim. Add DVC, AP, and staying at a Disney resort can sometimes freak out the system. We had problems in the beginning, but it worked out a couple of times.
I hate to say it, but the new system is a failure. The point in the article that it increases wait times for attractions with traditionally no wait times is the killer. I monitor wait times year round, and it is rare that the wait for Pirates or Haunted Mansion is less than 30 minutes on a slow day. That is unacceptable for several reasons. The main reason is that long waits for every attraction diminishes the enjoyment of the park. This is obvious, but there are other issues as well. If people are standing in line, then they aren't spending money elsewhere. If they cannot do everything they want, they will tell other people who will elect to go to other destinations. It is a serious deterrant for the elderly and people that are local. Our last trip did not have a wait for Pirates that was less than an hour. Our next trip to Orlando will be spent exclusively at Universal, and it breaks my heart to say that. In order for it to work, they should eliminate it for all but the most popular attractions. There should not be any tiered system, meaning if you get one for one attraction, it should not block you from others. You should be able to get a minimum of five per day with park hopping available. If they cannot do this, they need to realize that they are doing a grave disservice to their customers and themselves. I know several families where Disney was a once a year vacation, and they have decided to go elsewhere due exclusively to Fasspass+.
Fastpass+ is a reported 1.5 Billion Dollar Fiasco. Imagine how investing $1.5 billion into new attractions could have shortened lines at Disney World.
I honestly think that the reason why Fastpass+ was invented and the old system was taken away was because of the fact that people were abusing them. The original reason why Fastpass was created was for guests with disabilities and disorders such as autism who can't wait in long lines because they might have a breakdown. Then more people started finding out about the Fastpass, and Disney made it so that parties without disabled people can still use the Fastpass, just not with the same amount of freedom. Then people started abusing the pass, which made the lines longer than need be. They still use the paper Fastpass...but only if someone in your party has a disability. I honestly never really had a huge problem with fp+. I'm still able to do most of the rides I want in one visit. The fact that you're only allowed to reserve only three rides is actually good considering the fact that 3/4 of the parks only have a couple of headliner attractions. That being said, the fp+ system isn't perfect. The way they organize the time schedules can get frustrating and I don't really think Disney should be pushing aside the standby people for the Fastpass people. And quite frankly, advancing in-park operations as opposed to building new rides is probably a better investment. That way, you can enjoy the rides a lot more. That's what makes Disney so brilliant and why I think they're above everyone else.
The statement about using a replacement FP+ when your ride beaks down anywhere is not accurate. Seven Dwarfs Mine Train can not be subbed for when another ride, such as BTMRR or Splash Mt, go down. If 7DMT goes down, then you can go back to 7DMT later or use it anywhere. The Anna & Elsa M&G is also not available for using a subbed FP+ due to break-down.
It's true that FP+ is a mixed blessing. It has its benefits as well as serious shortcomings. The biggest problem is that the CMs hold up the standby line too much in favor of the FP+ line. Disney needs to come up with a more efficient method of balancing the two. It's certainly unacceptable when guests are waiting in line while ride vehicles go out empty.
WDW used to be fun as an annual pass holder. Go for a few hours and grab a reservation for dinner. Ride 2-3 rides and spend $20-80 on dinner at a resort or park. Now, same day guests are snubbed. I'm just a character in SimDisney. Forget this. The premium food reservation is snubbed for dining plan and quality has slipped. Didn't renew last year and not this year.
I've been to WDW three times using FP+ (December 2013, August 2014, February 2015) and I have never, not once, seen what the author reported (the standby line being held up while empty ride vehicles went out). I'm not surprised it happens occasionally but I am very skeptical it is systemic.
I can completely agree on how the FP+ lines are just making the wait times go up and up. As an ex-cast member (college program fall 2014), it was such a burden to explain to guests how to use the system, especially foreign travelers were english was not their first language. Also, the glitches in the systems are more common than not, and the lines for high capacity rides (Pirates, Buzz, Mansion, Little Mermaid, Spaceship Earth, etc) really made the lines move slower.
Thanks to everyone for the great comments. I know that my experience was just one trip, and each situation is different. However, I think there are trends in what people are experiencing that indicate some challenges that weren't part of a Disney World trip in the past. It's possible the system could be improved with some adjustments, and it will be interesting to see how it progresses in the next few years. I'm really trying to stay optimistic.
It is very convenient having your fastpasses ready before your visit. No more have to run deep into the park to get your first pass. This is a benefit of fp+ that came in very handy when I visited in december.
The biggest change that concerns me is Disney's recent "tests" to make certain attractions FP+ only, and completely eliminating the standby lines. On the surface, it's a marketer's dream, because everyone makes fun of the lines at WDW, so what better perk to advertise than the "end of lines" for a place where queues consume so much of a guest's experience. It's all fine and dandy if attractions can meet guest demand, but in situations where the FP+-only tact is taken for attractions that cannot meet guest demand, then it simply doesn't work, and is totally unfair to those guests who don't have the intimate knowledge of the FP+ system (like what happened last fall on Toy Story Mania).
"Disneyland better remain the same."
We visited this past November and had mixed results. Our takeaway, and one in which we've repeated to friends back home, is that a Disney vacation is just too complicated now.
Russell, I heard that Disneyland was setting up MyMagic+, but I don't remember them being clear there would be a FP+ system. I guess that's very likely, but it still would be quite a massive change given all the AP holders at Disneyland.
We have always gone in the off-seasons as we're the type of people that consider an advance booked, meticulously micro-managed itinerary to be the very antithesis of a holiday. I genuinely can't comprehend how someone can accurately predict what they are going to want to eat or do at any given hour even a day in advance let alone 60 (or even 180 with ADR system).
"I'm nervous they would try to do an "all reservation" system at Disney World, but I feel like the logistics would be nearly impossible. They've had so many challenges with just this system. Putting that in place would be so messy."
I was there in Feb and what I did not like was that we couldn't get into many of the restaraunts. When we asked, the cast memebers would look as if we were dumb for asking. At two restaraunts we were told no walk ins, reservations only, this was at MK and HS. I understand the FP portion of this for attractions, but there is no way every reservation shows up for dinning. I liked to be able to walk by a restaraunt and see or smell the food and say "let's try it". But now I have to know what my family wants to eat and when they will be hungry months in adavance if I want to try a restaraunt that I can only see the food and structure in pictures on the internet (no smell). I felt like the FP took some of the relaxing out of vacation. My family and I felt like somewhat we were on too much of a schedule or that we were being penalized for not knowing waht time we would be hungry months in advance. I feel they need to adjust the didnnig portion of this.
Our family of 4 has been to WDW 3 times over the last 10 years. However, we are so repulsed by the FP+ concept that we may not be back unless it is abandoned or completely changed. To us, it is a solution to a problem that did not exist.
@Anthony Murphy I can tell you from experience that under the old system I would typically get 10 or more FastPass on a busy day at Magic Kingdom and while following all of the rules, including return times. Remember, the only rule in the past that technically could be broken was the return time. The system didn't let you get an additional FastPass any earlier than the rules allowed. A busy day would have operating hours of 9 am to 11 pm or Midnight or 8am to 1am.
The dining reservation system and the ability to be a walk-up is terrible because this is what you get when all the staff are corporation employees and not owner-operators. They have absolutely no reason to try to fit you in even when no-shows free up tables. An owner would always figure out a way to accommodate walk-ups if at all possible.
Loathe Fast Pass Plus. I hate that the spontaneity has taking out of my holiday. Having a constant schedule is what I associate with work. Honestly, if it wasn't for Universal Orlando, I'd be having given up on WDW for Disneyland. They should have built some attractions (and fixing what little they) inside of pouring money into this fiasco.
Fastpass+ is in a glaring example of what happens when Disney allows bean-counters too much power. Disney outsmarted themselves on this greedy, over the top moneygrab. And the result is unhappy customers and loss of goodwill.
If you didn't notice, Fastpass+ has put back the wait into the queue lines. It takes at least 20 minutes to go on a ride after entering the fastpass queue. I predict this wait line will continue to increase due to demand. I already give myself 30 minutes to experience a ride with my FP+ reservation.
"If you want to measure the success of FP+, it increases the odds that a more timid customer will get a ride that they want. It isn't necessarily about the more experienced customer."
I agree, we never had to wait long in the FP+ line (we were there in October). The problem was that standby lines were slowed down by the FP+ line, more than traditional paper fast passes used to.
We did have some longer waits in FP+ lines in January. Test Track had a 20-minute wait (not counting the time choosing your cars), Tower of Terror had a 15-minute wait, Toy Story Mania had a 15-minute wait, Star Tours had a 20-minute wait, Big Thunder had a 15-minute wait, and the Character Spot had a 25-minute wait. Some might relate to just bad timing or mechanical issues (I think that happened with Star Tours). Even so, there was definitely a pattern. We started calling it the "kinda FastPass" by the end.
I posted earlier in the thread, and reiterate how much I dislike FP+. Due to the comments, they made me remember what I did like about the system. I like that I get to leave my wallet at the room, and I really like the dining reservations, as under the old system we could not dine where we wanted, and we did not mind the planning ahead for meals. That being said, it is a total failure in its current form in that it makes the parks much less enjoyable. Nobody, Disney or the guests, benefit from the parks being less fun. Nobody. I do hope Disney executives read websites like this (and I imagine they do). The business world has looked to Disney for examples of how to achieve customer satisfaction. They even have seminars for this. I cannot imagine how they let this system remain in its current form. They must change this system.
"It really depends on what you deem as a "timid" customer."
"Knowing that Russell developed a fixation with my posts, I know he will come back for more. Give it a rest. I responded. That's it. Don't bother me."
"Test Track had a 20-minute wait (not counting the time choosing your cars), Tower of Terror had a 15-minute wait, Toy Story Mania had a 15-minute wait, Star Tours had a 20-minute wait, Big Thunder had a 15-minute wait, and the Character Spot had a 25-minute wait."
"two definitions of the word, which puts your position on shaky ground."
In simplest terms, Disney has lost us as an AP for the first time in about 15 years. It's no longer fun when I'm nothing more than a token on a computer screen with a dollar sign next to my icon.
Russell, Star Tours was after the merge (I think it may have had a brief mechanical issue). The ToT wait was outside, and it seemed like the Standby and FP lines were about even. Big Thunder had a huge back-up at the first scanner. Test Track and TSM just had slow-moving lines with a lot of people in them. The times were split pretty evenly before and after the merge. It may have been bad timing.
As frequent repeat guests greatly anticipated FP+, however our first experience with FP+ last September was a disaster. Lines where there shouldn't be, FP only restaurants which were half-empty but turning away walk-ups, technology not functioning, the list is extensive. The tiered concept, forcing decisions two months in advance, are simply obvious design disasters which would be fixed by simply mimicking the old FP system with the advantage of a phone app. We talked with cast members "in the know" who said the design team was working on significant changes to fix this system. Reading articles like this six month's later, it appears the system hasn't been changed at all despite the confusion and outrage it causes. Very disappointing. People who say they like the system usually say it's because they can leave put everything on their band; you could put everything on a card before so doesn't seem like much of a change. The bands are uncomfortable and the NFC is flaky, often taking longer to get "green" than the cards.
I had an AP for years and usually would go to the parks at night. After using the system twice, I hated it. Needless to say I no longer have a Disney pass and am just going to Universal. Sorry Disney, but you took the fun out of the parks and I did not see the payoff with reduced lines/times.
Just in time for a new article in Wired on this very topic.
"This is definitely vague. I have absolutely no idea what I've said that was shaky. Here you are dragging me into describing minute details of a two sentence paragraph."
"Toy Story Mania had a 15-minute wait. Unheard of for a stand-by wait in Orlando. California, yes. Florida, no. It must have been pouring rain or minutes after the park opened."
Perhaps you should start over again and read the context.
Russell, you are correct. It was the time we spent in the FP queue. The posted Standby waits were always around 60 minutes or so.
"Perhaps you should start over again and read the context."
All I have to say is the paper system works just fine. If it ain't broke, don't fix it. Thankfully Disneyland resort still uses it.
"Then please explain in plain English what in the world you meant by your statement..."
"You still did not answer the question on why my two definitions (from an online dictionary) put my two sentences into shaky ground other than the fact that you missed the mark numerous times."
The shaky ground is nothing more an accusation. Lovely.
We have some common ground here Anon...I generally agree with this:
"the fact remains that those that don't know they need to go on right when their reservation window opens may not be able to get reservations for the most desirable attractions."
While your comments are all valid, you've gone too deep into the minutiae to see my greater point that experience plays a big role with the FP+ system. In the first 3 examples I provided (DHS, Soarin'/TestTrack, and Illuminations), those guests did not have experience with the system that might have improved their chances at getting reservations for more desirable attractions.
"While your comments are all valid, you've gone too deep into the minutiae to see my greater point that experience plays a big role with the FP+ system."
I can respect what you've said though I disagree that experience is not important when navigating the system whether you think my real world examples are "correct" or not. My empirical evidence shows less knowledgeable and experienced guests do not use the system the same way as those that know the ins and outs of FP+ and the parks. That is true for ANY system be it FP, buying concert or sporting tickets, or buying stock through an online broker. I think we can agree that perhaps based on the current rules, experience has been slightly negated (particularly when comparing inexperience onsite guests to experienced off-site guests), but that may not be true a year from now as more experience is gained and the frequency of policy changes decline, and it still puts on-site guests on an uneven playing field based on experience. WDW reported nearly 90% occupancy in the resorts---that's a lot of people to compete with for the few thousand FP+ reservations each day for the most popular attractions even before you consider those staying off-site.
"The point is, an experienced person knows what the most popular attractions are and that it's important to log on the first minute those reservations become available."
One of these days I'm actually going to read your guys' argument. I just figured it was the typical Anon/Russell argument that never gets resolved.
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