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Another Change for FastPass+ Reservations at Walt Disney World

March 22, 2016, 11:18 AM · Update: Readers are reporting now that they are able again to book parades and Wishes fireworks via FastPass+. So who knows what's going on?

Many Walt Disney World fans are reporting that Disney has removed parades and fireworks from its selection of attractions available for FastPass+ reservations. That's big news for people planning their Disney trips, as taking parades and fireworks "off the table" for FastPass+ availability could substantially change the availability of FastPass+ reservations for other attractions in the parks.

With FastPass+, visitors with registered Walt Disney World theme park tickets may reserve return times at three attractions per day of their upcoming visit. Guests staying at Disney World hotels may make their FastPass+ reservations 60 days in advance of their trip, while everyone else can book 30 days out. Once visitors have used their three FastPass+ reservations for the day, they can book additional reservations after the start of their third FP+ return time, using in-park kiosks or the My Disney Experience app on their smartphones.

Obviously, with FP+ no longer available for parades and shows, the people who would have used those events for one or more of their allotted FP+ reservations now will be looking to get FP+ reservations on other rides or shows. That means more demand for a now-smaller pool of available reservation return slots.

But it is the timing of the parades and fireworks no longer available for FP+ that promises to upset the system. The fireworks and electrical parade happened at the end of the day, leaving no time for visitors to pick up additional FP+ times after using them for those nighttime events. And with an unused FP+ reservation sitting on their profile for those end-of-day shows, visitors who used FP+ to reserve their seats for the night-time parade or fireworks could not book additional reservation times during the day.

Making fireworks and night-time parades cost Disney extra labor hours in having to assign cast members to guard the designated FastPass+ viewing areas for those shows. But their presence in the FP+ system helped to reduce overall demand for FP+ return times, as people who used their reservations on events late in the day were locked out of reserving additional times for longer than people who stacked their return times early in the day.

Now, there are fewer reasons not to just book all three of your FP+ reservations as early in the day as possible, so that you can get them out of the way and give yourself the chance to make additional FP+ reservations on the day of your visit. So we can expect that many of the Disney visitors who would have booked the late parades and fireworks now will be looking to book additional FP+ times throughout the day that they would not have been able to access before. That means even more demand for the limited number of available FP+ times in the parks.

All the more reason to lock down your plans early, buy your tickets in advance, and to register with Disney World's website so that you can start making your FP+ reservations as soon as you are able.

Replies (33)

March 22, 2016 at 11:44 AM · Another terrible decision.
March 22, 2016 at 12:02 PM · FastPass+ is just horrible all the way around. It's an awful system.
March 22, 2016 at 12:33 PM · Or just don't go to Disney and save yourself the headache and stay on Universal property and get a express pass and not worry about a thing because pretty much the whole park is booked for you. Disney is making vacation booking one big pain in the booty.
March 22, 2016 at 12:35 PM · Wait, is it confirmed that a 4th FastPass+ reservation can be done from MDE?! I've seen rumors but can't find a confirmation anywhere else.

"Once visitors have used their three FastPass+ reservations for the day, they can book additional reservations after the start of their third FP+ return time, using in-park kiosks or the My Disney Experience app on their smartphones."

March 22, 2016 at 12:36 PM · I think this going to the category of, nice idea, doesn't work in practice. I have friends in guest services telling me there were lots of complaints of how crowded it was and uncomfortable.

It's a shame after doing all that work on the hub to put those there only to abandon the past "reservation" part of it after only a few months.

I guess the hub has more room at least now.

March 22, 2016 at 12:46 PM · Agreed. This is a simply awful move. The FP+ reserved parade and fireworks areas were really nice. My guess is that Disney will find a way to monetize those areas with more dessert parties and the like.

FP+ is not a plus in any way now, and is officially worse now than the paper system it replaced. Disney should be ashamed of what the system has turned into, because it did have so much promise and potential.

March 22, 2016 at 1:01 PM · Writer couldn't be more off with his assumptions and predictions. I can't divulge much, but if FP+ areas for parades and shows were rides, their capacity would be so low that removing them from the FP+ list would have a negligible effect on the rest of the system, even when accounting for increased day-of FP+ selections.

Also, a large percentage of FP+ reservations for parades and shows are made day-of anyway.

March 22, 2016 at 1:26 PM · I was reading this was going to happen a couple of weeks ago when the stories on the cuts were being bandied about. As Robert said above about the extra staff required, it was being said this (parade, show spots etc.) was going to be part of the staffing cuts related to Shanghai, Paris, Avatar, Next Gen costs and losses. Supposedly they have also been cutting the second checkpoints in the fast pass lines, which were there to prevent line jumping. So I guess now it'll be easier to line jump also.
March 22, 2016 at 1:34 PM · Does anyone know when this is supposed to go into place? I have fast passes already booked for both parades.
March 22, 2016 at 2:26 PM · Having personally used FP+ it was AMAZING! When we realized our fireworks FP messed-up additional FPs we quickly cancelled and selected another FP.

You continually hear people hate on FP+, but once you use it... It truly improves your day at Disney. We were really amazed at how easy it was to change FPs on the phone and/or a kiosk.

Then again, for those that would miss experiencing a line, you can skip FP+!

March 22, 2016 at 3:56 PM · How am I supposed to know what time the 4 o'clock parade is if I can't get a fastpass for it?
March 22, 2016 at 4:12 PM · I'm thinking 4 o'clock.
March 22, 2016 at 4:16 PM · I'm glad that Disney's doing this. Why would anyone wanna waste a FP+ reservation on a parade or fireworks show? You can enjoy them just as fine by finding a spot amongst the regular crowd. This is a really smart move because now people can get FP+ times for attractions they'll actually need them for. I personally love FP+ and have never had any problems with it. I really hope Disney doesn't go back to the old system; too many people were abusing that one.
March 22, 2016 at 7:02 PM · One of the posters above recommended a solution that I have already used: skip Disney and book a trip to Universal and stay in a hotel with the unlimited Express Pass. I hated to do it, but I am not going to drop over $5000 to ride 4-5 attractions. They should drop the Fast Pass Plus for ride reservations entirely and go back to the old system. They can still use the armbands to do this and use them for tickets, charging, and room key. The FP+ is a failure and has only made the lines longer. Before, Disney was all about extreme customer satisfaction. This FP+ is for their satisfaction and not the customer. We will go to Disneyland as long as they still use the old system. I will end this by pointing out that we were at Universal Orlando during peak times and rode about 15-20 attractions per day. It was a blast.
March 22, 2016 at 7:17 PM · I am probably very much in the minority but I wish that they had never started the Fastpass+ system to begin with. When I go on vacation I want to relax and enjoy my time away from work and the time that I get to spend with my family. I don't want to start micro managing and planning out my vacation 30 - 60 days in advance of actually going.

I liked that if it was a really nice day we could head for on of the beaches at Tampa or head to CoCo Beach relaxing on the sand for the day and not caring about what rides we have booked or don't have booked. I know some people enjoy running thru the parks to get on every possible ride and get some sort of bragging right if they do them all. Personally I could sit on a bench and watch my children enjoying themselves and not care if I don't get on the ride at all.

I know that they will never get rid of this system as they have to much money invested but I sincerely wish they would. I never had any trouble with the old paper system and we got to go on every thing my children and wife wanted to.

Again just my opinion.

March 22, 2016 at 8:48 PM · They need to rethink the whole system. You should only be able to make ride reservations on your phone app when you are physically in the park. Get rid of this 30 and 60 day in advance nonsense for rides.
March 22, 2016 at 9:33 PM · I really found the old paper system to be of use but I'm a bigger fan of fastpass+. It's a wonderful feeling to arrive at the park and know that I already have my place in line at three attractions. No more need to arrive early and secure fastpasses or have to walk halfway across the park just to fetch a fastpass.

It's also fun to set your time and date a month or two in advance as fastpass reservations can be treated as an "event" to celebrate the vacation getting nearer. I enjoy that. Fastpass+ has been a major win for our Disney World days! A good example of something that sounded sketchy when announced, but turns out to be of great convenience in practice.

As for what this article is actually about, yes its unfortunate parades and fireworks are off the FP+ roster since that will take away FP's for the rest of us. Now if only the Disneyland Resort would also go to a paperless system like this.

March 23, 2016 at 4:30 AM · Not having the sophistication of how to do fast pass, understand the signage around the park and others, I just Stay aaway!!! It is too confusing and not fun to be so frustrated.
March 23, 2016 at 4:36 AM · Vaughn, if you want to vacation on the beach,still have plenty of rides to enjoy and not have to plan your ride schedule months in advance, come up to the north coast of the US and visit Cedar Point. We have a mile long beach, the best coasters in the world, terrific children's play areas (pretty well themed also), and no
fast pass requirements. Is it a perfect park? No, but it sounds like a park you should consider..and if you are wondering, no, I don't work for them. I grew up with Cedar Point.
March 23, 2016 at 4:56 AM · Most years, my wife and I go to Disney world twice...Fastpass plus and the My Magic plus app used to make advanced reservations sucks so bad,that we have decided to forget about going to Disney for the next few years. I hated having to schedule my entire vacation in advance. That's crazy! I am on vacation, I don't want to spend the whole time referring to a schedule. I might as well go to work!

I just booked another trip to Orlando... To Universal. Staying at the Hard Rock, with Universal Express Passes. No Disney!

It will probably take a few years to forget how much I hated Fastpass plus and My Magic plus. The dining reservations that are gone months before I even get there, keeping me from eating at my favorite restaurants. My last trip to Disney was the most disapointing i have ever had. Until I forget, no more Disney!

March 23, 2016 at 6:05 AM · Vaughn: Yes, that's the way we like our vacations also. Relaxation, leisure, little or no planning, but still the fun & excitement of a major theme park/resort hotel complex. And while we really do like WDW, those are among the main reasons we prefer Universal. We now go to WDW once every three years. But we do Universal twice a year..........James: You are quite correct about the Cedar Park vacation. As you know, I used to live within a 30 minute or so drive of the park. It's a good vacation at value prices. Alas, though, as I've gotten older, I can no longer take a whole day of primarily coasters physically. LOL. The one or two coaster rides I do per day at Universal is about all I can handle.
March 23, 2016 at 6:25 AM · Totally agree with Vaughn as well. We are older and go without children these days. It's sad to watch some parents rushing around to get to their fastpass reservations while their kids are tired and crying. What fun can that be.

James, thanks for the suggestion to go to Cedar Point. We have discussed this over the years and I think that the time has finally come go for it!

March 23, 2016 at 6:33 AM · I like all things Disney. I'm sure Disney will continue to try innovative methods to enhance the experience. I'm happy with the current Fast Pass ability to reserve 3 rides before I arrive at the park. I equally enjoy going to Universal and using their Express Pass system. The only difference is you have to pay a premium in cash or using a Universal hotel to get to use the special express pass lane at the attractions. At Universal when you pay for Express Pass you are not limited to 3 rides. You get to use all Express Pass lanes once and for more money unlimited use of the Express Pass lanes.
March 23, 2016 at 6:43 AM · I like Disney, but strongly dislike the FP system. Universal offers a superior experience with its Express Pass, which allows for ultimate flexibility in the parks and not having to worry about time slots. I can get on 4-5 rides at Universal in the time Disney requires me to wait to use my second FP. I think Disney is too big to offer such a similar service, however, there has to be a better way to do things.
March 23, 2016 at 7:33 AM · Not entirely true, I just booked FP for mid April and everything is the same, parades, fireworks. Everything is still listed.....
March 23, 2016 at 7:34 AM · Also MK just added the FP viewing areas for Celebrate the Magic & Wishes......
March 23, 2016 at 7:44 AM · Not a hater-- but this fastpass + system is one reason why we're skipping WDW this year. The endless planning and frustration of not getting a reservation has taken away the magic for us. Yes, of course we'll go back... but not as quickly as we had in the past.
March 23, 2016 at 8:14 AM · I'm a Florida resident and season pass holder. This will be the last year I purchase season passes BECAUSE of the fp system. It does nothing but make the waits longer and forces you to plan your day around "disney's" schedule. I have yet to be able to secure a fast pass for rides like soarin, mine train I would love to know the secret to getting those gems! As a resident and pass holder I don't need to plan my trips 6 months in advance so I get the shaft when it comes to getting decent fp's. Universal is sounding better and better. Come August we will be switching.
March 23, 2016 at 10:06 AM · I'm with Vaughn, Rob and Karen.... I plan stuff for a living, I DON'T want to plan my vacation down to the last minute before it event starts.....
March 23, 2016 at 11:54 AM · Fast pass works for some who like to plan there days and not sit in lines and chase around the park for paper tickets but then does not work for those who like to be more spur of the moment people. I guess you can't please everyone. The bigger issues is food, if you don't book you place to eat months in advance your not get a table and that's a bigger issue on a different subject.
March 23, 2016 at 1:57 PM · Well, when I stayed on property in Nov of 14, I booked my FastPass + reservations 56 days out…1/2 the attractions were already booked out, and the ones that I chose ended up all for the evening hours, so there was not really a chance to book additional Fast Passes. Also, at 60 days out, ALL restaurant reservations for MK were full. And this was "off season", 2 weeks before Thanksgiving, so…..
March 23, 2016 at 8:52 PM · I wonder if the people that like the new system ever used the paper fast pass? With that system we could experience 10-15 attractions per day during a peak time with the longest wait being 45 minutes. Today? Forget it. During peak times you are lucky to get six attractions in. It has made all the lines much, much longer. Before, we could do Haunted Mansion five times a day at least. Now it has a 45 minute wait on slow days, and forget the slower loading attractions. I just cannot imagine somebody actually liking it. Sure, it's nice having attractions booked in advance, but do you realize the attractions beyond the three you can reserve have increased wait times? Their system would work better with no advance reservations at all than the current system.
March 24, 2016 at 12:41 AM · What puzzles me is why Disney does not simply monetize their fast pass system like almost every one else in the theme/amusement park business. Whether it's called Express Pass, Fast Lane, Quick Queue or Flashpass, paying for expedited entry to attractions seems a bit better than planning 1-2 months in advance.

I mean they already have numerous upcharge events, and are testing after magic hours and preferred parking as well.

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