Published: January 10, 2014 at 11:46 AMThis sucks big time. We used to love getting there at rope drop, collecting fast passes, riding standby until the lines got too long, and then cashing in the fast passes.
Even when they started enforcing the fast pass time we could still arrive at rope drop and utilize four or five fast passes in the first half of the day.
The reservation system seemed so promising because we like to park hop. This way we could still do rope drop standby lines and schedule fastpass reservations for other rides at our evening park (perhaps Soarin' at EPCOT or ExEv at DAK, after a morning of rides at DHS or MK). However, since we don't stay on-site this option won't be available for us. And really, THREE fast passes, that's it??
But, at least in return for the crummy fast pass system we get higher prices and blackout dates on Florida resident tickets. Thanks Disney, for going downhill fast in the past 24 months...
Published: January 10, 2014 at 11:57 AMUsed the system at Animal Kingdom a week before Christmas. We got there first thing and it worked brilliantly. The only concerns I had were the following:
Published: January 10, 2014 at 12:48 PMFrom a recent trip, where we used every single method we could (old school Fastpass tickets, new Fastpass+ via kiosk, new Fastpass+ using the app, and just walking up to the attractions at all times, including Extra Magic Hours), I think I have the experience to comment on this.
How did we get all of this set? Well, while we had our MagicBands all set, a little secret that they don't tell you is that your old ticket still works (or, at least did in the Fastpass machines.) So we did get a few old school paper Fastpasses (mainly for Toy Story Midway Mania, but the time we got was during Fantasmic, so those were never used.)
The kiosk (which we used on our Magic Kingdom day) was useful, and assuming they get more of them, should be good for most guests. Now, there could be an issue with Disney having to staff people there who don't quite know what to do, the system could be a bit more intuitive, but assuming that people can figure out the kiosks quickly, they should be ok for most guests.
The app, though, let me say was a huge hit with us. Between being able to schedule Fastpasses, to just seeing when a certain character would be out, to seeing ride times, we relied on the app. We could (and should) have used it more, to be honest. Regardless of where you are staying, I would advise anyone going to Disney to get the app unless you are just going to hit certain rides and that's it. But, from this Disney vet's point of view, it can be a big help.
Honestly, I am on the fence about Fastpass+. I came into this thinking I would loathe it, when I go on vacation I hate schedules. I know people make dinner reservations and all of that, but for me, when I am on vacation, I just want to not live by a schedule. But, honestly, I have to say pre-scheduling 3 rides the day before is just flat out convenient, it really is. We used the pre-scheduling thing for our Animal Kingdom day, and it worked well for us.
But, there is an issue with the Fastpass + system, and it is one I just don't like. You have to blindly decide what rides to use one of your 3 allotted Fastpasses on, which can be an issue. For instance, take our Animal Kingdom day. Now, when we went the parks were not super busy, but (due to the National Pop Warner Super Bowl) the afternoons quickly filled the parks up. So, we decided to use our Fastpasses on Dinosaur, Expedition Everest, and Kilimanjaro Safaris. Well, there was absolutely no line for Dinosaur, none. So, that particular Fastpass was not needed. Everest had a 5 minute wait, pretty much no line at all, so for our first ride we did the normal line, then used our Fastpasses for a 2nd ride (but we could have easily have just gone through the normal line pretty much just as fast.) The Fastpass was helpful on Kilimanjaro, but even then the line there was not that long. I think anyone would say we used our Fastpasses on 2 of the 3 most popular rides in DAK (no Kali River Rapids because my wife did not want to get wet), and, really, we did not need them. We could have used them on other things, like Festival of the Lion King, but, because we got them the night before, we did not know.
So, do I like this system? Yes. And no. It is awfully convenient, even to those that have to use the kiosk (no more run to one attraction for a piece of paper, then to another to ride, then back to the first one to use said piece of paper), you just get all of your Fastpasses at 1 location. But, you don't know if you need to get the Fastpass (you will know more if you get it at the kiosk, honestly, since you can see what wait times are like.) And that is not saying anything about people who park hop (this is only good for 1 park per day, so if you want to park hop, you are out of luck.) So, I like the system more than I thought I would, but it still needs work for me to be completely sold.
But, seriously, get the app. It is worth the nothing you pay for it.
Published: January 10, 2014 at 1:28 PMWe visit annually and stay off site when we use our timeshare (every other year)and on site (opposite the timeshare years) when we visit Disney. We go during a moderate time of year (think 6's on a 1 to 10 scale).
I used to love being able to enter the park mid morning and be able to get fastpasses for the headliners (we have smaller children so entering at rope drop is unusual). For example, when visiting Epcot we would routinely enter the park around 10-10:30, I would go ahead of the family and grab FPs for Soarin' and meet the family at Test Track and wait the 25-30 mins the standby would take. We would then head over to the other side do the land and sea pavilions and ride Soarin' after as the return time was usually ready by then.
From what I have been hearing by 10 am the FPs will be gone for the attractions where you need to utilize them so we are out of luck on riding Soarin' unless we want to wait the 90 mins in standby (which isn't happening with a 7yo).
Now multiply the one or two real long line attractions by 4 parks days (Toy Story, Space, Splash, Kili, EE, Peter Pan, Soarin')and this new system seems to really penalize offsite guests. Now on the years we stay on site then this will work great as we can book ahead of time.
So in conclusion, looks like we will be spending more time at Universal and SeaWorld(really under appreciated for younger children) on our off years. Will Disney still get our money? Absolutely we love Disney, just a lot less...sorry for the novella
Published: January 10, 2014 at 1:28 PMWhile some of the more recent news alleviates my fears a bit (I was afraid Fastpass+ would ultimately be unavailable to all non-resort guests), it still doesn't quite put this future visitor's doubts to rest.
My wife's family owns time-shares near the WDW resort so when we go we always stay there. Thus there is little chance we'll ever be classified as a "resort guest". This means we will not be able to choose and pre-reserve our Fastplass+ days or even weeks in advance. We are only able to choose them that day, at the park with the kiosks. Does this mean the chance is greater that the most popular rides will "sell out" of Fastpasses even sooner? If my family gets there even an hour after rope drop, still early in the day, with all the resort guest having already made their choices will there still be slots left by the end of the day? I'm just afraid of non-resort guests getting shut out of visitng rides with a relatively short wait at all.
Here's the other side of the coin: how will this affect standby lines? Will they go up or down, or stay the same? At DAK this might not be a huge deal but at the Magic Kingdom it has the potential to make or break a non-resort guest's day. I hope Disney is prepared for that.
Published: January 10, 2014 at 1:56 PMI think I can answer (to some extent) those questions. While I cannot be positive how this will effect everything once the entire system is unveiled, unless you are going at a ludicrously busy time (say, around Christmas), then these the attractions should not run out of Fastpasses.
I think rope drop will still be very, very viable, in fact it might actually get better in a way. Think about it like this, at rope drop there will be 3 distinct types of people: those who scheduled their Fastpasses the night before, those who are going straight to the kiosks to schedule their Fastpasses ASAP, and people who are just going to go to the rides. Personally, I think just going to the rides might end up working (the old, ride the busy attractions during parades technique, only this time the parade is a touchscreen computer that everyone is trying to use.)
Like I said, I am not 100% for this, and I think this system will be improved (I think non-resort guests will eventually get full access, but that is just a guess there.) It is nice in some ways, and bad in others. But, it's what they will be using, so either we all have to adapt or complain really loudly.
Published: January 10, 2014 at 2:06 PMStill remember first trip in 1999 when we found Disney using them and loving it, family was going "how has it taken so long for them to do this?" saved tons of time and made planning the day better. For years, my standard has been to be at Studios when they open, get Fast Pass for Rock n Roller Coaster, do Tower of Terror, then Rock and was great at Disneyland too. Still a great thing and nice to see them adapt to changing times.
Published: January 10, 2014 at 3:02 PMThe impending rope-drop race to the Fastpass+ kiosks reminds me of the early 1980s' rush to the video screens in Epcot, to make your dining reservations for the day. Ah, memories.
Published: January 10, 2014 at 3:20 PMSo will there be an anticipated 30 minute wait at the kiosks just after the rush at rope drop? 60? 90? I really have no desire to get to the park first thing and stand in an hour-long line without a ride at the other end ;)
I know that's how it is at the busiest attraction Fast Pass queues first thing in the morning today (Soarin', Toy Story, Everest) but for the current system that's just one ride. As a non-resort guest, If you choose not to visit the kiosk first thing and reserve your three best rides of the day, you might be screwed. Again time will tell - maybe it will all even itself out.
I wonder what the wait is the last few days at the Animal Kingdom kiosk?
Published: January 10, 2014 at 3:36 PMMy family recently hit the Magic Kingdom on January 5th. We booked a quick two night stay at Art of Animation but we gained access to the Magic Kingdom through a cast member friend.
What I found interesting is that even though we didn't have park tickets tied to our hotel room, our magic band worked just fine for FastPass+ in the park. It seems if you have an active band, i.e., are currently staying at a resort, it doesn't matter how you get in the park, your band will work.
Like mentioned in the article, we could only use the kiosks. Limiting to only 3 is a bummer but I love the fact that you can book a ride, and, for whatever reason, miss the come back time, and not be penalized, you can just pick a new ride. You only lose one of your 3 reservations when you actually use your reservation. It's good and bad. I fear a lot of people are going to book the premium rides early, even if they aren't sure they can make it in time. There's no penalty if you miss your time, just go to a kiosk and change it for another attraction, or if you are lucky, the same attraction for a later time.
Kevin, Winter Haven, Florida
Published: January 10, 2014 at 4:20 PMDoes the limit to 3 reservations per day apply to the park? Or the resort? Because if it's the park, then I can easily schedule the E-Tickets in a day challenge on my to-do list.
Further, I'm interested to see how quickly those guests who have vacation packages will reserve ride times and will the pass "sell-out". I'm just imagining Radiator Springs Racers being sold out before the park even opens for operation.
Published: January 10, 2014 at 9:35 PMI've always thought this would allow Disney place guest in tiers.
Day Guest Off Property Get up to 3 Fast Passes but no parades or fireworks
Guest at Value Resorts get 4 Fast Passes
Moderate Resorts and DVC get 5 Fast Passes
Deluxe get 7 Fast Passes and for certain guest on those properties unlimited Fast Passes
Or something of this ilk
Disney could also contract out additional Fast Passes to guest at Bonnet Creek, Waldorf Astoria and such along with off property partners (thinking Grand Cypress)
A billion dollar investment could be re-payed via greater efficiency and extra merchandise sales
But it could be repaid event quicker by increased room rates and increased occupancy at Disney's higher end hotels.
While guest can not spend money in line...on average who would you rather not have waiting in line all day: A guest at the Grand Floridian or Pop Century (I stay at Pop Century)...traditional the Grand Floridian guest will have a greater disposable income and have a greater ability to return more frequently. And the reducing that guest wait could also increase their frequency on return visits by having a more enjoyable visit.
Published: January 11, 2014 at 8:08 AM
And the tiered system at Epcot & DHS, with only being able to book 1 headliner? Then we get to choose 2 attractions you don't need FP for? Have to choose between Sorin or Test Track? TSMM or RCnR? Not very happy about this, and don't see how that is going to improve our park experience.
There's another problem with this system. If you aren't a traditional family group, but friends meeting up at WDW, and maybe not all parties are staying on site. Before we could all just get paper FPs together. Now the new system is making it impossible to ride together.
Published: January 11, 2014 at 8:47 AMWhy are the APs relegated to the back of the pack in being able to book in advance? Seems to me that once again, the suits figure that they have our money and we can be ignored. Wonder what would happen if the APs at Disneyland were as poorly treated at WDW? Bet there would be a major shakeup in park management...
Published: January 11, 2014 at 11:11 AMAP's will be be given bands and can reserve ahead of time. The WDW site says so, and I have been told by cast members. It isn't a matter of mistreating AP's, it is just easier to test a new system when you keep it limited to hotels. AP's at disney world are treated just as well if not better than Disneyland ones.
Published: January 11, 2014 at 11:21 AMA little trick that seems to work:
I stayed onsite in October and received magic bands for fastpass+ reservations. Then returned in December and stayed off-site and was able to reserve rides using the previous bands registered to the mydisney site. (I have a windows phone so no app for me - yet...)
So, at some point, just stay one night somewhere where they will give you a magic band. Once you have one, register your band and park tickets to your online account and you are free to reserve fastpass+ from now on.
I for one will not miss taking the family's passes to run around for fasstpass and meet them later as they enjoy the quick access rides. Booking in advance is much better!
Published: January 11, 2014 at 11:38 AMWent last month and had an old paper ticket. Guess guest services will be extra busy in exchanging them for plastic cards that scan.
Published: January 11, 2014 at 9:26 PMWe were at DAK the other day and used the Fastpass Plus system. It was a fairly busy day, since it was right after the Family 5K, which had taken place that morning. We didn't get to the park until about 2 pm, and were able to get FP plus for Everest, Dinosaur and Nemo... no wait at the kiosk.. there were about 5 castmembers with their IPads scanning tickets for you. Unfortunately, we had to leave before we got to use the FP for Dinosaur (which actually had a wait that day) and Kilomanjaro was out by that time. They would have allowed us to get Kilomanjaro and Everest if we had gotten to the park early enough, so not sure about if they have changed the "one headliner" requirement. The main thing we liked is that we didn't have to run all over the park collecting Fastpasses. We had our times to return and could plan around those. It will be interesting to see how it works out during a really busy time, or at MK. It will definitely be to people's benefit to get to the parks early, of course, there is really no different than it was previously. Attractions such as Soarin', Test Track and Toy Story Midway Mania are still going to run out of
Published: January 12, 2014 at 12:24 AMI am completely finished with Disney because of this new fast pass+. I do not know how my family can commit to what park and what day we will be there. We usually buy a 10 day no expiration park hopper and play it by ear. We reserve 8-10 days at a Disney hotel, make a decision as to what park to attend when we see the early day schedules, and what the weather will be. We like to go to the water parks on the hottest days and we also take some days off to rest by going to the hotel pool. We don't know on what day we will be tired (because we go early and stay to close). And as someone said, how will we remember what times our fast pass is for and on what days we reserved. I do not the idea that we can't get more than 1 fast pass for the same ride. We like to get one for the tower of Terror, ride it, and then get another one for later. Boo hoo, you have ruined our fun. I do not have a phone with wifi so an app is useless for me. Maybe Disney should put free wifi in the park, that could help, I could use my ipad. Before the fast passes were scattered all over the park at the rides. Now having just 1 or so kiosks will be so crowded, especially when it will take longer to use because people will be reading the available times left and will probably bring more family members to discuss a plan. Stand by lines are long enough with fast pass and single rider lines, now you say they will be even longer. As a long time Disney customer (circa 1990) and husband circa 1970s, we are very turned off by this and am so glad we were able to enjoy this while our children were young. I feel bad for my grand children, they will not be coming as often (if ever) as we did.
To reiterate: I can plan when I will come, what hotel to stay at, and what ticket to buy, but I can not plan what park on what day and what time I will be there. Bad enough when we have to plan what time to eat and where, do we also have to plan bathroom breaks?
Published: January 12, 2014 at 2:39 PMDoesn't the ability to reserve a time for three attractions ahead of time (at least for resort guests) sort of eliminate the need to be there early so you are there for the rope drop? I know if I had reservations for the top 3 busiest attractions and I knew I didn't need to worry about hour plus waits, I'd be more inclined to sleep in and get to the park at my leisure.
Published: January 12, 2014 at 7:31 PMThey sure wasted a ton of money "fixing" a system that was working just fine. Meanwhile, they are slashing budgets for the 60th anniversary of Disneyland and (reportedly) putting other projects on the shelf or back burner.
We want great new rides and attractions, plussing of existing attractions, much-needed refurbs and other enhancements; they give us a high tech boondoggle that has eaten up money better used elsewhere, while offering little that wasn't already available with the room key (and that's assuming the "Magic Bands" will ever work properly). Nice to know the corporate bean counters and creatively challenged decision makers have their priorities straight!
I also loathe the fact that you can only get three fast passes per day, which is a pathetic total. And if you park hop, you can't even get FPs for your second park of the day?? This money gobbling new system is CRAP.
Published: January 13, 2014 at 11:24 AMI am not sure the old system worked fine, at least not completely fine. There were ways to game the old system in ways that Disney did not like. The first (and most obvious) loophole that people exploited was that the expiration time on the old FP's never being enforced. Get a FP for 1-2pm on Space Mountain? Come back at 6 and ride it! Which, of course, messes up how they calculate throughput on these rides. Then you have people who just sent runners to get FP's, or groups where members would not want to do certain rides (for instance, my mom would never do Tower of Terror or Rock n' Roller Coaster, so I would get a FP to each at the same time.) There were a lot of little tricks we all knew on how to get multiple FP's at the same time. Hell, there was one time I rode Rock n' Roller Coaster 3 times in a row, all on FP's. How? I had a FP for me, then used my mom's, then as I was walking out, I was given another.
This new system is far from perfect (truth be told, I personally prefer the old system too), but I see why they changed it. I do think, however, we are judging this early. We don't know what the final form of this will look like, probably won't know for a few more months. They absolutely have to add park hopping to this, and the 3 ride limit is a bit strict. There are issues with this, but I think they will iron out those.
Regardless, I still like this system better than any other 'front of line' access system, even though if it is 'you get more if you pay more' then my opinion will quickly change.
Published: January 13, 2014 at 12:01 PMI liked the FastPass+ when we used this past December. One thing I did not like was that you have to reserve three rides at one park and they were very inflexible about times available, so we kept having issues with missing rides so we could eat.
Published: January 14, 2014 at 11:55 AMSo needlessly complicated! Too much planning. With little ones, it is nearly impossible to plan an attraction so far in advance! Plus, preschool aged kids love to repeat the same ride over and over and over again! There have been many visit that I had no use for Space Mountain but Adventures of Winnie the Pooh was GOLDEN! The old fastpass system allowed you to make split second decisions relating to the immediate future. You always knew, WHILE IN THE MOMENT, what you were signing up for. To alleviate people running from attraction to attraction, they should have made bands that digitally display the wait time for an attraction and allow guests to reserve their place for that single attraction. It could even notify when the reservation was ready and instantly cancel when it was scanned. They have a similar system at Six Flags - Disney should not have tried to reinvent the wheel on this. Three passes only, planning each hour of your day weeks or months in advance and kiosk stations if you don't have a smartphone??? Not cool, definitely not magical.
Published: January 14, 2014 at 11:56 AMWhy preferential treatment to those who stay on property? Isn't my dollar worth the same as theirs?
As someone who stays off property, Disney has just made a mistake. I understand updating a system but just make it available to all park attendees.
Published: January 14, 2014 at 9:28 PMDisney should have the kiosks available outside of the rope drop area and even on the side where you depart to Magic Kingdom via the ferry so that you are not spending time in the park standing at a kiosk that day. It would not hurt to go ahead and let guests use kiosks outside rope drop before the park opens. It would make a lot of sense. Someone who knows someone important tell them to make it happen.
Published: January 14, 2014 at 10:46 PMI see a lot of backlash from loyal fans on this.... planning your entire day and removing spontaneity from a vacation would irk me as well.
Published: January 15, 2014 at 6:21 PMWell, this is what we get instead of a billion dollars worth of new E Tickets. Enjoy?!
Published: January 15, 2014 at 7:19 PMWas on phone with Disney today to try to resolve this one before we leave in a month: I travel with a 4 yo and a 13 yo who obviously like different rides, few overlapping. I can schedule 3 FastPass+ for the 4 yo but Disney expects me to use up my own 3 allotted fast passes just to accompany him on his kiddie rides. One parent should be allowed to ride with the child who has his fast pass, without the parent having to lose a fast pass now that they have been arbitrarily and unfairly limited in number. FastPass plus is so new, Disney telling me "it's still in testing phase" but paper fast passes are gone in MK and AK, very very soon for other 2 parks. May be "testing and no big deal" for Disney but it's 100% to me, affecting my vacation 100%, and they're taking 100% of my money, giving me no option to opt out and go back to the old fast pass system. Very . Very anti family policy. Has anyone who has visited in the last several days dealt with this?
Published: January 16, 2014 at 7:03 AMBeing a Disney cast member and actually working in The Magic Kingdom, I'd have to say that although I'm not a fan of the new system, it is definitely forward thinking. Sure your options are limited now, but just wait. Anything new always has it's fair share of bugs and needs tweaking. I expect 2014 to be a trail run of the new system the way it is now but come 2015, major improvements and issues that need to be fixed will be addressed. One of them being the limit of fast passes. I believe that Disney resort guests should have no limit, they are giving more money to Disney anyways. But rather, only off-property guests should have limits. I also very much dislike that online reservation deal. I believe that just takes the fun out of it. But as upset as most of you are, don't worry, things are going to change and improvements are going to be made to the system in the coming months. Disney had no way of knowing how the system would do without testing it out first so they could find the bugs. There's nowhere to go but up from here! This system obviously isn't leaving anytime soon. And considering Disney spent over a billion U.S. dollars, you know that they had the guests best interests in mind for the long run. They wouldn't implement and spend that much money on something if it wasn't an improvement and provided guests with a better, more convenient experience. And as a cast member, I know that guest satisfaction is of utmost importance and is the most strongly stressed value that any cast member learns during training. We care about your experience and we just need you to trust us on this one. So just be patient, as soon as the bugs are worked out, the system will be the best in the world, there's no doubt!