Published: April 4, 2014 at 10:26 AMNone 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.
For the record, I have been a HUGE fan of Disney's free FastPass system for years, and I rave about it to anyone who is unfamiliar. I think the other parks' various EXPENSIVE front-of-line systems are completely out of the question for someone like me who scrounges for a couple years just to be able to afford to haul my family over to the mainland from Hawaii for our occasional theme park visits.
Having said that, I should fully disclose that I am somewhat relieved that FastPass+ will not be coming to Disneyland before our visit this summer. So I guess my thoughts are that I trust the Disney powers to work out the best system in the long run, but the infant stages seem to be throwing people into fits, and I'm relieved to not have to be a part of that.
Published: April 4, 2014 at 11:15 AMSince 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.
So, taking that into consideration, my greatest hope is that - when I’m back in WDW next January for the first time since 2012 - Fastpass+ and MyMagic+ will have NO IMPACT on me whatsoever. I hope to be able to make my way around the parks as I always have, and I hope this talk of Fastpass+ inflating the standby line wait times is either overblown or will have worked itself out by the time I’m down there.
I don’t like the idea of being “forced” into planning out my days ahead of time to ensure I get a comparable park experience to the ones I’ve always had in the past, where no pre-planning was required for me to hit all the marquee (and not-so-marquee) attractions in one day. So if the new system is going to clog up the standby lines to the extent that Fastpasses will be essentially mandatory to ensure I can do everything I want to do (and even then there’s no guarantee FPs won’t be already “used up” for the big attractions), I won’t be terribly impressed.
Published: April 4, 2014 at 11:41 AMAs 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.
Then the so called up side. I never wanted to book a restaurant in advance. Because of that I've never nor ever will eat in the castle. Now I don't want to book rides in advance and I bet in the future because of that I won't be able to ride that ride. Vacation is the maximum in freedom I can enjoy, away from my job, appointments and regular life. I can be free to eat whenever I want and decide the morning I wake up if the weather is perfect for Splash Mountain or Test Track.
When I go to Orlando in December/January this and next year I'm looking forward to rent a home and visit Universal Orlando. I'm looking forward to many new rides, shows, parade, foods and drinks. No need to be branded, no need to be tagged, no need to plan 180 days in advance. Freedom=vacation.
Published: April 4, 2014 at 11:58 AMI 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?
Published: April 4, 2014 at 12:08 PMI 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.
Published: April 4, 2014 at 12:14 PMThough 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.
Published: April 4, 2014 at 12:13 PMI 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.
Published: April 4, 2014 at 12:15 PMAs 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.
Published: April 4, 2014 at 2:33 PMNone 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.
Published: April 4, 2014 at 2:01 PMI 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.
i just wish they could do something overall to reduce the wait times, especially during summer when most families have their only opportunity to visit. Fastpass is great but you do miss some of the wonderful theming and interaction that has been creeping in to the standard lines for some time now. This is also part of the immersive feeling that Disney does so well.
A reasonable wait is OK, but the huge wait times at certain E-ticket attractions are well just crazy. What Fastpass does is make those wait times longer, while diminishing the overall experience for people in either the standard and Fastpass line. Standard equals longer wait, while FP does not get the full immersive experience.
Published: April 4, 2014 at 2:26 PMWe 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.
The whole nature of WDW seems to be changing from spontaneous, family fun to a programmed, constricted theme-park.
And, now with Disney becoming involved in politics by throwing The Boy Scouts overboard in a blatant act "our way or the highway" and "too bad, kids we don't really care about you or the Scouts" we find ourselves looking to the West and something far away from WDW. Why spend our money where we are not wanted? The good thing is that we can save a few thousand dollars by going elsewhere. The have ruined a once-fine place to go to.
Published: April 4, 2014 at 2:26 PMI have my Magic Bands, and leave for Disney tomorrow morning. So far, they sound great, BUT I have already had one problem.
I don;t want to pay the Disney Price for Tickets to the parks. For 8 days with the park hopper and the water parks fun a more option, the total is wekk over $400 per person. I could buy my tickets at the Shades of Green (SOG) (military) for $373 per person.
When I was making my reservations, the cast member suggested the MWR office sells 4 day passes for $198. Two of these passes would be my 8 day pass.
I'm going to be staying at Pop Century, so I wanted to avoid the bus trips over to SOG to buy the tickets. I bought my tickets at the MWR office at Fort Meade, Maryland $396 per person for the 8 days. Unfortunately, these are "vouchers", not tickets (as they were advertised).
Here begins the problem. To add these to my Disney Experience (on the Magic Bands), I must have tickets. This means I can't add them until I show up and exchange the vouchers for tickets.
Once I accomplish this, I can make Fastpass+ reservations. Sorry, but without park tickets on my plan, I can't make Fastpass reservations.
My plan is to just follow the plan. I'll get the tickets, then add them and then make my reservations. But I should have been able to do this a long time ago. Maybe the military should be blamed for all this. They should sell tickets as they advertised.
Published: April 4, 2014 at 2:40 PMAs 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.
Published: April 4, 2014 at 6:37 PMI 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).
Published: April 4, 2014 at 6:57 PM
Visiting has become a Disney video game. Only instead being the player, I'm one of those simulated people running around the park following a defined profile.
Of course they don't know me that well but give them time. They'll probably know what I will eat and spend based on my history, demographics and the weather. Along the way, they'll pretend to try to treat me special. If I have the right profit profile, I might even really be special.
Published: April 4, 2014 at 8:21 PMThe 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.
Published: April 4, 2014 at 10:53 PMcomment from 18.104.22.168 states it perfectly.
Published: April 5, 2014 at 12:48 AMThere should be an I already had a visit planned and we were going regardless of the Fast Pass situation option.
We've had a trip to go to Disney planned for this May for over a year (before the Fast Pass Plus changes were starting to be implemented). The way it has affected me is now I have had to get all of our family's tickets linked up to them on my Disney Experience way in advance of our trip so we can book our fast passes in advance. The downside is there seems to be extra work in setting up your vacation now.... but the upside is not having to run around the park like crazy trying to get fast passes once you get there. It's done before you ever get in the gate now. That part I have to say I like the idea of. If I don't want to show up until noon, I don't have to now.... I can just book my passes for after that time and not worry about them being all gone when I arrive. This is a GREAT perk.
Published: April 5, 2014 at 4:43 AMI 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.
However, I am holding off on visiting Orlando for a couple of reasons:
1. I need another year of time to save up after my family's extended trip to Disneyland last year (I refuse to go into debt for a vacation!).
2. In 2015, the crowds for Seven Dwarves Mine Train, HP 2.0, and Falcon's Fury will have died down a bit.
So, I was not planning on visiting Orlando in 2014 anyway, but not because of Fastpass+.
Having written that info, I am hoping that the Beta for MyMagic+ will be over by the time I do visit, and that the 1.0 version of the offering has been completely rolled out and has stabilized.
Published: April 5, 2014 at 5:01 AMI 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.
Published: April 5, 2014 at 6:57 AMHaving 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.
Published: April 5, 2014 at 9:43 AMIfastpass-+ 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.
After a number of trips, the attractions a WDW are stale and the thrill is gone.
Published: April 6, 2014 at 3:27 AMOur 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.
Published: April 6, 2014 at 9:01 AM@Anthony Murphy
Because a lot of the people that really care about all the tracking and protecting their privacy are doing something about it.
Published: April 6, 2014 at 9:25 AMI 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.
Unfortunately, I think that FastPass+ is going to be a big downer for the casual vacationers like me, but the control freaks and the professional vacationers and the large group tour guides are going to love it. I have mixed feeling about all of this. I'm of the opinion that Disney has no choice but to implement this system. They are just too popular.
That old quote by Yogi Berra keeps coming to mind when I think about Disney World and the FastPass+ system.
“Nobody goes there anymore, it's too crowded”
Published: April 6, 2014 at 11:37 PMConcerning Anthony and Annons.....
I did not log in to leave my comment about fastpass plus. I have a log in ID, but 90 percent of the time I don't bother to log in. I suppose I don't think my name is necessary for people to read my comment and decide if it is a valid point or not.... or if they agree or disagree, etc.
Maybe if my user name was..... EXPERT ON FASTPASS + AS CONFIRMED BY ROBERT NILES AND DISNEY.... and I really wanted to attempt to impress (and I do say attempt to, as many probably would still not be impressed) I would have logged in for my anon comment.
Now back to Fast Pass Plus..... A lot of people are against planning, but even before Fast Pass plus a lot of people planned which attraction they would attempt to get fast passes for first (etc.). A lot of people already had a plan to go straight to Space Mountain or Splash Mountain or some sort of itinerary-ish ideas. Now you don't have to run ahead to do that. So there is a happy point to think about. And now you can pick your time rather than hope that when you get to the machine it is at a return time you like.
Published: April 7, 2014 at 12:46 AMI 100% agree with Brett Blake.
I'm visiting Disneyland for the first time this year... I'll treasure every old 'legacy' FP I can get my mitts on :-)
Published: April 7, 2014 at 1:57 AM@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.
Disney CAN do that. They did it with California Adventure that spread the crowd more even.
It's really sad this happened. The money is invested and gone.
For me the magic left long ago. The many meet and great indoor location killed spontaneity in a major way. Remember the excitement you were walking in the park and a character emerged? The excitement to see Mickey or Donald? That was magical. Sure there were days you didn't see all of them but that made it special. With the rises of the prices came the demands. I'm paying 60 bucks I demand I see the rodent!
I don't understand Disney anymore. Why do you have restaurants that are constantly in demand and need 180 in advance booking and so many crappy restaurants no one cares to eat. Why not invest in what you did right and recreate something different with the same appeal? Why are all the great rides go to the parks outside the US and WDW gets Avatar? I guess most visitors don't care. They are driven by nostalgia. I was a huge Disney fan but Disney alienated itself from me. They are not the theme park leader in innovative rides and experiences anymore. Disney is now only about the little things and although they where nice it where the big things that made me excited, once.
Published: April 7, 2014 at 5:47 AMMr. 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.
Published: April 7, 2014 at 10:29 AMFastpass+ 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.
Honestly, everyone hates change, but I completely understand the changes that are being made with this system. A lot of Disney guests are once every 5-10 year visitors, and this is the group that Disney is trying to attract (along with the mad-planning DVC guests). So many people out there spend multiples of their annual incomes for their once in a lifetime Disney vacation, and they want to plan every second to make sure they get every penny's worth. I don't blame them, and while we typically take a more value conscious approach, we still plan relatively intricately to get the most out of our admissions.
I also don't mind the guests who want to be more spontaneous or take a more leisurely approach to visiting the parks, but I do have issue with those people complaining that they can't visit the parks the way they want because they don't want to plan ahead. Queues are a part of our society now (you queue up to eat at just about every decent restaurant or attraction these days), and spontaneous people want to complain about standing in lines or crowds and then complain about having to plan in advance. Well, you just can't have it both ways, and I think this new system, while not free of flaws, is a step in the right direction to try to maximize what the parks offer. The parks have a finite number of attractions operating at finite maximum capacities. Aside from adding more rides/shows/parades/etc... the number of guests that can enjoy a day at the parks will not change dramatically from day to day.
There is no one holding a gun to your head to make your Fastpass+ reservations 120 days in advance (nor are they telling you to make dining reservation 180 days in advance), but the fact of the matter is, if others are doing it, your choice as a visitor is to get with the program or deal with the lines. This is pure speculation, but I wouldn't be surprised to see new touring plans arise in the coming months that take advantage of the guests that are obsessively planning their vacations through MyDisneyExperience, and finds attractions and things to do for guests who don't want to plan or stand in lines.
Since the popularity of WDW exploded in the early 80's and Fastpass was introduced in the 90's, people have been trying to find ways to visit the parks and see everything in minimal time. The bottom line is that with more and more guests filling the parks every year, that is getting harder and harder to do, but the new system will certainly help guests create some highlights to plan their trips around. Guests need to understand that you simply aren't going to see everything in the parks in a single day, particularly during peak attendance days.
Published: April 8, 2014 at 4:48 AMI'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.
I hate to say it, but Disney is too good for their own good in capturing the public's loyalty.