Say goodbye to paper Fastpass tickets at Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom
Walt Disney World cast members are reporting that the Magic Kingdom next week will begin eliminating its paper Fastpass tickets. Visitors not staying at one of the Walt Disney World resort hotels will need to make their same-day ride reservations at one of the Fastpass+ kiosks in the park.
Instead of getting a paper ticket with a return time, as they would from one of the old Fastpass machines, visitors now will be assigned a return time that will be directly associated with their park admission ticket. To get into the ride or show at their appointed time, visitors will tap their park admission tickets at the Fastpass+ return stanchion, where resort guests tap their MagicBands.
Tapping an admission ticket to a new Magic Kingdom "MyMagic+" entrance stanchion.
Cast members are reporting that visitors will be able to use the Fastpass+ kiosks to select and modify their reservations times, which is a big change from the existing Fastpass system, which spit out a take-it-or-leave it return time and then blocked you from getting any other Fastpass reservation for up to two hours. Now, you'll be able to select your three return times at the beginning of the day. You'll also no longer need to worry about losing those paper Fastpass tickets.
Visitors not staying on-site at Disney will not be able to make reservations in advance, and will not be allowed to make or modify reservations using the My Disney Experience mobile app. It's the kiosks on the day of your visit or nothing for attraction reservations. Of course, with "day" visitors getting the ability to make multiple reservations first thing in the morning, it's likely that attraction reservations will "sell out" earlier in the day than they did under the old Fastpass system.
Disney's been testing this new way of handing attraction reservations in Animal Kingdom for several weeks. With the Magic Kingdom coming online next week, we recommend making a visit to a Fastpass+ kiosk your first stop in those parks in the morning. Pick the three available attractions you most want to do, then go enjoy the rest of the park, knowing that you're guaranteed in at those rides or shows with a shorter wait. (Disney is expected to eliminate the paper Fastpass tickets at Epcot and Hollywood Studios within the next couple of months.)
Visitors will now have more options for reservations than under the old Fastpass system, which was limited only to the most popular rides. To use the new system most effectively, you should try to select rides that have the longest mid-day waits, either due to high popularity or low capacity (or both). There's no sense in using a Fastpass+ reservation on a ride or show that's a walk-on or under 20-minute wait at mid-day. Those are the attractions you should be visiting in the middle of the day when you aren't using your Fastpass+ reservations.
The most useful Fastpass+ reservations might be places in the no-wait, reserved seating areas for parades and fireworks shows, but it's not clear if any of those will be available to visitors who aren't staying at a Disney hotel. Those reservations have been available only on an intermittent basis to resort guests up until now, and get snapped up quickly when they do. It's hard to believe that many would be available to "day" guests, but, who knows?
Ride reservations are ultimately a big math problem, as Disney weighs the percentages of each ride's hourly capacity to devote to advance reservations, same-day reservations, and walk-up visitors. Disney's tweaked those percentages in the past and it's likely that the company will continue to do so as it continues its transition to Fastpass+ and the MyMagic+ system.
Have you used Fastpass+, either as a resort guest, or a day visitor in the Animal Kingdom? Please tell us about your experience, in the comments.
This 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.
Used 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:
From 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.
We 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).
While 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.
I 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.
Still 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.
The 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.
So 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 ;)
My 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.
Does 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.
I've always thought this would allow Disney place guest in tiers.
Why 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...
AP'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.
A little trick that seems to work:
Went last month and had an old paper ticket. Guess guest services will be extra busy in exchanging them for plastic cards that scan.
We 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
I 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.
Doesn'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.
They 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.
I 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.
I 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.
So 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.
Why preferential treatment to those who stay on property? Isn't my dollar worth the same as theirs?
Disney 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.
I 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.
Well, this is what we get instead of a billion dollars worth of new E Tickets. Enjoy?!
Was 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?
Being 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!
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