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How to use new FastPass+ system at Walt Disney World

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UPDATE on March 13, 2014:
Passholders are being invited this month to customize and order their MagicBands. Within a few days of completing this process, passholders gain access to booking their FastPass+ reservations online -- even before they receive their MagicBands. Passholders are permitted to book seven days of FastPasses in a 30-day period. The days do not have to be consecutive, and the three attractions in one park per day rule still applies. Once an existing day is used, another can be booked.

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As of last week, all four Walt Disney World theme parks have converted to the FastPass+ system. Gone are paper FastPass tickets, and some other key changes are now in place. Here's what you need to know to cut your time spent waiting in line for attractions during your next visit to the parks.

AllEars.Net has a great new FastPass+ resource page that will answer most of your questions, and here are my tips based on my first experience using FastPass+ this week. Although FastPass+ was being tested for a large part of 2013, my family and I were disappointed to learn that both of our Disney stays in 2013 were at hotels that were not participating in the testing.

(If you did receive a MagicBand during a stay last year, you can book your FastPasses up to 60 days in advance on the My Disney Experience website. Read more about that on our resource page.)

As for the rest of us -- annual passholders and those not staying on Disney property, collectively known as "day guests" -- we can only book our FastPasses in the park on the day of our visit. That is, until we receive MagicBands. Annual passholders have been told they will receive the RFID bands this year, but no promises have been made to other guests not staying at Disney hotels.

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Arriving in the park, the first thing day guests should do is head to one of the FastPass+ kiosks to book all their FastPasses for the day. You are allowed three per day, and they are free -- unlike at SeaWorld and Universal Orlando where you pay extra for front-of-the-line access. As you would expect, the kiosks closest to the front of the park are the most crowded, so you might have a shorter wait if you walk a bit farther toward the back of the park. Expect to wait an average of 30 minutes in the FastPass+ queue during morning hours, a cast member told me. The tradeoff is that you won't be crisscrossing the park collecting FastPasses all day long, as you might have in the past. You do it once and you're done for the day, unless you choose to make changes.

My family and I arrived at the Magic Kingdom about 1 p.m. on Sunday and proceeded straight to the FastPass+ queue in Tomorrowland, and it only had about a 15-minute wait. We were off to a good start! While we waited in line, we decided on which three attractions were our first choices for FastPasses. Under the new system, the three FastPass+ reservations must be for three different attractions in the same park. That's definitely something to keep in mind if you like to park hop. Also, if you want to experience a favorite attraction more than once, know that you will have to wait in the standby queue for subsequent rides. Plus, at Epcot and Hollywood Studios, guests are limited to one "E-ticket" ride, and the other two choices must be for less-popular attractions.

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When we reached the front of the FastPass+ line, a cast member was stationed at each kiosk to help day guests. He asked for the ride we wanted to do most, so he could enter that first. He explained that Enchanted Tales with Belle usually is the first attraction to run out of FastPass+ reservations each day. Other popular attractions are Peter Pan's Flight, Big Thunder Mountain, Space Mountain and The Voyage of the Little Mermaid. He also said FastPasses to meet the Disney Princesses book more quickly than meet-and-greets with Mickey Mouse on many days, and Rapunzel is more popular than Cinderella at Princess Fairytale Hall.

Once the cast member inputs your selections, the system will generate the earliest available times for each of the three attractions. Each FastPass+ reservation is good for one hour, meaning you can arrive at the attraction any time during that time frame. Plus, there is a grace period of five minutes before the window starts and 15 minutes afterward. Because of the time constraints, the system will not allow you to book FastPass reservations that overlap.


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After the system generates the first set of times, you can follow the instructions on the screen to see if other times are available. You might have a conflict with a dining reservation or want to see the afternoon parade at the initial time your FastPass+ is scheduled. This process is fairly easy. Once you have achieved your desired FastPass+ schedule, you can email a confirmation to yourself, take a photo of the screen, or write the times on a sheet that cast members will provide. (Guests with MagicBands will be able to see their FastPass+ reservations on their account on the My Disney Experience app.)

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Then, head out into the park for your day. When it's time to use a FastPass+ reservation, go to the FastPass return line at the attraction and have your plastic RFID admission ticket handy. You will have to scan it twice in line. And that's it!

We found the new FastPass+ fairly easy to use, even without MagicBands. Granted we were visiting the park on a day that wasn't too busy and our schedule was flexible, but we were able to have a minimal wait for three attractions, which we rode consecutively. Using FastPass+ certainly helped us maximize our time, which is what FastPass+ is all about, from a guest's point of view.



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Comments (77)

Brian Miller:

An update to your Annual Passholder information and hope. This past weekend after entering Epcot we were randomly selected as annual passholders to sign up for magic bands. They activated our passes so we could go online to order and customize our bands. Sunday they signed us up, Monday ordered them online, and received passholder magic bands on Wednesday! We now without a hotel stay got our bands! They included a 2013-2014 Passholder slider for the bands and a "gold" passholder card to be used for parking and discounts. My understanding is with non-parking passes these will be black not gold. We are to test them and use them before Feb 9th and then get a survey about the experience, so with good feedback, hopefully they will roll them out to all passholders soon!

KRISTIN: Thank you, Brian!

Chrissy:

Thank you for sharing your experience! It sounds like it takes the spontaneity out of each day's visit.

Having been an AP holder for several years, an onsite guest since 1981, I now dread our next visit. So much pre-planning ...I wonder how many guests really know, months in advance, which attractions they will want to do at a certain time (especially first time guests)....and what will be left for Day Guests?

I am going to miss the spontaneity - everyone does not enjoy planning every meal and/or several attraction months in advance... Until the new Magic Bands and FP+ went into effect, I was happily looking forward to a trip with my first grandchild, who is now five yrs old ... Sadly, I have put that trip on the shelf for now. I find it all very overwhelming.

Marion:

Thank you for this review! We too are an annual passholder family and don't have MagicBands yet. We rarely stay on property since we're only 90 miles away. This helps me see how to take advantage of spending a day at the parks.

We were at Animal Kingdom last Tuesday, and I saw the big line at the front of the park at the FP+ line and thought oh, boo.....that won't be fun. Great tip to go to a kiosk at the back of the park. We'll have to learn where they all are!

I still don't like the fact that you can't park hop and get FastPasses. For us "day guests" who come frequently, that's part of our regular routine.

Thank you for your blog. It is always so helpful. Have a great day!

Stan:

This is a sad thing. FastPasses have become a right, not a privilege, and that is not fair. The system the way it was worked great. Get to the park early and you can get several. We've had many days getting there at 9 when they opened and would be able to get 5 or 6 and leave by 12 or 1. As an APH we did it often. I worked for a company where I would see WDW guests all day and there were many who liked to get to the park later, sleep late, and that's great, but the early riser gets the fun. It is not fair that a hotel guest can book them in advance, and the average guest can't. This system needs to find even ground for everyone.

Susan Cole:

Very helpful, Kristin. My question is: when you make your FastPass reservations, whether in the park or online, must you have the ticket or ticket number of everyone in your party? So, I wouldn't be able to make my reservations from home for our entire party if some didn't intend to purchase tickets until they arrived on property? Thank you. Always enjoy your articles.

KRISTIN: Susan, thank you for your kind words. You are correct that you cannot schedule a FastPass+ reservation for someone without an admission ticket. It either has to be registered with My Disney Experience online to do it in advance if you have a resort reservation, or you have to scan the RFID card at the kiosk in the park.

Dan:

Great explanation of FP+. We've been using our MagicBands since December and, once we got the hang of them, found them to be very convenient.

Some things to consider about FastPasses in general: While you will definitely save time by bypassing the longer lines, there are also advantages to waiting in line. Disney Imagineers have gone to great lengths recently to enhance the guest experience in the queues, making them a part of the overall show. FastPass entrances will often route you around those or through them too quickly, and you'll miss out on some fun interaction and fascinating details that you'll only see in the stand-by line. Granted, as Annual Pass holders we have the good fortune to take our time, but just know that you'll miss a lot by rushing to get to the head of the line.

Also, there is now a FastPass available for VIP viewing of the "Wishes" fireworks show. A cast member told us it is very popular and if you ever see it, (at the kiosk, scroll down to the very bottom of the attractions list) snap it up because there is a very limited number available. Well, on our last visit, I happened to see it available and booked it. In our opinion, it was not worth it. The VIP area is on the east (Tomorrowland) side of the hub in the grassy area near the rose garden and former Swan Boats landing. A beautiful setting. And yes, Tinker Bell does fly directly overhead. But from that "VIP" vantage point you're looking at a 3/4 profile of Cinderella Castle and the fireworks go off in open sky to the right. The show was obviously choreographed to showcase the castle as a centerpiece, with ground effects exploding to the left and right, and fireworks overhead, behind and directly above the iconic structure. That experience is lost when you view "Wishes" from the side.

Again, just our opinion, but there is no better view of that fabulous show than right smack in the middle of Main Street, USA. Don't waste a valuable FastPass on "Wishes."

KRISTIN: Thanks for the tip, Dan! It's especially valuable for my family because my son's absolute favorite experience at Magic Kingdom is "Wishes."

Mike Venere:

Thanks for the information!
I still think this is quite frustrating how Disney is more and more trying to control you and your day. We never had an issue with the FastPass ticket system as it was.
And one last thing.....esp when you mention the app., Please do not text and walk in tight spaces in the World....running into people while they aren't paying attention because they are using their phone is annoying!

MIchelle K:

It seems easy enough, but a question. If you are at a hotel and doing your FastPasses in advance online can you get more than 3? On a good day while there we have been known to get several throughout the day...at least 5.

KRISTIN: 3 per day is the current limit for everyone - resort and day guests.

Debbie:

Good afternoon, Kristin. Thanks for the great information. I have one questions - how will the FastPass+ work if my vacation is split between on-site and off-site hotels? For instance, next spring we plan to stay at AKL for 4 nights and then transfer to a less-expensive condo for an additional 6 nights. I was planning to purchase 6-day park hoppers (with water parks). Since I will be spending some time as a resort guest will I be able to book fastpasses for all of my 6-days in advance or will I have to use the kiosks after we check out of the Disney resort?

KRISTIN: Based on current guest experiences, you should be able to book all the FastPasses in advance. No guarantees, though, as adjustments are being made as Disney tests the new system.

Rebecca:

I'm sure your blog will generate a heated discussion of FastPass+! When we visited in September, we were selected to test the Magic Bands and we all loved them! We chose our FP+ options online before our trip. Once we got there, we were able to experience the New Fantasyland attractions walking right on. As we left, I used the My Disney Experience app to change them to other attraction choices for later in the day since we didn't need to use them for the earlier attractions.

My only complaint is the 3 attraction/1 park limit. Does Disney realize that they will lose the Park Hopper profit for people visiting for a short trip? Most people aren't going to want to pay to upgrade to PH if they are visiting for less than 5 days and they can't use FP in more than one park.

I also feel bad for Day Guests who have to waste 30 minutes first thing in the park waiting in line to make their choices. it seems like there should be a better way to implement the system. Can you imagine the FP+ lines in July or the week after Christmas??

Jon:

I think this new FastPass system is a good start and I do not even mind the 3 pass limit. However, I do not think it is a good idea to limit the passes the way they seem to be doing. I travel to Disney fairly regularly as part of a school-sponsored trip. There are some rides that the kids go on over and over again and sometimes get two to three FastPasses for it in a day. The Rock 'n' Roller Coaster and Tower of Terror come to mind. If that is what they really want to do, why limit their access or force them to stand in the stand-by line if it is not necessary?

With that said, I like the idea of booking in advance and I like being able to choose your own time frame. Those are both steps in the right direction. Now they just have to limit the restrictions.

Hilary :

Does this mean that you can no longer FastPass attractions that are not in the 3 you FastPass +? That actually seems rather silly as it was incredibly helpful to be able to FastPass + as a family but then get regular fastpasses for attractions not everyone wanted to ride.

KRISTIN: Correct - the paper FastPass machines are gone. Each person is given 3 FastPass+ reservations total for the day. You don't have to book them as a family, though, if individuals want to choose separate attractions.

Ellen:

Thanks for the info! Do you know if Be Our Guest lunch is available for FP+?

KRISTIN: It is not on the current list of FastPass+ attractions.

Mariah:

Great info, and very helpful. I used FP+ in October when we stayed at CB. Loved it! We are going back to WDW again in March, but staying off property. Do you know if we can still use our Magic Bands and book FP+ in advance? You mentioned that if we received one, we could still use the MDE app. Thanks!

KRISTIN: Guests have reported that they have been able to continue using their MagicBands on future visits, but Disney has not clarified this issue. You're probably within the 60-day window now, so I would just try again online. Make sure you have your admission tickets linked to MDE first.

Cindi:

I am sad to hear how the FastPass system has changed and not for the better. I had FP down to an art and every day I was able to snag 5 FP's all by lunchtime and then I had all 5 to use whenever I wanted that day, after lunch that is. That was before Disney enforced the return time and you could return ANY time after the printed return and still get on. Now only 3 per day and they are scheduled to a very narrow window.

I am not thrilled with the entire MagicBand idea as I do not want to wear that silly band all day and it was much easier to keep a tiny little flat Key to the World card in my pocket. As a result, I am planning my next visit to Disneyland instead of my beloved WDW, because they do not have this MagicBand system and preset trip schedules.

There is no fly by the seat of your pants or bus roulette discovery and no spontaneity now. I never thought I would say this because I am a type A+ and a major planner, but I don't like the new system at all. I'm sad. This MagicBand stuff is a deal breaker for me and so it's bye bye WDW for a while.

Matt Baird:

Am a lifetime Disney World attendee. Have visited over 100 times. This is absolutely the worst thing Disney has ever done. Tell me what was wrong with the old system. This is designed specifically to save Disney money on machines and paper not to enhance the guest experience. Universal is spending millions on new rides and attractions Disney spends it on a magic band designed to increase cash flow and decrease expenses.

Kelley:

My family and I are Disney freaks! We live 10 hours away, but we visit every year at least once. I am looking forward to using the magic bands for our trip in May. However, I am very upset that we are limited to only 3 fast passes per day!!! We always use way more than 3! When the park is open from 8-1 or 2 in the morning, some days, 3 is just simply not enough!! I know that this is still in the trial phase. Any way that Disney will add more fast passes per day?

Claire Carrington:

I am not an annual pass holder, but our family visits about every 2 years, and we work hard to plan those trips. Normal families can't go to Disney World anymore without being penalized. We will have 8 people coming with us and there is no way we can afford to stay on property. When Disney can provide a three bedroom vacation home, with 2 separate bathrooms and a full kitchen for under 200 a night during the summer, then maybe we could swing it. Unfortunately, the reality is that to do that I would spend what I do for a month in rent for 2 nights on property, if I'm lucky, for those amenities. Disney has gotten greedy and its showing. Universal does charge for their fast pass but its unlimited for each park Universal is still cheaper than a 3 day pass for Disney, and they are putting money into things that we have never seen before. This is really bad timing, and our family has asked the question, should this be the year that we go to Orlando and not visit Disney? When I see what they are charging for the little add on pins for the MAGIC BANDS it makes me so mad, because its the perfect representation of where Disney's priorities are.

Tracey Francis:

We have visited WDW from the UK every year since 2006, and never stay on Disney property. We too have the Fastpass system down to a fine art, and manage to ride most of our favourite rides, usually getting 4 or 5 fast passes each day. I have to say I am not looking forward to queuing at the FP+ kiosks each morning during our visit in July. I agree with others' comments that the spontaneity has been taken away. Not a change for the better, I fear.

Arlene:

I agree that the new Fast Pass system needs more work. When we go, we always like to park hop and the limited to one park fast pass rule is really irritating! Also, the last time at Disney we were given Magic Bands along with my in-laws who were with us. Even though we all had Magic Bands, Disney could not link us all together so it was a pain to get everyone fast passes! Last but not least, it does take the spontaneity out of the day! When I am on vacation, I don't want to feel like I am on a schedule for everything; I can stay home to feel that way! I hope they make some changes in the system and soon before our next visit!

Christian:

This system doesn't appear to be the best, but I think the old system was broken too. With the old system, the FP window meant nothing. This was a pain near the end of the day when the regular line riders had to wait forever since the people with the FP were being rushed in. If the old system just held people to their time slot, that was probably the best system.

john:

Perspective is an interesting thing, isn't it?
Imagine if back around 1998 you were told that (1) you can travel from the Orlando airport to your Disney resort AT NO COST, with all luggage delivered directly to your room and (2) two months before your visit, you'd have the opportunity to reserve times on up to 3 of your favorite attractions, also at NO COST!
It would have been hard to believe, but wouldn't most of us been blown away at the concept?
My advice to all- the system will certainly be tweeked over time. So much data is being collected and will be analyzed. I hope my fellow AllEars readers keep us all updated on any changes over the next few months.


Eric Vieweg:

We are heading to WDW in February at the busiest possible time, President's Week, so it will be an interesting experience to use the magic bands and fastpass+ system. Although it is different to schedule so much of our Disney vacation in advance I am not so sure it is a bad thing. I too have mastered the use of the fastpass system but I also realize that under the old system they would often run out of fast passes for the popular rides very early and that it was usually those of us that knew the system that would get on the better rides multiple times and less experienced people would end up missing out because they didn't know the system. I think the objective is to make it enjoyable for more guests rather than more enjoyable for fewer guests. I will know soon enough how I feel about the changes.

Jessie:

Ugh, I'm not a fan of this. The thought of entering the park and having to stand in line for fast passes, even only for 15 minutes, does nothing for me. I agree with others on here that it takes away from the spontaneity, too. We'll see how this year goes, but may have to rethink renewing our AP's in November. As someone who visits a lot and likes to do 2 parks in 1 day, this system just doesn't serve our family well at all. There are much bigger problems in the world, but I sure will miss our fun little Disney escapes after all these years!

David:

I used the magic bands and fastpass+ when we were there in November staying on property and we used it to have our FP before we left which was a real treat. My question is this:

We're not staying on property this summer, will we be able to use the Fastpass+ system then to have our FP before we go?

This would help avoid the tour groups who can single handedly use up all the FP for a certain ride for the day early. Leaving you outta luck.

KRISTIN: I think it's too soon to tell. Guests have reported being able to use their MagicBands on future visits, but Disney has not stated this is its policy. So, that could change as the system continues to be tested and rolled out.

Tim:

I have to say this is a horrible system, and I'm not looking forward to my trip in June with so much 'preplanning'. What I love is to be spontaneous, not have to plan my fast passes right away for the day, it totally kills any spontaneity. Also, only being able to get ONE fastpass for a ride you love to experience?? Not cool.

Julie Husbands:

Having used the FastPass+ system at Thanksgiving (one of the busiest times) I can honestly say that we saw much more this year because of it than any prior year. It is definitely a GOOD change.

For Susan: If you order your tickets "will call" from the WDW site, you can enter the receipt number in to assign the tickets to your party members without tickets and be able to do the FP+ reservations in advance. I did it with two members of our party last November.

Those who commented that they could get 5 fastpasses in a day were either: a. visiting on a very low attendance day, b. cheating, or c. lying.

On high attendance days, most fastpass machines would run out early in the day and so you had to pick your favorite, run to that attraction and get the fastpass, then you couldn't get a new one until that one was valid. Now you can go one place and get three fastpasses that run in consecutive time slots.

As for the Magic Band vs carrying around a plastic room key, well, the bands are much easier to "hang on to" as they hang on you.

I hope Disney never allows day visitors (non-Annual Passholders) to reserve FP+ in advance. They are limited, and if you reserve them, then don't go to that park that day you've kept someone else from having one.

K5:

Just came back from wdwJanuary 28th , I was on disney property and was lucky enough to get the magic bands.. However first timers are overwhelmed as it is, this is going to make it more confusing for them.. I think any type of fp has slowed the lines, years ago everyone waited together it was a great time to chat with teenagers who normally don't have time for chatting with parents and siblings... Magic bands are great for getting into rooms etc.. My band hardly ever worked at the parks, I always had to wait for a cast member to activate it again, no biggie , but I was traveling with all adults... To me modern technology has slowed everything rather then making it better, I saw wait times that were 80 minutes, you never saw that back in the day.. Some of the FB you pick out from home you really don't even need them no lines (not popular rides) I want to know what is going to happen if there is a power outage n all machines go down. Go back to the old way n everyone wait in line.. I felt like you r on a mission to get everything lined up before you even get on that airplane . It really makes your vacation be regimented instead of laid back like it used to be..everyone is on I-phones checking their next fp, so people aren't paying attention to others around them.. Just my opinon!!! It will not stop me from going to wdw it is still the most magical place on earth...

Ann London :

I think it's so funny how resistant to change people always tend to be. People who havent even tried Fastpass+ are swearing it off before giving it a chance, to which i'd say: fine, more fun for me! In order for Disney to stay on top and relevant they must be ahead of the game in every way. Which means that processes, rides or even hotel room decor that seem comfortable to guests are sometimes changed before we feel ready. However I trust that Disney has researched the heck out of this process. Disney isn't just for people who have been over and over and have the system down. My sister and bro in law went last year and found themselves overwhwlmed(even after my advice) and I believe this new FP system would have allowed them to experience more.
Additionally, regarding the idea that people who arrive early to the parks no longer have the advantage they deserve...that's completely inaccurate. Arriving at the parks in the morning allows you to see the "rope drop" show. It allows you nearly 2 hours where you don't even need fast passes. And if staying off property it allows you to reserve your fastpasses first.
I, for one am excited about this new system and I look forward to trying it in March.

Claudia:

This is such a terrible idea. I am dreading our next visit in December. The whole point of Fast Pass is that you can strategize on the fly. If you get to Fantasyland and there is a huge line at Winnie the Pooh but not so much at Peter Pan for some reason, you can decide on the spot to get the Fast Pass for Winnie the Pooh. It is impossible to truly make good use of Fast Pass if you have to do it in advance when you get there. It also makes the whole experience more stressful. How do you know that you will be where you need to be at a specific time if you have the Fast Pass early in the day but won't get to, say, Tomorrowland until later? There is no reason for Disney to have done this and I am very disappointed in this development.

Jaywek:

I spend 10-20 hours on average per day in the park planning my trip to the World. Planning the visit is my favorite hobby. Fastpass was the one thing I could not plan until now. I'm glad to see fastpass plus. If I want to be spontaneous I'll take a cruise to the carribean. Can't wait until my next visit to French Quarter.

Gina Cerasuolo:

Like so many others, my biggest disappointment is being limited to 3 FP's per day per park. No incentive to park hop. Like someone else stated, the spontaneity is being replaced by weeks of planning. Dining reservations, FP choices, reserve a spot for fireworks, parades. What's next? FP times for the restrooms? The whole process is becoming less and less "magical."

Joanne Appl:

I kinda understand the 3 fast pass limit. For instance, if you are not there in the first hour for toy story Mania. You are not going to get a fast pass due to them running out. I do not like that you can not pick rides in different parks. The only reason I can see them not doing that yet is maybe the kiosk are not compatible to see if you hit your 3 max limit in the multiple parks.

Claire Carrington:

In response to the no cost comment, there is a cost and its called admission. Those amenities are for people staying on property, and forgive me if I don't want to squeeze my family into a value resort instead of 4 to five star accommodations provided off property. There are a lot of us driving to Disney and staying off property, so we are still helping to pay for those amenities, just not receiving them in return.

Jen Trick:

I was one of the people who never realized that cast members let you on a ride even with an expired fastpass (silly of me, following the rules I know) so I loved FastPass+ in December. I was there 2 days after Christmas so to say the parks were crowded is a huge understatement. Day one we were overwhelmed by the crowds so I hopped on My Disney Experience and changed our fastpasses to later in the day while we went back to the pool. I am disappointed with the no park hopping but I have found that if you visit a park for rope drop and plan on park hopping use your fastpasses for the second park because you will be there in the afternoon when the old fast pass system would have been "sold out" of fastpasses but now you can still see your favorite rides.

Lori:

We were there last year and in a test group for Magic Bands. I enjoyed using the FP+ system, though there were issues that took up quite a bit of time as I worked to get them ironed out. It was fine, but I also liked the old FP system. The thing that bothers me the most is that you said we can only get ONE "E Ticket" FP+ in EPCOT and Hollywood Studios. WHAT? What else would I want a FP for in the Studios other than RNR, TOT and TSMM? Same in EPCOT with Test Track & Soarin'. If that's true, it is a big lose in my book.

Darlene McDuff:

The magic is definitely going out of the Disney experience for me.

Leslie:

Claudia, you're a woman after my own heart. I love planning! So, staying on property as we always do, this works well for me. That said, even with the Fastpass+ reservations last year, we still found ourselves using regular Fastpasses as well. Kind of bummer to see that go. Ultimately, I can't have too much doom and gloom or praise for the system, but I think it's fairly obvious that Disney is doing this for 2 reasons. (1) They put too much money into it and had to push forward, even though reactions are mixed at best, and (2) they are hoping this will encourage people to stay on property. I think both reasons are flawed, but no one asked my opinion. . .

Anonymous:

The worst thing for me is that although we are staying site (Caribbean Beach) in May, because we are from the UK, we don't receive our bands in advance, only at check in. We are limited to booking fasspass+ when we arrive rather than within the 60 day window. Not fair.... not all guests staying on site receive this perk!!!!!

Ruth Woodhouse:

Why does Julie Husbands hope that day guests don't ever get the chance to prebook fastpass+? What about the guests staying at WDW resorts? They could also hog the fast-passes+ six months before they travel to WDW and then for some reason have to cancel their vacation or have a change of plan on the day!
We hope to go for Thanksgiving this year and will stay off site and are hoping that any problems will have been sorted out by then!
Having said all of the above I suppose Disney is using this as an incentive for guests to stay at their resorts but, as we usually stay off site and stay just one night at a WDW resort I wish we could all be treated the same way.

Susan:

We have always stayed on property and we got to test and use the Magic Bands and Fast Pass + system last year and it was fabulous being able to schedule your Fast Pass rides 60 days before you arrive. My cousin and I are coming in May but staying off property this time in her time share. We have Magic Bands that are activated, but we still cannot schedule our Fast Pass rides in advance because we are off property. In my opinion, Disney is forcing people to stay on property with the new system if there are rides you definitely want to make sure you get on without standing in a huge line. Sorry, I don't care if you still can get a Fast Pass as a "day guest," the lines will be longer or you take more of a chance of the Fast Passes being out. Boo on Disney for treating off-property guests like this. We are paying the same amount of money to get to Disney and the same amount of money for our passes as on property guests.

KRISTIN: Susan, you might want to try scheduling FastPass+ when you are 60 days out and see if the MagicBands will work.

Doug:

My wife and I tried the Fastpass + on our last visit in October. We both agree that as it stands this is one of the worst mistakes that Disney has made in a long time. The closest analogy that I can come up is when Coke replaced their product with New Coke - what a disaster. Their stubbornness cost them millions and sent customers elsewhere before they would finally admit and correct their mistake.

We have already abandoned the standard dining plan for the Quick Service version because we found ourselves planning our entire vacation around one meal each day. It eliminated a great deal of the spontaneity of our vacations. Fastpass + does the same thing in is unfair to those staying off property.

The best thing that Disney could do is to use this technology, open it to everyone but make it work like the old system. Have stations much like the old ones at each attraction, you would walk up and place your bands against a sensor and have it give you the return time. Just apply the same rules to Fastpass + as the original Fastpass.

Penny from Vermont:

I was excited (but a little skeptical) to be part of the Magic Band testing this fall. Except for a few small glitches, I AM A FAN now and cannot wait to use it again. As someone who can only visit the parks maybe once a year (if lucky) I loved being able to get my fast passes early as I only have a limited amount of days to enjoy the World.
Listen, I would be the first one to make a fuss if I was not happy! I am sure there will be lots of tweaks in the future, but geez people, just give it a try! Decorate your bands at home so you don’t have to buy the Disney bling. Be open-minded, after all, this is a vacation.
For those with annual passes that live close by, you have the opportunity to visit the parks on a regular basis so it makes sense to limit the time period that you can make your fast pass reservations.
So there, my peace I have said. Let the force be with you.

Christine:

My friend and I make trips to Disney from NY about 6 times a year. Over the last few trips, we have used the fastpass+ system, however we're also able to get traditional fastpasses. We hate this system now because we are APs and like to parkhop all day sometimes hitting all four parks in the day.

We spoke to a cast member last trip about the 3 FP/1 Park limit and she said that the avg number of fastpasses each person gets per day was like 1.3 She said she didn't believe that Disney was definitely going to keep these number, and I sure hope she was right.

I don't like to plan our days I like the spontaneity of the vacation and we are never sure which park we are going to usually until we get to the bus stops at the hotels. I hope some adjustments are made to the system soon in order to allow of multiple park fastpasses each day

Sarah:

I am an AP holder. While this works out OK (but not great) for AK, HS, and EP which have less rides, it is TERRIBLE for MK. It has driven wait time for rides like Haunted Mansion and and Pirates and Small World to 30 minutes regularly on even a "slow" day. The 3 ride limit is insane for MK as there are SO many rides and so many guests.

This makes me sad as I have a toddler and we like those slower rides that have no height limit. And have you ever waited in line with a 2 year old? Tough if it's for a ride but at least there's a fun ride waiting at the end. But 30 minutes just to get a fastpass+? Crazy.

Disney is going to need to change and adapt this system... We are considering not renewing passes any more because of this. To be clear: I don't care that regular fastpass are gone, but rather that this new system has given rides like Nemo and Living with the Land a wait. On slow days. Boo.

Lauren:

My family and I participated in one of the "trials" of Magic Bands in September. We actually enjoyed the experience, because I do like to plan. The old fast pass kiosks were still open, so we also supplemented our magic band selections with paper fast passes, because, lets face it, 3 just isn't enough.

And I completely disagree with the person who stated that it was not possible to get more than 3 paper fast passes unless it is a slow time, you are cheating or lying..... We go to Disney for my son's birthday every JUNE, and definitely get more than 3 fast passes per day.

Anyway, we liked the bands and selecting fast passes ahead of time - and using paper fast passes when we could (for park hopping). We also did this in November, and it worked out well.

Fast forward to the beginning of January. Imagine my surprise when I wanted to book fast pass+ for Hollywood Studios and Epcot and discovered - much to my utter dismay - that I could only choose from ONE "popular" ride!!!!!!! What to choose, Test Track or Soarin? This was NOT the case in September or November. However, we made it work by going to the parks at opening and using PAPER fast passes when we needed to.

Fast forward to the end of January... I was beginning to plan for our February trip (we are passholders, DVC members, and FL residents), and I read on All Ears that the paper fast pass kiosks are GONE!!!!!
In the last 5 years Disney has gone from fast passes that could be used after expiration, to strict times, then to Magic Bands where you could pick from ANY 3 rides, then sadly to picking only one popular ride at two of the parks. Now the paper fast passes - which could be used if you were park hopping - are gone too. What's next?


Juliana:

We are currently in Disney World and have had no problems using our magic bands with our fast passes. The 1 complaint I have is that we purchased the park hopper ticket and once you have used a fast pass in a park you are locked into that park for the day. Some days we only used 1-2 of our fast passes in Epcot in the morning and then when we were at Magic Kingdom later in the day we could not use our 3rd fast pass. It now seems a waste to buy a park hopper ticket.

Beth Waugh:

My family and I just visited during the busiest week of the year: between Christmas and New Year's. We were there on days when several parks had to close because they reached capacity, and even on those days, we were able to get more than three paper FP's. We were in Animal Kingdom during the two weeks they were testing the FP+ system, and many visitors were highly upset, especially AP holders who know how to navigate parks and the FP system. Because I normally visit over long weekends, I must park-hop to visit all four parks. Immediately, I have to choose what two parks I want to fast pass in. This is not fair. I now feel like a Disney-controlled robot inside the park. I don't like it. We have one more trip planned in February and have decided after that weekend, we will not be renewing our passes.

Ryan:

Using logic, this seems to destroy the experience. 3 per day is terrible and will force you to wait in line for all the other rides. During prime seasons that will result in the pre-1999 old style of waiting in line all day. So if I park hop and use my 3 fast passes up before 1pm, and then head to Epcot, I have to have a 1994 experience of waiting in every line? Is everyone insane? Has Disney gone backwards? I like the idea of controlling the fast pass times, but 3 per day is crazy! Should be 5 per park at each park. Then I would be on board. Also, they have completely screwed people by making them wait in lines at kiosks. Disney fans, voice your reasons now to get an increase of passes and multiple parks!

Tom:

We visited in early January with some friends we had AP's they did not and we all were staying off property. Only AK had the FP+ in full swing. We went to Epcot at 10 and and went straight to the times board ,Soarin had a 120 minute wait and FP return of 3pm , we went to soarin and by the time we walked there the FP return had gone to 7:40 . Another day we were standing in front of Toy Story Midway Mania at 9:20 ( Park opened at 9 ) stand by was 120 minutes and FP return was 9 pm
Needless to say we didn't get to do two of our favorite things.
The question is when I'm at home with my magic band 2 months before our August trip, how do I know if a ride is going to be packed or empty. I really would be p.o.'d if I use one of my precious 3 FP+'s on a ride and when I get there the wait is 10 minutes.
Is Fast Passing Soarin, Test Track , Toy Story or Space Mountain going to be like getting a reservation for Cinderella's Royal Table for breakfast? Are we going to have to be online at the stroke of midnight 60 days out to actually get a Fastpass+?

Johnny:

I'm a Florida Resident Annual Passholder. What if I refuse to take possession of a Magic Band? Can I still make online fastpass reservations?

Allison:

My husband and I were at the World in early Janurary and were given Magic Bamds at check in (we did NOT preorder them, as I had no interest in using/wearing the band). While I agree with the comments above that this system is a disaster, I would like to bring up another possible issue with the bands- I question their security.

From what I could gather all of our personal information including our credit card number was stored on the RFID band. I wonder if anyone with an RFID reader could access this information? I understand there is a pin number required to make purchases, but again this info must be stored somewhere. And yes, I know the same could be said of the Key to the World cards, but I could safely put that card in my wallet where it could not be read while I was walking about- a band on your wrist is always "out in the open".

Also, when I got home I was able to shred the Key to the World card. I was shocked to learn that Disney does not have a safe way to dispose the bands or delete your information from them (I asked at our resort and was told this was not an option). Perhaps I am just one of those paranoid people who likes to a tight grip on my personal information, but I see so many security flaws with this system. It seems to me the bands and Key to the World cards could both be options for guests.

CJ Nettles:

This new system can be confusing. I am looking forward to the bands, but I have a question. If you are an annual passholder and stay on property, are you able to make FP+ reservations in advance? Or being an AP holder means you have to wait until you get to the parks? Thanks!

KRISTIN: As long as you have an active MagicBand -- which you should receive because of your stay on property -- you can make the FP+ reservations online in advance.

Karl:

I'm in the UK, and have managed to get registered to MDE. Took about 10 days for hotel reservation to link. Admission ticket (bought via MDE) linked okay. I'm 120 days out (visiting late May 2014). Turns out a 5 day hopper via MDE is best value over UK 7-day 'Ultimate' tickets, if you don't want all the add-ons (water parks etc). I'm staying at SSRAS, 8 nights. Fastpass+ is waiting for me 60 days out, so can't reserve that yet. Got dining reservations okay - including BOG evening meal and Tomorrowland Terrace Desert Party (not same day) - happy! I don't object to planning ahead; it's part of the fun of looking forward to my trip.

I am wondering why I've bothered with Park Hopper now though - FP+ for 1 park/day ties me down to a single park for the whole day. Advice to others, save your $60 PH option add-on - don't buy it - I suspect I'll not use mine now.

Visited WDW dozens of times since being young (now 35, and a park expert), master of old FastPass system and got at least 5 per day, often over 2 different parks. Glad 60 day advance FP+ system is open to onsite UK guests in advance. TSMM is a major plus on FP+, some will like reserved parade viewing spots as a new perk. Not happy I can't FP+ Soarin and TT or RNR and TOT on the same day - will really miss that.

As an AP holder of Disneyland Paris, I'll just do RNR and TOT in Paris on traditional paper FP. I can still do these via FP same day in Europe, and more than once - each - with a bit of leg work/hopping! I never thought I'd like Paris FP more than WDW FP - heck - but I can ALWAYS do TOT twice, RNR twice and BTMR once per day via Paris FP - for just $150 per RTN flight and $80/room/night.

I suspect I'll spend more time in WDW stand-by lines in May, when I would have been eating, shopping and spending loads of money enjoying my holiday. Disney will lose out from me standing in physical lines all day, rather than in virtual lines spending money all day in the parks. I reckon FP+ could save me cash - I'll get tired sooner (been on my feet for longer) and head back to the hotel room to spend even less cash in their parks.

I think the idea is back-firing on Disney Execs. I used to do 14 nights, then cut it to 10 days a few years back, now I'm doing 8 nights - all due to increased holiday costs.

sheryl:

People who are upset about the inability to use FastPass+ when park hopping may want to consider booking their FastPasses in advance (if they are staying on property) for the second park they intend to do, choosing times later in the day. Then visit the popular attractions in their first park early in the day, before the crowds. Sure, may of us who were pretty adept at using the old system are a little sad to see the ability to get multiple FastPasses for our favorite attractions in one day, but I can see some real advantages to this new system, particularly the ability to schedule FastPass times, rather than just having to take the return window available when we approach the machines. It just changes the planning strategies a bit.

Anita:

When we were there in October, we were able to use the Magic Bands. Being able to reserve my FastPass times before I left home made it seem like my vacation started early. It got me more excited about my trip and reminded me of why I love WDW.
If you make FastPass+ choices before you leave home and find the ride is not busy that day, you can change your FastPass choice. You can either go to the MDE webpage or one of the kiosks. We also had a ride breakdown during our FastPass window and we were told that we could come back anytime that day and our FastPass+ would be honored or we could change it to another ride.
One of the cast members told us that in the future, Disney will be able to know when those who have the MagicBands arrive at the airport. You will get a text on your phone with your room number and you will not have to register at the hotel (provided you already checked in online).

Valerie:

Thank you for a wonderful article. We are staying onsite during Easter break and will be able to schedule our FP+ ahead of time - I was a bit worried but the more I read about great tips like the ones you have shared, the better I feel.
We have always taken advantage of using FP whenever possible especially during such a busy time as Easter break so we are quite familiar with the old system. I am having a hard time understanding those who have written above saying that in the past they were able to get 5 FPs in the morning to use whenever they wanted throughout the day. We were never able to get a new FP until it was time for our most recent FP return - in other words, we could never get more than 1 FP at a time. So the new FP+ system is an improvement as you can book all 3 at the same time.
I do agree that limiting FP+ to only 3 per day is not ideal and I hope Disney will allow for greater numbers in the future. Also as an AP holder and one who loves to park hop, I am also not happy that we can only get FP+ for one park per day - again, I hope that is something that Disney will remedy in the future.

Ryan Willard:

Just an FYI from my experience a few weeks ago. I was planning to go to Hollywood Studios the next day on our vacation and I logged into My Disney Experience app to reserve my FP+. Low and behold ALL THE FP for Midway Mania were already gone for that day! So good luck for all non resort guests trying to get a FP the day of at one of those kiosks! Midway Mania was GONE the day before and also the next day as well!

The system is garbage as of now. I used it for a week and did not like it. Only 3 FP in one day and in one park is terrible. This though I am sure they will fix as it is in beta testing still.

Also Disney is tracking your every move. I went in the standyby line of Rock 'n Roller Coaster. I did not reserve a FP and Disney really should have no idea that I was on that ride. Well when checking out my photos that are linked to My Disney Experience, Disney threw in a few random photos and one of them was me on the roller coaster! Hmmmm. How did they know I went on that ride? Kind of creepy!

Anonymous:

Quick question -- you mention something in your article about making changes. It sounds like that refers to times only. Here's a scenario to help me ask my question. Say you choose Peter Pan, Space Mountain and Splash Mountain at the entrance to MK. Then you head to Fantasyland to do other rides while you wait for the FastPass+ time, but when you get to Fantasyland there is just a small wait at Peter Pan - can you go to a kiosk at Fantasyland and switch to a different ride, for example Little Mermaid, so you are not wasting a fastpass on a ride with an already short line?

KRISTIN: Yes, you can make changes, such as the one you describe, on the MDE app if you have a MagicBand or at a kiosk if you don't. The only catch is that there is no guarantee all the other rides will have FastPasses left at the time you want to change. You'll have to check what is available.

Martha Tischler:

Amen to Susan. Bring back the old Fastpass locations at each attraction but employ the new machines. Voila - no long wait at the few Fastpass+ Kiosks and hello - spontaneity will return. Those folks who relish advanced, minute planning can still use the new Magic Band 3 reservations while the rest of us can lahdydah around the parks and enjoy the magic. The Magic Band folks who have made reservations will not be able to get more fast passes though!!! You either obtain them on the go (using all the old restrictions) or 3 advanced. The guests are now empowered. WDW please take note.

Donna:

Thank you so much for your blog! I read it just before traveling to Florida on February 1st and found that it was a lifesaver. Although my family and I didn't like the new Fast Pass system, I found your tips very helpful. After a few days at WDW, my family and I agreed that the new Fast Pass system did not make any sense and was inconvenient. Each morning, we quickly headed to a kiosk (toward the back of each park) where a Disney CM helped us with the Fast Pass. Overall, we did fewer things at WDW because of this new system. There were more lines than ever before and we waited longer to get onto most rides. I recommend anyone visiting WDW soon to schedules their passes for rides in the afternoon, then try to visit all the major attractions in the morning without a pass.

Sonya houston:

My question is does anyone know how this affects traveling families of children w disabilities??? We have been traveling to Disney world the past 5 years w 4 kids. My child has autism and long lines are impossible to stand in...not to mention if you leave the line to attend to 1 child you cannot go back in line w your family which is understand able to a degree. The disability card allowed us to use handicapped or fast pass entrances to avoid most of our grief. I'd gladly trade a wait in line option if someone took away the struggles my child faces daily!!

KRISTIN: Disability Access Service Cards still are available at Guest Relations.

Cheated:

We felt cheated ... ripped off. WDW has been our family's and friends' happy place to meet for years. We LOVE Disney and have been die-hard, loyal fans since we were kids!

We spent a ton of money to all meet between Christmas and New Year's, paying for the park-hopper passes and to stay in 1 of Disney's expensive resorts so we could take advantage of Extra Magic Hours. None of us were informed that these new FastPass+ restrictions would take place prior to our arrival. If we had been told of Disney's plans during this busiest week of the year, we would have canceled our trip.

Instead, we arrived to be told we were only allowed 3 rides in 1 park and we were not allowed to even choose our favorites. Forget about getting to a park at rope drop to ride by standing in line and using your passes for a second park. This is IMPOSSIBLE. Once guests figured out the new "rules," EVERYONE was at the Rope Drop!!! We had never in all our years of going to WDW seen that many people at Rope Drop. We couldn't even get close to the rope because the lines just to get through the entrance were horrendous and there were not enough cast members at security check to accommodate the huge crowds.

Once inside, you could barely walk, it was so packed and this was during Extra Magic Hours! My band wouldn't work, so I had to go stand in a long line to get that taken care of while my group waited. It was too crowded to ride anything unless we stood in line at least 2 hours - with children!

Some of us bought our first annual passes for the trip and now want our money back. We feel we have been cheated and our money was wasted. Some days we only got to ride 1 or 2 rides, as opposed to the 5-7 we have always enjoyed before. I hate to say this, but WDW is not worth the money anymore at all. It has been our go-to magic place for every family event - birthdays, graduations, anniversaries, celebrations, personal triumphs.

This last trip made everyone sad, frustrated, disappointed and pretty upset. We were not dealt with fairly or honestly -- huge let down. Breaks our hearts, but unless Disney changes this policy - we will not be returning.

N.J.:

After speaking to multiple people at the parks and also calling Guest Services to express our frustration with FastPass+, we were told to go online to the Disney website to express our complaints. We were advised the only hope for a positive change would be for enough Disney guests to complain. We were also advised to be sure we fill out the survey Disney emails after your visit. Almost every question related to our thoughts and opinions about the new FastPass+ policies, even giving a box for comments. We were honest and let Disney know exactly how unhappy we were with our experiences. I am hoping enough dissatisfied guests and longtime Disney fans will also take the time to fill out the survey or send a comment to the Disney website to let them know your thoughts about these new restrictions.

Carol:

Thanks for everyone's comments and suggestions. I only get two days at Disney World in late March, which looks like a very busy time. I'll be staying with my friend at her mom's house. No FastPass+ to day visitors is a disappointment. I can't imagine waiting in line to pick a ride. I guess I'll take my chances in Epcot and Magic Kingdom and do what I can. I'm wondering if FastPass was abused by some visitors, so this makes it more manageable.
Going to no ink or paper is an environmental change for the good, but what about all that plastic which eventually ends up in landfills to never breakdown.

Doug:

I wish to comment clarify The Disability Service Card answer if I may.

They are still available, but work differently than before.

They now work like a Fast Pass (old Fast Pass). You take the card to the attraction entrance and they assign a time equal to the current wait time. You may return at that time and enter using the Fast Pass entrance. You must wait until after the assigned time to sign up for the next attraction. They also now include a photo of the pass holder on the pass itself. It really is a more fair system than the old one.

Antonio Serrano:

Just to let everyone know, it looks like the Magic Bands are starting to roll out to passholders. I logged in to my Disney Experience account and they were waiting there for me to confirm my address (for shipping) and select which color I wanted...

Barbara Stiefel:

We are from KY and were in Disney the week of Feb 1 thru Feb 8, for our annual visit. We had a group of nine people, but stayed in three separate rooms at the Wilderness Lodge. Let me tell ya, booking our ADR's was a CAKE WALK compared to booking FastPasses for nine people. The stress level of this trip (as compared to all of our past trips) was way off the charts. I am a planner, and I used to always enjoy planning our Disney trips, but not this time. Disney's motto is "family time", but when you have a party greater than four, it's a pain just sit down together for a table service meal.

The new fastpass system is full of glitches as well as confusing. Limiting people to three fastpasses per day and tiering them was a big mistake. The FP+ kiosk lines were much longer than the actual ride lines. The My Disney Exp app on my iPhone was useless because most of the fastpasses showed up incorrectly (even the Disney Fastpass technical experts acknowledged that MY Disney Exp wasn't working and or/updating correctly).

My party included my parents (who are 60+), and they have no idea how to use the Fastpass system. I had to do it all for them, and for everyone else in our party. How can Disney expect the elderly population to grasp this new change? Luckily, I figured it all out after lengthy research on message boards, websites, and numerous calls to Disney. I was worn out and disgusted before I even left for this trip.

Lisa:

We visited in January,stayed on property and had magic bands in advance. As much as I love getting 5 fast passes for Big Thunder, the FastPass+ was great for us to park hop. We still did our morning park and got on Everest 11 times, and then went to Hollywood studios and used FastPasses for the afternoon /evening hours and got right on Aerosmith and Tower of Terror. I found I was less stressed about if we would get on any rides at night but we had no worries since we had the FastPass in advance.

Kat:

I'm upset about the changes to FastPass. We get 10-day tickets but stay offsite to be able to afford the trip. We have to go in the summer. Does anyone know how these bands are going to work with the huge student groups that are there in the summer? I'm afraid they will back up the lines and take all the spots.

Marianela:

Hi! Do you know what happens with foreign guests who book their vacations through their local travel agency? I must suppose they give you the MagicBands at your Disney hotel check in. My confusion is related to the fact that I saw that many people receiving their MagicBands at home, and I don't think that Disney is going to send the bands to Chile! LOL

KRISTIN: Guests who book Disney World vacations through a travel agent still receive MagicBands at home. However, MagicBands are only shipped to addresses in the United States at this time. You are correct that yours will be waiting for you at your hotel.

Beth :

I am with a party of 9 and only half of us are staying on property with magic bands. Is there a way that I can link the other tickets to my disney experience so I can book all our fast passes together online? Thanks

KRISTIN: Not at this time -- unless you're all annual passholders or staying on property. Otherwise, if you want to get the same FastPasses for all 9 people, you will have to visit a kiosk in one of the parks.

John:

Keep in mind that you cannot schedule your fast pass plus rides in advance if you buy your tickets through Expedia and other vendors that give a voucher. I made this mistake. Even though I will be staying at Art of Animation, I will not be able to link the tickets to my Magic Band until I arrive unless I buy another set of tickets which I am considering. Disney has said that you can't get more fastpass plus tickets by purchasing extra tickets, but I know of at least one person who did. I see it as a big advantage to schedule the rides in advance and don't want to have to wait until I arrive. I will probably purchase another set of tickets. I will have to go through the turnstiles twice, but the finger prints are linked to the ticket and Disney doesn't care how many tickets you buy (as long as they are separate tickets and not the same ticket).

KRISTIN: As I mentioned before, you cannot link single- and multiple-day ticket vouchers to MagicBands if they are not purchased through WDW. You can, however, link annual pass vouchers that are purchased through third-party vendors.

Kyle:

Regarding new annual passes and fastpass+. If you have a "voucher" for the annual pass that you bought online, but has not yet been activated, can you book fastpass+ 30 days before the trip. (assuming the "voucher" would be activated on the first day of the trip)

KRISTIN: I have not tried this myself, but I have been told by Guest Relations and the Disney World IT Desk that this is possible.

susan:

In the past we felt more respect for Disney World compared to Universal Studios, because Disney had a Fastpass system that was fair to all park guests, unlike Universal that allowed those who paid more to have shorter lines (and they had tacky signs all over encouraging people to “upgrade” their tickets). Disney’s fast past system made us feel like Disney cared about being fair and making all their park guest’s experience magical. But now with this new system that allows Disney hotel guests and those savvy about booking in advance a clear advantage regarding fast passes, most of the passes will run out quickly for other park guests. It feels like Disney is heading towards the same category as Universal Studios because some park guests have a clear advantage over others.

Ceil Parker:

No wonder why people are stressed. Going to Disney used to be the pressure reliever we all so desperately needed on vacation....now it's check your phone, use your app, plan, plan, plan...just to do a fast pass....sometimes all this over-planning takes the fun out of "Disney"...and what about us older folks who don't walk around with a phone to our ear or eye to the screen all day long. We never had trouble getting fast passes the "old fashioned" way....and we always came away with a smile in our heart because we knew we had a great day at the park. It's too bad the simplicity that used to be Disney is being replaced with high tech, impersonal scheduling....it makes me want to cry.
But I'll always have the memories.

John:

We went to WDW in February and are going again in May. As we stay at POR, we got magic bands and FastPass+. The bands were great, very convenient, and because we know our way around the parks we were able to use FP+ quite well. However, for first-time visitors, selecting online before arriving will be difficult.

Disney has recognized two shortcomings (only 3 selections per day permitted and can only be used in one park) and is addressing them. I think they need to look at a couple of others. First, the limitation in EPCOT and Hollywood Studios to one elite attraction a day. That means that if you want to do, say, Soarin' and Test Track on the same day, you're going to have to line up for one of them and the standby lines are always very long. I don't have any trouble with limiting FPs to one per attraction per day, to give everyone a chance to do the most popular attraction at least once, but you should be able to select from all the attractions, not just one from the elite group.

Second, the way FPS are being applied in some cases. Two of our party wanted to go on the Kali River Rapids in AK. We waited over an hour for them and saw raft after raft coming down with empty seats (one raft had only two riders). The cast members were sending the rafts off as soon as the FP guests were on board, rather than filling up with the standby guests. The standbys only got on about every 4th raft. That HAS to change.

It's a new system and there are bound to be bugs, which no doubt will be sorted out. In the meantime, it's nice to be able to plan your day in advance- and for those bemoaning the lack of spontaneity, you don't HAVE to use FP+. I enjoy the line-ups at the Jungle Cruise and Haunted Mansion (there's lots to see) and don't find the waits unacceptable. It's part of the Disney experience.

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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on January 30, 2014 5:00 AM.

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