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Disney FASTPASS+: Pros and Cons … So Far

Disney FASTPASS+Since last week’s announcement of Disney’s new “next-gen” project called MyMagic+, there have been many questions and much speculation from readers and other Disney fans. Most of the questions — and concerns — have been centered around FASTPASS+, which will allow guests to book guaranteed times for certain shows and attractions in advance.

While this is a hot topic, I wanted to take a moment to look at the pros and cons of the new system. Now the big caveat here is that the new system isn’t in use yet (besides initial testing), and Walt Disney Parks and Resorts Chairman Tom Staggs himself has said, “We’ll be testing, adjusting and adding features to MyMagic+ and My Disney Experience over time and will continue to make improvements based on our guests’ feedback.”

That said, we can look at the pros and cons of FASTPASS+ as we understand the system now. So, without further ado, here they are:

Pros

  • Ability to book key attractions and experiences in advance. The planners among you see this as a huge benefit and a way of helping to ensure you won’t miss out (or wait long) for those park experiences that matter most to you and your family. Magic Your Way ticket holders will be able to make FASTPASS+ selections up to 60 days in advance.
  • Expanded selection options. With FASTPASS+, we’ll have the ability to book rides, select character meet and greets, quick-service restaurants, parades and shows.
  • Flexibility to switch experiences or return times (if they are available). While we’ll have to see how much availability there is for last-minute changes, this is an option that isn’t available with the current system.
  • Ability to make changes on the go via smart phone or from one of the park kiosks (available at guest relations and at certain FASTPASS+ locations). Again, this isn’t an option available with the current system.
  • No more needless traversing of the parks to collect passes. This also mean no more splitting up the family so that one person (usually me) makes a “run” for passes while the rest of the family enjoys something else.
  • RFID kioskNo more passes to lose. While it’s true that the selections would be tied to a card or a MagicBand that guests would have to tap, they at least don’t have to collect passes in the parks.

Cons

  • Loss of spontaneity. This seems to be the biggest complaint so far. Detractors feel like FASTPASS+ will take all of the fun out of the park-going experience by forcing them to plan their day in the park months in advance. While using FASTPASS+ potentially could require guests to further plan their park experience, guests do not have to participate in the system just as they don’t have to use FASTPASS now.
  • More research in advance, especially for first-time visitors. Guests who want to book in advance would more than likely want to know more about each of the attractions and experiences before committing to them. For those guests who are unsure about what to select, Disney will be offering a set of recommended FastPicks — a set of three FastPass+ selections — that could then be modified.
  • Park-hopping guests can only use FASTPASS+ at one park. Guests who use park hoppers to “hop” between more than one park in a day would only be able to use the new service at one of those parks.
  • Guests can only book a particular attraction or experience once per day. While this probably applies to a very small percentage of the park-going population, guests would not be able to book Splash Mountain® Attraction, for example, for two of their selections in one day.
  • Unused or expired FASTPASS+ selections still count toward your daily limit. Use it or lose it!

The big questions

How many selections will guests be allotted in a given day? What kind of availability will there be for guests who don’t book in advance or for spur-of-the-moment visitors who still want to take advantage of FASTPASS+ in the park?

Of course, these questions will soon be answered once the new system is in widespread use in the parks. In the meantime, share your thoughts below.

Related: Disney Unveils Next Gen in Trip Planning with MyMagic+, FASTPASS+

Hoppy New Year!
–Leap

 


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17 Responses to “Disney FASTPASS+: Pros and Cons … So Far”

  1. Trudy says:

    I can definitely see the pros and cons of this idea. I have been to the parks enough to know what rides I want to see. Knowing I have to be at Expedition Everest at 1pm (if that’s the time I choose) makes park planning a bit easier. The downside of course is if we are delayed doing something else and we miss our fast pass time. We never get the Disney Dining Plan because I don’t like having to make dinner reservations in advance. I’ll eat when the kids are hungry……don’t make me plan that 180 days before hand.

    My issue with the fast pass right now is they are all taken by lunch. On my last visit, we stopped by Exp. Ev. at 11am and the fast passes were taken for the entire day. What will happen if you can reserve days in advance via an app? I think this will deter people!! If I found out this morning that all the good rides are “sold out”, I will consider spending the day at Universal Studios instead. Just my two cents :)

  2. GCADave says:

    My family bought tickets through Undercover Tourist and our trip plans are already made just like they always are, but I’m wondering how (if?) we will be able to use the FASTPASS+ system at all or use MagicBands. Our trip is in March, but I would love to have the option somewhere to link our existing park tickets with My Disney Experience and go ahead with booking FastPasses for our trip. I would do this immediately if it were an option. I imagine when this gets rolled out to the general public who haven’t booked a Disney resort hotel package, slots will be gobbled up like chairs at Cindy’s table.

    • FrogBlog says:

      Hi there,

      No launch date has been announced for FASTPASS+. We’ll let you know when they do!

      – Leap

    • DizNut says:

      My understanding is that you will enjoy the benefits of FASTPASS+ regardless of where or when you bought your tickets!

  3. Heather says:

    I am traveling to WDW in April. I am not staying on property (because we have a timeshare in Orlando) so this would not always benefit me, if it is really for those only staying on property. Is this something that can be used by non-property staying visitors?

    • DizNut says:

      If you stay off property you will still be able to use FASTPASS+ (once fully released) simply by entering your ticket number into your profile online.

  4. karen says:

    Is there going to be an extra cost to this feature? & if you stay off property will you be able to use the feature? We have been coming to disney every summer for 10 yrs. I definately plan things but like a lil flexibility. & I always come down on a tight budget & would hate to miss out on experiances if we couldnt afford to add yet anothee cost just to enjoy all the disney magic.

    • DizNut says:

      Yes. If you have a ticket you will be able to enter the ticket number into your disey online profile and select Advance fastpass

  5. Kevin says:

    I think it STINKS that “guests can only book a particular attraction or experience once per day” like Splash Mountain with FASTPASS+. Disney needs to look at this option more closely!!

    • Chris Harwell says:

      I think this is great and will take a lot of stress out of the trip, especially with fast passes getting used up so early or having to run around and get them and split up the group. I am GLAD that you can’t fastpass the same ride multiple times, which means everyone won’t be jamming up the mountains repeatedly all day, which would make the lines WORSE!

  6. Will Sekzer says:

    If you go after Easter to the end of May or Mid-September to the end of October there are almost no lines and you don’t have to be at a particular place at a particular time. You get to enjoy at your leisure.

  7. Gail says:

    HI! How do you acquire the fast pass+ system? We’d like to book a few fast pass + rides BEFORE we go to WDW April 1st to the 10th, but I cannot find a way to book them.We are staying at a Disney Resort and have the hopper package and Magic Your Way….for all of the parsk. HOW do you get the fast pass +….I’ve been looking and looking. I also can’t find the site that allows me to talk to a Disney cast person via online chat.I already did i once but didn’t mark esite. Thanks

    • FrogBlog says:

      Hi Gail,

      The FASTPASS+ system hasn’t launched yet! You can use the existing FASTPASS system once you’re in the park, but you can’t yet book ahead of time.

      Have a great trip!
      – Leap

  8. Linda says:

    I’m wondering how offsite visitors will or won’t be included. That is still a mystery at this time.

  9. Lynda says:

    My family and I just got back from spending December 28th through January 2nd in Orlando. WQe enjoyed the benefits of both the original and the new fast pass systems on January 29th but then on January 30th, we were at Animal Kingdom and they had shut down the old fast pass system which meant long lines to go on the favorite rides more than once.

    We were hindered a bit on both days from booking the fast pass + because we were staying at the Disney Swan and had to book the rides once inside the park. Once booked though, it was easy to change and it downloaded seamlessly to our Disney Experience App. We booked the three rides as soon as we got in the park so we had not bad times, but if you even wait an hour after arrival, the best rides are booked well into the night.

    We spend New Year’s Eve day in Universal/Islands of Adventure which turned out to be a good decision. The disney parks were all full by 9:30 AM. The Universal fast pass system is superior in our opinon as it gives fast pass priviledges once for each ride. If you plan your day well, you can get on the really good coasters at least once early on and then use your fast pass for later on in the day when it is busier and lines have built up.

    The main Harry Potter ride is not eligible for fast pass at all, so make sure you make a beeline there as soon as the park opens to have less than a 30 minute wait. Wait times pushed past 2.5 hours when we were there, but went down to about an hour later in the day. It is well worth an hour wait, simply stunning. We easily rode all the best rides (our daughter is 10 so the kiddie rides weren’t on the list) at least once in Islands of Adventure by 1:00 PM and then spend the rest of the day and early evening in Universal. By 9:30 PM the park was getting busy with New Year’s Eve party people so we went to our hotel and watched the fireworks from there.

    • FrogBlog says:

      Hi Lynda,

      Thanks for posting this! Sounds like it was a good time. Do you think next time you would stay at a Disney resort so that you could book FastPass+ selections in advance?

      Best,
      Mommy Frog

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