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:
- 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.
- No 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.
- 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, 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.
Hoppy New Year!