For over a year now there has been a lot of hubbub in the Disney community about MagicBands and FastPass+. In 2013 Magic Bands were rolled out to Disney resort guests and this included beginning testing of the new Fastpass+ system.
What is Fastpass+
Disney FastPass+ service makes your vacation better than ever by allowing you to reserve access to some of your favorite Walt Disney World experiences before you even leave home.
Choose from more than double the previous number of experiences and skip the standby queue at the attractions that you selected in advance, and—for the first time ever—FastPass+ service includes select Character Greetings, shows, parades and fireworks.
The above definition is straight from the Disney Parks website. That is how the system is designed to work and basically how is works for guests currently staying in a Disney resort.
FastPass+ Testing for Non-Disney Resort Guests
If you are not staying at a Disney resort, we live 2 hours away and often travel over for the day-as we did on Friday, the process is different. When you enter the park, bring your entire party to a FastPass+ Kiosk (they are located throughout the parks). You will receive a flyer that explains FastPass+ on one side and a list of all of the FastPass+ attractions, character meet & greets and shows. You get to choose 3 attractions in one park for the day.
**NOTE Please grab the paper and make your decisions BEFORE getting in line, especially of you have a large party going in several directions. The key to making your FastPass+ reservation experience run smoothly is organization and planning in advance. Not getting into line until you are organized makes it easier on the cast members and reduces the wait time for other guests as well.**
Kim and I knew what 3 attractions we wanted FastPass+ for and that we had morning plans so we wanted all of our FastPasses for the afternoon. We waited in line about 10 minutes-there were 2 families making reservations with cast members and 1 ahead of us in line. We presented our APs to the cast member, told her our attractions: Peter Pan’s Flights, The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh and Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin and she went to work finding us times. She told us our first time 1:00-2:00pm for Pooh. Our first thought was, “How are we going to remember 3 FastPass times all day long?” You can write the times on the flier where you choose your attractions but neither Kim nor I had a pen with us, and neither did the cast member! I whipped out my iPhone and set alarms for each of our FastPasses and we went on with our day.
At about 1:10pm we arrived at Pooh scanned our APs at the FastPass+ return and entered the queue. Where the FastPass queue merges with the stand by queue you need to scan your card again so don’t put your card away. We has put ours away and had to dig them out of our bags for the second scan. The process was simple enough and worked well at all 3 attractions.
If you change your mind or if you go by an attraction and choose to ride stand by, you can go to a FastPass+ Kiosk and let the cast member know and they can update your FastPass+ with another choice.
MomMaven’s Thoughts on FastPass+
When we vacationed at Disney in December our friends who were staying in a Disney resort had access to FastPass+ but those of us staying off property did not, this made traveling as a group difficult during the busy holiday time. My friend Kim and I headed to the Magic Kingdom on Friday, 1-24-14, to try out the system for ourselves.
We often pop over to the park to spend the day with friends who are down on vacation. Since they make their FastPass+ plans in advance is may be difficult to get the same time windows as they have. This is a new problem for us since with the old system we all walked up to the machines and got return tickets for the same time window.
Since non-resort guests do not have MagicBands at this time (hopefully passholders will be getting them in 2014), our FastPasses are not available though the My Disney Experience Mobile App. This is why we had to write down or create alarms on our phone so that we could remember our FastPass times.
We are parkhoppers and with the legacy FastPass system we were often able to visit our favorite attractions in all 4 parks in one day using 6-8 FastPasses in one day. The new FastPass+ system only allows 3 FastPasses a day and they must all be used in the same park. For locals like us, this is the biggest downside we see of the new program. Is it a deal breaker? No. Will is cause us to change our touring plans? Yes. Does this make us happy? No.
For most guests, I feel the FastPass+ system will work well. Having your resort reservation, dining ADRs and FastPass+ all organized on the My Disney Experience Mobile App will be a great way to stay organized on vacation. The system is still in its testing phase so I am sure there will be tweaks to the system as we move forward.
If you have questions about FastPass+ please leave them in the comments and I’ll do my best to answer them for you. If you have used the system on a recent vacation, I’d love to hear your thoughts too.
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