Walt Disney World is to introduce the FASTPASS system for meet-and-greets with Mickey Mouse at the Magic Kingdom, enabling guests to skip the regular line.
The move marks the first time that FASTPASS has been used for character encounters at a Disney park, with the system previously being restricted to rides and shows. As with other FASTPASS attractions, guests will be able to pick up a pass that will be stamped with a one-hour time window. They will then be able to return between the specified times to meet Mickey, without waiting in the "standby" line.
FASTPASSes will become available in spring 2011, when Mickey and Minnie Mouse will move into a new home in the Magic Kingdom's Town Square. Dubbed the Town Square Theater, the new greeting space will located inside the current Exposition Hall area and will feature an all-new interactive queue.
The Town Square Theater will be themed in a Victorian style, featuring a marquee with gold-leaf trim, a mosaic floor and brass chandeliers. Mickey will greet guests "backstage" in the theater, in a rehearsal room lined with posters, steamer trunks and stage props. New retail shops will also form part of the updated building.
Mickey, who was recently evicted from his previous home due to the closure of the Mickey's Toontown Fair area, will be joined in the Town Square Theater by a number of Disney Princesses. In the long-term, the Princesses will move into an expanded Fantasyland, which is set to be completed by 2013 and will incorporate the former Mickey's Toontown Fair area.
Until the opening of the Town Square Theater, guests can meet Mickey and Minnie in Tomorrowland, close to Space Mountain. The Disney Princesses can currently be seen at the Adventureland Veranda.