Walt Disney World is experimenting with removing some of the key limitations of the new FastPass+ queue-jumping system at its theme parks.
One of the major restrictions of FastPass+ was that it limited guests to reserving 3 timeslots per day, during which they can visit an attraction and ride without joining the main "standby" line. The other was that Disney had split attractions into "tiers", limiting guests to booking just one Tier One FastPass+ per day.
Recent days, though, have seen three potentially great bits of news for users of the FastPass+ system - although we should stress that NONE of these have been confirmed as being permanent changes or benefits as yet. Let's take a look...
1. Is the 3 FastPass+ limit about to become history?
The restriction to 3 FastPass+ reservations per day may be soon be a thing of the past. Disney is currently experimenting with use of the system without the limitation (enabling guests to make additional reservations once of their 3 existing FastPass+ reservations is used), as revealed in this tweet from Disney Hipsters:
BREAKING: Disney World Is now testing FP+ without the three FP limitation as of today... pic.twitter.com/tUtnhBG4Kx
— Disney Hipsters (@DisneyHipsters) February 11, 2014
Of course, nothing could come of this test. Or Disney could choose to vary the number of FastPass+ reservations that can be made based on how busy a park is expected to be. We'll have to wait and see.
2. Are the tiers breaking down?
A number of FastPass+ users have reported in recent days that it is sometimes possible to reserve rides on multiple Tier One attractions on a single day, by switching an existing Tier Two reservation to a Tier One attraction. Is this just a glitch, or another sign that the limitations could be removed? Again, it's not yet clear. But we can hope!
3. It's endorsed by an expert
Len Testa, the legendary statistician behind TouringPlans.com, tweeted this recently: "After updating 150 touring plans for FastPass+, I think it'll be better than legacy FP for a big chunk of Disney resort guests. 75% of theme park guests show up well after park opening, and FP+ is a big benefit to them. Also Disney resort guests. So FP+ addresses the majority of Disney's highest-spending guests. From a business perspective, that's understandable."
So it may not benefit everyone - particularly the sort of early-rising, expert Disney fans that read Theme Park Tourist (and write for it, for that matter) - but this is still a big endorsement for FastPass+ from someone who really knows what they are talking about. Disney may have irritated a large section of die-hard fans with the introduction of FastPass+, but that may be the price of reducing the time that most guests spend in line.
Disney itself claims to be very happy with the system. According to Walt Disney World President George Kalogridis, the system allowed the Magic Kingdom to accommodate an additional 3,000 guests per day during the Christmas and New Year holiday season. He went on to say that Disney is seeing "substantially higher utilization" of FastPass+ than it did with the old FastPass system.
What do you think?
If the above changes become a reality, will they change your views on the FastPass+ system? Let us know in the comments below!