FacebookTwitterPinterestEmail
MagicBand

The FastPass+ ride reservation system has come in for heavy criticism from Walt Disney World fans - but Disney is set to make 3 major changes to it that should improve the situation.

FastPass+ has replaced the legacy FastPass system at all of Walt Disney World's theme parks. It allows guests to reserve time slots during which they can head to a popular attraction and experience it without waiting in the normal, standby queue. It has been undergoing testing for some months, with resort hotel guests being equipped with RFID-enabled "MagicBands" to identify them as part of the system (the bands also act as a room key and a virtual wallet).

However, FastPass+ has been hamstrung by several significant limitations to date. Most notably, guests were limited to just THREE reservations per day, and only ONE of these could be for a "top-tier" attraction such as Toy Story Midway Mania or Soarin'. ALL of the reservations had to be at the same park, negating the benefits of a Park Hopper ticket. And OFF-SITE GUESTS (those not staying at Disney hotel) could only make reservations on the day of their visit.

We've had hints already that many of these limitations could be on the way out. And now we have official word from Disney Parks chairman Tom Staggs that Disney is working to lift the restrictions. Here are the three big changes that have now been confirmed by Disney:

1. Advance FastPass+ reservations for off-site guests

MagicBand

Image © Disney

This one was actually revealed last week in TPT's Dennis' weekly rumor update, and has already been implemented. As of March 31, 2014, guests with a Magic Your Way ticket are able to make FastPass+ reservations 30 days in advance. This is the same rule that applies to Annual Passholders.

To begin making FastPass+ reservations, guests simply need to link their Magic Your Way ticket to the My Disney Experience website. That also allows the guest to manage his or her FastPass+ reservations from the My Disney Experience app on their smartphone. This should greatly decrease the long lines that currently exist at the MyMagic+ kiosks in the parks. If a guest does not have a smartphone, they can still make advance FastPass+ selections at home and the kiosks will be available as well.

Off-site guests will now also have the option to purchase MagicBands for $12.95 each, with resort guests and Annual Passholders still receiving them for free. They are not compulsory for off-site guests, though - the Magic Your Way ticket can be used for the same purpose.

Resort guests will retain the advantage of selecting FastPass+ reservations 60 days in advance and the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resorts are now included.

2. The removal of the three reservation limit

MyMagic

Image © Disney

Here's the word from Staggs on the current three reservation limit: "We've heard from a number of guests that they would like the opportunity to add additional FastPass+ entitlements during their visit, in addition to the three they can plan in advance. So, we’re working on providing them with the ability to add and enjoy additional entitlements on the day of their visit. Once they’ve used the three they've booked, we’ll enable them to select another at kiosks in the parks. And once they’ve used the fourth, they can select another, and so on."

So - there's no timescale as yet, but the three reservation limit is on the way out. There's no word on the future of the tiering system as yet, but we'd currently assume that once a Tier One reservation has been used, another one will be able to be made (assuming timeslots are available).

3. The introduction of Park Hopping with FastPass+

FastPass+

Image © Disney

Staggs went on to say: "We also heard that other guests liked the fact that with the FastPass service they could use FastPass when they park hopped. So we’re working on a service enhancement to add that feature to FastPass+ as well."

Again, there's no timescale or word on exactly how this will work (for instance, will it be possible to book timeslots in advance for multiple parks, or will reservations at the second park need to be made on the day?). But it's a step in the right direction.

What do you think?

Essentially, the second two changes here are really only restoring features that were available in the old FastPass system. What do you think the overall effect will be - will FastPass+ ultimately be a more useful tool than the original FastPass, or would you prefer Disney to have stuck with the previous system? Let us know in the comments section below!

FacebookTwitterPinterestEmail

Comments

I hate the fastpass+. The old system had no limitations and so the seasons where the parks weren't terribly busy we were able to fastpass all the rides we wanted. The new fastpass+ system has taken all spontaneity out of a vacation. It's one thing to make dinner reservations. You eat three times a day generally around the same times, but I don't want to have to spend any extra time planning where in the park I will be each day and not miss parades or a character that I just happen to walk by because of the Fastpass+ system. How do I explain to my son "no baby you can't meet Captain Hook because we will miss our Splash Mountain ride. I stress enough about where I have to be at certain times on a daily basis with work school ect. Vacation should be a relief of that stress. I loved being spontaneous. My family and I used to race to the rides we wanted to fastpass each morning. It was part of the fun. Now that part of our Disney experience has disappeared and we are all very disappointed. I like the idea of updating the old system to the magic bands instead of keeping up with paper tickets but we should've left the system the way it was. We could've got magic bands and kept the fastpass system. The fastpass+ is making me postpone my next trip until they get it together. I'm not spending thousands of dollars on a vacation that the entire time I will have a giant headache!

We have non-expiration, park-hopper tickets that we are using for our upcoming trip. It frustrates me because we shelled out this money to not even be able to use it! I have teenagers, who want to focus on the "top-tier" rides! Ugh! BUT we will make the best of our time there regardless. I am sure that Disney knows visitors will do that anyways.

I was there with a student group a couple wks ago. I felt bad for my students who had ti stand in the fastpass line for at least an hour - to get a fastpass for a ride for a different hour. I was in Disney with family last summer and the process seemed much easier. I also preferred having the ticke with times in my hand as opposed to having to look at my smartphone for the times- which in the Florida sun was generally hard to read.

I was just there and used fast pass + with wrist bands! The bands worked well and FAST!! Adding non resort quests as we had a non resort guest with us and adding her fast passes each AM was a huge hassle and not all cast members knew how to do it! Also being able to add more through out the day is a huge bonus! My complaints were both those issues so you won me back! I bring family frequently and was ready to think of other places to go!! Also heard resort guests at more expensive resorts may get more FP+ to use is BAD PR! Don't do that! I love Disney!!

I was just there and used fast pass + with wrist bands! The bands worked well and FAST!! Adding non resort quests as we had a non resort guest with us and adding her fast passes each AM was a huge hassle and not all cast members knew how to do it! Also being able to add more through out the day is a huge bonus! My complaints were both those issues so you won me back! I bring family frequently and was ready to think of other places to go!! Also heard resort guests at more expensive resorts may get more FP+ to use is BAD PR! Don't do that! I love Disney!!

View More Comments

Add new comment

About Theme Park Tourist

Theme Park Tourist is one of the web’s leading sources of essential information and entertaining articles about theme parks in Orlando and beyond.

We are one of the world’s largest theme park guide sites, hosting detailed guides to more than 80 theme parks around the globe.

Find Out More About Us...

Plan Your Trip

Our theme park guides contain reviews and ratings of rides, restaurants and hotels at more than 80 theme parks worldwide.

You can even print them.

Start Planning Now...