Walt Disney World has finished making 3 major changes to its FastPass+ ride reservation system, each of which should be a major improvement.
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).
In its initial guise, FastPass+ was hamstrung by several significant limitations. 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.
Disney has now moved to address these limitations by making some significant changes. One of these was implemented at the end of March, while the remaining two will go live to guests on Monday, April 28, 2014. Let's take a look at what they are...
1. Advance FastPass+ reservations for off-site guests
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. 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.
Resort guests will retain the advantage of selecting FastPass+ reservations 60 days in advance.
2. The removal of the three reservation limit
From April 28, Disney will be lifting the three reservation limit. It will still only be possible to make three reservations in advance. However, guests can now make additional reservations on the day of their visit. Once they've used one of their FastPass+ reservations for the day, they'll be able to to select another attraction at kiosks in the parks (Disney is working on implementing the feature in the My Disney Experience app, but hasn't added it just yet).
3. The introduction of Park Hopping with FastPass+
Guests can still only make advance reservations for three attractions in one park per day. However, from April 28 they will be able to make additional reservations for attractions at any other park at in-park kiosks.
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!