FASTPASS Return Time Enforcement Begins March 7, 2012

by on February 6, 2012 145 Comments

Filed under: Recent News

Cast Members at the Walt Disney World Resort have been informed that enforcement of the FASTPASS return time window will begin on March 7, 2012. This means guests will be allowed to return to an attraction with a FASTPASS during the time frame indicated on the FASTPASS – not anytime after the window as with the previous policy until now.

Some leeway is being built into the new policy – guests can now return 5 minutes prior to the window (ending the backlog of guests who arrive a few minutes early), and Cast Members are being told to accept the FASTPASS up to 15 minutes after the window as a courtesy.

Currently this new policy is anticipated to roll out on Wednesday, March 7, at the Walt Disney World Resort, though there is still time for Disney to change the exact date and time this goes into effect. There is no word of a similar policy for the Disneyland Resort at this time.

Posted on February 6, 2012

145 Responses to “FASTPASS Return Time Enforcement Begins March 7, 2012”

  • Count me in the disappointed column. I would be ok with the change if I felt it was done to improve standby times. Unfortunately I feel that this was done to shift ride capacity away from the general public who uses the fastpass and standby lines toward the xpass premium. Disney needs to make up capacity somewhere in order to charge for the ride reservations system that they want to implement. This is most likely where it is going to come from. If this is the case it is just one other example of the WDW making changes that increase the cost of visiting while providing a little worse experience.

  • We’ve always planned on returning during our FP window. Once we gave Test Track FPs away when an ADR conflicted. Once I stood outside Toy Story Mania for ten minutes waiting for a FP window that wouldn’t conflict with an ADR. And once I encountered a longer-than-expected Splash Mountain FP line caused by a bunch of folks who missed their designated FP window so they could see the afternoon parade. If I can play by the rules, everyone can.

    • I absolutely agree! You know what time your ADR is for, and you also know what the FASTPASS return window is before you take one. If you don’t think you’ll be able to come back during the return time window, then don’t take the FASTPASS. On a recent trip to Disneyland, my husband and I encountered a FASTPASS line that was twice as long as the standby line – 2 hours!! We figured that a lot of people must have come back after their designated window. We didn’t pitch a fit, we just chose to do something else.

  • Will this also take effect the same day (or at all) in Disney Land????

  • After reading all the rants, and Passholder slams and back biting and flamebate, remember once you get comfortable doing something, it’s hard to change. We all get use to things, but as a Passholder for 8years I can tell you that park strategies come and go. The fun is in finding new ways to your the parks. This is gonna throw a monkey wrench into my park strategy, but I remember when the dates weren’t printed large on the FP and we would bring out unused FP’s from one visit with us on the next. 🙂 now we always find an entering party to hand our unused FP’s to when we leave. Now the game is changing, great! Time to play.

  • (Sorry, I’m a bit late to the party, so forgive me if this point has already been brought up…)
    I’m glad that WDW is taking action to close some of the loopholes that keep the fastpass system from running efficiently.
    My question is, though, why is it still an issue of what a CM will or won’t enforce? Why isn’t this all automated by now? Wouldn’t some sort of barcode printed on the ticket would solve the problem once and for all? The fastpass is scanned at the ride, and if you’re within the return window, you’re let into the queue. No ambiguity, no arguments.

    • There actually are barcodes on FASTPASSes so they can be scanned and accounted for. When they’re doing that level of “accounting” they have the CM’s box them in 15 min or 1 hr increments depending on the level of accuracy they want.

      That just counts though and tells Disney when FP is used for return, not to actually let anyone return.

      Disney internal rationale up until now has very much been on the side of the argument that there’s many reasons someone could be late. The same could be said for service recovery items like free items from stores, free food, tickets, etc.. that were used heavily for guest service recovery in the late 90’s and early 00’s.

      The food, parade viewing, child of the day, etc.. started to be abused by guests – at least in Disney’s opinion – and guidebooks mentioned the ways to get these perks and how to “make your case” to get an upgrade, etc.. Now management must approve any such service recovery item when in the past a frontline CM literally had a voucher for anything in the park in their pocket. Things change and Disney reacts.

      It looks like the tide is changing against the mentality of valid reasons and more toward abuse and trying to reestablish order.

  • Not a big fan of the new policy. I hope Disney understands in some regards they’re working against themselves. With a couple small children, we would tour in the morning, save some FPs for use later, nap back at our off-property hotel, then return later for a small window of time 5 – 8 pm for some dinner and a couple rides. W/o the lure of Soarin, TSMM, or our other FPs, I’m MUCH more likely to eat dinner off property and not return to the parks at night. We can just swim in our pool and the kids won’t actually care one way or another. Disney just lost dinner revenue, any gift shop revenue, and my MANDATORY stop at Casey’s on the way out of the MK at night. Oh well, sad for them!

  • The funny thing about what the guest said above me is that I will actually go to the parks more at night because I know the fast pass line will not be as crowded. So for me I will spend more. I a say “Happy for Disney”
    I’m glad they are finally correcting this long over due problem!

  • Will Touring Plans be updating their plans to go with the new Fast Pass window being enforced? I use these plans like Gold, and this could really change things!

  • It would be really great if there could be an addition to the Lines App where you
    could find other people you could trade/swap FP’s with.
    On the wdwtoday podcast someone mentioned there was already an app for this. I found it yesterday, but today it doesn’t show up at all. Poof, gone!?? It was called Ride Swap – for Disney’s Fastpass.
    Any chance you will consider tinkering with Lines?

  • This has the potential to improve line flow at WDW. I see it as an experiment that might, or might not work. First, I would hope that the Touring Plan experts are working feverishly on updating their algorithms, getting ready to gather data, etc. I suspect that the 2012 version of the book and this web site will be requiring substantial work. Get ready to earn your money! A simple update of last year’s book won’t cut it ; ). I do have faith that they will come up with workable plans that take into account the new rules. Remember, there was a time when there were Touring Plans from before the days of Fast Pass that worked pretty well. Second, I would like to see Disney offer an option at the FastPass machine that lets you choose which time slot you want your return hour to be in, not the first available slot. This would retain the fixed number of fastpasses for a particular time, but let you choose the block that works best in your schedule. For example, I go to the Splash Fastpass machine at 10 am, and it gives me a 12:30-1:30 return option. I plan on the parade or lunch then. Instead, I get to choose the 2:30 to 3:30 option (right after lunch) as it fits into my schedule. I would still be allowed to get a FP for any other unused time (if I want, and if still available, for other rides), but I would be locked out of any other FastPasses for the same return window. I would also be locked out of any additional FP for that ride for that day. Using this strategy, within an hour of being at the park, I could walk around, get FPs for throughout the day that are within the preferred hours I want, and the system still keeps the fixed number of FP’s for each window. Advantages? I spend more time shopping and eating, and less time in line. I get to schedule my day better. So, basically, I’m all for an enforced FP return window, if I can have just a bit of flexibility for choosing my return window times (subject to availability). Plus, the system would need to allow me to keep my group together. In a group of six, we all need the same return window, or else the system doesn’t work. So I need the option of finding the time slot where there are six FP’s still available for the time I want, I can’t have four in one slot and two in another (perhaps there need to be some overlapping windows for the blocks e.g. 1000-1030, 1030 to 1130, 1100 to 1200 etc) so that if one doesn’t get consecutive FP’s, they are still able to have a common window (plus the five before,15 after exceptions will help).
    As long as Disney makes significant effort to inform people in advance (website, daily handouts, press releases), no one can claim they didn’t know when they start to enforce.

  • I was just at WDW during the Easter Weekend and they are enforcing the Fast Pass time windows. There is a way to get around it though as long as more Fast Passes for a ride are available (see if you can figure it out!)