X-Pass First Look At Magic Kingdom Today

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TouringPlans.com would like to give a HUGE shout-out to subscriber Chris from Wisconsin and his family for letting us tag along in Magic Kingdom today! 

Green means that FASTPASS testing is a go

As reported at Jim Hill Media and other Disney fan sites this week, Walt Disney World began a limited test of new enhanced FASTPASS features that will roll out at some point in the future. Alternately called X-Pass or FASTPASS +, the new system will allow guests to pre-select a certain number of attractions per day for FASTPASS windows. We had already heard that some guests with resort reservations between May 1 and May 15 have been contacted by email to participate in the test. In a new twist, we now have seen guests approached at the Disney’s Magical Express check-in and asked if they wish to take a survey. If this happens to you, the answer is YES (and drop us line too)!

The FASTPASS card guests in the testing phase are given to use

In the 3-5 minute survey, guests are asked to choose Magic Kingdom attractions from two lists to get FASTPASSes for on a particular day. We don’t have the exact stack up of attractions, but they are separated so you can only pick so many headliner attractions and the rest are less busy ones. The test seems to be limited to Magic Kingdom attractions, and guests may only try it for one day in their vacation as opposed to the length of stay. It’s not clear how guests are being selected at the airport to participate.

After picking the attractions and giving an email address, guests are presented with a FASTPASS card to be used in the park. They also receive email confirmation of their chosen attractions.

The following attractions are currently being tested:

A Cast Member assists with scanning one of the new FASTPASS cards

Using the new system is very easy. There are RF scanners by the FASTPASS return entrances with Cast Members standing by. Guests wave the FASTPASS cards by the scanners, which sends their information to an iPad the Cast Member is carrying. The iPad shows the Cast Member the guest’s name, any special events the party may be celebrating, and if the guest’s return window is valid. If everything is in order, the guest goes through the entrance just like other FASTPASS users. Upon arrival at the point in the line where you would normally hand over the paper FASTPASS to the Cast Member, there is another RF reader that is scanned. The Cast Member verifies that the FASTPASS is valid and the guest continues on to board the ride.

In addition to being used to board attractions, the FASTPASS card can be scanned at other stations close to the FASTPASS kiosks that will let the guest know how many more attractions they have left for the day and what the return times are for them.

The fine print

I was lucky enough to get to try this out today – a Cast Member told me that only 300 guests a day are currently part of the test. It worked flawlessly and there were several things I really liked about it. For one thing, it’s easier to keep up with one card than multiple small tickets. As someone who (no joke) had to have my Annual Pass replaced this week after leaving it in a FASTPASS kiosk in Animal Kingdom, I appreciated being able to wave my card in front of the reader instead of inserting it and waiting for the FASTPASS to pop out. Moreover, there is no worrying the Cast Member enforcing return times when it is a simple green for current return times or red for invalid times.

If anyone else has a chance to try out the enhanced FASTPASS system this month, drop us line and let us know what you think!

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Posted on May 2, 2012

63 Responses to “X-Pass First Look At Magic Kingdom Today”

  • So are these guests given specific return windows for their chosen attractions? Can they pick the order in which they’d like to visit each attraction? Or for now can they just go in any order?

    • by Laurel Stewart on May 2, 2012, at 6:13 pm EDT

      They are given specific windows and are asked to choose morning, afternoon, or evening when they pick attractions.

      • Can you use regular Fastpass at the same time as the XPass? For example, if you prebook an XPass with a return time at 9:30am, can you get a regular Fastpass at rope drop and effectively hold two at the same time?

        • by Laurel Stewart on May 2, 2012, at 7:47 pm EDT

          You can during the testing phase since it’s not tied to your admission media. This won’t be the case when it rolls out for real.

          • That could be a bad thing…what if you ask for a morning return time and you get one for say, 10:30. Under the current system, your first FP return time would be 9:40 and you could get a second one right at 9:40. It seems that if you don’t get the earliest time slot available, you wouldn’t be able to collect as many FPs under the new system. I sure hope that you will have the ability to confirm that you want the XPass return times and you don’t get locked in to an unfavorable time slot that you can’t cancel.

          • So will you be able to get a fastpass for a different ride that is not your x-pass? For example you have Splash on your x-pass at some point, can you get a fastpass for Space?

          • by Laurel Stewart on May 3, 2012, at 12:45 pm EDT

            No one knows how it’s going to work when it rolls out for real, Allen. Day guests are people who will be affected by this since all indications are that they won’t have access to X-Pass.

  • I’m excited anytime I see technology used in ways that can enhance the guest experience. That in mind however, I will be far more interested when we see how this system will work for guests not staying on property, as I see the fastpasses given with hotel stays at DCL to be a step in the wrong direction.

    Side note, I look forward to reading future posts about the dangers of drinking and fastpassing.

    • by Laurel Stewart on May 2, 2012, at 7:52 pm EDT

      Coincidentally, I look forward to testing the dangers of drinking and fastpassing. We all win!

    • I can assue you, if you’re not on property, you will be phased out, albeit gradually, of fast passes entirely. Annual pass less then $440/year, a nights stay at Deluxe is more than than. It’s all sadly about money. Hopefully as fellow AP holder we can make voices heard.

  • I am excited about this as well. I like the idea of one card instead of a bunch of little cards, plus you can keep it for your scrapbook, unlike the others that you can only keep if you don’t use one.

  • We were able to sign up at the airport today to use our passes on Friday. We spotted a few cast members with computers across from magical express desk and stopped to see what was going on. We picked space, haunted mansion, Peter pan and jungle cruise. We were only able to pick the day we wanted and our fastpasses start at 9:30 and the last on is at 4:45. We did see people using it at the mansion about 5 pm today and they were being followed by quite a few higher ups. Can’t wait to try this on Friday.

  • Are there any other testing phases like in the end of June because that’s when I am there and it sounds so cool. I really want to try it! :-)

    • by Laurel Stewart on May 2, 2012, at 8:17 pm EDT

      The frontline CMs I talked to today were given 1 day notice of the roll-out. I’m sure they will test other features since this is just a taste of all the rumored changes that are coming. Hopefully more of our readers will get to try to it out!

  • Interesting to see where all of this is headed, but since you only get a card and no printed slip, I can see the following exchange happening a lot…

    Guest: I’m sure it’s my fastpass return time.
    CM: Computer says “no”.

  • I wasn’t sure what this new system was all about, but I like it. I just came back from Disney with my band this week, and if this is basically a revamped use of fastpass, then I really do like it. I found us running from one side of the park to the other to get a fastpass. We went out of our way to grab a fastpass for splash mountain then went over to space-mountain and a few other rides before using the fastpass. It makes it easier picking a few attractions ahead of time.

  • Do you have to be a hotel guest to use it? What if your a local and only go for the day?

  • by Trissa Mina on May 3, 2012, at 5:03 am EDT

    I know this all is in the name of convenience, but it kinda sounds like more trouble than it’s worth.

    • Yeah, that’s what it sounds like to me, too. plus all those new Fastpass entrances cluttering up rides with fast-moving queues that don’t need them, like the HM.

  • by Aliceinwonderla on May 3, 2012, at 9:23 am EDT

    Wondering how this will work with ADRs. Unless you get to pick an actual time, you may end up wasting a FP. Plus, it doesn’t really save steps if your return time for SM comes up while you are at HM. You will still have to backtrack.

  • by Andrew Ferrillo on May 3, 2012, at 9:59 am EDT

    Any ideas how this will work if you are touring with small children. We have 3 girls between 2yrs-old and 8yrs-old and often utilize the baby-swap option with regular fastpasses. The adults like to ride everything, put the children are restricted by height and fright. Will this be available with the fast-pass+?

  • Any word on what they will be charging for this new feature?

    • $0.00

    • You pay by not staying in line and in stores and restaurants, and attractions in future likely to be phased out for those off property. It will cost you time in line, and plenty of it, if you’re not giving Disney more $$$$ somehow.

  • So you pick if you want to ride AM, mid-day, or PM? What happens if I have a dining reservation? At least with the current way, I can opt to skip getting a FP if I know the return window is before, during, or immediately after a reservation, thus leaving me free to pick up FP’s for times I know I can ride. If I have a dining reservation and that’s the window that one or two of the rides I want to do pop up, are you allowed to go early/late? Or are you just SOL because the system scheduled you to ride during a time you couldn’t go?

  • I am not quite understanding this concept for off site visitors. Will fastpasses still be available for anyone staying off-site?

    • What I have read is that the current fastpass system will continue even with the new xpass system is fully operational. However there will be fewer fastpass slots available because xpass will be taking a certain percentage of those slots.

  • Goad of fast pass for Disney….make more money off guests by keeping them out of cue lines, and in stores and restaurants while “waiting”. I don’t see new system as anything but hassle for guests and a way for Disney to in future control tightly who deserves pass. Ie…those who track ably with purchases and resort stay can make them the most money.

    For once…in 20+ years, I’d like to see Disney do something, anything, without profit as motivation and improve the actual experience. Side note…I see now on days when park not busy, they only open 1 parking lane, and 1 entry kiosk. What a long line, is worse then peak times. All to save a buck. I like Disney….it is deteriorating their own product and this is another way…with xpass,aka. Fast pass plus. Most guests have no idea fast pass isn’t for them, it’s to hold as many guests in parks and in stores and spending more money as possible.

    • Sounds like somebody grew up! LOL!

      If I can think of one advantage for this, it’s the fact that at least you’ll know that you have passes ahead of time. It can be disheartening when you see a large tour group guide sitting at at fastpass kiosk taking a hundred fastpasses for their group.

  • I meant “goal” of fast pass is making money, not “goad”. Sorry for typo. Hopefully Disney will respond with improving guest experience and not giving less, charging more, and turning parks into meet and greets and shopping center, with few attractions for high spending guests (as new fast pass system is headed)

  • The guest experience is being ruined everyday. I have no idea who in there right mind is coming up with all this crap. Going to the magic kingdom is the biggest hassle. Forget being spontaneous. Now you have to plan your entire vacation down to the 5 minute interval. Disney World as I remember it is gone. It’s morphed into something different.

  • If this this does go live for all, the TouringPlans folks will have to factor this into all their touring plans. Sounds like another layer of complexity. Glad I don’t have to figure it out. I’ll leave that to the pros at TouringPlans.com!

  • I hope this works better than the current FASTPASS system. I have seen that CM’s are checking times and you are expected to return during the hour written on your pass. As a local and annual passholder, I see my chances of getting a FASTPASS dwindling. Yes, I can come back in less crowded times, but I still have family and friends in town from time to time. I won’t be riding with them if they can get x-pass and I’m excluded.

  • I don’t mind this new system. We are DVC members and always stay onsite. We also go at rope drop so the fastpass isn’t as necessary to us. If you go to a park at opening, you can ride everything you want with very little wait time.

  • I found out about this yesterday from a CM while booking a tour over the phone. At first I was a little upset, but after thinking about it found the benefits. The CM said this was put in place because people do not adhere to the times on the tickets because they have always been excepted until the closing of the parks. So if I received a fastpass to return at 10am I could use it at 11pm. What happens is that sometimes the fastpass line becomes longer than the standby line. My family and I have noticed this many times especially on Splash Mountain. We would take advantage of this and go standby then turn around and use fastpass. Two trips down SM in less than 20 mins, can’t beat that. At the same time we found ourselves running from one side of the park to the other trying to get fastpasses. We realize now that with this new system we can schedule our fastpass times in conjunction with how we walk the park before we enter the park. We can schedule Space Mountain at 9am or 10am and Splash Mountain at 2pm when we are on that side of the park. With a little bit of planning and knowing the system any dedicated Disney Fan will know how to work the system to their advantage. Plus being a DVC member we are there every year sometimes twice so riding major attractions once or twice is enough for us.

  • I remember a rumour that xpass was going to be a bonus for guests of deluxe resorts only ? Has anyone heard that ?

  • I just completed a trip to WDW, and was luckily chosen at the airport to participate in the new Fastpass program. While checking in for the Magical Express, I was asked if I wanted to participate. The cast member asked what day I wanted to visit the Magic Kingdom, and would I prefer Morning, Afternoon, or Evening. (I learned from another couple I met on the bus that they were only given choices for Afternoon or Evening, as the Morning had apparently filled up.) Then I was presented with a double-sided laminated card, from which I could choose any four attractions. The cast member asked for my email address, and I received my itinerary by the time I arrived at my hotel.

    My itinerary broke down like this:
    Space Mountain 920am-1020am
    Haunted Mansion 1115am-1215pm
    Splash Mountain 1255pm-155pm
    Jungle Cruise 225pm-325pm

    Using the card was simple–as described above–but what I really liked about the card was that I didn’t have to run around getting the Fastpasses in the first place!

    Having pre-assigned times let me use the Magic Hour to ride Dumbo, the teacups, the Speedway and the Astro Orbiter, before making my way to Space Mountain. The time were spaced out enough to give me plenty of time to experience everything else in each land before moving on to the next one. I ate a quiet early lunch at Columbia Harbour House before my fastpass time for Haunted Mansion, which also let me avoid the crazy lunch lines.

    I had quite a few people in the park ask me about the card–which was in my lanyard–and what I knew about it. The entire experience was incredibly pleasant. The preassigned times create a natural flow through the park, and I imagine that Disney mixes up the order of the rides, in order to more effectively control the crowds. There was also plenty of time to ride the Jungle Cruise, and still watch the parade at 3pm.

    As for the rumor regarding the Deluxe resorts, the cast members I spoke with at the Fastpass kiosks said that they are testing the program to replace the old Fastpass system. They said that one of their biggest complaints comes from not being able to hold multiple Fastpasses at once, and this will allow guests to hold up to four, without the hassle of running around the park to go get them.

    If you have any questions, please feel free to email me, and I’d be happy to share my experience in more detail. :)

    Angela
    Worldwide Travel Agent

    • Angela-I’m hoping you don’t mind a few questions as it sounds like you had a good experience. I was just selected via email for our upcoming trip-our first. I’m wondering-could you get other Fastpasses for other rides, sa Big Thunder, if you wanted to? Also, how did you know your return times, from an email? I love the idea of possibly having no wait and not having only 2 Fastpasses at a time, but am unsure since its our first trip and we already have a plan in place. I want to make sure I understand before committing.

  • If the X-Pass scheduling system doesn’t work around advance dinner reservations (ADRs), then I don’t see it as being an improvement on the current FastPass system. With enforced usage times for both X-pass and FastPass, the two are equally inflexible. Has WDW designed this new system to work in conjunction with ADRs?

    • As of right now it is not integrated, but it also hasn’t really rolled out yet. I’d be surprised if it wasn’t integrated to ADRs (in addition to other things) but even if it wasn’t, allowing advanced scheduling means you could potentially schedule your X-Pass times around your ADRs (or the other way around). You can’t schedule a fast pass, so this is the inherent advantage even in the most basic form of the system.

  • So, we’re every year Disney vacationers. When we were there last week, we ran into a first time fast pass snag. We’ve always gotten our fast passes, then returned at our leisure any time after our assigned time. This time, we had to stick to the one hour window. Well, that blew. It leaves you totally attached to your watch, which is the last thing you want to be doing on vacation. One hour just doesn’t allow for dining, already being on a ride on the other side of the park, or seeing a short stand by line and taking advantage of it. Have the masterminds considered reworking the math to allow for a wider window of return time?

  • Hi, any idea how this will affect us annual passholders that of course do not plan when and where we will be?
    Ana

  • I just received an email from WDW inviting me to participate in the testing. Our vacation is planned for Sept 20-26. We are taking our 2.5 year old so we picked Meeting Mickey and Minnie, Peter Pan’s Flight, Buzz Lightyear Space Ranger Spin, and Celebrate A Dream Come True parade (which I assume means a decent reserved viewing area). Our travel partners (separate reservation and room) booked Big Thunder Mountain and Space Mountain instead of Peter and Buzz. I will try to post my opinon after we return home.

  • I am heading to Walt Disney World the second week in April (BTW, been checking your site daily, adjusting my touring plans!) and I am REALLY hoping I’m picked to test the Fastpass+. I would love to be able to schedule my fastpass times before I even go to the parks! It would save me a LOT of running to the attractions where I want to use them. Keeping my fingers crossed!

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