My Updated Experiences with Offsite Annual Passholder FastPass+

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Disney World offsite Annual Passholder FastPass+ updated

One of the kiosks that offsite Annual Passholder FastPass+ users must use.

Last week’s post documenting my first experiences as an offsite Annual Passholder FastPass+ user sparked a sizable reaction, with almost 50 comments so far. Since then, FastPass+ has replaced paper “legacy” Fastpass at all four Walt Disney World parks, and Rikki Niblett revealed plans to test a MyMagic+ program for offsite Annual Passholders in the coming months.

In the meantime, there are still plenty of questions surrounding the FastPass+ program as it applies to those not staying in an onsite resort hotel. I’ve spent some more time testing the FastPass+ service and talking to cast members who work with it, and I’m here to report back my first-hand experience with some of the questions raised by our readers.

Note that the following is strictly from the perspective of a local Annual Passholder who has not stayed onsite since FastPass+ testing began, and has not been selected for any beta testing programs. If you previously stayed onsite and still have a MagicBand linked to your admission media, or are otherwise already eligible to use the My Disney Experience app and website to make advance FastPass+ reservations, your mileage will vary.

 

How busy are the FastPass+ kiosks?

It varies widely. The lines at some, like the Fantasyland kiosks at Mickey’s PhilharMagic, are epic. Others seem to be largely deserted.

I received assistance from this FastPass+ cast member inside Magic Kingdom’s Town Square Theater with almost no waiting.

Heritage House near The Hall of Presidents is my favorite FastPass+ service area: indoors, air conditioned, and utterly empty every time I’ve visited.

 

Are all FastPass+ kiosks the same?

Not quite. The permanent kisoks can be used by guests without cast member assistance, but the touch screens are very touchy. The mobile tablets carried by cast members staffing the kiosks can be quicker than self-service, and rumors suggest they may be able to circumvent certain system restrictions (at the cast member’s discretion).

A few FastPass+ locations — notably Sid Cahuenga’s former memorabilia shop at the entrance of Disney’s Hollywood Studios — only have standard iPads running My Disney Experience without RFID scanners, and are only useful to MagicBanded guests eligible to book through the app.

 

Can offsite guests edit their FastPass+ reservations with the My Disney Experience app (after making them at a kiosk)?

No. You can view your reservations in the app’s My Plans tab if you have linked your account to your admission media, but you can’t change it.

Former home of WDW’s coolest store, now a second-rate FastPass+ service center.

 

Can offsite guests view their friends’ & family’s FastPass+ reservations in My Disney Experience?

No. I visited with a group of friends, two of whom were staying onsite with Magic Bands, the rest offsite. Those onsite could see each other in My Disney Experience, but not any of the offsites, and the offsites could only see themselves.

 

Can you make FastPass+ reservations for multiple people at the same time, or does each guest have to use their own kiosk?

No. Just scan all of the group’s passes on a kiosk before selecting reservations, and all the guest’s FastPass+ times will be the same.

Six guests, a mix of onsite and off, bound together with shared FastPass+ times.

 

Can you change both the time and attraction on an existing FastPass+?

Yes, but you have to change the attraction first, and then the time.

 

Can you make FastPass+ reservations from a kiosk in one theme park for attractions in another?

Probably not. We’ve had a handful of reports of guests being able to make Animal Kingdom ride reservations from a Magic Kingdom kiosk (for example), but this doesn’t seem to be the rule. Every FastPass+ cast member I spoke to denied that this was doable.

 

Can you use FastPass+ for parades and fireworks?

Maybe. The FastPass+ flyer distributed at Magic Kingdom specifically mentions reserved viewing areas for Wishes and Main Street Electrical Parade as options, but I was not offered them on any of my visits. This likely will vary with season, day of week, and performance schedules.


Can you use FastPass+ for lunch at Be Our Guest?

Probably not. Be Our Guest lunch service is not listed on the FastPass+ flyer as an option, and it was not offered on any of my visits. If it is offered, it would likely sell out quickly, like its neighbor Enchanted Tales with Belle.


Can you park hop by rescheduling an unused FastPass+ from one park at a kiosk in another?

Again, probably not. I made three FastPass+ reservations in Magic Kingdom, used two of them, then traveled to Disney’s Hollywood Studios. The kiosk at the tip board would display my Magic Kingdom reservations, but would not allow me to edit them. Every FastPass+ cast member reiterated that park hopping is not possible, even though we’ve heard scattered reports of guests able to do it. Note that once the Annual Passholder FastPass+ program is implemented, you will still be limited to 3 reservations per day in one park only.

The DHS FastPass+ kiosk refusing to edit my Magic Kingdom reservations.

 

Should I book a night on-property just to use MyMagic+?

Probably not. Currently, Annual Passholders who have stayed onsite during a MyMagic+ test can continue to use My Disney Experience to make FastPass+ reservations on an unlimited number of days out of the next 60. But when the new Annual Passholder FastPass+ program rolls out in the coming months, users will only be able to hold FastPass+ reservations on 7 days out of the next 60 (calculated on a rolling basis).

In the future, Annual Passholders who have a upcoming resort reservation will be able to book FastPass+ for 7 days, or however long their hotel stay is, whichever is longer. So unless you plan on visiting the parks frequently over the next few months, don’t pay to stay overnight at All-Stars or such solely for benefits that will change soon.

In case you were wondering what MyMagic+ is really all about…

 

Please share your experiences with FastPass+ as an offsite Annual Passholder in the comments below. And if you have further questions about how the service operates, send them to us, and we’ll continue to test it for you.

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Posted on January 30, 2014

61 Responses to “My Updated Experiences with Offsite Annual Passholder FastPass+”

  • Could you please clarify where the kiosks are in MK? You mentioned the one at Heritage House but that’s not listed under the list on this website. I’m wondering what other ones might not be listed. Also wondering if you could help me figure out the best chance of getting the FP+ reservations we want. First time visitors, have no idea how to get to Heritage House the quickest way, etc.! Thanks!

    • You are correct Rebecca, the Heritage House is not currently listed on the maps or website, but I expect that to change before long. It is located next to the the entrance to Hall of Presidents. The quickest route there is to cross the bridge to Liberty square and look to the right past Sleepy Hollow waffle stand. There are also a couple unadvertised kiosks in the Town Hall guest relations building to the left of the main entrance.

      • Thanks! So is it quickest to just go on foot to Heritage House? And do you think it’s best to do that first or ride a couple headliners first?

        • Definitely hit two or three big rides before heading to a kiosk. Which one you go to really depends on which side of the park you are on, since the main benefit of FP+ is reducing backtracking. Be sure to read my first article in this series, along with Len’s recent posts on using FP+ with our updated touring plans.

      • Guest relations looked like a good place to go. I was in there for something else. All the kiosk in there were completely unused. I think people only see the ones that are out in the open and/or near attractions. The ones at EPCOT in the “breezeways” (such as near the Character Spot) were mobbed until afternoon.

  • Thank you for your update. This whole thing is very frustrating for those of us who are investing thousands of dollars at Disney only to be treated as second class citizens because we are staying off property. One question. Would you get the fast passes first or ride TSM first and then get FP at HS? We are going the last week of April/first week of May.

    • Hi Tammy, I hear your frustration, and I think a lot of people are going to feel some growing pains while the bugs are rung out. In general we recommend hitting 2 or 3 big rides before going to a kiosk. Please refer to our newly updated touring plans on this website for specifics, and optimize your selected plan in our Lines app onsite for the best results.

    • by Claire Carrington on January 31, 2014, at 12:06 am EST

      Agree, and the way this has all been handled is very un Disney. I don’t mind change, but when people are spending the amount of money they do to be told well, because you don’t spend enough, and where we want you to spend it, well you get the left overs. Also, even if you are staying in the hotels, it doesn’t guarantee that the tech part of this will work. So now instead of waiting in a line for a ride, you stand in line in front of a kiosk….. makes no sense at all. Come on Disney fix this before July or you will be losing our family. Can’t begin to tell you how upset this makes me. This was going to be a trip of a lifetime, and our first time bringing our nieces to Orlando. Now I have visions of standing in line at a kiosk, and then an hour for rides that any other time would be little to no wait. My husband and I actually considered not going to Disney, and spending more time at Universal, but we are going to hang in there with the hopes that this gets ironed out before we get there.

      • I have faith that Disney will keep improving FP+ until the majority of their guests are satisfied with it…eventually.
        If you really want to experience a stress-free vacation like WDW used to be before all this change, try staying onsite in one of Universal’s deluxe hotels. Unlimited express access is like a dream!

  • We are a family of 6 all with annual passes. 3 of us went in Nov and stayed on property so received magic bands. I can still make fpp+ selections for those 3. We are returning for Easter but styaing off property. I was wondering if I stay on property for the first day of the trip wouldn’t I get magic bands for all and if so wil i be able to link them to passes and therefore make fpp+ selections for the rest of the week? Or is it even worth it?

    • Mel, if you already have magic bands with APs attached for half your party, I wouldn’t necessarily stay onsite only for FP+ (though I don’t know your budget). MagicBands are already being sent to select APs, and I expect a sizeable percentage will have it within the next couple months.
      But yes, in theory if you booked a single onsite night you could start making FP+ reservations tomorrow…

  • Everything on this site has been super helpful for planning our April trip over spring break! We’ll be staying offsite, so no advance FP+ for us. We have 8am breakfast reservations at Cinderella’s Palace on our MK day and I’m wondering if waiting until after breakfast will be too late to go to a kiosk or if one of us should head to a kiosk right away when we get in the park and meet the rest at the restaurant.

    • Thanks for the compliment, Sarah! I’m not even certain if the FP+ kiosks will be open during early breakfast but you should have time to eat before finding one. Or you could have one of the adults go take care of FP+ while the rest of the family is eating. Just avoid the kiosks in Fantasyland at Philharmagic, they are always swamped!

  • Hi, Seth –
    I am curious about how to go about doing this…”You can view your reservations in the app’s My Plans tab if you have linked your account to your admission media, but you can’t change it.”
    We are staying offsite and already have our park tickets. How do I link my MyDisneyExperience to our tickets so I can view our FP reservations. This is not crucial but seems a little more seamless than taking a picture of the screen :) Thanks for all the great info! Two weeks and I can’t wait to give this all a try and see how things work out :)

    • Missy, first you want to download the My Disney Experience app to your smartphone and log in with your Disney online account (or follow the steps to create one if you need to). Then click on the Tickets & Passes tab and “Link a Ticket or Pass”. You can also create profiles for each of your family members in the app’s Friends & Family tab and link their tickets too. A cast member will happily do all this for you at the first kiosk you visit, but you can do it ahead of time to save a little time at the park.

  • I did not have difficulty obtaining FastPass+ times for Enchanted Tales with Belle last week, even as an off-site guest. That shaved a lot of waiting time, as there seems to be no “slow season” for this particular attraction and I never saw the standby go below 40 minutes. I would not expect this to work in, say, summertime, when the off-sites will probably be out of luck.

    • That’s great news Mark! What time did you make your FP+ reservations? I’ve found Enchanted Tales to be gone by noon on the slow days I visited.

      • I stopped by the Tomorrowland FP+ kiosk near Stitch. When I photographed the display screen with the times on it, my camera’s data indicates it was 11:16 a.m. The return time for Belle was 2:10 p.m. — pretty good, I thought at the time, even for slow season. (Incidentally, I also got 11:25 for Space Mountain and 12:35 for Buzz Lightyear.) The real “test of the test” is coming later when high season hits. Then I’d expect to see return times like 9:00 p.m. or 10:00 p.m., with any luck, or else just a “Sorry, all out” message.

  • I went to the MK last Sunday with my daughters. I went in feeling good, but we all left feeling very let down. I new from reading what you posted to go to the Liberty Square. We walked right up to a CM at about 1:30. We wanted BTM, SM and threw in Buzz. It was 4 hour return time till BTM and 6 hour return time for SM. That wasn’t going to work since we were going to be park hopping and we rarely ever spend more than 4 hours at each park.

    We waited in line at HM and then left to Epcot. We walked right up to the Kiosk in Epcot, but because we had reservations at the MK they had to delete those and that took about 12 minutes. We just wanted to do TT, but the return time was 5 hours later. You couldn’t even try for Soarn’ as they were all accounted for. We said forget it.

    Then when we got to DHS we went over to the Kiosk, but we knew it wasn’t worth the time to even check because we’d have to delete the Epcot returns and by then we were done with the whole Fastpass+

    We always go on a whim. We rarely plan things out and in the past we’ve had no problem getting a FP for a major attraction during our visits. We also never wait in line more than 25 minutes and I noticed the regular lines were pretty long for a “slow” day.

    I’m hopeful it will take time to iron out the kinks, but if I’m not going to be riding rides I will have to reconsider renewing our APs. I can easily get my Disney fix without stepping foot in a park.

    • Hey Kelli, thanks for sharing. That sounds like a very full day! The system is definitely not set up for parkhoppers as is, but it’s good to know it was possible (if slow) to delete reservations from one park while at another.
      On the plus side, the fact that you were offered any TT time that late in the day is kind of amazing, under FP they would have been all gone for the day…
      Hope you have a better visit next time!

  • Just got back from our 18th (or so) visit to WDW. Fastpass+ is a nightmare if you are not staying at an official WDW resort (we stay at Shades of Green). The lines just to get to the (confused & harried) employees operating the (very slow) Fastpass+ equipment are long, and any attraction that anyone would want to visit has been filled up long before you got there by on-the-property guests who signed up online. The gold-ball mouse lights up in an attractive green (which is nice if you like that sort of thing) but our whole family was discouraged and (sadly) doesn’t want to go back. Probably ok for techies who stay on sight, but as for anyone not included in the on-the-property club (Shades, annual pass holders), you’re probably better off headed somewhere else. A fundamental problem is that this is probably good for Disney profits because you will spend your time forcing yourselves into attractions you don’t want to go to and eating food you aren’t hungry for. Good luck.

    • And you were there during a less busy time! I think we are going to just cancel our trip to Disney. We cannot afford a Disney vacation very often and this will only be our second time there. I don’t want to spend my vacation dollars being a test dummy for their new system–especially since we were going to be staying off site. Disney doesn’t seem very magical to me at the moment.

      • On the positive side, although the attractions have longer lines & Fastpass+ is a disaster for off-the-property folks, the new system with the light-up Mickey heads does reduce the waiting time at the park entrances — so at least you get to stand in line inside the parks.

        • What are the light up Mickey heads all about? I haven’t heard of this and am totally confused. I’m a first-timer trying to make sense of everything! Thanks!

          • They’re referring to the turnstiles when you enter the park. You tap your MagicBand or RFID pass and place your finger on a finger print reader. A swirlign light goes around a Mickey head while it is authenticating and if you pass it glows a green color. Not sure if I can post a youtube link to the process:
            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GsQ19ic7_RE

          • All the new scanners at the front gate and ride entrances for MagicBands and RFID-enabled tickets look like a metal ball with a Mickey shape engraved on it. There is a lighted ring that turns green to show you are clear to enter.

  • What I’m curious about is if Fastpass+ will be an issue if you buy your tickets through a vendor other than Disney. We were planning on buying our tickets from officialticketvendor.com, since that’s the best rate we can find, but I haven’t heard whether the tickets you buy from these vendors can be used in the Fastpass+ kiosks, or whether we would need to trade them in for the right kind of tickets.

    • If your ticket has a pass # on it you should be able to tie it using MyDisneyExperience, but if it is only a voucher you’ll need to exchange before entering. This would only really make a difference if you are staying onsite and got MagicBands in the mail, because offsite guests have to go to a kiosk on first visit anyway. I have heard that some specialty discount tickets (like military) don’t play nicely with MyMagic+ but have no personal experience with anything other than annual passes.

    • I got our tickets through a different vendor and got them in the mail with the pass numbers on them. I hooked them up with My Disney Experience online with no problem.

  • Thank you for all of the info Seth! Another key question: what if we aren’t able to get to the parks right at opening time? What if it’s more like 10am by the time we walk in? Do you still recommend hitting a couple headliners before heading to a kiosk? Thanks!

    • FP+ for top attractions have been starting to dry up around noon during my visits, and this is during slow season. If arriving an hour or more after rope drop, I’d probably go to a kisok first if wait for the headliners are over 30min already.

  • I am not seeing the latest comments on here all of a sudden. I got them via email but they’re not here. Do other people see them? There was something about a Mickey lighting up green and I was going to read that again and ask what it was all about! :) Thanks!

  • Oh weird, now that I posted that I see mine and Seth’s but not the one I was referring to, by John I think!

  • I still don’t get the current TP recommendations for off site guests using the FP+ kiosks. There are recommendations as to what times to request (I would think that mostly applies to on-site guests), but there is no recommendation as to when to stop by the kiosks or what you should try to ride first before stopping. It would seem to me to try to ride something like TSM at HS first after rope drop and then try to get to the kiosk afterwards to reserve FP+, but I don’t know if that’s the best plan or not.

    • Tammy, offsite guests can pick their FP+ times just like onsite, they just have to use an in-park kiosk on the day of, instead of the MDE app in advance. Time window options may be more limited for offsite, which is why we give you a range of times to shoot for. But whatever time you do get, enter it into your personalized plan in Lines and it will re-optimize around your FP+s.
      As for when to go the the kiosk, our instruction on the updated touring plan is to ride headliners for the 1st hour or so after rope drop, and go get FP+ as soon as the queues creep up above 20-30 min. Even in slow season you are best off getting your FP+ before noon, but there should be some availability into early/mid afternoon.

      • Thank you for the clarification Seth about the FP+ times, but others have been reporting that even during the slow times (1 or 2) that few Fastpasses are left, even in the am. So, that’s why I wasn’t sure when to get to the kiosks. We’ll be going when it’s between a 3-4, and MK will be a 5 most days.

  • I’m one of those guests who has gotten additional FP at a second park after my pre-reserved three at the first park. Maybe I was just in an unusual testing bucket, and I shouldn’t keep insisting that it can be done.

    • Maybe, or it was some glitch you were able to take advantage of . I tried to change FP+ reservations for two unused to another park; we had used one in a different park. It would not let me change the two unused reservations to another park once I had used the first one in our first park.
      But if I had originally reserved FP+ for one park and didn’t use any, I cold change all to another park.

  • We are out-of-state annual pass holders coming to Old Key West in July. Our passes will expire in June and we need to renew. Currently, you cannot get your pass through the mail but are given a “will-call” reservation number and have to pick your tickets up at Guest Relations or a ticket booth. We would like to make get FPs ahead of time. Are we out of luck, having to wait to reserve FPs until we get to Florida and have the tickets in hand?

    • Hi Laura! Currently only a small segment of annual passholders are eligible for advance FP+. You can try setting up an account in MyDisneyExperience and tie it to your OKW reservation # and AP will-call number, but I can’t promise that will work. Hopefully it will all be straightened out before your July trip’s 60 day reservation window begins!

      • Okay, thanks. Will try that. If all else fails, may have to talk my retired sister into driving down to get the tickets in person. I enjoy your tweets!

  • We’ve been park hopping for years and following the wisdom of going back to the hotel early afternoon until early evening before heading to a second park. Is it going to be better to use FP+ for headliners before we leave the first park and just wait until much later to ride anything standby in the second park? or is it better to schedule our FP+ for the second park and just follow a morning touring plan for park 1?

    I like that I will be able to get a FP+ for an attraction I am not standing next to, but Tiering the headliners, especially at Epcot, is way too restrictive. I was always able to ride every Tier A Epcot ride at the beginning of the day and later with a FP. Now it’s only one Tier A per day on FP. :(

  • I know this doesn’t exactly fall under the annual passholder section but it’s similar so I figured i’d ask here.
    A member of our group is a cast member (works for ESPN) so we have the main entrance cast member tickets and we are staying on site so we do have magic bands. However, it will not allow us to link the tickets to our bands. Any idea on any ways to set up FP+ in advance with what we have or will we have to do it in the park at the kiosks each day?

  • Is there a place to find a list of the most recommended FP+ kiosk locations (minimal lines) as well as the ones to avoid for all of the parks?

    • Sonia, when are you going? I was just there in Feb. and I can give some advice, but I feel like they are changing them all the time so if you’re not going soon, it might be irrelevant.

      • I’m going April 11th through April 18th, staying offsite and planning to hit all 4 parks so I’m trying to determine a game plan for getting Fastpasses at each park so I don’t waste time standing in lines at the kiosks (kind of defeats the purpose of getting fastpasses!)

        • Ok well I didn’t go to AK but here’s what worked for me:
          MK: Got there at park opening and went straight to Voyage of the Little Mermaid (no line) and Winnie the Pooh (no line). Then I went to the FP+ location at Pete’s Silly Sideshow, which is nearby. No one was there. The fast passes for Enchanted Tales with Belle were already gone, so that was a pretty clear message that onsite guests had booked them all up ahead of time. I got 3 I was happy with though. On our other day at MK I went to Heritage House in the afternoon, and there was barely any wait there. Thank you Seth! :)
          Epcot: Got there at opening. Sent 2 people in our party straight to Test Track (no wait) while I went to the FP+ kiosk at the digital “tip board” in the middle of Future World Plaza (behind Spaceship Earth and the Future World fountain). There were several cast members waiting there with their tablets to help. I barely waited. I told him the 3 I wanted and he did it all for me. I got them for Soarin’, Nemo, and Turtle Talk.
          DHS: Got there at opening. As soon as we walked through I grabbed everyone’s tickets and ran…thought I was headed towards the back of the park where there’s a FP+ kiosk noted on the map, but I encountered one to my left first! There were just cast members standing behind this building with their tablets! I don’t even know what the building was but if you look at the map, I think it might have been Keystone Clothiers. Just keep an eye out to your left on Hollywood Boulevard. I got FP+ for Toy Story Mania at 9:10am which I couldn’t believe. The other 2 I got were for shows, cause we weren’t doing any “rides.” I would highly recommend going to a FP kiosk at DHS first. I saw people sprinting to Toy Story Mania while I was sprinting for a kiosk. When we arrived for our FP return time, after greeting Goofy and Donald first, the standby wait line was already about an hour long. We felt like royalty walking right on! :) Hope this helps…

          • Unless the system changes, it seems that offsites interested in Enchanted Tales with Belle are going to be out of luck. I was at MK last January and even though I didn’t get to a kiosk until after 11:00 a.m., I still got a FP+ for ETWB. That is clearly not going to happen in high season. I hope the suits take another look at this and at least give the offsites a fighting chance. I hate to imagine the offsite line this summer for the mine ride — probably have to freeze myself like in “Star Trek” to have a chance of getting on.

  • thanks to all for the spot on info. we’re going aug with a toddler and a 2 yr old. staying at dolphin which we always have – hate to change to another dis hotel after all these yrs of feeling so at home at dolphin.

    unfortunately not included in offsite fastpass. rumors saying that the shades and d and s hotels could be included, but in meantime im really concerned since its my grandchildrens first visit and we have no choice for other time to visit due to my daughter in laws school system job.

    dolphin folks tell me that specially designated kiosk in each park for their guests, but that really doesnt solve problem if all morning fastpasses gone, even though we are always at rope drop as our usual strategy anyway.

    so i guess thats my question – mid aug 10-16 maybe wont be as bad as higher attendance wks in summer – but my concern is even if we do earliest arrival, use dolphin kiosk or unused kiosk, will there be highly sought rides not available to us with fastpass?

    thanks for letting me rattle on, but i guess we are all in the concern with this.

  • I will be staying off-site the last week of March and then 2 nights PO-R, then 2 nights DAAR. I have received 2 magicbands for each of us (one for each room). I have renewed FL passes and received will-call cards that I need to switch when I get there. I entered the will-call number to link passes on MDE and was only able to reserve FP for on-site days. If I request a card upon activating passes do you think I could get 3 extra FPs each day on-site?

    • Sorry Marcy, as far as I know once your AP has been tied to your MagicBand or hotel reservation there is no way to “double dip” beyond the 3 FPs you are entitled to.