Many people are understandably concerned about how Disney’s new FastPass+ system is going to affect their Disney vacation. Some of the worries most frequently mentioned with the new system are:
- Limit of three FastPass+ reservations per day
- Not able to get multiple FastPass+ reservations for the same attraction
- No ability to get FastPass+ reservations for all headliner attractions
- Only getting FastPass+ reservations for one park per day.
Some of the benefits of the new system, such as the ability to select the time of the FastPass+ reservations – may not be as obvious. And not having to run around the park to get paper FASTPASS tickets will definitely save people time.
In many cases, however, using an optimized touring plan with FastPass+ will result in a touring plan that’s just as fast as one with the same attractions and legacy FASTPASS.
Given the way my family tours the parks, I assumed that Epcot would be the most negatively impacted by the new system. With Legacy FASTPASS we would acquire multiple FASTPASSes for Soarin’ and Test Track. Now we can only get one FastPass+ for Soarin’ or for Test Track, but not both.
To evaluate the impact of FastPass+, I’m going to compare touring plans for Epcot on the second Monday of June in 2013 and 2014. Both touring plans include the same attractions and optimize the use of the available FASTPASS/FastPass+ system. Since we would never use FASTPASS/FastPass+ in World Showcase, and since we take a casual touring approach in World Showcase, I’m going to allot a chunk of time for World Showcase. I’m also allotting 100 minutes for eating. For our family, FastPass+ will not affect our dining or touring World Showcase.
Here are the plans, showing the 2013 version first:
Is the 2013 plan better? The 2013 plan uses a “FASTPASS runner” to collect FASTPASS tickets. The runner is missing out on one ride on Test Track and some time in World Showcase.
The 2014 plan increases the overall standby time by 22 minutes, but the walking time is reduced by 12 minutes. That is only a 10 minute reduction of productive time. As the FASTPASS runner for our family, the trade-off of not running around the park and collecting FASTPASS tickets is worth the 10 minutes lost with FastPass+. Both plans allow for more than half the day to tour World Showcase, do other attractions, or just relax.
Here’s a summary of how the entire day’s time is spent in various activities:
I also compared other dates from 2013 and 2014 to see how they fared under the same scenario. On all days, all touring plans start at 9 am. The 2013 touring plans all followed the same itinerary, with wait times adjusted based on observed data. The 2014 plans were re-optimized for the given day’s predicted wait times.
The average time spent walking and waiting is 150 minutes for both the legacy FASTPASS system and FastPass+.
The first comparison is Easter Sunday 2013 and 2014. Easter was early in 2013 and occurred during the heart of spring break. This is not a fair comparison for FastPass+ but a subject of another blog post. The other day that FastPass+ was a clear winner was May 20, 2014. This was the only day that I selected that had morning Extra Magic Hours.
The May 21, 2013, touring plan suffered from on-site guest getting to the park early. On other dates, the 2013 plans has a slight advantage but does not include the time of the FASTPASS runner.
Now it’s your turn. Use our free computer-optimized touring plan software to see how FastPass+ will affect your vacation!