How FastPass+ Is Affecting Your Wait In Line At Disney World

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FastPass+ is having a minimal effect – so far – on lines at Walt Disney World. That’s according to our initial analysis of 330,000 standby wait times collected at Walt Disney World since FastPass+ went into effect in January. We compared those to 3.9 million standby wait times collected across Walt Disney World since 2009.

This is good news to families concerned that they’ll wait in line longer because of FastPass+’s various restrictions, and even better news to those who hoped standby lines would be shorter because of better guest distribution throughout the parks.

The results indicate FastPass+ is not causing significant changes to standby wait times:

  • Wait times are increasing less than 1 minute, on average, across all attractions at all parks
  • Super-headliner attractions have seen a small drop (under 1 minute) in standby waits

This indicates FastPass+’s impact on wait times is at the low end of Disney’s original estimates. Here’s the breakdown by park and ride type:

FastPass+ Impact on Standby Wait Times

And Now, The Math

The challenge in doing this analysis is in attributing an increase or decrease that you observe, to a particular change in circumstances. If standby times go up, can we be sure that the increase is due to the new system? In reality, it may just be due to a general increase in attendance. So we must work some statistical magic to find the partial dependence of the new FastPass+ system as it relates to standby waits. That is, holding all other factors constant, we want to find the level of increase or decrease on the standby waits due only to FastPass+.

The most popular attractions that were part of the legacy FASTPASS system (the old one) experienced a small decrease in standby times when the new system took over. Meanwhile, the other attractions experienced a small increase in standby times. And we know that the changes are not due to fluctuations in attendance, weather or the economy, because we held those factors constant during this analysis.

This could indicate something about the new system. Here are a couple of theories as to why headliner standby waits are lower:

  1. Fewer Repeat Riders Legacy FASTPASS made it easy for savvy guests to ride headliner attractions several times a day without waiting in the standby line. With FastPass+ the rules don’t allow it. So, it may be that FastPass+ is drawing a few hundred guests a day to the less popular attractions that might have otherwise experienced a second or third ride on a Super-Headliner. With less Fastpass users later in the day, that means that the Standby lines get a little bit shorter.
  2. Better Crowd Distribution Guests have more attractions to choose from with FastPass+, and these attractions are spread throughout the parks. It’s possible that by moving guests to these other attractions, FastPass+ is more evenly spreading guests around attractions. This would explain the move of guests from headliner attraction lines, which are getting shorter, to lines at secondary attractions, which are increasing.

Again, this is a first look. Also, we’ve not yet studied how long the waits are to redeem FastPass+ reservations. Some folks are reporting very long lines here, sometimes exceeding the averages we saw with FASTPASS returns. We’re still working on measuring this.

The next big FastPass+ event will be when off-site guests can make FastPass+ reservations prior to entering the park sometime this spring. We’ll continue to monitor changes in standby waits during that time and provide updates along the way.

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Posted on February 19, 2014

117 Responses to “How FastPass+ Is Affecting Your Wait In Line At Disney World”

  • Never let facts get in the way of a good argument. So many negative comments falsely accuse the new system of lengthening wait times. Good to see what’s really happening.

    • Not to ruin the good vibrations . . . but whatever the metric was employed in this article, we have visited the WDW parks over 18 times and every line (except the entrance gate line) is substantially longer (and our last visit was in January 2014). Now the standbye lines were long . . . but the Fastpass+ lines were different . . . they were REALLY LONG. We love WDW but we came home discouraged.

      • Significantly longer is the exact words my wife and I used. Those of us who have been going to Disney for over 20-years cannot deny the fact. We were perplexed, to say the least. So much so that we are putting one of our DVC contracts up for sale next week. We are heart broken that Disney has bungled this so terribly.

      • very good to hear f Len Testa rumors re fpp being rolled out to offsite folks. staying at dolphin on site aug but so far not allowed to book ahead because not officially owned by disney.

        being told can use kiosk dedicated to d and s guests, but only one per park.

        in meantime ive come up w a strategy using emh hours for 3 of 5 park days. figure i can hopefully fare better getting times we need by getting to kiosk 8am ish.

        hearing about these awful lines at fpp line is giving be the heebeejeebees though. taking my grandchildren 4 and 2 first time to disney and in hot mid aug (no choice as to time fra me).

        so that seems to be my new concern. i hope wdw straightens that out for goodn ess sake. after all that extra planning and work to maneuver the lines, its a shame that guests at parks would still encounter such long line probs!

        come on disney, get your donald ducks in a row!

  • Hi…
    I’m just wondering, I have just booked our holiday and we are doing Disney plus Universal etc this year… As we are not staying on Disney this time :-( are we still eligible to use the fast pass system?

    Also, and separately, I saw on Universals website that you have to have park hopper to use the platform 9 3/4… How would you go about getting these?? I’m happy not to have park hopper for Disney as we always used full days last time we were there and didn’t use park hopper til the last few days.. but I’m concerned by not having park hopper on Universal, we’ll miss out! We have got tickets for Universal AND Islands of adventure… But no-one mentioned anything about park hoppers!!

    • Hi Jill! You can upgrade your Universal tickets at their customer service desks near the entrance to each park. Or if you’re staying at a Universal resort, in their lobby.

      As for Disney, yes, off-site guests are eligible for FastPass+. Here’s a post we did recently about how off-site guests are using FP+: http://blog.touringplans.com/2014/01/30/disney-world-offsite-annual-passholder-fastpass-plus-update/. (The blog post is written by an Annual Passholder, and it’s the same process for now for any off-site guest.)

      We hear that Disney will start testing in-advance FastPass+ for off-site guests this spring, which should also let you make reservations up to 60 days in advance once you have your tickets.

      • Thank you Len.. That’s really helpful! I have just bought your 2014 guide, so I can share the planning with the rest of the group who don’t have the time to go on the net.. I’m sure I’m the most excited out of the group so far… and at 40.. also the oldest!! Never too old for Disney!! :-D

  • Stand by waits may not be any longer, but my personal observation over 3 trips (#4 about to start) is that waits in the FastPass lines have increased, sometimes substantially. Further degrading what was a nice way of getting around faster. It feels like more has been taken away than has been granted in the FastPass+ system. Park hopping and repeat fast pass use is discouraged, while FP+ lines/waits seem longer. For me, the ability to schedule FP+ on the fly is nice, but on balance, not the experience I would have preferred.

    • FP+ return wait times is definitely something we’ve got to look more at. Thanks Liane!

      • How about the ability to time our FPP wait? I waited 45 min in FPP line at TT in Oct. I never did that before FPP, but would definitely like some scientific insight, rather than just my person experiences.

      • I wonder about the impact of this: it seemed like some of the longest lines I saw were for the FP+ kiosks. I would constantly see a huge line or large numbers of people and think it must be a character or something special, only to discover it was people waiting for the FP+ kiosks. I would have been very unhappy if I those people having to stand in those lines.

      • I am back from another trip to WDW, and wanted to share something I observed about FP+. It appears that the assignment of the return hours is no longer spread out across the entire hour. There are XX number of folks assigned to return during the same hour I am, and the next batch is NOT five minutes later, as I would have expected, but more like an hour later. So during my trip, if I presented myself at the beginning of my one hour window for FP+, I generally had a longer wait. If I presented myself 20-30 minutes into the window, the wait was much shorter. I tested this theory in several parks, and found the wait times supported this approach. I also found that several times a FP+ was wasted, as the standby wait was the same, or even shorter. I even heard a cast member tell a guest not to use the FP+ on an attraction as it bought them nothing (this was one of the shows) and they could then use it on something else. Of course, I tried this approach, and nothing else I wanted was available! I’ve used FP+ on four separate trips, and I think the experience is entirely different now. I personally don’t like it, but we will have to figure out how to live with it. I hope my timing observation helps.

    • My experiences exactly. We spent 20 minutes waiting in line just to use our FP at Kilimanjaro Safaris plus a wait for the ride itself and 35 minutes in the FastPass line for Buzz. These unexpected waits substantially hurt our ability to plan. And the standby waits were ridiculous. We are Passholders who have made several trips since FP+ was instituted and the experiences have been bad enough to convince us to skip renewing for the first time in 7 years.

      This new system is never going to fit our style of touring the parks but maybe if the wait times shake out over time we will reconsider renewing.

    • I’m really glad you brought this up. While standby lines may not be getting longer, I think the lines on FP+ is, and it’s a burden they’re not prepared to handle yet. Reports from this past weekend at MK say FP+ lines were snaked around other attractions and at times, other parts of the park. Pics of it are floating all over Twitter. That’s kind of insult to injury when you have to struggle with FP+ and MDE app not working well, and come to find the lines for FP+ is ridiculously long. If it’s that bad over one, long weekend, what’s going to happen during summer crowds? Will Disney have it figured out in 2-3 short months?

      • Yep! The fp line for Space Mountain was backed up between the People Move tracks! I don’t know the reason for it. But when it started to move, it took 25 minutes for the line to go down.

        Also saw a big back up at the Little Mermaid ride. The ‘manager’s were standing there starring at it….

        If they are using this system to make it seem like the Standby lines are shorter, but the fp lines are now longer – then they really created two Standby lines – one is just 1/2 as long of a wait. — totally not the fp system I am spoiled using!

  • As someone that has been there 4 times during FP+, total time of over 5 weeks, I completely disagree. Seeing Nemo with over an hour wait, SE over 45 minutes, Pirates over an hour with the line out the door and going towards Pirates, Teacups over an hour, etc etc etc I have seen it myself and stood in the spots where there was supposedly no waits. The lines are still extremely long at night. This article is not what’s really happening, unless all of those thousands of people are imagining it??? Don’t think so. Not everyone loves this – just face it. I don’t want to ride any ride at HS but ToT bc the rest are boring – even TSM. If I want to ride ToT 3 times with my FP, why should I not be able? It sucks!!!

    • Controlling for everything else is the key statement here.

      Those lines in previous years conditions weather and crowd level had a relatively similar wait.

  • Fred,

    Are your wait time analyses for this article based on actual wait times collected since FP+ has been instated or posted wait times? Anecdotally, over the past two months I’ve consistently seen posted wait times around 40 minutes on attractions such as pirates and mansion, which are both high capacity. I’m curious if this is partially due to possible cast manipulation of the posted wait times.

  • Attractions such as Haunted Mansion and Pirates of the Caribbean previously did not have FASTPASS. However, they now have FastPass+. What has been the impact on wait times for these attractions?

  • As an annual passholder family, the FP+ is a waste of time. The standby lines may be shorter, but the FP lines now are ridiculously long as are the kiosk lines! Just went to AK on 2/16…so frustrating that we were in the park by 930 and most of the FP times were for late in the day or not available. Annual PH are getting ripped off royally and of course, when the question is asked when are PH going to get the bands? Yeah, NO answer to that. I can honestly say that for now, I hate going to Disney. It is disappointing and stressful…who needs that??

    • I am another AP who feels ripped off and who has seen the quality of our trips fall dramatically with the introduction of FP+.

    • I am like you, an annual passholder, devout park hopper who visits several times a year. It has never been about the ability to plan ahead, what is awful is only three choices and one park, the parks with tiered offerings just proves that many people don’t care for some of the attractions. They are doing their best to spin this with what they want to hear, truth is we will never know, truth is my patience has run out, they will no longer get my vacation dollar.

      • I’m really tired with their Spin! I’m not stupid! Please just tell me the truth.

        We had a big problem with fp+ at EPCOT and the CM accused me of making the problem!

        We stopped on the way to Soaring in the morning to make our FP+ reservations with a CM holding an iPad. (There weren’t many people there, so the wait for soaring wouldn’t be an issue if we stopped at that time.)

        The CM made our reservations, Soaring, & two others. (We didn’t care about the 2 others.) We needed a time change for Soaring. He did that for us. We rode Soaring and then went to line up to see Anna & Elsa. I looked at my Disney app to check our full fp_+ schedule. We actually 2 reservations for Soaring for a total of 4 fp+ reservations! I took a screen pick.

        While waiting in the rain, we decided that we didn’t want to stay at EPCOT and would eat lunch off property. When we were in line for the princesses. A CM passed by that did the fp+ reservations. We asked if we could cancel & make reservations at a different park. She said yes, but we’d have go to Guest Relations.

        That’s where the problems started. He kept accusing me of making the double reservation! He also told us something different than the other CM about vein able to cancel. I was very calm & polite, yet I wasn’t going to back down. He also told me that there was “no guarantee that the system would work” for us at the next park. Since that wasn’t the information that I was previously given, I asked for a manager, but he came back instead. He was very angry and rude to us. I think my remaining calm and polite made him angrier.

        Finally the manager came out.

        The previously rude CM started talking to me in the same angry condescending manner. It was then, in front of his manager, I said something about his behavior.

        It turned out that the information that the first CM gave me about canceling and making new reservations at another park was correct. However, then we ran into another problem because their main system was down and they couldn’t make the cancellation to make the corrections.

        As far as our double Soaring reservation – that was a ‘glitch’.

        We mentioned something about this system killing park hopping. The Guest Relations manager said that they were aware of this issue and that they had plans for this in the future. There is a possibility that AP’s will be able to make reservations at more than one park, but still only 3 a for one day. They are also considering ally the comments people are making and make it so that we don’t necessarily have to schedule all 3 fp+ reservations all at once.

        So I guess we are all guinea pigs & lab rats for Disney while they sort out this system! Sure wish my ticket price reflected our beta tester status!

        • In the process of changing reservations, I also a few times had more than 3 listed. But in using those additional FP+ reservations, it didn’t work. If I tried to change them, the app would say I had exceeded the 3 possible. I didn’t try to use them at a ride, but I suspect they would not have worked to use there either.

          • We asked at Guest Relations if they would have worked. He said that they extra wouldn’t have worked, but because it was listed, the CM would probably let us use the doubles.

          • I would say it would depend on the CM. I came across a lot of bad, unfriendly, and rigidly unhelpful CMs this last trip. And a bunch that would just flat out lie to me (about various things). So it might not be your luck to get a helpful one.

  • If we go at a time during low crowds (like 1 or 2), will we still have to be concerned about FP+ times? Should we still be able to expect less waits during these times? We’ll be there the first two weeks of September. Thanks!

    • Hi Angela
      We were there the end of January – park crowd levels at 1 and 2 for our entire visit. The headliners still had waits over 30 minutes, even at crowd levels 1 and 2. Peter Pan, Big Thunder, Toy Story, Rockin Roller Coaster, Tower of Terror, Soarin, Test Track all had 30+ minutes wait. My husband doesn’t mind waiting – he enjoys the queues. I don’t mind waiting 15 or 20 minutes, but longer than that and I get impatient.
      Many of the minor attractions were walk ons, so we rode many rides, but we had to skip some of our favorites because of the tiered FP+ options and I didn’t want to wait in line :)
      So, if you want to ride headliners, I suggest using FP+. Also, by the time you go, off site guests (see Len’s first comment above) will be able to schedule FP+ in advance, like on-site guests. Which is great for off-site guests, but it does mean more people trying to secure the same number of available FP+.

      • Thanks, that was good info. I’m trying to convince my husband that we’ll still have to plan even with low crowd levels.

  • His is really helpful information! Thanks!!

  • I just don’t understand why people are getting so mad, well the AP holders. FP and FP+ are FREE! There isn’t another theme park outside of Disney Parks where this kind of feature is FREE. Stop crying. My family has Season Passes to Six Flags and we have to wait in every line unless we want to pay for a Flash Pass which is like a Fast pass … Sort of. If we really want to ride something we wait in line.

    I know we all learned out to get the most out of the old system. We were in the “Know”. However this was creating a bad experience for those who are vacationing to WDW. And we all know the Vacationing family is spending 2-5k on average at WDW. If they have a bad experience then that hurts WDW bottom line. Something had to be done.

    Embrace the change. Adapt. Overcome. Fight. Win. Though I am not a AP holder I feel like one with how often we attend WDW. We all have to know that the FP+, MDE, Magic bands ect is designed with the vacationing family in mind. I feel like AP holder feel like the park is made for them and they own it. The people that complain the most are AP holders. I get it because the change affects them the most because how often they will visit. But this new system wasn’t made to improve your experience…. it was made to improve the vacationing families experience and the system does just that.

    To all the AP holders be patient but embrace it at the same time. Stop whining.

    • I have an idea. Drop $5000 on some non-FL resident passes for your family. Take a trip a month with all the other expenses that come with that, sometime staying on property, sometimes not depending on your needs. Roll into a park at opening on a trip where you needed to stay off property to accommodate the grandparents only to be told that most of the FastPasses for the rides you want have already been handed out. Tell me you wouldn’t want to whine just a little bit.

      FastPasses were always free and they were always available to everyone in the park equally. This new system is fundamentally LESS equitable since some guests are given a clear preference.

      • If you stayed onsite once with an AP you’d have access to FPP for every trip in advance. The grandparents wouldn’t in advance, but that will eventually change, and they aren’t annual pass holders anyway.

      • Why can’t people be happy that they get to go once a month? If you go that often you don’t have to ride everything everytime. What yoy don’t ride one month you can ride the next. When I first went to WDW, we saved for well over a year, worked overtime when I could, just to pay fot tickets and a value room. We could not afford to eat on property that much so ee brought food then went off resort for dinner. It was all we could do to go for 5 days 4 nights but our child had been severly sick the year before so we wanted to do this. I never thought I would be able to go back. Well, fifteen years later, last year was the first time we did not go to wdw since 2006. My husband has been blessed with a jib that allows us to go. One year we were able to go 3 times, 2 times with a school trip and one just us. There were rides we did not get to our first time out (spring break), we did not get upset, we knew we woyld be back in a couple of month’s and we coyld make those our priority. Over the 3 trips we were able to ride what we wanted. It did not kill us not to get it in every trip. I just think how blessed we are that we get to go to a place we love so much and there are some people that would love to go and never get to, or people that save most of there lives just to go once. On one of our trips it was the first night for showing Christmas Wishes on a non party night. We were standing by a women and her 3 year old. There first trip. Fog came in snd you couls not even see the fireworks leav the castle. The boy was upset so we told them they would do it again the next night but it was there last night before they left. I felt bad for them because they may not be able to come back and we were blessed enough to buy the tickets for the party to see it. All these people complaining about going every month and not getting to ride everything everytime when so many people get to go once or not even at all, it just sounds like a spoiled kid.

        • We need to change the way we think about it, you’re right. I think because a lot of us here go to Disney World a lot, we have certain expectations – especially if we’ve learned to tour with a plan. Perhaps there are millions of others that will only visit once or even once every few years. I think this new system is for that majority, not us lucky ones that get to go several times a year, IMHO.

        • I have two young sons with autism. They like to ride the same rides over and over again. Something that was easy to accomplish in the old system and very difficult now. So yeah, my kids who face difficulties in every other aspect of their lives were spoiled on a system at Disney World that worked perfectly for us. They changed that system. It doesn’t work for us and we are no longer happy with our Disney experiences. Our story, not yours. Good for you.

          • Then go do something else if it doesn’t work for you.

          • I have two children with Autism as well, but thankfully we’ve never had issues with them getting upset about not getting to go on certain rides. I’m hoping that once the testing phase is over that Disney will make some changes. We’ve never used the Guest Assistance Pass either so I don’t know how that would factor in. I hope you are able to bring your boys to Disney again and that it all works out for you. :)

          • from what I understand, the new version of the GAC works much like the old legacy FP. I witnessed a couple and their son (with visible disabilities)walk up to the CM at Haunted Mansion FP. I assume they are doing in a computer system (I couldn’t see everything going on). The CM gave them a time to return.
            So I am not sure if the GAC system is limiting people to only riding rides once or not. But even if it is, it seems you might be able to schedule two rides back to back with a combination of the GAC and FP+ reservation.

          • Hi – there is no special computer system with the new Disability Card. The CM looks at the standby return time, subtracts 10 minutes and that’s your return time.

            You are only allowed to reserve one ride at a time.

            The plus is that you don’t have a scheduled return time.

          • Thanks, Duffy Bear. I know it is not the same system that people are lamenting, but it still seems pretty good. You still do not have to stand in lines, you come back at the return time.

  • If there is little to no discernible change in wait times due to FP+ then I’m not sure what the following line means: “and even better news to those who hoped standby lines would be shorter because of better guest distribution throughout the parks.”

    • I think it refers to the marginally shorter waits at the headliners, shown in blue on the chart.

      • Seriously Len, a reduction of a few seconds for headliners, which could easily have wait times in excess of 60 minutes classifies as good news to those who hoped standby lines would be shorter? When did you and Fred become Disney FP+ PR directors?

  • We had a FP+ reservation for Soarin’ on the Saturday of the Marathon weekend. Our reservation was for somewhere around 1:00. I have to say, our wait time was extremely short. I would say we only waited about 10 minutes in the FP+ line before boarding. Of course, I think the park was at about a ’4′ for that day which would have made a difference too. It should be interesting to hear people’s experiences once it gets really busy in the parks.

  • To give another perspective, we visited WDW for the first time just a couple of weeks ago. We chose the first week of February because of the excellent advice here.

    We stayed onsite and I used touring plans to map out our days and schedule our 3 FastPasses in advance. It all worked wonderfully. The rides we planned to do standby never had longer than 10 minute waits at the times I chose for them (using the TP program.) We saw much longer posted wait times at other times of day, so I’m glad we didn’t wing it!

    We rode every headliner that we were interested in one time, all during the busiest times of day, using FP+ reservations. We never felt like we had to wait to get through the FP line. Sometimes the walk from the entrance onto the attraction itself was surprisingly long, but we were walking as quickly as we could along with a handful of people who were doing the same. (One exception – Turtle Talk – but that was just poor timing and I knew it was a waste of a FP.) We did repeat our favorite headliners at MK on our last day.

    We averaged 13 attractions per 6-hour park visit, and enjoyed some extra non-attraction experiences at other times of day. We never criss-crossed the parks, and did not experience the “we walked miles!” fatigue that you usually hear about at Disney. I had fiddled with our touring plans a lot to minimize both walking and wait time, and the numbers always came out better using FP+ than they did using the legacy FP, which was discontinued after I started planning but before our trip. I had to adjust things manually to get the best numbers, even better numbers than using optimize, but I enjoyed spending the time doing this.

    The new system worked for us, and I think we’re the demographic for whom Disney hoped to improve the experience. We felt like the money we’d saved for 2 years to be able to finally take this dream vacation was money well spent. Additionally, I think that Lines, the Undercover Guide and the Touring Plans site maximized that experience. I don’t think my plans would have been as spectacularly successful without the added knowledge from you all, so thank you.

    • That’s a great report! I’m so glad it worked out for your family and that is was a good experience. I was starting to stress out about it, but it looks like you planned well.

  • The FP+ lines do Look longer because they tend to start out of the cue now. This is because of a bottle-neck at the RFID scanners (Mikey balls). Since people

    • Yeah, you’re right, Rob. We hear Disney is working to speed up that process. I wouldn’t be surprised if they’re throwing a lot of technology and money at that right now.

  • The FP+ lines do Look longer because they tend to start out of the cue now. This is because of a bottle-neck at the RFID scanners (Mikey balls). Since people are struggling with the new system, there are delays. But once you get into the cue, the line zips by. The cast members have been very good at ensuring FP+ users get on to the ride quickly. It feels like faster than the old way, but that’s just a feeling.

  • Now Fred, “everybody” knows that FPP is a bad thing that will cause every trip to WDW to be a total disaster. Don’t confuse the issue with data, facts, and analysis.

  • The FP+ look longer, but are not. Since now the bottleneck is at the 1st scan so that line gets back up, but actaully moves pretty quick. Once you are past that point, you more or less walk to the next scan area because the initial bottle neck has now spaced people out. Before – there was no initial bottleneck so people entered the line then just waited later. I timed it for most rides (I am an Industrial Engineer – it’s in my nature) and for most rides, the FP+ wait time was about 8-10 minutes until we loaded (FYI – Soarin’ and Killimanjaro Safari at RD – we arrived at 8:30 AM then entered at 8:45 – was about 3-5 minutes quicker then with FP+; but much faster than standby which was 60ish minutes for both at the time we used our FP+), the only one longer is when Splash Mountain broke – but we got to come back later and then it was more or less a walk on in the FP+ line the wait time was our walk time.

  • It’s not surprising that FP+ isn’t lengthening wait times. However, Disney has sold the service like it will help to reduce waits. That hasn’t happened so far, so the results are very mixed at best. It seems like a lot of money invested to keep things mostly the same.

    • Yeah, you’d think that $1.5 billion would have more splash.

      The people who’re seeing the biggest benefits, I think, are those who stay on-site AND sleep late. They’re able to relax and still get FP+ for Toy Story, for example, which didn’t happen under the old system.

      “Late sleepers” are something like 75% of Disney visitors, and on-site guests generate the most revenue for Disney. So FP+ is directed towards the majority of Disney’s biggest spenders. Also, you know, it really helps Disney with employee staffing, which saves them money and helps shareholders.

      Saying that, of course, would not make for an excellent commercial.

      • Len, I’m still not buying the idea that FPP will help WDW with staff allocation. They already have a ton of data (resort reservations, ADRs, etc.) that you do not have access to, yet you are able to make pretty accurate predictions of what the demand for attractions is going to be. They could have probably bought/licensed your models for slightly less than $1.5B to achieve that goal. :-)

        • I think for staff allocation, FP+ may help on a per-Park, per-attraction basis, not a resort basis.

          Even something like bussing could be impacted with all the data eventually.

        • So I’ve heard that despite those data, Disney’s staffing error at the parks was somewhere around 30% a couple of years ago. Meaning that they either over- or under-staffed a particular park on a given day by up to almost 1/3rd.

          To put that in perspective, I once did IT in a very large (>20,000 people) call center. Staffing models were generally within 3%.

          I also think this is another reason why you’re seeing Disney ask for deposits on ADRs. They’re staffing to reservations, and not showing costs money.

          I could be wrong.

      • The $1.5 billion is for MyMagic+, not just fastpass+. Bob Iger indicated that they can get 3000 more people more guests per day into MK with MyMagic+. Disney has indicated that for upgrades to parks and resorts they look to get 10% ROI, I very much doubt they would pour all that money into a program that won’t make it back. Iger’s comments are at http://www.travelweekly.com/Travel-News/Hotel-News/Magic-Kingdom-gets-attendance-boost-from-RFID-bracelets/

        As an aside, for the AP complainers, they have started beta testing FP+ early booking for AP, allowing AP holders to book at least a few weeks in advance.

  • If there is no major difference in standby wait times (and the effect on FP wait times is still TBD but possibly longer from the feedback here) – what is the point of FP+. Is it simply away to offer additional “benefits” to on-site guests by being able to book early?

  • Were waits from President’s Day weekend included in these calculations? Seems like this was the first holiday weekend since they eliminated legacy fastpass.

  • However the question remains: what was wrong with the old system in the first place?

  • So offsite guests are going to have IDENTICAL access to book FP+ 60 days in advance? Umm, so where is the advantage to staying onsite? Are onsite guests going to be able to book FPs at 90 days, or have more than 3 FPs? Why on earth would they strip the advantage from onsite guests? Shame our DVC has lost so much value. I might think about selling it.

    • Did you just sign up for DVC when you heard about FPP and assumed it was going to be for on-site guests only? Otherwise why would you sell your DVC membership? Did you not know that the old Fastpass system was also available to everyone?

      • We have been members for quite awhile, and I am well versed in the old FastPass system.

        • I agree with NT3, how has your DVC membership lost value due to FP+?? The main benefit of DVC membership is the savings in staying in villa accommodations….Sorry, Elizabeth, you wanting to sell your DVC membership because of FP+ makes no sense….

          • I think I could maybe agree that DVC has lost some value if the FP+ system remains as is. That is, if you are not staying at a resort, then you can only make reservations day of AND inside the parks. It seems really awful to me to have to go wait in line to sign up to wait in another line. Whereas with the old system you could go and grab the paper ticket.

            If they will allow the non-resort people to make their reservations themselves online or with the app, that would greatly improve things for all those “off-site” people.
            To protect the benefit of staying on-site, those people wold still have the 60 day reservation window, but those off-site, maybe 7 days?
            But in any case, Disney needs to change it so that you can reserve online, regardless of where you are staying.

    • Hey Elizabeth! I think Disney will tweak FP+ so that on-site guests get “more” of something. For example, there’s far more FP+ capacity at the Magic Kingdom right now than the 3 each, even if given to all on-site and off-site guests. So Disney may give on-site guests more. Or they could remove the tiering restrictions. Or they could allow a longer reservation window. Something like that.

      • One approach would be to limit the number of FP+ selections available to offsite guests for certain attractions.
        Onsite guests might have little difficulty making FP+ selections for popular attractions such as Toy Story Mania but offsite guests might have much more difficulty.

      • If they reward on-site guests with more fp+ reservations or remove the tiering system, then what’s the fairness in the park ticket pricing structure? Then it seems as if the fp+ system really isn’t free – you have to pay to get more by staying on property.

        I guess on-site guest receiving more fp+ reservations goes along with one prediction that I read about Disney maybe eliminating Magic Hours all together. Magic Hours seem more valuable to me than an extra fp reservation.

        Although we are AP’s, we always make reservations at the restaurants & purchase lots of merchandise. I hope that Disney doesn’t make some guest more important than others with a reward/punishment system for those purchasing packages from Disney and punishing AP’s or others that don’t stay on Disney property.

        • The Walt Disney Company is not trying to be fair. They are trying to make money.

          In 2013, WDW hotel occupancy was down to 79%, a really bad number historically for WDW.

          Disney spent a lot of money on MyMagic+. From a business perspective, it makes sense that they eventually use it in some way to get hotel occupancy back up.

          • Unfortunatly I agree with this assessment. I think that WDW will go to a tiered system within the resorts. So the more “deluxe” or a resort you stay at, the more FP+ you will get. Additionally (or otherwise) they could give a tiered priority status to higher end resorts (you have more priority getting reservations and times you want staying at GF than if at All Stars).

            Eliminating magic hours would be a really bad idea, IMO. I find them very valuable as well.

  • I’m confused by your statement, ‘The next big FastPass+ event will be when off-site guests can make FastPass+ reservations prior to entering the park sometime this spring.’ I have not heard this before (and I monitor a lot of Disney-related blogs) so it’s big news to me! Has Disney actually made an announcement regarding this, or are you just speculating because APs are being tested to make reservations in advance?

    I agree that the big winners are the onsite ‘sleep late’ people. The question is, does that mean more ‘early birds’ will now decide to sleep late? Will EMH and rope drop now actually become more valuable? *That* would be an interesting analysis.

    • Hey HelenB! We’ve heard that Disney has started contacting off-site guests to make advance FP+ reservations. We think that sometime this spring, if you’ve already got WDW tickets in hand, you’ll be able to register those tickets on My Disney Experience and start selecting FP+ reservations. We think it’ll be the same 60-day window, too, but obviously that can change.

  • by Marie Rossiter on February 19, 2014, at 11:01 am EST

    The issue, I believe, with the legacy FP system is that many people were abusing it and the “typical” WDW vacationers were not reaping the benefits FP promised. Those of us “in the know” understood how to maximize the system to our benefit while using it correctly. Others, though, decided that using old keycards and finding other ways to get multiple FPs for the same attraction or FPs for different attractions at the same time was a good idea. This took away the legitimate FP experience for all guests. Disney got wise and decided a change needed to be made. I’m sure there are other reasons, but that’s my guess re: the major reason FP needed to be changed.

    • Just my opinion, but I don’t think we were “abusing” anything. We just planned well. Anyone could do it. I don’t think WDW is particularly concerned with what is “fair.” They are doing it b/c they think it’s the financially wise thing to do. And like most businesses, they like the idea of tracking our every move. I don’t mind the RFID chip, but I remember working with a marketing research group about 25 years ago and people were dead against such a thing. Invasion of privacy and all that. But now I think if it got them on Toy Story Mania a little faster, people would allow Disney to plant a chip in their brain. :)

      • @maryliz. That is so funny! And yes, I think if it meant no wait for toy story, guests would have a chip implanted anywhere! Lol!

  • We have always been early riser, rope drop, park hopper folks. With our late March trip this year and FPP, we considered being sleep in, one park folks. But I think we’re going to stick with our rope drop. I’m reading too many stories about long waits in the FPP return lines. Early bird always get the worm. I hope you do look at FPP return time waits. I’d be interested in your findings.

    • Marylin, we’re rope-drop folks too and it’s still the best way to tour the parks (with a touring plan of course).

      However, FP+ gives you the ability to rope drop one Park and then take a break in the afternoon before going to a second Park at night with 3 FP+ reservations. That lets you breeze through the more-crowded evening lines. And, if you want you can add the last hour or so of less-crowded attractions into the mix, essentially getting two parks worth of attractions in one day.

      And, if you want to put a lazy day in here and there, you still can be guaranteed to see a couple (3) attractions with minimal wait.

      You couldn’t do either of these things easily under the legacy FP program.

  • Learning how to use the old fast pass system wasn’t rocket science. Anyone could do it. And using old tickets to pull extra fast passes wasn’t a problem until Disney started testing FP+. They opened that loophole themselves. I just don’t understand why Disney spend so much money to “fix” something that wasn’t broken. My Magic+ would be prefectly fine without FP+

  • Elizabeth, your comment perfectly illustrates the fact that Disney, no matter what they do, will have a tremendous challenge pleasing everyone.

  • Couple clarification points, and some questions.

    So, this is based on posted times, not actual, but you felt these were solid numbers to base an analysis on ???

    This therefore does not include FP return times at all ? Since those times are not post ?

    Can you tell us what time period these times were collected over ? That would be quite useful.

  • Are you now deleting comments that question the validity of this analysis ????

    There were 42 comments, now 14 ?

  • Forget it, your page must have errored and not shown all the comments :(

  • IMHO it’s significant that it doesn’t measure wait times in the FP+ queue.

    Also, I believe it would be interesting to track how many attractions people are able to complete/day under New Coke (I mean FP+) vs. the Legacy FP system. I know we’re using the Touring Plans software to plan for our March visit and we’re finding it very difficult to do as much in a day under FP+ compared to the old Legacy FP system. So wait times may be the same, but we’re doing less.

    • Just to clarify: FP+ isn’t really affecting how much we can do in any park, except for MK. There’s just no way to stretch 3 FPs (and no multiples for any 1 attraction) and not run into issues. And that’s before the 7 Dwarves Mine attraction comes online. After that–whew, I don’t even want to think about it.

    • LOL! “New Coke”!

      Yes, I’m doing less now. However, I am determined to use my TP and figure out how to accomplish as much!

  • I agree with many of you who have had to endure the new FP+ system. My trips to the parks are never planned I go in with the expectation of doing the major attractions many times in a day, using the ‘old’ fast pass system.

    My last trip at the end of January was like spending spring break at the parks under the new system. I was only able to ride Space Mountain one time on FP+, and the posted wait times were 60+ minutes at other times during the day. When I first walked by space mountain that particular day the FP+ return line was all the way out to the people mover (TTA). I am not happy about the new system and have send numerous e-mails to Disney. I have actually gotten calls from the Guest Experience people twice to further explain my dis satisfactin with their new system. I suggest you all do the same so that the people that made these decisions get the message.

  • I’ve communicated with Disney about this, and they really couldn’t answer my question. We are staying off the park for three days and on the park (The Dolphin) for three days. Will we get the same fast pass+ options for all the days, and will we be eligble for magic bands?? Just wondering/

  • Just got back from Disney and using the new system over Presidents’ Day weekend. Once we got over the tiering (which needs to go) and being limited to 3, we found it easy to use and enjoyable. We had our passes in advance, picked times that worked for us and did not have to run around the park at random times picking up fast passes. I still recommend getting there at rope drop and hope all park visitors can use my Disney experience in advance. The worst lines we saw were for the fastpass kiosks but we never had to use them. We did not feel like the fast pass lines were long. Overall it will be better in long run when they take the kinks out and the tiers.

  • This leads me to want to cheat. They did away with GAC only too introduce DAS. but now fpp is worse than fp. DAS is basically a legacy fp for the whole party. Works pretty good, but now requires more running ahead composed to GAC. and if standby is less than 10, you go right on. Early defende

  • Can you just let us know what dates are covered by your “330000 since the implementation of FP+” ????

    This would be REALLY helpful and appreciated.

    Thanks,

  • I have made very detailed minute-by-minute personalized touring plans (thanks to this site!!!) for our upcoming trip, and have compared them to my previous equally-detailed touring plans (we go once a year). With FPP, we will be saving a lot of walking time by not collecting fastpasses, and by doing other popular attractions in the first hour of park opening, I don’t have any waits longer than 10-15 minutes for anything. In the past our first hour at rope drop was often eaten up by attractions like Enchanted Tales with Belle and meeting Ariel, but now that we can get fpp for things like this, we are able to do 4-6 popular attractions easily in that first hour. I haven’t gone yet since the new system unveiled, but I am excited for FPP.

    I think that Disney made a smart move here. As a person who saves all year long for these magical trips, it’s a little hard to feel bad for people who are upset because they can no longer hog all the fastpasses by riding the same headliner 3 or 4 times in one day (especially when they visit every month or week and have experienced these rides a hundred times). If AP holders have that hard of a time with it, maybe they should consider not renewing. As my dad used to say when one of us kids didn’t like how dinner was prepared, “don’t eat it; just makes more for the rest of us!”

  • I am a “vacationing family” who comes every 1-2 years. I planned ahead, got to the parks at rope drop, and utilized the old FP system multiple times during the day. My family managed to avoid excessive wait times, ride our favorite headliner rides several times, and park hop and ride the headliner rides in more than one park per day. While I appreciate the ability to reserve FP in advance with FP+, I am angered by the restrictions on the number of FP allowed, the tiering, and the inability to park hop. This will significantly change the way my family tours the parks. I would rather pay extra to have no restrictions. We will be there in June, and if we aren’t able to enjoy as many attractions as we did in past trips, I won’t be coming back nearly as often.

    • The inability to park hop was very annoying to me (unless you go to Park 1 and do not use any FP+s and use at Park 2).

      I still see the benefit of getting to rope drop, riding as much as you can (especially with any EMH) and then saving your FP+s for later or another park, if you choose.

      Granted, I was there at a low time (although MK seemed much more busy than the TP app was telling me), but it worked well. We went to AK on a EMH day, got right on Safari (with several trucks ahead and behind us empty) and rode Everest 5 times (we had a small child, so had to swap).

      One morning we hit EPCOT at rope drop (normal opening time), rode TT with about 3 minutes wait. Granted, it might be tough to hit TT AND Soarin before crowds descend on those, but you could hit at least one (and probably MS) early and thus not waste FP+ on them or ride again.

      We also managed RnRC 2x and ToT early morning with very little wait for either.

  • Great commentary everyone! I would add only two points to the discussion.

    1) This analysis is new and limited to only what we have observed so far. The long term impact of Fastpass+ is yet to be seen. However, personally, I would expect that if Fastpass+ was going to have a significant effect on standby times, we would have seen something by now. In order to be conclusive I would want to observe the impact (or lack thereof) over a period of at least 12 months, including various crowd levels.

    2) This is only an analysis of what the standby time data tells us about Fastpass+. We must judge its success on many other aspects as well including its accessibility, efficiency and logistics. Whether it is good, bad or ugly in the public perception is equally as important as how it impacts standby waits.

    • Fred, with all due respect. This study, unless you can provide some clarity, seems worthless.

      You said earlier that this represents ” dates since the launch of Fastpass+ up to the week before Presidents Weekend” This leaves 2 possibilities.

      a) This includes dates going back to Aug and Sept, when the system was just in testing and there were still double dipping going on, and essentially FP+ was not really running, that data is worthless, in fact maybe worse than useless, because if you used all that data it would greatly outweigh any of the data which actually represents FP+ only being used …. which brings me to my send point and possible interpretation….

      b) This data represents only FP+ since January, when this truly became FP+ only ??? If this is the case, you have studied FP+ during the slowest possible time of the year, when FP isn’t even needed and many days, rides are just walk on. Where there isn’t the crowds in the park to hit the critical mass where lines start to really back up. Again, worthless. And I mean that in the most honest sense, this doesn’t show us anything about the actual impact of the system, unless you put the caveat on it “during the slowest time of the year, FP+ seems to not be impacting lines”… ok. Now it has some worth.

      SO I really do ask you, which of the two accurately reflects your data points ? And do you not agree with this analysis ?

      • JS, our analysis represents the second scenario you described. Although I do agree that the limited data does limit what conclusions we can make I don’t agree with your conclusion that the analysis is worthless. There is no mathematical explanation why the impact of Fastpass+ on Standby times should be dependent on crowd level. Fastpass+ rules and logistics do not change depending on how crowded it is. So, if Fastpass+ were to reduce standby times we should be able to measure that.

        That being said, this is only an analysis of what has occurred so far, it is absolutely possible that the impact may change over time. Rest assured we will be looking at it closely every day.

  • Fred, Len, or any other wait time gurus:

    I’m curious what effect FP+ has had IV first

  • Whoops … new phone …

    Fred, Len, or any orher wait time gurus:

    I’m curious what effect FP+ is having on headliner wait times the first hour of operation on a non-EMH day. Touring Plans seem to indicate they are much higher. I guess that is because you can use FastPass the first hour whereas you couldn’t before.

  • After reading a bunch of comments about FP+, it seems to me that the system tends to benefit 2 types of visitors: late arrivals and first time visitors. I think the system was actually designed for them, as I believe a large part of the intent was to get first time visitors to return a second time.

    The people angry with the program are current repeat visitors. They do not want to ride It’s a Small World again. They want to ride their favorites (from previous experience) multiple times. They are also more likely to park hop because they don’t care to see everything in a single park. FP+ was not designed for them. Disney figured they were already happy enough with the product. I don’t think they anticipated such a strong lash back from their current repeat customers to the new system. It has destroyed their touring style and what they anticipate and look forward to in a Disney World vacation. Moreover, many of them have had to suffer through all the glitches in the system during testing. They have been to Disney before, so they know such things are not normal, and they are very frustrated.

    • I agree. The new FP+ system should be a big help to both late arrivals and first-time visitors.

      I’m curious if it will have any effect on crowds at rope drop. Will more sleep in?

    • This is exactly right in my opinion. We are perennial guest who are looking around a different vacation for the first time in many years!

  • I was just on My Disney Experience and noticed that you can now use Fastpass + with your disney park ticket even if you are staying offsite. This must have just started in the last couple of days, because until very recently you had to have a Resort reservation number in order to use the Fastpass + from your computer at home. It was only available to offsite guests at kiosks on site.

    • Cool! I went to Disney on Fri, 2/28. The system wasn’t available on Thursday night 2/27.

      I just tried again – going in a few days – and it won’t let me pass all the way into the system. The opening page did change since last week making it look like I might have more luck. But not yet.

  • So THAT is why i have to wait so long for Captain EO now! It’s all these FP+ users!

    Thanks for the great data, Len & Fred. It’s definitely going to be interesting to see whether the trend continues for the year since it does “feel” like many of our wait times this year exceeded the estimates in TP, but I’m trusting the data to not lie as it comes into clarity. I’m confident you guys will continue to adapt the algorithms as needed to take all this into account when calculating wait times.