3 Simple Fixes Disney Should Make to FastPass+

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I spent all of last week in Walt Disney World with Unofficial Guide author Bob Sehlinger, using FastPass+, listening to questions that guests asked to Cast Members, and seeing how guests used the new FastPass+ kiosks and lines.

One thing we noticed was that FastPass+ lines could grow quickly at an attraction, if even the simplest thing went wrong at the front of the FastPass+ line. Because we’re geeks, we tried to identify both the root cause of the problems, and their solutions.

We think that Disney can reduce guests’ waits at FastPass+ lines through a few simple operational changes. Here’s our list of suggestions.

1. Build a Recovery Zone Next to Each FastPass+ Entrance

The main reason for long FastPass+ return lines is that the guests at the very front of the line don’t have valid FastPass+ reservations. During our trip last week, this happened every 1 or 2 minutes, at every attraction, for a variety of reasons:

  • Guests arriving outside of their FP+ window
  • Guests not having a FP+ reservation for that attraction
  • Guest not understanding how FP+ works

These issues are compounded if the guests don’t speak English.

Maybe the most common FastPass+ issue we saw was guests arriving too early for their FastPass+ reservations. Unlike paper FASTPASSes, MagicBands don’t have a way to display your return time, and checking the My Disney Experience app is a lot of effort. As a result, many guests just scan their MagicBands to see if they work.

If the MagicBands don’t work, a Cast Member has to figure out the problem, explain it to the Guests, and provide a resolution (let’s call this the Recovery Process, “Recovery” for short). This stops the entire FastPass+ line dead, because the Guests are still standing right in front of the FastPass+ readers while the CM is doing Recovery. Here’s a diagram showing the problem at Pirates of the Caribbean in Adventureland:

Pirates-FastPassPlus-AsIs

(Clearly, my drawing aptitude is giving my singing skills a run for their money.)

Disney should build a dedicated area for FastPass+ Recovery, just to the side of the main FastPass+ return line, and direct there anyone who needs help. This keeps the main FastPass+ return line flowing while guests needing assistance get their help from FastPass+ Cast Members. It’s also less embarrassing for the guests who need help, because there’s not a line of angry people behind them. Here’s what it might look like:

Pirates-FastPassPlus-ToBe1

 

2. Add 2 More FastPass+ Readers at Every Attraction

Each FastPass+ line entrance has 2 FastPass+ RFID readers, and we estimate that together they can process up to 1,350 people per hour. (The lowest we counted in steady traffic was 800 people/hour. We think around 1,200 people/hour is a realistic estimate of what most attractions can process with the existing FastPass+ setup.)

If one of a ride’s RFID readers breaks, however, long lines will happen almost instantly at popular attractions, because 1 reader isn’t enough to handle the guest volume coming in to use FastPass+. So this is just a problem waiting to happen.

 Disney can avoid this by adding 2 more readers at the FastPass+ entrance of popular attractions. In addition, these extra readers mean that each attraction could handle more FastPass+ guests per hour, reducing the wait to use FastPass+ and improving guest satisfaction. It would be almost exactly like the RFID reader setup Disney has at the entrances. Here’s a sketch:

Pirates-FastPassPlus-ToBe2

 

3. Put a Cast Member at Each FastPass+ Reader

Another common FastPass+ problem occurs when only one Cast Member is assigned to monitor two FastPass+ readers. If a guest has a problem at one of the readers, the Cast Member can’t simultaneously solve the guest’s issue and pay attention to what was happening at the other reader. What we saw happen again and again was someone walk up to the second reader, get a blue light that indicates a problem, and continue on into the FastPass+ line anyway, while the Cast Member was busy with another guest. And a few minutes later, we’d see that same person walking back through the FastPass+ line, because they were stopped at the ride loading area by the second FastPass Cast Member.

Not only does this stop the FastPass+ line at the boarding area, but it’s embarrassing to the guests. One way to address this issue is to put one Cast Member at every FastPass+ reader, so that any problems can be addressed quickly by directing the guest to the Recovery Area:

Pirates-FastPassPlus-ToBe3

Another possibly solution is to change the readers’ warning light from blue to orange, or another universal “warning” color,  so guests know that something is off.  Or adopt the symbols used at pedestrian crossings, where a green, walking stick figure means “go” and a red hand means “stop.”

Of course, I could be wrong. Let us know if you’ve seen any other FastPass+ issues, and how you think Disney could solve them.

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Posted on March 21, 2014

70 Responses to “3 Simple Fixes Disney Should Make to FastPass+”

  • When I spend a billion dollars on something, I try to anticipate the bugs beforehand and plan better. But that’s just me. ;-)

    • Good point. I think they spent so much time on the technology issues that the in-park problems have not yet got the attention they need.

      Also, we’re looking next at the FP+ kiosks in the park, to see whether there’s enough capacity to handle off-site guests when that time comes.

      • by Heather Weber on March 21, 2014, at 7:38 am EST

        I will be interested to hear what your opinions are about the FP+ kiosks. We were at Disney the last week of Feb. and stayed off property. My plan was to ride our big rides first then take the time to reserve of FP+s. Our first day we went to HS and I saw the long line at the FP+ area on the street as we entered. I asked the castmember if the wait was long and he told me yes – but did not mention any additional areas. We walked toward TSM and were surprised to find eight castmembers with tablets standing to the right of the hat – with not a person there. I saw this all week, so always walked a little further into the park, and never waited in line to make my FP+ reservations. Of course I always went to a castmember and did not utilize the self help kiosk as I am sure guests will have to in the future. Just my experience.

      • So many organizations fall into the “Technology will fix everything” trap, and forget about the people aspects. I guess even Disney isn’t immune to that.

      • I don’t understand why Disney felt the need to fix something that wasn’t broken. The paper system worked just fine. required less manning, and most importantly let you ride the same ride over and over if you were willing to wait until the next fast pass return time. Now I get to ride once, and then have the privledge to stand in a standby line for my second time on the ride. That is something I will not do. This “new and improved” system has made my whole Disney experience less “Magical” than ever before

        • They are doing this because it will be easier to charge a fee for the FP+ system in the future.

          • I’ve noticed that in EPCOT Winnie the Pooh & Tiger in England have FP+ set up. Has anyone noticed if FP+ has started there? I still haven’t seen this FP+ opportunity show up on the system.

            So I was wondering if they were going to start their pay to play with some different FP opportunities.

          • There will be certain character meet-and-greet experiences that are FastPass+ only, meaning no standby line. It’s been part of the FP+ plan going back years.

          • Thanks Len – do you think that they’ll open up those FP+ experiences to everyone?

  • by Mike Cranston on March 21, 2014, at 6:15 am EST

    Seem like pretty simple ideas to implement. Will be there in 3 weeks using Magic Bands and FP+ for the first time. Hope things go well for us during a busy week.

    PS. Len, the 7am EMH issue I sent a tweet about was handled promptly by the Web team. You guys do a great job and I couldn’t plan a trip without this site!

  • These are valid points and a good idea but once guests get past the readers/FP+ entrance, there is still the same amount of wait in the queue, no matter how long it takes to get into the queue. Like speeding to a red light, no? Since FP+, we always have to wait once we get into the queue at the biggest attractions anyway. So to me the readers seem like a minor speed bump. It is a little aggravating trying to get past guests who are in the wrong line, asking questions, etc etc etc but that has always been the case even before FP+. Longer, more clearly defined queues seem like a better solution at places like pirates and Peter Pan where you can never tell where the lines are or where they begin.

    • Good point about the clearly defined queues.

      As for the wait in the FP+ lines, you’re right that there’d still a wait at most attraction. I see some of these fixes as addressing a perception issue first. It’s probably bad for guest satisfaction to see a FP+ line snaking from Space Mountain’s entrance to the Peoplemover. It may be less bad if the line is just as long, but actually inside the ride. I could be wrong.

  • by FloriDUH JBot on March 21, 2014, at 6:29 am EST

    Keep it simple, stupid. Paper tickets with a printed time crossed all languauge barries and required no technology skills. Just sayin’.

    • Amen to that. They could have spend $0 and had a much better system. Unfortunately those Disney brASS who call the shots don’t understand what their guests want. The limitations of the new system will most definitely make my next visit much less magical. But as long as Disney knows there will be a next visit what do they care.

  • We were there in October with bands, FP+, dining etc… I was amazed at how smooth and quick the process was. Never one single hitch. I can imagine now that there are more people using the FP+ there may be some slow downs but I am sure it will be resolved quickly. I found that even with paper passes there are always people trying to go in early or way after their time frame. IMO it was those guests who were causing the most delays.

  • Regarding guests not knowing what FP+ times they have reserved – I wonder if it would be worth their while to install FP+ scanners around the parks, similar to “price check” machines in retail stores. A few available stations in key locations would enable guests to check their FP+ times without requiring the app’s use and without taking up Cast Members’ time, and that might alleviate some of the traffic problems at the attractions

    • by Dustin Verdin on March 21, 2014, at 8:38 am EST

      Michael, I couldn’t agree more — If they were themed and strategically placed around the park, it would make such a difference…… I wouldn’t allow (add/edit) functionality at these kiosks (what if I walk away if logging out, and the teen behind me decides to delete my FP+ or dinner reservations, etc) — but the ability to walk up to an interactive board and pretty much have access to all of the other (view only) features of My Disney Experience would be great. I think it has to happen once all guests are using the system — too many people without smartphones, or (usually in my case) phones with dead batteries. : )

    • by David Davies on March 21, 2014, at 8:42 am EST

      I like this idea, and I suspect the FastPass+ kiosks are capable of doing this. Maybe having an option of spitting out a paper with FP+ reservations and times would be useful, although I could see people abusing that by taking that paper (after changing the reservations) and using it as “proof” that they should be admitted via a FP+ line.

      Having some sort of guest-facing LCD at the attraction scanners might be useful for communicating the rejection cause to guests, too.

      I also wonder how realistic it is to carve out a “recovery area” at each attraction. Others have identified staffing concerns, but there are space concerns, as well.

  • Your solution is to increase the number of FP+ cast members by FOUR HUNDRED PERCENT. That’s 5x the number of CMs. 5x the number of CM salaries. 5x the number of CM uniforms to wash. 5x the number of CMs on the shuttles. etc. Yeah, it’s a simple concept, but is it economically or realistically feasible? From the point of view of those looking at how much MyMagic+ has already cost, I somehow doubt it.

    • A fair point. I think it could be done for under $13 million/year, or roughly $0.25 more per visitor per year.

      Here’s a wild guess at the numbers:

      -Fully loaded cost of salary and benefits for 1 hour of Castmember labor: $20
      -Extra CMs per attraction: 4
      -Hours per CM per week: 84 (that’s 7, 12-hour days)
      -Weeks per year: 52
      -Attractions at which we’d use this staffing model: 35

      While Disney has around 70 FP+ attractions, I think probably only half of them actually need this setup. Attractions such as Captain EO, the Mad Tea Party, and Journey into Imagination probably don’t get the demand to justify it.

      Multiplying all of those together and you get about $12.2MM. Disney World had roughly 50MM visitors last year, so $0.25 per guest should cover the staff cost. That’s a rounding error on the cost of a ticket.

      • Hi Len,

        sorry, but does not make sense to spend a huge amount of money to implement a new way to do something, and so you need more five guys to control it.

        Technology should decrease the need of people, not increase.

        I´m sure Disney is aware of all the problems. They are not dumbs. If they implemented this new system, even if I don´t like it, It´s because this is the model they will make more money.

        It is all about money.

    • I think you bring up a valid consideration and Len’s counterpoint is also insightful. If I understand correctly, one of the key reasons why Disney transitioned to FP+ was to be able to predict crowd levels, crowd movement and predict needs for staff. They could easily see the demands of FP+ and shift their staff to supervise the highest trafficked areas during peak times. Len’s idea wouldn’t require all MagicBand scanners to be manned during all hours of operation, but if Disney could see when crowd traffic picks up, it would be easy for them to schedule the proper staffing requirements to streamline those crowds more smoothly. I also acknowledge that a “recovery queue area” may not always be an options (since Disney does tend to use every square inch of their attraction space) but a cast member with a tablet could easily pull the affected guests aside to assess this concern without disrupting the flow of other guests.

  • I noticed that cast members just let people through if there was a problem and frankly, that was OK with me. Better than waiting behind them while they tried to figure it out IMHO.

  • I agree with Paul! How much will ticket prices have to raise in order to pay for all these extra cast members? I’m already astonished at how much they must be spending on extra cast members at the kiosks. In the past they had 1 cast member in the general area of the paper machines. Now they have one at EVERY kiosk.

    I do LOVE the idea is the recovery zone though. Genius! Maybe put some bilingual cast members in there too. (Once again… More cast members)

    I have a love/hate relationship with FP+. I hope that Disney can turn it into a more positive relationship in the next couple of months!

  • I like your points, but for me there is a very frustrating problem with Fastpass+ that didn’t exist with paper, and it’s an easy fix technologically. WDW wants me to pay for Park Hopper as an upcharge, yet there is no way to use the Fastpass+ system across multiple parks in the same day. If the band knows I’m allowed to park hop, it’s really not a far reach to have the website/app know it too, and then permit fastpasses in multiple parks. With paper, if I walked up and they were available I could get them. This system has actually made Park Hopper a slightly less attractive option for me.

  • The addition of extra equipment and cast members is great. But eventually they are going to have to draw a line in the stand and stop spewing money into this. Hence the future price of $15 magic band price for off sight guests.
    The technology here is great. But can Disney handle it? We all have war stories stemming from dealing with their website and mobile apps.
    The failure here that can be corrected easily is with staffing. Anyone whose visited the parks recently can attest to seeing long lines just to get in the parks. But off up the side there are a dozen ticket/band reader turnstiles not being used. The irony is that the ones they are using require a CM and another castmber or coordinator standing behind them to offer support.
    Same thing goes with fpp kiosks. Some near a park entrance will have long return lines. But others deep in the parks will have up to a dozen CM’s milling about waiting for a single guest.
    Labor is a huge concern with Disney. If they could have audio animatronic figures manning these booths they would do it in a heart beat.
    The whole goal of this project was “to enhance guest experience” (in reality track every move and take as much money and more from each guest as possible), but how is the experience enhanced when all they have done is create longer lines ?

    • “The whole goal of this project was “to enhance guest experience” (in reality track every move and take as much money and more from each guest as possible), but how is the experience enhanced when all they have done is create longer lines ?”

      Bingo!

      FP+ has changed our whole way of approaching our day at the parks. We are still not accustomed to the changes.

      Hopefully this will all work out so that Disney doesn’t need to raise all their pricing more and more to make up for a big boondoggle.

  • First of all, your drawings rock…in a Henry Darger meets Radiohead circa 1997 kind of way. These are all ideas that would definitely improve guest flow using FP+…but five CMs at each FP+ entrance point?!?! Holy guacamole! I would get social anxiety every time I scanned my Magic Band. :/

    • I nominate Andrew for TP’s coveted “most obscure cultural reference in a blog comment” award. Saw the Darger retrospective at NYC’s folk art museum a few years back, and all I could think is “this is what Walt Disney would have made if he was mentally ill”…

  • And genius is why you have a Space Mountain kitchen!

  • by David Ackerman on March 21, 2014, at 9:01 am EST

    The problem is that the purpose of FP+ is not to make things run faster, it is to inject friction and make things go slower.

    From the perspective of an AP who now lives in Central FL and visits *a lot*, FP+ has slowed things down. The need to have cast members all over the park to make reservations means that you now get to stand in line and wait so that you can go stand in the FP+ line at a ride to finally get on the darned ride.

    And don’t get me started with the way that APs have been treated during the rollout.

  • The blue light is bizzare. It really should be a universal stop or warning color, like orange. I’m guessing they thought red felt offensive, so they picked blue. But it makes no sense when you’re interacting with the machines.

    We also saw a lot of “You’re 15 minutes early” clogging up the lines. Although I understand why you can only use Cast staffed machines for changes and issues in park, I think permanent machines that can display your FP times could help. One day the app wasn’t working and we had to interact with a CM just to see our times. I didn’t need someone apologizing to me that it didn’t work, that it’s just a “test,” I just needed to write down my times. I see that coming once it’s been in place a while and guests are more educated on the system.

    • One reason they may be using Blue is for colorblind people – red and green are often impossible to distinguish between but most colorblind people can see blue.

  • by Marie Rossiter on March 21, 2014, at 9:45 am EST

    Len, I like how you always manage to keep solutions simple.

    I love the recovery area idea. Anything to alleviate backups and guest embarrassment/frustration is a good thing, for all parties involved.

    I also like the idea of additional readers (such as the 2×2 method at the entrance gates). However, staffing each one with a cast member will not only mean Disney has to pay more CM hours, but also make an already congested area worse. I see the need to have the readers staffed to help direct traffic and problem solve, but adding 4 more people into the mix, I think, will only compound complications. Maybe one additional cast member per pair of readers to help direct traffic/problem solve? I don’t have a good alternative for that one, yet.

    While I agree with most people who say “if Disney spent a billion dollars, how did they not see these potential issues?”…well, trying to predict human behavior is next to impossible. Could Disney have had more foresight? Absolutely. Even with all the foresight in the world, people would still find ways to muck up the system.

    Even the legacy FP system had its glitches with people not returning at the right time, trying to get around the system, etc. There is a learning curve to the new procedure and it will take some time for everyone to work through it–CMs and guests alike.

    It’s hard to have patience when you’ve spend a ton of money for a vacation. For the time being, though, pack a lot of it with you when you head to the parks. Do as much planning ahead as you can–thank you TouringPlans!–and try not to contribute to the problems as much as possible. Even with the planning, problems will come up. I try to remember a little bit of patience and kindness go a long way when dealing with CMs and other guests. We’re all dealing with the same frustrations.

    • by Marie Rossiter on March 21, 2014, at 9:47 am EST

      Oh, one other thing. I seriously think the blue light was used instead of the logical red light/stop light because of the “negative connotation” that comes with a red light when people are trying to move through. Disney does not want to make guests feel badly by flashing a red light at them. Blue seems much more…calm. LOL I’m half joking here. I’m sure there were many conversations about color theory and feelings when deciding on what color light to use to indicate a problem.

      • Totally agree that blue was picked as the non-offensive way to indicate an issue. Maybe it’s that with the combination of Mickey’s head, which doesn’t really indicate “stop” or “go.”

        Perhaps the reader should display a Mickey head when you’re approaching, a “walk” stick figure when your MB is validated, and a “stop” hand (in any color) if something needs to be resolved.

  • October will be my first trip since fast pass plus was implemented. Is the blue/green color the only way to tell if you should move forward? I am traveling with my colorblind boyfriend, and will need to remember to stay right beside him everytime he scans his band. I am glad they did not go with red and green as it is easier, although still difficult, for him to see the difference between green and blue. He can not see any difference between red and green.

    • Yes – it’s green for go and blue for stop.

      How well can your BF differentiate between those two colors? Might be an interesting comment for the book.

      • Thanks for the answer and the post. He is not that bad with blue and green. It will depend on how the colors look. I am going to stay beside him until we are sure he can tell. I wish we were going sooner. Then we could tell you how it went for the book. I really think that is why they didn’t pick red and green. Even on stop lights the placement of the light indicates stop or go. A lot of people can not see the difference between red and green.

    • It seems to me they should have included audible signals as well for color blind guests as well as the partially sited.

  • I think a potential solution for the “early FP+ arrivers” is for Disney to incorporate a “reminder” in MDE app. For those who do have smartphones, the app can text or send them a reminder 15 minutes before their scheduled FP+ reservation so the guest can remember to make their way to that attraction, or if they can’t make their FP+ reservation, the reminder could also give them a link to the FP+ app option to cancel/reschedule their FP+ reservations.

    If Disney wants to hire me to start working on this feature, I’d gladly collaborate with them – I have lots of ideas! :)

  • Absolutely agree about the light colors. It seems to me the addition of a recovery ares would alleviate the need for a CM to man *each* reader as the guests having issues would be moved out of the way and to another CM. Depending on how efficiently guests were moved to the recovery area there might not be a great need for addiional machines either. If a Disney were to start with this they could later decide if the added personnel and equipment were needed.

    Personally I would like to see some unmanned FP+ kiosks in each area, especially the idea of ones limited to checking existing reservations. During our trip on January we had to check our reservations three times. The one we managed to do by ourselves (not sure why no CM was there) was much faster than the assisted two. But we already had a basic understanding of the system and a little gadget savvy. Our travel companions did not and needed the CM assistance. In fairness our companions never used the old FP system either as they didnt have anyone who could act as a runner nor did they understand how to maximize them. That seems, at least to me, to be the problem: trying to design a system to give Disney the function they want while improving the experience for both the savvy and the unsavvy (or on site and off site, or any other characteristics). It’s a herculean task and is bound to need adjustments along the way.

  • The My Experience app could have push notification on when FPP times are approaching. This would alleviate the need to open the app to find the times.

  • Being an IT girl, if they analyze the problems that more frequently led to a blue light (I share the fact that blue in our minds does not indicate any problem) they can surely find a cheaper way to avoid most of the problems. If an issue is really that people are arriving 15 minutes early or later, maybe they can allow people in 15-/15+ minutes. I don’t think it would make it worse and it will ensure a more fluent experience.

  • You mention the number of guests who can pass through a FP+ checkpoint per hour. Did you compare this to the legacy FP level?

    My personal observation is that the FP+ scanning is physically slower. It takes 1-2 seconds for a single guest to approach the scanner, orient the Mickey head properly and get the green light. Previously, we could hand a CM a stack of paper FP for my family of five and all of us would be waved through in the 1-2 seconds that it now takes to approve a single person.

    As for folks not remembering what time their reservations are for, maybe some of the kiosks need to be stocked with some old school pen and paper. An official printout could be abused, but if a guest had the ability to make himself a quick note, this might be at least a little bit of a help.

  • Last week, I was there staying on property with my annual pass, so I had fastpass reservations before I got there. I was there for the same week last year, using paper fastpass, so I can directly compare my experience. Last year, was able to hop parks and use fastpasses in multiple parks, and mostly used fastpass for the usually crowded rides. I kept track. Over the course of 6 days, I used 39 fastpasses. Most of these were for multiple rides on the usually long line attractions. I hopped from park to park at will.
    This year, I only “needed” 3 passes in MK. In HS only TS and TT were useful, EPCOT only Soarin’, and AK only KS and Everest. The only way to get even close to the number of rides I got last year was to be there for rope drop and go to a feature ride, ride it over and over. Last year I could ride scattered out through the day. It takes forever to load and navigate through MyMagic. I end up putting my fastpass times in my calendar to have instant access. To sum it all up, my visit last year was magical. While I still enjoyed this year’s visit, clearly I cannot ever expect to ride big ticket rides as much as I used to be able to ride.

    • by Joe Stefanski on March 21, 2014, at 9:05 pm EST

      Not having as magical a time, and not being able to ride as many big ticket rides as before, are why it will be a long time before our family returns to WDW.

  • They could alleviate some of the problems by having special-purpose kiosks for checking your fastpass for just that ride, that are off to the side and not blocking the entrance. You tap your magicband, and it says either “Your Test Track FastPass time window is open! Go on in!” or “Your Test Track FastPass time window begins at 3:00; it is now 2:42. Please return in 18 minutes.” or “You do not have a FastPass+ for Test Track today.”

    If they wanted to, they could also allow these “single ride” kiosks to manipulate your FastPass for just that ride. It could say, “You do not have a FastPass+ for Test Track. Would you like one?” If you said “yes” it could show you times for just that ride, let you select one, let you select the existing FastPass+ selection you want to replace (if any), etc.

    Or they could have “check” kiosks and a few CMs standing around with iPads who could do more complicated stuff.

  • Awesome ideas, Len. How can we get The Mouse to listen to them?

  • Give each guest a sharpie that they can use to write their FP+ return times on their hands. it seems that one of the big drawbacks to the FP+ system is remembering your return times if you don’t have a smartphone. It would be cool if you could get a ticket from the kiosk with all of your times on it.

  • There are going to be teething problems with anything new.
    I can see where it could be nice, especially if you have little kids or have problems walking to be at one attraction and be able to book a Fastpass for another.

  • Let’s agree the Disney brass really likes the technology of FastPass+ and the MagicBands. After already spending a billion dollars, what’s a few dollars more to have the MagicBands be more like digital wristwatches– except they display your next chronological reservation (attraction abbreviation) and your return time? Voila! Problem solved– at least for most guests! :-)

  • It seemed to me that the main issue was people not knowing what line they were in until getting up to the FP readers and finding they were in the FP line and not the regular line.

    This is happening b/c the FP lines are going far out into the “street”. This is particularly bad at the beginning of FP time windows. We saw this happen over and over in February. A long line to get up to the FP readers. And sometimes half or more of the people leaving the line when finding they were not in the FP line.

    If they do not want to assign more CMs (and you know WDW does not), they need better signage for the lines (Standby and FP) for many rides, and they especially need some roping to indicate to where the lines lead(FP or standby).

    This will only get worse when the parks really start to get crowded.

  • We were there in January and overall I liked FP+, being able to get a 3:30 -4:00Toy Story Mania & Soarin FP’s w/o needing to be there when the parks opened was great, we were an all adult group and no one wanted to be at the parks at opening.
    In August we will be going with a large group and staying off property (not my decision) for the first time in 30 years. It will be interesting to see how I feel about FP+ as an off property guest.
    Has FP+ sped up the standby lines at all?

  • Love the idea of the recovery. However instead of more cast members at each FP+ station, have a console a cast member can monitor all stations – like the self checkout at my local grocery store the clerk can monitor and see more detail. Have it such the cast member can easily see the results and for those that need “recovery” send them to another CM or have the reason popup on the console.

  • by Marc McMahan on March 24, 2014, at 6:39 am EST

    I can see the need for extra readers at some of the most popular rides. However, there may be a simpler solution than the Recovery Area. Couldn’t Disney simply have handheld displays for the castmembers manning the readers that immediately flashed the problem. The cast member could quickly read and relay the explanation for the “blue light” and direct the guest to exit the line. Maybe even a simple dedicated problem guest exit line that kept “blue lights” from wading back through the line of legit FP+ guests. Perhaps a Recovery Area is needed if guests won’t readily accept the CM’s “blue light” explanation. I’m thinking though, the vast majority of “blue lights” are simply arriving at the wrong time.

    We were there in November 2013 and the system worked flawlessly for us. I even completely changed our FP+’s for same day replacements on nearly half the days there. I was disappointed though that I could not park hop my FP+’s. That definitely seems like an area to address and should be simple to fix.

    Obviously the more “connected” a guest is, the less potential for confusion and “blue light” issues. There will always be the first timer or the somewhat clueless who find any system, paper ticket, cloud based or even smoke signals to be overwhelming and/or confusing. I remember frustrated paper ticket holders clogging the fastpass entrances in the past as well. I’m sure Disney will continue to tweak the system to improve the experience. Planning on coming again in December 2014 whenever I can figure out the dates for WDW Reunion.

  • The biggest decisions in planning the disney trip used to be deciding which parks for each day and coordinating the dining schedule. Adding on FP+ has complicated it to the inth degree.

    So here’s how I think FP+ will change things for us.

    Decrease in our FP rides– we were always able to use way more than 3 per day. That limit really needs to be increased. If you are going to be limited to 3 they should be ANY 3, even repeats, and no tiers! I am not going to be feeling too magical if I only end up riding 3 rides a day unless I want to wait and wait and wait.

    Tiering the rides basically means in some parks, we only get to FP one of the rides we want per day instead of 3. It feels like a waste to FP some rides when you would rather just ride TT again.

    We park hop so we are going to try going with FP for the afternoon park. We should get to ride 3 rides at a park that may have had FPs unavailable by the time we got over there with the legacy FP system. That is a positive, but we will have to watch our times more closely, so we don’t miss our ride time in case we get a late start over to the second park.

    We will still do park arrival at opening and ride headliners immediately. But we won’t be able to grab a legacy FP to ride it again before hopping from that park since we can only choose one park per day for FP+.

    Only 3 of 4 of us want to ride some rides. If we use 3 FP+ that leaves one person with a single FP+ to use for something, but how fun is that? Would it be better just to plan to ride those rides only at opening or end of day, so we don’t essentially lose a FP?

    My biggest beef is with the limit of 3 being what I consider very low. A blended system would be better– 3 FP+ that are scheduled in advance and 3 (or more) legacy FPs right at the rides. Any park, repeats allowed and no tiers!

    There should be a way to print out a paper with your FP times- a convenience for all involved.

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  • I like the recovery area idea. That is a feesible plan and seems like something Disney Parks could implement fairly quickly with minimal effort. I extremely like the idea of the readers near each ride to scan and check your FP+. That however would require more effort, but could be something that fits in nicely with the overall schema of FP+. Don has hit the nail on the head. Here’s how the CM told me to manage my same day FP+ last week. “Pull out your phone and take a picture of my iPad screen.” To which I replied…”cant you email it or something?” Readers and info screens would be nice!

    • Another idea would be to allow push notifications based on location. Like say you get into New Fantasyland, your phone can say something like “Your FastPass+ Experience for XYZ is ready for you to enjoy” if you are within your window, or it can let you know if you arent in your window, or it could give you a myriad of options such as if another attraction has immediate FP options available that you could switch to. That would only be possible if a guest is using the MDE App, but could help to alleviate some of the problems at the entrances.

  • Some folks are taking a screen shot of their FPP times, then setting it as the background on their android or iPhone. Easily accessible, no sharpie or paper required!

  • Yesterday at EPCOT we went up to a CM to check the time of our next fp. There was a problem with the speed of the wifi & his iPad in general.

    After about 5 minutes or so, he asked another CM to help him with her iPad. She took one of the Fast Pass selection flyers & there are spots to write down the times of your reservations right there on that sheet.

    This was the fast pass area near the pin station.

  • I’ve tried Booking fast passes in advance of our trip 2 weeks from now and after successfully making reservations and linking rides and times, many of our reservations would randomly be absent or missing each time we tried to check them. I’ve been told By the Disney staffed help line that they are having problems with the my experience app for mobile devices

  • I stopped going to Universal because they charge for fastpass. I will do the same with Disney