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:
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+.
Many people are understandably concerned about how Disney’s new FastPass+ system is going to affect their Disney vacation. Some of the worries most frequently mentioned with the new system are:
Limit of three FastPass+ reservations per day
Not able to get multiple FastPass+ reservations for the same attraction
No ability to get FastPass+ reservations for all headliner attractions
Only getting FastPass+ reservations for one park per day.
Some of the benefits of the new system, such as the ability to select the time of the FastPass+ reservations – may not be as obvious. And not having to run around the park to get paper FASTPASS tickets will definitely save people time.
In many cases, however, using an optimized touring plan with FastPass+ will result in a touring plan that’s just as fast as one with the same attractions and legacy FASTPASS.
Given the way my family tours the parks, I assumed that Epcot would be the most negatively impacted by the new system. With Legacy FASTPASS we would acquire multiple FASTPASSes for Soarin’ and Test Track. Now we can only get one FastPass+ for Soarin’ or for Test Track, but not both.
To evaluate the impact of FastPass+, I’m going to compare touring plans for Epcot on the second Monday of June in 2013 and 2014. Both touring plans include the same attractions and optimize the use of the available FASTPASS/FastPass+ system. Since we would never use FASTPASS/FastPass+ in World Showcase, and since we take a casual touring approach in World Showcase, I’m going to allot a chunk of time for World Showcase. I’m also allotting 100 minutes for eating. For our family, FastPass+ will not affect our dining or touring World Showcase.
Today is a day of romance … a day of love … a day for the celebration of those special bonds that we’re lucky enough to share with one another as we walk these hallowed roads together, two as one, without but a single worry in our love-struck hearts…
That’s what all of those hearts all over the place are all about, if you hadn’t heard!
And of course, those who find themselves in or around Walt Disney World today will no doubt be overwhelmed by a sea of romantic gestures as they meet characters walking hand in hand, and pastries dazzled with pink and red frosting, and that distinct aroma that can only mean that love is most definitely in the air … and also that there’s a turkey leg stand just around the corner … but mostly love, at least for today!
And yet that’s just the thing, right? How does one stand out with his or her own romantic offerings when you can’t throw a Mickey plush without hitting somebody making a grand gesture of proposing to their significant other around every bend?!
A well-timed smooch at the end of Wishes? Yeah, you and about a thousand other people!
A romantic lunch in the Rose Gallery at Be Our Guest? Take a number, and I hope you brought some snacks!
A nice walk through the typically quiet nature trails at the back of Animal Kingdom? Ok, so that one’s actually a pretty good one…
Fortunately, however, there are still a few special places out there – off the beaten path, if you will – where love and mushy stuff thrive just the same, but without having to compete with 100,000 other hopeless romantics at the same time! You just need to know where to look for them, and because I’m such a nice guy, here are some great places where I’d suggest you start:
Journey of The Little Mermaid @ the Magic Kingdom
It’s the tale (tail?) of a girl who sacrifices everything that she has for true love! Crustaceans sing, the plaice play the bass, and even though it doesn’t get as big of a production as Under the Sea, you’re missing out on a prime opportunity there just before the grand finale if you don’t take a quick moment to lean in close and Kiss the Girl…
It happened again this weekend. I was on the monorail heading to the Magic Kingdom when I overheard a family talking about where they wanted to go for dinner. They all agreed that the Beast’s Castle looked like the most fun so they’d go there. Then they struck up a conversation with another family and found out there was a restaurant IN Cinderella’s Castle! They decided that’s where they would show up for dinner later that night. Yep- one of the hottest tickets in all of Walt Disney World and they were planning to stroll up like a dinner at Denny’s. I couldn’t help mentioning to these folks that they might want to check at Guest Services if there were reservations available but they dismissed my suggestion. The other family agreed they should be fine to get in by just approaching the podium whenever the felt like it.
Have you been in this situation before? Holding your tongue because you know that people are giving bad advice… and there is nothing that you can do about it. I find myself in this position really often. I’m surprised how often I hear advice that is bad or just plain wrong! So today I’m going to cover some of the absolute worst advice I’ve heard. I’d love to hear from you in the comments if you’ve heard something worse or if you’ve unfortunately fallen for one of these before. Thanks in advance for sharing!
There’s a great view of the fireworks from the Yacht Club… or not.
Don’t waste your time doing anything besides Disney when you’re in Orlando. Wow, I love Disney! I live for Disney! If you cut me I bleed pixie dust, but even I don’t agree with this statement. There is so much to do and see when you’re here. Why not visit one of the other parks? Or spend a day at the beach or Kennedy Space Center? Or have I mentioned the awesomeness that is Gatorland? If you’re on a budget it’s totally understandable to limit your trip but if not at least see what else is available. Orlando might just surprise you!
Get there in the afternoon to avoid the heat. This is one I hear all the time and it’s honestly terrible advice. Of course, I don’t practice what I preach. I get to the parks in the afternoon all the time but I also don’t do very much when I get there as the lines are all very long at that point. Not to mention, during the hotter months it’s still incredibly hot in the afternoon. If you’re going in the summer it’s a better idea to go first thing in the morning and head out BEFORE noon. That way you get the coolest temperatures of the day and the shortest lines.
You can get tickets cheaper at… I always shy away from shady sounding ticket offers. Sure there are reputable travel agencies that offer slight discounts but if anything sounds too good to be true it probably is. Disney isn’t cheap and I understand the temptation when you can’t drive 2 miles in Kissimmee without seeing neon signs advertising discounted tickets. Just keep in mind you might have to sacrifice an entire day of your vacation on a timeshare sales pitch to get that price on your tickets.
You should go all day every day. I think it’s important to accept you’ll never do everything at Walt Disney World during your trip. I feel sorry for people that try to go all day, every day during their vacation. It’s a frantic pace, I don’t know how people do it! More often I think people try and fail at this strategy. A better idea is to go in the morning, take a nap, and then head back in the evening. When you’re walking back in refreshed be sure to look at the haggard people heading for the exit.
It’s that time of year when the most magical place on Earth becomes the most romantic! Valentine’s Day is just around the corner, so I thought I’d share some of my favorite ways to celebrate, starting with the simple and leading up to the more extravagant. Just in case you don’t make it all the way to the end, I want to wish you a very happy February 14 in advance!
All photos from http://disneyworld.disneyfloralandgifts.com/
Picture Perfect: Anyone who has read my stuff before knows that I’m into photography in a big way. So I’m sure it isn’t surprising that taking pictures is high on my list. What better (and affordable) way to celebrate than to spend a day taking photos together with your favorite characters?
Light up the night: Call me a dork, but I swoon when my hubby buys me one of the light up toys that come out on carts in the parks after dark. Sneak off and buy your girls a light up rose – she just might love it!
Seaside Stroll: Ok, so it isn’t really the sea! But you can stroll around the Seven Seas Lagoon. Add in some fireworks from the Polynesian beach, and you have a recipe for romance!
Late night dip: Imagine heading back after a long day at Disney and taking a relaxing dip in the hotel Jacuzzi with your loved one. Great for sore muscles and bubbly snuggling!
Where to stay during your Disney World vacation is a long debated topic with no right or wrong answer. Before moving here I was a 100% Disney purist, horrified at even the thought of stepping foot off Disney property. But after moving to Orlando and working in the travel industry I realized there are some excellent options if you are brave enough to venture off property. Today I’m outlining some things to think about before choosing to stay off property on your next trip.
Beware “scheduled” transportation: Many properties in Kissimmee and throughout Lake Buena Vista offer what they call scheduled shuttles to the parks. What they don’t tell you is that this is often a single shuttle in the morning and evening to each park, meaning that you likely will have to arrive late or leave early to make this one shuttle. The shuttle is also commonly shared with other hotels and crammed, packed full. Be sure that you understand the shuttle service offered prior to booking if you’ll need transportation to the parks.
Believe me – you don’t want to walk from here!
You cannot walk: I know this seems pretty obvious but I can tell you from working in hotels that it’s common for guests to think they can just walk to Disney from offsite hotels. This is because hotels advertise their distance to “Disney’s Maingate”. By definition a maingate is the arch that you drive under to enter Disney property… which can be miles from an actual Disney park! There is not a single non-Disney hotel where you can walk to a park.
Renting a car: Personally, I can’t imagine staying off property without renting a car (or using your personal car if you’re driving to get here). The shuttles offered by offsite hotels have never worked for me and I need the freedom to come and go as I please. The cost of renting this car should be weighed with the cost of an onsite room at Disney. Also, remember that if you don’t have an annual pass you will have to pay for parking when staying off Disney property. That really adds up at a minimum of $15 a day!
This weekend I went over to Animal Kingdom to test FastPass+ and to check out the former site of Camp Minnie-Mickey. I thought you guys would like to come with me! Saturday was very cold by Florida standards! The high was only 57 degrees, so I was thankful afternoon FastPass+ slots were available for Kilimanjaro Safaris. I secured our 3:40 – 4:40 time slot. Since all FastPass+ reservations come in trios, I was also assigned FastPass+ to meet Mickey and to see Finding Nemo – The Musical. Upon arriving at 2:30pm I discovered parking attendants weren’t even directing cars where to park! This suggested that crowds would be manageable. Here is what it looked like walking in:
Hello! And welcome to the halfway point on our tour around the world! Can you believe we’ve already visited Mexico, Norway, China, Germany, and Italy? Today we’re bringing you the best pavilion around the World Showcase Lagoon – the U.S.A! And what a lovely pavilion it is:
When entering the USA from Italy, the first thing you will see is coffee and donuts. While I can’t start my day without a cup of joe, I have to point out the irony in this.
Today is historically one of my favorite days to go to the Magic Kingdom. While thousands of people are running the marathon, the parks find themselves in a bit of a transportation disaster. The runners clog major roadways, and cleanup efforts add an extra delay. This means that if you get there early, you beat the crowd in a big way. Folks just can’t get in as quickly as on a normal day! Add to that the fact that the huge “Let the Magic Begin” banner has been removed from the train station, and you are talking about some serious magic today!
Now, the banner being removed isn’t really news. Everyone has been buzzing about that! But have you see the Welcome Show with our lovely, new, banner free view? I decided to take video for you guys this morning! Remember, my “channel” is pretty much just for blog linking. All the cool kids are subscribed to the TouringPlans Channel!
Ciao and welcome to Italy! Can you believe we’ve already been to Mexico, Norway, China, and Germany? We’re almost halfway through our tour, and the scenery just keep getting more beautiful! Today, we start with a very wide angle view showing the pavilion that is modeled mostly after Venice, more specifically Saint Mark’s Square. The first building on the left is Palazzo Ducale.
On the right hand side when entering this land you can see gondolas, rivers, and bridges. These make a lovely photo spot during the day and an incredible spot for the fireworks at night, if you can swing it.