Posts Tagged ‘Fastpass Plus’

Observations from Disney’s Hollywood Studios Toy Story Midway Mania FastPass+ Only Testing

by on October 8, 2014

Toy Story Mania FastPass+ only test

This week’s Toy Story Midway Mania FastPass+ Only testing means you may sees this sign at DHS.

If you want to toss some virtual rings this week at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, you’d better head to My Disney Experience right now, because for the first time Walt Disney World is experimenting with eliminating all standby options at this headlining attraction. As Rickki Nibblet reported, a Toy Story Midway Mania FastPass+ Only test means that from October 6-9, 2014, you must have a FastPass+ reservation — booked in advance online or day-of at an in-park kiosk — in order to ride the popular Pixar-themed shooting gallery. The standard standby line will not be available at all during the testing period, and once all FastPass+ reservations are claimed for the day, you will not have the option of waiting in line the old-fashioned way.

Having previously experienced Epcot’s short-lived experiment with using paper FastPasses for the Soarin’ standby line, I wanted to see how this FastPass+ Only test operated at Toy Story Midway Mania (TSMM). Monday, Oct. 6, was a moderate 5 on our Crowd Calendar, but now that the Studio Backlot Tour is closed, TSMM is (along with The Great Movie Ride) the only all-ages ride in the park. Since guests seem willing to wait an hour or more in standby for TSMM even on off-peak days, I was curious to observe their reaction to this temoprary change.

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Seven Dwarfs Mine Train FastPass+ Advice and Ride Testing Observations

by on May 9, 2014

Seven Dwarfs Mine Train FastPass+

Seven Dwarfs Mine Train making a test run in the Magic Kingdom’s New Fantasyland (photos by Seth Kubersky)

As you may have heard, during the first few days in May, Walt Disney World allowed select media to preview the new Seven Dwarfs Mine Train in New Fantasyland, and announced a May 28 official opening date for the attraction. Public soft openings are expected some time in the next few weeks, but for now the only people riding the family-friendly coaster during operating hours are employees involved with Seven Dwarfs Mine Train testing and training. On the Monday after the media preview, Touring Plans stats guru Fred Hazelton and I paid a visit to the Magic Kingdom. There, we had the opportuninity to observe the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train making training and testing runs, as the attraction cycled spordically — both with and without riders — over the course of several hours. In addition, we have some advice on securing coveted Seven Dwarfs Mine Train FastPass+ reservations, as well as an update on using four or more FastPass+ appointments in one day.

Seven Dwarfs Mine Train Testing Observations

Let’s start with some scenic shots of the Mine Train, and the mind-blowing quantity of rockwork and landscaping that went into the area surrounding it.

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Magic Kingdom FastPass+ Parade and Fireworks Viewing Tips and Observations

by on April 17, 2014

FastPass+ parade and fireworks viewing tips

Get a VIP view with FastPass+ parade and fireworks viewing areas at the Magic Kingdom (photos by Seth Kubersky)

Welcome to the future of fireworks and parades at Walt Disney World! In recent weeks, as the final rollout of FastPass+ has concluded in the Disney World parks, I’ve been sharing my experiences using the system as an Annual Passholder at Epcot, as well as at Disney’s Hollywood Studios and Disney’s Animal Kingdom. Since my last post, FastPass+ has been fully implemented for all Disney World guests, including day-guests not staying on Disney property, and I’ve finally had the opportunity to experience one of the most controversial aspects of the new system. Without further ado, here are my FastPass+ parade and fireworks viewing tips, based on my personal observations at the Magic Kingdom.


Festival of Fantasy FastPass+ Parade Viewing

When the features of FastPass+ were first announced, the private reserved viewing areas for parades and other spectaculars were the aspect I was most skeptical (even cynical) about. Personally, such performances are usually very low on my priority list during a park visit for several reasons. Most of the parades had grown quite stale to me from years of over-exposure, I have an aversion to spending valuable touring time staking out a spot of asphalt just to get a good view, and I can’t abide being crammed like sardines in the crowd that accompanies the procession. So I would normally use that time to take advantage of marginally shorter queues at my favorite attractions. If I did want to see a parade, I’d typically walk up a minute or so before it started, and make do with a partial view blocked by the sea of shoulder-sitting small-fries in front of me. With a limit (soon to be lifted) of only 3 FastPass+ reservations per day, I couldn’t see myself “wasting” one on something like a parade when Space and Splash are beckoning.

This is currently the closest you can get to Anna and Elsa from Frozen without a mult-hour wait for their meet & greet.


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FastPass+ Tips for Annual Pass Vouchers and Frozen Meet and Greet

by on March 25, 2014

As I’ve detailed in my recent blog posts, navigating Walt Disney World now that FastPass+ has fully rolled out for Annual Passholders is a whole new adventure that seems to evolve on a daily basis. Here are some updated FastPass+ tips on two of the hottest topics among users of My Disney Experience and the associated MyMagic+ programs: Annual Pass vouchers and the new Frozen meet and greet.

FastPass+ Tips for Annual Pass Vouchers

New FastPass+ tips for Annual Pass vouchers and Frozen meet and greet (photos by Seth Kubersky)

New FastPass+ tips for Annual Pass vouchers and Frozen meet and greet (photos by Seth Kubersky)

One of the most frequently asked questions in the comments to my recent blog posts has been if Annual Pass vouchers that have not yet been activated can be tied to a My Disney Experience account for FastPass+ access. This is important to guests who wish to purchase an annual pass in advance of their visit to make FastPass+ reservations without having the 365-day timer on their ticket start ticking until their arrival. Multiple readers have reported inputing their voucher number as a linked admission pass in My Disney Experience, and being unsuccessful in attempts to then make FastPass+ reservations.

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More Adventures with Disney World Annual Passholder Advance FastPass+: DHS & DAK Edition

by on March 22, 2014

Welcome back to the continuing saga of Walt Disney World’s recent roll-out of Annual Passholder Advance FastPass+ privileges to the general public. As explained in our last episode, all WDW annual passholders should now be able to make up to 7 days of FastPass+ reservations within the next 30 days through the My Disney Experience website and apps. Last time, we looked at how I set up my first week of FastPass+ selections, and saw how my first intinerary turned out at Epcot (TLDR: not perfect, but pretty good).

For this followup, follow me to Walt Disney World two least-popular parks for examples of how advance FastPass+ may (or may not) work to your advantage at Disney’s Hollywood Studios and Disney’s Animal Kingdom.

Disney’s Hollywood Studios FastPass+

Much like my day at Epcot, I arrived at the Disney’s Hollywood Studios parking lot a little after 1:00 p.m.

Advance FastPass+

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Adventures at Epcot with Walt Disney World Annual Passholder Advance FastPass+

by on March 21, 2014

Walt Disney World regulars rejoiced last week, as the rollout of advance reservation FastPass+ features finally reached all WDW annual passholders. That means that all Disney World annual passholders should be able to access the My Disney Experience website or mobile app and make FastPass+ bookings up to 30 days ahead of time. Previously, I shared my experiences using FastPass+ as an annual passholder making same-day reservations using in-park kiosks, as off-site guests still must do (at least for now). Now, I’m going to detail my personal adventures with week #1 of Annual Passholder advance FastPass+ reservations.

Getting Started with Annual Passholder Advance FastPass+

First of all, if you haven’t already, log into and set up an account. Be sure to link your account to your valid annual pass using the ID number on the back of your pass, or voucher number if you have not yet redeemed an online purchase.

Next, visit the Magic Band page to customize your RFID wristband. You can select a color and name, verify your shipping address, and receive confirmation that your order has been received.

According to the webpage, Magic Bands should start shipping to annual passholders shortly.

Until your Magic Band arrives, you can continue to use your RFID-enabled credit-card-sized annual pass to enter the parks and activate FastPass+ sensors.

If you carry a smartphone in the parks, be sure to download the Apple or Android app. The iPad app is probably the most efficient platform for scheduling and adjusting FastPass+ reservations, but the website and phone apps work fairly well.

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My Updated Experiences with Offsite Annual Passholder FastPass+

by on January 30, 2014

Disney World offsite Annual Passholder FastPass+ updated

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

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

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

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


How busy are the FastPass+ kiosks?

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

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

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

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My First Walt Disney World Annual Passholder FastPass+ Experience

by on January 20, 2014

Based on how much this blog has covered the ongoing FastPass+ rollout at Walt Disney World over the past year or two, you might assume every member of the Touring Plans team already has enough MagicBands to decorate their Christmas tree (I’m looking at you, Morgan Crutchfield). But since I haven’t stayed in a Walt Disney World on-site hotel since before the MyMagic+ program began, I’ve been excluded…until now. As we reported, Animal Kingdom went FastPass+-only late last year, followed by the Magic Kingdom on Tuesday, January 14, and the rest of the parks will remove their paper legacy FASTPASS machines shortly. Now that the FastPass+ service has been opened to all guests, this acknowledged sceptic took the plunge with my first Annual Passholder FastPass+ experience.

Animal Kingdom

To be precise, my first FastPass+ adventure was an incomplete attempt that was unfair to judge the service by. Earlier in January, I tried using the service on one of the first days it was offered to off-site guests by visiting the kiosks outside Disney Outfitters on Discovery Island.

There was no wait, and a friendly cast member assisted me in using the touchscreen computer to enter my information and select three attractions.

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Your FastPass+ Priorities at the Magic Kingdom

by on January 14, 2014

The Magic Kingdom begins exclusive use of FastPass+ today. We’ve updated all 50 of our Magic Kingdom touring plan templates to use only FastPass+. Each plan now lists the suggested FastPass+ start times for the attractions that will save you the most time in line, like this:

Suggested start times for FastPass+ reservations:

Peter Pan’s Flight = 10 AM
Buzz Lightyear = 5 PM
Enchanted Tales with Belle = 7 PM

We also added the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train to most plans, as we think that will begin previews sometime next month.

When we updated the plans, we kept track of how many times each attraction was identified as needing FastPass+. It turns out that this is a prioritized list of which attractions you should use FastPass+ for to avoid long waits in line:

FastPass+ Priorities

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Disney World FastPass+ FAQ

by on September 16, 2013

We’ve been going a little MyMagic crazy here at TouringPlans. I’ve shared some of my MyMagic+ test experiences and given you the basics about MagicBands, Kristina Murphy has explored the world of MyDisneyExperience, and Brian McNichols has given you the scoop on how to make the best use of FastPass+ with your own Touring Plan.

Make your FP+ selections electronically

Make your FP+ selections electronically

What we’ve missed so far, and what I’m now here to give you, is a basic rundown of the features of FastPass+ which when paired with a MagicBand, is the crown jewel of Disney’s next-gen in park technology. Here’s what you need to know:

What exactly is a FastPass+?

A FastPass+ is a reservation for a ride or other Walt Disney World attraction. You can make reservations days, weeks, or even months in advance of your Walt Disney World visit.

What’s the difference between FASTPASS and FastPass+?

If you’ve been to Walt Disney World in the past decade or so, chances are you’ve seen or used the old FASTPASS system. (Which Disney is now calling “legacy FastPass.”) With the old FastPass system, you put your park ticket into an on-site kiosk machine (like an ATM) and the machine spit out a paper ticket telling you at what time to return later that same day to enjoy the ride with little or no wait.

With FastPass+ you can make reservations for rides from locations other than Walt Disney World via a computer, tablet or smartphone (assuming that you have an account with Disney and the appropriate app). There are also centralized locations at the WDW parks where you can make/organize FP+ reservations; you do not need to go to the attraction itself. You do not get a paper ticket, instead you enter the ride FastPass return queue using either an RFID enabled card or a MagicBand.

With legacy FP, you had no choice about when your return time was, you simply took what the system spit out, regardless of whether that time worked for your meal/nap schedule. With FP+, you can control your return time, allowing you to avoid returns which interfere with your other plans.

With legacy FP, once you got a paper ticket, you were stuck with that return time, with no way to modify your FastPass. With FP+, you can change your FastPass attraction or attraction return time, while you’re on the go in the parks.

With legacy FP, anyone could use the paper ticket. You could give the entire family’s allotment of FP to one child, or you could gift unused FastPasses to other guests on your way out of the park. With FP+, the FastPasses are non-transferrable.

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