Posts Tagged ‘Fastpass’

Observations from Magic Kingdom: Be Our Guest Lunch Changes and New Tomorrowland Colors

by on October 29, 2014

WDW’s Magic Kingdom gets ready for another Halloween party as I make observations from the park’s eastern attractions (photos by Seth Kubersky).

After a week of sailing on the Disney Magic, it was a little surreal to step back into the Magic Kingdom again for my first post-Disney Cruise visit to Walt Disney World. Even at Orlando’s oldest theme park, things are always on the move, as I discovered in my mid-morning trip around the park’s eastern half. Here are some fresh observations from Magic Kingdom on 10/23/2014, including policy updates at Be Our Guest lunch, a bold new Tomorrowland color scheme, and the finale of Move It, Shake It, Celebrate It.

Be Our Guest Lunch

Fantasyland‘s popular Be Our Guest restaurant has bedeviled guests in recent months with its evolving lunch policies, which have shifted from favoring walk-up counter service toward FastPass+ reservations.

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New! FastPass+ Availability, Dashboard, Attraction Updates

by on October 24, 2014

A few new updates for the site today should make it easier to plan your next Disney World trip:

  • You can see all of the FastPass+ times available for every attraction in every park, up to 30 days in advance
  • Your Trip Dashboard now includes links to the attractions available in the parks you’re visiting, and an easier-to-understand crowd rating
  • Each park’s Attractions page gets a cleaner, simpler layout, and only shows ratings for the age groups in your family

Details are below.

FastPass+ Availability

You’re now able to see all of the FastPass+ reservation times available for every attraction, every day, on a single page:

Dashboard4

 

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Be Our Guest Restaurant Lunch Currently FastPass+ Only

by on October 8, 2014

Be Our Guest Restaurant FastPass+ sign

Looks like currently the Stand-by Entrance is no more.

If you not staying at a Walt Disney World Resort Hotel and want to dine at the Magic Kingdom’s Be Our Guest Restaurant for lunch, it appears that you are out of luck for the time being. The extremely popular New Fantasyland restaurant is currently only seating guests who have made a FastPass+ reservation during lunch hours, when the restaurant functions as a counter service location. These reservations are only available to guests staying at a Walt Disney World Resort Hotel. Walk-ups will not be allowed for the restaurant until further notice, with no end date in sight.

Previously Disney tested handing out paper “return tickets” to standby guests. This test left many guests out of luck, as tickets were often snatched up quickly first thing in the morning.

Be Our Guest Restaurant is still a table service location at dinner and absolutely requires guests to make Advanced Dining Reservations in order to dine during the evening hours.

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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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Toy Story Mania Testing FastPass+ Only Option This Week

by on October 7, 2014

Toy Story ManiaFor those who are visiting Walt Disney World this week and will be making a stop at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, be aware that if you want to ride Toy Story Midway Mania, you must obtain a FastPass+ reservation in order to do so.

Currently the attraction is testing a situation where is no standby line. To ride, guests must make a FastPass+ reservation via the My Disney Experience website or app or by using one of the FastPass+ kiosks located in the park. Disney has said that it is adding additional FastPass+ reservations to the system for guests, so if you don’t currently have a reservation for the attraction, you should check to see if one is available.

This test will take place through Thursday, October 9. The regular standby line will return for guests to be able to use alongside FastPass+ on Friday, October 10. Previously Soarin’ and Princess Fairytale Hall – Meet Anna and Elsa have tested this “FastPass+ Only” configuration.

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Day-Of FastPass+ Availability at Walt Disney World

by on September 16, 2014

Getting a “Fourth” FastPass+ (and Beyond)

One of the first changes to the FastPass+ program was the ability to make more  FastPass+ selections after using your first set of advance reservations. Besides being able to get more FastPasses, this lets you get FastPass+ options that may not have been available to you previously. (For example, the advance FastPass “tiering” rules at Epcot and the Studios aren’t in effect for your 4th FastPass+ selection and beyond, nor is the once-per-attraction restriction.)

This means you have to choose a strategy. The two most common options are:

  1. Book your advance FastPass+ reservations early in the day and have more time for “extra” FastPass+ selections,
  2. Schedule your advance FastPass+ reservations during the busiest time of the day and use the standby lines early in the day, when the wait times are lower

To make this choice, it helps to know each attraction’s day-of FastPass+ availability.

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Observations from Magic Kingdom: Frozen Meet & Greet and Be Our Guest Lunch Queue Updates

by on August 29, 2014

Queue update

Guests line up for busses to the Magic Kingdom due to morning monorail maintenance (photos by Seth Kubersky)

In the final weeks of the 2014 summer season, Walt Disney World experimented with some new queuing procedures at popular attractions and eateries, with somewhat controversial results. As the peak crowds have departed, so have most of those tests, so I recently headed into the Magic Kingdom for an early morning queue update on operations at Princess Fairytale Hall’s Frozen Meet & Greet and Be Our Guest restaurant.

My first goal was to arrive well before rope drop, in order to see how swiftly the infamously long line to meet Anna and Elsa was moving first thing in the morning. Unfortunately, I forgot that the monorail is currently opening late due to maintenance upgrades, which made the trip from the TTC to the park a bit more cumbersome than usual.

I opted for the bus transportation option over the overburdened ferry, which turned out to not be a bad choice. The busses loaded about as quickly as could be expected, with a continuous line of vehicles pulling up to service the sizable crowd, and before too long we had arrived at the recently expanded Magic Kingdom bus loop.

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Observations from Disney’s Animal Kingdom: August 15, 2014

by on August 15, 2014

Observations from Disney's Animal Kingdom

Take a day — or at least 2/3s of one — to walk around Animal Kingdom with Touring Plans (photos by Seth Kubersky).

This week it was time for me to make some observations from Disney’s Animal Kingdom, and is there any place in Walt Disney World more welcoming on a muggy, humid day? Wait, don’t answer that… As an infrequent visitor to Animal Kingdom, it was my objective to visit as many of park’s major and mid-tier attractions as possible, in order to test Derek Burgan’s controversial theory that DAK is indeed more than a “half-day park.”

 

While the typical Touring Plans approach is to arrive before rope drop, I decided to give Animal Kingdom a fighting chance by pulling onto Disney property a half hour after the park’s 9 a.m. opening time. The first sight that greeted me past the toll booths was a large section of the overflow parking lot where grass was being replaced with asphalt.

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Walt Disney World Tips for Big Groups: Stay Sane, Stay Happy

by on August 13, 2014

You love your friends and family. I know it. You know it. But when you’re on vacation and suddenly everyone has different ideas of what they want to go and where to eat and when they need bathroom breaks don’t you… sort of… want to push them in the lake? Just a little? Whether this is a once-in-a-lifetime trip or a yearly affair, vacationing with a big group of people can get stressful in a hurry. Here are a few Disney World tips to save your sanity and keep things running as smoothly as possible.

As told entirely by screenshots of The Emperor’s New Groove.

Copyright - Disney

Copyright – Disney

Because nobody knows how to party like Kronk and Yzma, that’s why.

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Observations from Epcot: July 30, 2014

by on August 2, 2014

observations from Epcot

Take a stroll around Epcot with us without having to leave your air-conditioning! (Photos by Seth Kubersky)

Following my Frozen-filled visit to Disney’s Hollywood Studios last week, I found myself back at Walt Disney World a few days later for some observations from Epcot. As a child, EPCOT (as it will always be capitalized in my heart) was my favorite WDW park, and the massive Beard/Abrams coffee table book on the park’s creation remains among my most prized possessions. As everyone knows, Epcot’s attractions (especially in Future World) have been radically overhauled over the past 2 decades, and now I rarely visit the park except during the fantastic Food & Wine or Flower & Garden festivals.

My first mid-summer Epcot experience in several seasons started on a sweet note, as I snagged a parking spot along the center aisle; there is nothing worse than having to walk a football field’s length just to get to the tram.

Spending a lot of time at Universal Orlando lately, I’ve been frustrated by how slow their entry procedures are, even after new ticket scanners were recently installed. In contrast, the turnstile-free entry at Disney’s parks has become my favorite element of MyMagic+. Scanning a MagicBand usually seems swifter than swiping a barcode, and the finger scanners at Disney are still far faster and more reliable than Universal’s new biometric readers.

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