Posts Tagged ‘Fastpass’

Update on FastPass+ Only Meet and Greets at Walt Disney World

by on May 12, 2014

Minnie Mouse Meet at DHSIt appears that Disney has changed its mind. I’m not sure if it’s a temporary measure or if Disney has decided to go a different route.

Previously I reported that starting on May 11, Disney was going to begin including in the line up of FastPass+ choices the option of three FastPass+ ONLY meet and greets. At these meet and greets, guests would only be able to meet select characters by making a FastPass+ reservation for them, and standby would not be an option. I even personally saw one of the signs signifying this option at Epcot when I visited the park last week.

The three meet and greets that were supposed to become FastPass+ ONLY were at Epcot’s United Kingdom Pavilion in a meet and greet opportunity with Winnie the Pooh, at Disney’s Hollywood Studios at The Magic of Disney Animation with a Minnie Mouse meet and greet, and at Disney’s Animal Kingdom with a new meet and greet opportunity at the Character Landing with Daisy and Donald.

However, when pulling up the My Disney Experience site today, it appears that what was once listed as a FastPass+ ONLY option for these meet and greets has now disappeared. These meet and greets are no longer listed in a spot where they once so prominently were.

So, let’s get everything out there in a clear and concise form…

  • Disney seems to have done away with the FastPass+ ONLY option. (I’m not sure if this is a permanent move or a temporary one. Only time will tell. I do know the outcry against this idea was large.)
  • These three meet and greet opportunities are all available as standby only at this point and time.
  • Donald and Daisy are now meeting at the Character Landing in Discovery Island at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, replacing Tigger and Winnie the Pooh.

I will make sure to keep you updated if anything else changes.

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Frozen Princess Meet and Greet in the Magic Kingdom: An Update

by on May 12, 2014

It’s been a few weeks now since the Frozen Princess meet and greet with Anna and Elsa began at Princess Fairytale Hall and there are lots of questions about how FastPass+ works for the attraction. First, a little about the venue itself. Princess Fairytale Hall opened in late 2013 to house the Magic Kingdom’s princess meet and greets.

Exterior of Princess Fairytale Hall

Guests queue to meet the Princesses in Fantasyland

 

Princess Fairytale Hall (PFH) sits behind the castle just across from the carousel. Until late April of this year, guests could visit Cinderella and a surprise princess guest on one side of the hall and Rapunzel and a surprise princess guest on the other. Rapunzel generally commanded higher wait times than Cinderella, but both princess meet and greets were eligible for FastPass+. On April 20, Anna and Elsa from Disney’s wildly popular movie, Frozen, began meeting and greeting with a surprise princess guest on one side of the hall and Rapunzel and Cinderella joined to meet on the other side.

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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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FastPass+ Only Character Meet and Greet Opportunities Begin Soon

by on May 7, 2014

Minnie Mouse Meet at DHSWe’ve known it was going to happen for a while, where select character meet and greet opportunities would only be available for guests who made FastPass+ reservations. It appears this exclusive option is currently on the horizon.

Beginning this Sunday, May 11, some select meet and greet opportunities will only be available to guests who make reservations. (As a matter of fact, I even noticed one of the FastPass+ ONLY signs when I was at Epcot’s United Kingdom pavilion this past weekend and thought…hmmm…. Little did I realize that this would be implemented soon.)

Here are the locations where guests will only be able to meet select characters by having a FastPass+ reservation. (Standby will not be available.)

Epcot

  • United Kingdom Pavilion – Meet Winnie the Pooh (a Tier 1 attraction choice)

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April 22, 2014: Magic Kingdom Observations and FastPass+ Fun

by on April 28, 2014

It’s been a while since I’ve taken you guys with me on one of my after work weeknight adventures and I thought we were due for a few magical hours in the Magic Kingdom. Taking a look at the photo below you can tell the crowds certainly haven’t cleared out from Easter yet! I was worried we wouldn’t get the most out of the night because it was so busy. But I managed to snag some great FastPass+ times that I’m excited to tell you about! Unfortunately, if you take a look at the clock in the photo below you’ll see that I was going to be late for my first FastPass+ reservation that expired at 6:45pm. Eek! Let’s hurry!

IMG_2131

Luckily, even though I was a solid 10 minutes late for my appointment with the Haunted Mansion they let us through with no issue. I’ve heard you can be up to 15 minutes late for a FastPass+ and 5 minutes early without getting into trouble. I’m glad they let us in because I was able to get this photo of the grave digger. He’s still a little out of focus but this is the closest I’ve gotten to a decent photo of him. He’s sort of my white whale of photography!! ;)

IMG_2144

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FastPass+ Changes Rolling Out Next Week at Walt Disney World

by on April 24, 2014

©Disney

©Disney

Recently, I posted an article about how Disney was in the process of tweaking its MyMagic+ system to allow for additional FastPass+ perks for guests at Walt Disney World. These tweaks include adding the ability to make more than 3 FastPass+ reservations per day and adding the opportunity to park hop from one theme park to another.

Tom Staggs, Chairman of Walt Disney Parks and Resorts, announced today that beginning on Monday, April 28, after guests use their first 3 FastPass+ selections, they will be able to return to one of the FastPass+ kiosks found within the parks and select another FastPass+ reservation. This fourth FastPass+ entitlement will be available on a rolling basis.: as soon as guests use this fourth FastPass+ reservation, they can then go back to a FastPass+ kiosk to select yet another FastPass+, and so on. (It does appear that, at least for now, you will have to head to a kiosk – and not the My Disney Experience app – to make your additional FastPass+ selections.)

In addition, guests will able to select and use their additional FastPass+ reservations when hopping from park to park.

These updates to the current system are occurring due to guest feedback of the current system’s set up. The change is certainly welcome. It will make it so that guests have even more flexibility in their touring.

Now I need to go change the FastPass+ reservations I have scheduled for next week!

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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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New My Disney Experience App Hints at FastPass+ Changes

by on April 1, 2014

Disney released My Disney Experience version 2.1, its mobile application for iPhone, on Sunday. Disney says the new app has 2 features: easier linking of park admission and the ability to manage FastPass+ selection for your friends.

Coincidentally, a copy of the app’s source code fell off a truck in Queens last month, just as I was walking by. It was my lucky day. Turns out there’s some hidden functionality in this version of MDE, which Disney can switch on and off remotely, to change how FastPass+ will function later this year.

Before I go over those changes, here’s a disclaimer: Absolutely no one from Disney’s Decision Science group has ever, in the history of ever, met me at a bar in Winter Park a couple weeks ago with a USB drive full of emails and Powerpoint documents to confirm these changes. I’ve never even been to the Ravenous Pig. You’re watching too much Homeland, okay? Lay off the Showtime.

Now that we’re straight, on with the show.

FastPass+ for Disney Transportation

The new version of MDE lets guests make bus reservations for transportation to and from the theme parks each day. As proof that programmers have humor, it’s called Bus+ in the code.

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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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