Walt Disney World Tests New FastPass+ Configuration at Epcot

by on November 4, 2013 62 Comments

Filed under: Recent News, Walt Disney World (FL)

According to the website kennythepirate.com, Walt Disney World is testing a new method for allocating FastPass+ reservations for Epcot.

With this new trial, guests will still be able to reserve three FastPass+ options. Through the new method that’s being tested currently during the months of November and December, guests will now have to choose ONE attraction from a list of mostly headliners and TWO attractions from a list of more secondary options. This is similar to what we’d heard FastPass+ was originally going to be like, where guests choose a couple of attractions from Column A and a couple of attractions from Column B.

The attractions are as follows:

Column A (Choose ONE preference)

Column B (Choose TWO preferences)

If you have already made your FastPass+ reservations for these dates at Epcot, DO NOT change them. Otherwise, you will have to use this new method for choosing your options.

Please keep In mind that this is a test.

For more information about the new FastPass+ system, please read Erin Foster’s great article explaining everything about how the process works.

Posted on November 4, 2013

62 Responses to “Walt Disney World Tests New FastPass+ Configuration at Epcot”

  • Essentially, they’re telling us we’re going to have to ride either Soarin or Test Track standby.

    And none of the attractions in Column B require FP at all, except at the absolute busiest times of the year.

    Ridiculous move, Disney.

  • Not interested in this move!
    I agree with the previous post. I have rarely had to wait for the attractions in Column B. However, Soarin’ and Test Track are BIG in my family.
    I would hate to make the kids happy, but disappoint the grandparents.
    If Disney officials read these comments, please keep the fast pass system as is.

  • Granted, I tend to go during off season, but I have NEVER needed FastPass for anything but Soarin’ or Test Track. This doesn’t seem worthwhile.

  • Two weeks ago our family attended without the option of FP+ (we were off properly low lifes) and it was miserable. 9:05 a.m. and Toy Story was out of FP for regular guest. We’ve opted not to renew our Annual Passes after 3 years. We live in Mass and would fly down 2-3 times a year. It will be a a while before we return.

  • This is ridiculous. Disney is trying to force limitations on fastpass+ choices, because they are now losing the important time/physical limitations inherent in the old fastpass (ie, you had to be present in the park to pull a fastpass, you had to wait 2 hrs until your next fastpass, and you had to walk the park to get it). This kind of guest manipulation is not going to go over well. If I want to get a fastpass to both Soarin and Test Track, I should be allowed the chance to do so! With the old system, everyone had an equal chance to get whatever fastpasses they preferred. Now, Disney’s in control and guest preferences don’t matter. Not good.

  • Ah. That explains the change during my trip. On Tuesday (October) I had the 3 passes from the complete list; on Friday I only had the 1 + 2 options.

    My experience was mixed — I say give it a chance before you condemn the changes.

    • Why give things a chance before condemning?

      The changes are pretty obviously restrictive. And so is the GAC to DAS changes.

      The thing to reserve judgement on is that this is just a test.

      Ultimately, the FP system is going to be “harder” to use because they are going to let people start taking from the bin much earlier, and they have put more rules in place about how and what you can take.

      The ONLY winners (guests) in the new FP system are people who didn’t show up at rope drop to claim a FP for rides that ultimately run out of FP’s.

      Disney’s desire is to make things MORE FAIR for everyone. But how do the central planners at Disney know what’s best for one family vs another, and how can Disney possibly weight the value of certain rides vs other for many different people?

      Instead of just giving people a level playing field (i.e. enforcing no line jumping) and leaving it that, they are trying to pick and choose who can cut in line, and when you can cut in line. The FP lines are nothing but sanctioned line jumping.

      Ultimately more people need to recognize that Disney could have just spent the money (FP+ is expensive) on improved ride capacity both in staff increases and better use of staff. (i.e. it takes at least 2 people to enforce the FP line, if those staff worked the ride instead of the line, then maybe it would have a better capacity)

      But people like the idea of getting special privileges to cut ahead of other people who just didn’t take advantage. So, Disney is now exploiting that tendency in human nature to market an idea that ultimately shrinks the “supply” of ride capacity and just “shifts” the demand for ride capacity from the non-preferred guest to the preferred guest.

  • You can use fast pass + and your old resort key card/admission ticket like you always did before. We just can back from a week at the parks and made out three selections and then filled in in between times using our key cards to get more fast pass tickets. So you don’t have to ride standby on premier rides, just have to get in the fast pass line like before the wrist bands came out.

    And be sure to ask for the standard room key cards. They offered them to us at the grand Floridian “just in case” the magic bands failed.

    • I was told by Cast Members that you are not supposed to use the room keys and that once the plan goes into full gear, that option will go away.

    • Phil, you can get regular FP now but I thought I had read that Disney is planning on getting rid of the paper FPs now that they are implementing the FP+. I would be OK if they had both kinds.

  • Thank goodness. A friend of mine visited Epcot a few weeks ago and when they arrived to Soarin’ at 9:30am, the Fastpasses were already gone for the day! Hopefully this will somewhat help guests not staying on property… probably not much though.

  • “Choose one of these 2-3 things for which you really should have FastPass, then choose two of these 5-6 things for which you don’t need FastPass”. Great.

  • E Tickets are back!

  • FP+ is great for people who have access to it. Horrible for those who don’t. Several weeks ago, I stayed at the BW in LBV so didn’t have access to FP+. When I arrived at Epcot, all FastPasses were gone for Soarin’. So I got in line and waited more than an hour to ride. Great ride as always but won’t do that again.

    But now going back 11/10-11 and staying on property. I have FP+ for AK on 11/11. Great for me this time but I’ll bet if it’s standby and FP+ only, there will be no lines for FP+ and very long lines for standby. They should have a mix of FP and FP+. They’re totally shafting those who don’t stay at resorts.

  • When FP+ was first announced, I was sceptical, if not angry that I wouldn’t be able to get around 10 fp a day. But, I think the new fp+, when thought about reasonably is a good idea, and I quite like this way of doing it. It makes it fairer for everyone who want’s to ride, and lets face it, how many of us can say we have experienced all the other things that are on offer at the Disney parks, especially Epcot. Why not be grateful that you can be guarenteed fastpasses for the rides that everyone loves, eg, toy story mania, where fastpasses are often fully dispensed by 9:30, and get the oppurtunity to see things that you may not have ever taken the time to see before?

    • Bex, I appreciate your attempt to look on the sunny side of this, but as we say where I live, “No matter how much lipstick you put on a pig, it’s still a pig.” ๐Ÿ™‚

      “Why not be grateful that you can be guarenteed fastpasses for the rides that everyone loves….”

      The new tiered FP+ system guarantees the opposite: it guarantees that we will *not* be get FP+s for the attractions everyone loves.

      The 2 highest-demand attractions in EP are Soarin and Test Track. Under the old legacy FP system, you could get FPs for both–in fact, if you planned wisely, you could get multiple FPs for both with little effort. Even under the non-tiered FP+ system, with all its faults, you could get 1 FP+ for each of these.

      Under this tiered FP+ system, you now can get FP+ for only 1 of these attractions. By definition, you are not getting guaranteed FP+s for both of these attractions.

      Can’t wait to see them implement this at DHS, which has a similar problem.

      “Column A (Choose ONE preference)
      –Toy Story Mania
      –Rock n Roller Coaster
      –Tower of Terror

      Column B (Choose 2 preferences)
      –Star Tours
      –Great Movie Ride
      –Lights Motor Action
      –Little Mermaid
      –Indiana Jones
      –Backlot Tour”

      You laugh, but it could definitely happen, if they want to ration FPs for the only attractions that actually warrant FPs.

      Simply put, FP+ is a solution for a problem that didn’t exist. Epcot’s tiered system just takes it to another ridiculous level.

      • They’ll probably put Star Tours in column A too. Plus Fantasmic.

      • You’re absolutely right and this really worries me. I’m not one of the people who gets to test this, but I really hope the people who do are able to give Disney feedback saying “NO, WE DON’T LIKE THESE RESTRICTIONS!”

      • Keep in mind that the number of people who can ride in a day is fixed (number of riders per hour * hours ride is open). So railing fast passes means that more families get fewer passes whereas the old system was fewer families get more passes. From Disneys point of view they would rather have everyone have a good time and ride the best rides once than have veterans of the park ride a bunch of times. Also, this removes stress and confusion for most people–no running around the park, no fastpasses all gone when you arrive, etc.

        FP+ IS bad for vets because it is good for first time visitors and families with small kids and the FP game is zero sum.

        • Steve, I think you’re right that FP+ is designed more for the first (and perhaps only) time visitor. Actually, I think FP+’s true purpose was for Disney to mine all the data that comes along with the NextGen system they’ve spent so much $ on. But otherwise, I think they’re designing this so the newbie at least gets something.

          But as you stated, ride capacity’s fixed so if you’re parceling them out for the newbies, that reduces the opportunity for more savvy guests (e.g., those of us who use touringplans.com and the Unofficial Guide) to maximize our park-touring experience.

          Thing is, I’ve been coming back again and again to WDW and paying their premium prices because I believe I get a premium experience. When they start rationing out FP+s (only 3/day, in 1 park only, and no multiples for the same attraction) and then implement tiering which shuts us out of getting FP+s for certain attractions entirely, I no longer believe I’m getting a premium experience.

          Does that mean I won’t be back? I don’t know–and I don’t mean that in a pouty, “take my ball and go home” kind of way. I just mean that whenever I look at how I spend my vacation $, I don’t just blindly hand my money over to anyone, including Disney. I look at the experience I get for the $ I’m paying and plan accordingly. Over the last few years, that usually meant our family went to WDW. Now I’ll look at the state of the parks as they’re going to exist under FP+–including tiered FP+–and it may mean I no longer think it’s worth the $.

          I doubt Disney will care much if I’m not back–I don’t think Disney’s ever really cared too much about their repeat business. If they did, they’d do more to reward return visitors and AP holders. Instead, they do virtually nothing. Throttling FP+s so the new guests get more at the expense of the more experienced guest just shows that even more.

          Sorry this is so long–I’ve been pessimistic about FP+ generally, but was willing to wait and see how it will eventually play out. I’m still going to do that, but this news about tiering just seems to confirm the worst that many of us have been suspecting.

      • If this tier system is implemented across the other parks, which may or may not happen, like I said, you can still get fastpasses for ride that you normally wouldn’t, eg Toy Story Mania, if you wanted to go to the parks in the afternoon. Also, for the sakes of some rides being in the same ‘tier’, there is, on many other rides, a single rider queue, which on average, is 1/3 of the wait of the regular queue.

        • The whole reason I spend the exorbitant money to go the WDW is to experience it WITH my family. Forcing us to use single rider lines to experience popular attractions defeats the purpose of my vacation to make memories with my family. I, like many of you, am not happy with what his FP+ system promises.

  • As a local annual pass holder the FP+ trial has been awful. I was usually able to arrive at any park by noon and still be able to get fast passes for later on in the evening. Now they are all gone. Disney does not offer very many perks for AP holders. We spend thousands of dollars a year at Disney. We are there for day trips multiple times a month.

    When my pass expires Im switching to Universal. Out of towners can have Disney, I’m done

  • I have had nothing but trouble with the new system. We had fastpasses scheduled for December for Epcot, this week my fastpasses disappeared while my children and husbands are still there. Since we can no longer schedule 2 headliners, I can’t get mine back. This test has been awful for us.

    • If you use the “copy” feature to copy your other party members’ fastpass+ selection to you, you should be able to keep your 2 headliners. Or, try to call Disney IT help. Try to make sure you keep at least one person with the fastpass+ plan you had!

  • Publishing this list just highlights how embarrassing the attraction line-up in at Epcot. Is Maelstrom now an E-ticket?

  • This feels like manipulation to me. Why would you need a FP for any of the attractions in column B. They are going to alienate their best customers.

    • I don’t know about alienating their best customers, we travel from England, and as much as I liked the old fast passes, we never knew if we were going to be able to get one, not to mention we don’t always want to be in the park at opening, nor do we want to fly ten hours to spend our holiday queueing or missing out on things. Granted with the new fastpasses we only get three each a day, but with that little bit of early planning our holiday can be a bit more flexible.

  • I think limiting the choices is a very bad idea. Under the old rules, people COULD collect several fast passes at choice rides as long as they arrived at the park early and had a game plan. I know TONS of people who could get fast passes to all the major rides if they planned their visit well. Now, regardless of how well you plan (or how early you show up), this won’t help. I’m really concerned too as they extend this new rule to other parks, like Magic Kingdom where I imagine riding all 3 mountains will become impossible with fast pass+.

    My family won’t be back to WDW until after all these changes have taken affect, and the paper fast passes are already gone, so we won’t have the chance to also grab paper past passes for the rides that fast pass+ screws us out of. I’m REALLY hopeful that enough people who are testing this new feature will speak up. PLEASE speak up for the rest of us too. I don’t want to pay all that money to go to Disney and then have some of my favorite rides cut out of the equation! That’s not how this is supposed to work! Please, people who test this, speak up when Disney asks you what you think!

    • “I imagine riding all 3 mountains will become impossible with fast pass+.” This is simply wrong. If you must ride all three with next to no wait, get your FP+ for Space and ride Splash and BTM right after rope drop. Easy peasy. Even on the busiest days you won’t wait more than 20 minutes.

  • I can confirm this. Made my reservations last weekend for a December 31st trip. So we’ll be riding Test Track in EMH and using our Fastpass for Saurin’

  • Made my reservations last weekend for a December 31st trip. EPCOT was the only one with an A group and a B group, but I agree it’s probably coming for the other parks too.

  • Glad you posted this – we just ordered our bands for our Dec trip and I guess we will have to choose between Soarin’ & Test Track for FP+, but I’m going to make sure to reserve all of biggees in MK & DHS today before they do the same thing with them. I’m still not sure by all of the posts above – is there still an opportunity for those that signed up for FP+ for the next 2 months to use the old kiosks for paper fast pass if we ask the resorts for key to the world cards? That would solve the initial problem until 2014 rolls around.

    • I was wondering the same thing Joe. We are visiting in early December and it would certainly be nice if both were available.

      Kenny the Pirate also mentions on his website that paper fastpasses will be eliminated by the spring of 2014, which makes it sound like both will be available until then. I will certainly try the KTTW cards in the old machines when I am there and hope they work.

      • I hope both are. I’m not trying to be greedy (I would love to ride Space Mountain all day) My point(not sure if it has been brought up)is that this feature is the best for Park Hoppers – if I can get to rope drop at Hollywood Studios, grab TStory FP and run over and ride Aerosmith & the Tower, I can leave after lunch, relax at the resort and not have to worry going back to MK at night since I’ll have my 3 favorites from there already reserved with FP+ -is there anything wrong with that – I call it maximizing the fun!

      • Rumor has it (on certain boards) that traditional FP may be going away as soon as December 1. As an offsite guest going in December with the intention of purchasing APs, I’m certainly concerned.

  • These changes really just expose the flaws in the FP+ system. When they didn’t have it this way, the paper FPs were going at a ridiculous pace. This seems like a reaction to ensure some paper FPs remain. Of course, it also raises questions about the guest experience once FP+ is fully on board. It seems like it’s going to be a mess, especially for returning guests who want to maximize their trip.

  • We usually head to the world every 3 or 4 yrs and planning a trip aug 2014, this year we are spending 2 nights at universal and 5 at WDW. If the news on fp change we may spend another night at universal with their express pass. Disney why mess with something that works and makes most visitors experience a great one and want to come back!!!

    • We also only visit every 3 to 4 years and are doing the same as you in 8/14 as well, 7 nights at WDW and 2 nights at Universal, for the first time ever. We usually spend our whole trip at WDW. I am very disappointed to hear of this new FP+ nonsense… I’m calling WDW today to get the scoop. As I see it, to get FP+ for all typical FP attractions will require more than 1 day at each park ( we usually do MK for more than 1 day) keeping people on property longer which is Disney’s goal after all. However, I’m not liking the vast control they are placing on my Disney experience with this new system. There was a reason why they did away with the old E-ticket system years ago…

  • Is the universal express pass better than Disney fast pass?

  • For Universal, if you stay at one of their resorts you get an express pass for each day your there. So lets say you stay one night you get an express pass for the day you arrive and the day you leave (two days). Their resorts are awesome. I stayed at the Royal Pacific and I really enjoyed my stay. They are on par with Deluxe Disney resorts.

    The express pass allows you to skip the regular line on most rides. I think Forbidden Journey is one ride that doesn’t have an express line. Most of the rides do though.

    If you are a premier annual pass holder your pass entitles you to express pass privelages after 4:00pm.

    Yeah much easier to deal with.

  • I have been to Disney many times and have always stayed onsite…next February, because we are traveling with another family…we are renting a house offsite.
    Will we seriously have NO FP option at all if we are not onsite??
    This will be horrible. My brother’s family purposely enlisted me to be their ‘tour guide’ and maximize their enjoyment of WDW.
    Now, all of my expertise with FP etc. is out the window and they may as well go alone ๐Ÿ™ I do not look forward to standing in monstrous standby lines that I am sure this system is going to create.

    • It is my understanding that once the test period is over, FP+ will be open to anyone, not just resort guests.

      • But…how could you reserve them in advance? If you are restricted to getting them in the park the day you are there, it sounds like everything good will be gone.

        • Missy – I think you have nothing to worry about. If you are going in February, the crowds are next to nothing except for Predidents Day weekend, if you are going then, just get there at rope drop and you should still be fine following the plans on this site.

    • Missy, as of today offsite guests can use their ticket media to pull Legacy FPs at the parks. For some attractions, those Legacy FPs are extremely limited: e.g., they’ve been running out of Legacy FPs for TSM 30 minutes after park opening lately, according to the Lines app. For other attractions, Legacy FPs are more available. So Legacy FP availability will vary by park and by attraction.

      It has been widely reported that at some point in the future, Legacy FP will go away entirely and guests will only be able to use FP+. Will that happen before your February trip? No one knows for sure. When will FP+ be made available for offsite guests, and under what circumstances? No one knows that for sure, either.

      As the Epcot FP+ tiering shows, changes are happening all the time and with little notice. Guests who have trips scheduled in the near future just have to be ready for anything.

  • Hey, Joe –
    We ARE going President’s Week. It looks like the crowds are predicted to be in the high medium range (around 6) which means enough people will be around that I will want to be using FP to avoid long standby lines. Sure, Soarin’ might be 80 minutes instead of 150 but I still don’t want to stand there that long…
    It was bad enough when Disney decided to enforce the FP windows and now this??

  • Bex and Joe I think you work for Disney. Everyone else is making sense except for you two. It is no longer a fun vacation. It is going to be all about the planning and trying to work around the schedule you set up 6 months in advance so you could get the fastpasses you wanted. I don’t know about you but there hasn’t been one vacation that has gone exactly as planned. What will you do when that happens. When all the fastpasses are passed out you will not be able to change the time and you are out of luck. Also if you want to do a last minute trip. You are out of luck. I agree everyone was on an even playing field before, but now everyone, the newbies who don’t plan and will probably miss their times or be stressed about the schedule their whole vacation, the non-tech people who won’t get the whole system and the especially those of us that go 2 or 3 times a year. I for one love Disney, but it is a vacation and I want to be somewhat flexible on my vacation so I will probably be looking for somewhere else to take my family. Universal has a lot of exciting things coming up on the horizon and is not as crowded. I think it’s about time I found out what’s offered over there. It’s a whole new world to explore and experience. Maybe I’ll go back to Disney when they figure out this was all a mistake just like the e-ticket system was.

    • There is nothing wrong with stating my opinion as everyone else is doing, and just being my opinions are positive ones, again, doesn’t mean they are wrong. We travel from England to go to Disney, so yes, our holidays are planned to a rediculous point anyway due to distance travelled and funds needed, and yes, our holiday’s do go exactly as we planned. As for your spontaneous holiday point, I agree, FP+ will be a problem for people who are lucky enough to be able to make a spontaneous trip, but we, are not. So again, what is wrong with FP+ being a positive for my family? Does distance, cost, and the fact we can only for two weeks every other year justify why FP+ is good for us, it will allow us to get as much done in said two weeks as possible with our having to queue or run around a park all day scouting out fastpasses. To make another point, there are single rider queues available, touring plans available on here, so that negates your ‘out of luck’ comment.

    • First off, I don’t work for Disney and second, I’m sorry that you are on the TOURING PLAN site, but complain about planning for your trip and what it might ential. I never expect things to go as planned so that is why I’m on here exploring all possibilities. I’m only fortunate to go once every 3 or 4 years so I’m going get all the info I can get before going – sorry for my excitement about trying to max out what Disney has to offer – if others are too lazy or don’t want to plan, that is their own fault.

  • WDW’s Magic Kingdom hosted over 17 million guests last year and attendance figures have increased every year. I literally LOL each time I read a comment by someone who makes the effort to log on to a pro-Disney website just to say the latest change to anything: coffee, FastPass, Cinderella’s Castle…means they’ll never set foot in another Disney Park again and just might go to Universal. Or Medieval Times. Whatever.
    Enjoying one’s self is a choice. There is no excuse for “bad show;” tell Guest Services so they have the opportunity to set it right. Then enlighten us with your experiences and tips on how to improve our vacations. You know, like the folks who run this website do.
    By the way, closed comments on Fred’s 4.0 calendar…but let me take a moment to say, “Great job!” Thanks for the research and effort and user-friendliness!
    (No, J.J., I don’t work for Disney or this website. I just happen to be a happy person by choice.)

  • If we had current Disney vacation plans that included commando style touring, then I would be trying as hard as possible to convince wife this was a good year to try something different knowing we would be back after the fast pass transition. Otherwise, we would just have to adjust our touring expectations.

  • Wow – thank you for posting! I was thinking of changing around the order we’re visiting the parks, but since we have three “Column A” FastPass+ selections scheduled on the EPCOT day I will leave it as is.

  • I just booked FP+ for April 14, 2014 and have selected Soarin’, Test Track, and Epcot Character Spot.