New My Disney Experience App Hints at FastPass+ Changes

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.

I hear this feature will be rolled out to the value resorts this summer. The theme park bus stops at each resort will be reconfigured into two lines, one for FastPass+ reservations and one for standby. When a bus arrives at the resort, guests in the FastPass+ line will board first. If there’s room left on the bus, guests in the standby line can board until the bus is full. Anyone left in the standby line will wait for the next bus. No word on whether standby guests already on the bus will have to give up their seats for FastPass+ guests.

A return trip back to your hotel is included as part of the FastPass+ pick, but you have to ride each way within the 1-hour time window you select ahead of time, otherwise you’ll be directed to the standby line.

The good news is that “FastPass Bus” won’t count against your FastPass+ entitlements for the day. The bad news is that the Magic Kingdom monorail will.

Disney’s building a second ferry dock at the Transportation and Ticket Center, and the plan is to convert the monorail into a FastPass+ attraction. Standby guests must take the boat to the Magic Kingdom, while FastPass+ guests take the monorail, which will count as 1 FastPass+ entitlement each way.

A monorail ride from the Magic Kingdom to Epcot will also count as 1 FastPass+ entitlement. As proof that corporations have a sense of humor, the discussion that justified this inside Disney was that since Universal is charging guests for Hogwarts Express as park-to-park transit for its new Diagon Alley, so should Disney.

Signature FastPass+ Attractions

The new version of the MDE app allows Disney to change the “cost” of each FastPass+ attraction during the day. Starting in June, certain “signature” headliner attractions will count as 2 FastPass+ entitlements if you ride them after dark. Signature attractions include Big Thunder Mountain, Splash Mountain, and Jungle Cruise in the Magic Kingdom, Expedition Everest and Primeval Whirl in Animal Kingdom, and Tower of Terror and Backlot Tour in the Studios.

The idea for Signature FastPass+ came out of research Disney did for the *confirmed* nighttime version of Kilimanjaro Safaris, set to open with Avatarland in 2017. Guest reaction to this was so positive that Disney wants to test “charging” more for it. This also saves more FastPass+ ride capacity for other guests, meaning Disney doesn’t have to build more rides. So thanks for nothing, James Cameron.

FastPass+ Exclusive Character Greetings…and Bathrooms?

It’s been known for a while that Disney is going to make some character greeting spots FastPass+ only, meaning there’ll be no standby line, and every guest will need a reservation to get in. That’s not news. The first of these will be Winnie the Pooh at both the Animal Kingdom and the United Kingdom pavilion at Epcot, and the Cars characters at the Studios.

In the Magic Kingdom, Disney is planning to rope off the open space near the Rapunzel tower next to “it’s a small world” in Fantasyland, to use as an elaborate meet-and-greet area for Winnie the Pooh and the characters from Hundred Acre Woods.

The funny thing is – the way the space was designed – Disney is going to have to block off the Rapunzel-themed bathrooms, too, meaning only people using FastPass+ for Pooh will have access to the restrooms. So it’s only natural that Cast Members are calling this “FastPass Flush.” The jokes just write themselves.

FastPass+ Plus (“FastPass Plus Plus”) and the Golden Snowflake

You knew this was coming. Sometime later this year, deluxe resort guests will begin to see enhanced FastPass+ entitlements not given to other guests.

If you’ve been to the parks recently, you’ve seen that long lines can develop at the FastPass+ return entrances for popular attractions like Pirates of the Caribbean. But Disney doesn’t want its big-spending deluxe resort guests to wait in any lines, because this reduces guest satisfaction.

To fix this, Disney’s looking at building a special FastPass+ entrance at a couple of test attractions (including Pirates), just for deluxe resort guests, so they won’t have to wait while everyone else figures out how to scan their MagicBands.

The plan is for deluxe resort guests to receive a Frozen-themed golden snowflake, to be placed on their MagicBands, upon check-in. When a Cast Member working the regular FastPass+ line sees the golden snowflake, they’ll discreetly direct those guests to the “Fast FastPass+” line that goes directly to the ride boarding area. In what signals the death of the English language, the original FastPass+ line is being referred to inside Disney as Standby FastPass+.

Len Testa

Len Testa is the co-author of the Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World, and has contributed to the Disneyland and Las Vegas Unofficial Guides. Most of his time is spent trying to keep up with the team. Len's email address is len@touringplans.com. You can also follow him on Twitter: @lentesta.

64 thoughts on “New My Disney Experience App Hints at FastPass+ Changes

  • April 1, 2014 at 7:01 am
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    Happy April Fool’s Day!

  • April 1, 2014 at 7:04 am
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    That was a fun read!!!! Good thing I checked the date this morning!! (hehe)

  • April 1, 2014 at 7:04 am
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    Great one. You actually had me fished in until the line about the dock and FP for the monorail.

  • April 1, 2014 at 7:05 am
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    Funny. You had me for a minute, then I remember it’s April 1st!!

    • April 1, 2014 at 7:07 am
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      Now, to finish reading

  • April 1, 2014 at 7:28 am
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    Not So Funny Len!!!!
    A Disney Exec after reading this will pass off your jest as his idea & start the planning on implementation!!!

  • April 1, 2014 at 7:38 am
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    Well done. 😉 For a Disney fan website, you couldn’t have picked a better topic for an April Fool’s Day joke!

    • April 1, 2014 at 7:56 am
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      I actually believed the whole thing until the golden snowflake. Hahaha. Good one, Len!!

      • April 2, 2014 at 4:16 pm
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        I even believed the damn Golden Snowflake. I must be wearing my stupid pants again.

        • April 5, 2014 at 2:39 pm
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          I would say that you just know that this is how the WDC operates nowadays. None of this would be a surprise, thus highly believable.

          I too was sucked in all the way to the end. Although during the golden snowflake part I just wondered what they were going to do when CMs were not paying enough attention to spot these special people. LOL!

          Maybe all this is a joke now, but I would not be surprised in the least to see some or all (including some version of the snowflake) implemented in the future. WDC is bent on squeezing out every last penny.

  • April 1, 2014 at 7:53 am
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    Lol. You got me! I do love the idea of Fastpass Flush though. 🙂

  • April 1, 2014 at 7:56 am
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    Wow. I dislike almost all of these changes. Especially having to use a fastpass to ride the monorail. I assume that it would only be the express monorail? Thank goodness my next trip is in May before this all happens.

    • April 1, 2014 at 7:58 am
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      Good job! I completely forgot what day it was!!

  • April 1, 2014 at 8:05 am
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    Scary thing is… they might actually do some of this….

  • April 1, 2014 at 8:11 am
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    What’s terrifying is that all of these things are believable… Well played, sir. Well played.

  • April 1, 2014 at 8:13 am
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    This is a joke right!

  • April 1, 2014 at 8:16 am
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    My favorite line is “people using FastPass+ for Pooh will have access to the restrooms.”

    Sad thing is the other poster was right, Disney just might read this and start getting ideas 🙂

  • April 1, 2014 at 8:22 am
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    Well I’m disappointed about the snowflakes. I mean all of a sudden I’m a second class citizen because I stay at value?

  • April 1, 2014 at 8:23 am
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    Well played and very well written – bought time you got to the “Fastpass Flush” – I think everyone started catching on

  • April 1, 2014 at 8:24 am
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    I will be using FPP for the tinkle tower though.

  • April 1, 2014 at 8:29 am
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    The first indication that this was an April Fool’s posting, was that it was written by Len…

  • April 1, 2014 at 8:30 am
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    Haha, good one Len! I actually believed it for awhile but was starting to be really angry at the FPP for the monorail. Then, aha! April Fool’s Day 😉

  • April 1, 2014 at 8:35 am
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    GOOD GRIEF! I legit believed you through the Bus+. I was like ‘uggghhhhh oh noooo.’ Well played, sir!

  • April 1, 2014 at 8:38 am
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    You had me for about 3/4 of the article. I was starting to get mad, then was like…..wait a minute…..Well played, Len, well played!

  • April 1, 2014 at 8:38 am
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    Oh my!! I really hope this is an April Fools joke! I was about to say that by the time we get to the parks we won’t have any fast passes left!

  • April 1, 2014 at 8:39 am
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    You had me! I believed it and thought that Disney was going mad! Well done 🙂

  • April 1, 2014 at 8:45 am
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    I was so hoping they’d add FPP to Stitch. The line for that attraction is always so outrageous!

  • April 1, 2014 at 8:50 am
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    I was getting worked up until I took a break to get coffee…and thought…that has to be an April fools joke! Got me!

  • April 1, 2014 at 9:01 am
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    Great post Len. Almost bought into the idea of FP+ for resort buses.

  • April 1, 2014 at 9:06 am
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    I was definitely getting agitated. Hope it is a April Fools joke!! Superb one at that. Your really know how to get a Disney fan riled up!!!

  • April 1, 2014 at 9:09 am
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    I will echo previous comments that yes this is a good April Fools prank, Len. What’s sad is that most of us thought, yeah this could happen.

  • April 1, 2014 at 9:28 am
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    Quite simply . . . Loved this! Thanks for the smile.

  • April 1, 2014 at 9:29 am
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    The best line of the whole article: “only people using FastPass+ for Pooh will have access to the restrooms.”
    This caused a burst of laughter. Being that I am a pretty quiet-natured person at work, this cause many people to be alarmed. Once I explained the outburst, they all got a giggle out of it, also.

  • April 1, 2014 at 9:58 am
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    Funny part: it’s the only April Fools joke I actually believed in.

    Sad part: the fact that I truly believe Disney would do all these things.

  • April 1, 2014 at 10:02 am
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    Bus+ Ha! 🙂 That’s like limiting the number of times you can get “free” refills…oh wait…that’s a real thing. 😛

  • April 1, 2014 at 10:21 am
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    Nice work, Len!! The problem with Fast Pass Flush is that it will mean guests will buy fewer beverages to avoid having to use them. Or maybe Disney can sell Mickey-themed diapers of all sizes (like those astronaut diapers) and just get rid of restrooms altogether! Win-win!

  • April 1, 2014 at 10:43 am
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    TOP TEN HIGHLY ANTICIPATED MY MAGIC+ ENHANCEMENTS

    10. Three Words: Cloak of Invisibility!

    9. Extra Fast Passes hidden in select Dole Whip cups!

    8. Tune your Magic Band to open cans of beer!

    7. During the July 4th celebration, specific Magic Bands will make President Benjamin Harrison scream like a monkey!

    6. Magic Bands are prohibited at Victoria and Albert’s Restaurant and replaced with Magic Cummerbunds!

    5. Any gathering of four or more guests wearing like-colored Magic Bands will generate a special Fast Pass for Stitch’s Great Escape!

    4. Every Thursday is “Wear Only Your Magic Band” Day at Typhoon Lagoon!

    3. Custom design Magic Bands will be gluten-free!

    2. Green Magic Bands can be programmed to allow Disney to access your bank account directly!

    1. You liked Magic Bands; just wait for Magic Yoga Pants!

  • April 1, 2014 at 10:47 am
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    Ha! I actually bought the bus lines for a second and got angry, then realized I’d been had. It says something that I’d even think it was real.

  • April 1, 2014 at 10:50 am
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    HA! Totally got me until I read the comments. I was thinking most of the article about how I wouldn’t want to stay at a monorail resort if you needed a FPP just to get to Epcot.

    P.S.- I think “signature FPP” would be an improvement over tiering so I’ll take that one.

  • April 1, 2014 at 11:14 am
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    Thank you, Len. This was hilarious, every word!

  • April 1, 2014 at 11:55 am
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    I thought for sure you were going to talk about the Deluxe Hotel patrons recieving the FastPass Minus where they would go to the FastPass kiosk to kick a person, family, or touring group off an attraction and the ejected are given a free turkey leg.

  • April 1, 2014 at 12:14 pm
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    Primeval Whirl and Backlot Tour, signature attractions? Come on, no one’s that gullible! 🙂

  • April 1, 2014 at 12:40 pm
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    A hoot! Thanks Len.
    Actually those staying at Boardwalk have been participating in Bus+ for years. If any seats or standing room remains after people have already boarded at the Swan, Dolphin, Yacht Club, and/or Beach Club, they get to board!

  • April 1, 2014 at 1:06 pm
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    Well done! I totally bought it. Completely forgot it was 4/1!

  • April 1, 2014 at 1:40 pm
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    Well I just got proof of how gullible I am! I bought it! What’s most sad is that all of these could be legitimate Disney “improvements.”

  • April 1, 2014 at 3:55 pm
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    Totally bought it all. I was rereading the last line before it hit me….

  • April 1, 2014 at 3:58 pm
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    That gave me a much appreciated laugh this afternoon. Thank you!

  • April 1, 2014 at 4:11 pm
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    My head just exploded.

  • April 1, 2014 at 4:48 pm
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    All we need now is for Disney to think these are good ideas!

  • April 1, 2014 at 10:11 pm
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    I believed every word and was NOT a happy tourist! Thank goodness it ain’t so!

  • April 1, 2014 at 10:31 pm
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    Ugh. This is the moment when you realize that a relationship you are in isn’t healthy.

    Len. Really?

    • April 2, 2014 at 7:03 am
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      Give me another chance, baby. I can change.

  • April 2, 2014 at 1:07 am
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    So glad that this is just a joke! You had me going for about half of the post!

  • April 2, 2014 at 7:00 am
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    Why cant we see the comments?
    I miss the old website!

  • April 2, 2014 at 7:03 am
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    A very sad state of affairs when an April Fool stunt looks more like a genuine news story than a joke.

  • April 2, 2014 at 9:24 am
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    OMG, I did not figure it out until I got to the comments section. I guess reading it on April 2nd and not noticing the posted date of April 1st would do it for me. Wow, I was really getting mad at Disney for these changes. Seriously!

    • April 2, 2014 at 12:37 pm
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      That’s the problem with April Fool’s jokes on the internet. They persist after the intended day. 🙁

  • April 2, 2014 at 1:12 pm
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    Was it all a joke???…..I like the idea of the golden snowflake 🙂

  • April 6, 2014 at 3:23 pm
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    Sounds like Disney is working really hard at killing the theme park experience by tying everything to FastPass.

  • April 6, 2014 at 3:27 pm
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    Guess I should have noticed the date. Boo, hiss…..

  • April 29, 2014 at 8:52 am
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    Will the golden snowflake for deluxe hotels also include Saratoga Springs guests?

    • April 29, 2014 at 8:56 am
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      Looks like you didn’t notice that this post is an April Fool’s joke. None of it’s real 🙂

Comments are closed.