New Fastpass, How Strategies Might Change

Coming in early March, Fastpass will have new rules that, really, go back to the roots of the Fastpass system. Now, you can enter the Fastpass queue up to 5 minutes before your selected time window and until 15 minutes after your window. I know what you’re thinking…Marshal, isn’t that they way it always was? Nope. You’ve always been allowed to come back any time starting when your Fastpass window begins, which people gladly did.

With the new guidelines, it will be a little more time crunchy (Yes, I just made up a new phrase…so?!) when it comes time to deal with your time (see what I did there). Now, your day will really need to be a tad more structured then before. So what can you do? I thought up a couple things that might help you in the long run of enjoying your day at the parks.

  • Look at the time BEFORE you grab your Fastpass. Once you retrieve it, you won’t be able to use another one for at least an hour, so watch yourself.
  • While looking at the time, do a quick checklist through your head. Do I have any dinner reservations or do I plan on eating at a specific time? Will I be in a place at that point in my day where I couldn’t utilize the Fastpass? Simple questions that make you plan out your day to a degree, but not enough to make you feel stressed.
  • If you do get a Fastpass be sure to read the ‘next available time’ to get your next Fastpass. Your Fastpass to see Mickey Mouse, for instance, might be ‘off network’ meaning you can get another Fastpass immediately. Disney has been known to play with that.
  • Also, take into account the ride’s line itself. Some of them are entertaining enough to make it fun to wait. (For Example, if you have kids, The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh is a great line for them to blow off some steam so they don’t even realize they are waiting!
  • You might want to download the android or iphone app that includes the current FP return window rather than walk all the way across the park only to find out the window doesn’t work for you.

It seems to me there is now an opportunity for each park to have a central meeting place that becomes an ‘unofficial’ trading post. If I have Fastpasses for Test Track I can’t use, perhaps I can trade them for Fastpasses to another ride at a time that works better for me.

Another impact will be that walkways around the popular Fastpass attractions will become much busier places. If you thought Pixar Place was busy now, wait until it fills up with more people who don’t want to wander off before their Toy Story Midway Mania Fastpass window opens. Disney will need to do what it can to remove the clutter in these areas (outdoor foods will have to move, stroller parking will have to shift), bring in more attractions and shows to areas that only have the one major ride (Expedition Everest, Toy Story Mania spring to mind), and make sure there is plenty of shade or air-conditioned waiting areas.

Do you have any suggestions on how to better manage your Fastpass times at the parks? How about some interesting ways to make waiting in line fun? Comment Below! Also, don’t be afraid to share some Fastpass horror or victorious stories in the comments as well! And until next time…Have A Magical Day (with or without a beard…)!

10 thoughts on “New Fastpass, How Strategies Might Change”

  1. It’s worth noting that the Mobile Magic app is apparently for Verizon customers only. The FAQ page also list what handsets it’s compatible with Mobile Magic; I didn’t see iPhone on the list :(

  2. While I’m not crazy about losing the ability to get a FP before leaving a park that I know I’ll be back to at night (we love to ride Jungle Cruise at night,) I hope this will help stave off the “All Fastpasses Have Been Distributed” by noon at popular rides. I’ve also always been one to give away FPs when leaving a park that I know we won’t come back to because I hope it makes their day a little more magical and it doesn’t waste the FP. It is going to make be a little more of a planner though because we’ve always been one to float with the current based on crowds, weather, and how we felt. We’ll have to leave a store sooner (ie stop shopping) to go ride a ride because the FP is about to expire, and likely won’t return to that store because we’ll have to move along elsewhere.

  3. I like the possibility you raise about swapping becoming a more active thing. Other than that, and as I have stated before when this was first announced, unless they make the window much bigger, an hour at least, this in effect kills any advantage to the Fast Pass due to the “travel time” between attractions.

  4. Disney’s best choice would be dropping Fastpass. People are willing to stand in line when they know everyone else is in the same boat. Getting close to an attraction only to have a parade of Fastpassers getting in first is an irritant, one Disney visitors don’t need.

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  8. Similar comment from last time: I also have my pros and cons about fast pass and I was actually working at the parks when they first started to implement it wide scale. The one thing I always disliked from a cast member perspective is that fastpass took away that “magical moment” I could create as a cast member. I always loved surprised a couple families every hour with “ride now fantasyland passes” or helping them “jump the line” through the handicap line, etc. Disney has always touted how it gives its cast members the power to make things like that happen and I feel like the “take off” of fastpass and other changes have really reduced that. I mean when I originally went through training we were given this booklet where we could write something like “a free night at Disney” and give it to a guest. Now I highly doubt that is done.

    Now when I visit the parts I do take full advantage of fastpass and I do agree with many of your suggestions (more “surprise” fastpass, maybe save some for after 11). I would even be a fan of taking it a step further and only hand out so many each hour or each 2 hours. So if its not available now, come back in 2 hours and try again.This way you don’t run into the problem on those popular rides like toy mania, where you get a fastpass for 8 hours from now.

  9. I think it is terrible if they start enforcing the 2-hour time window! The “Disney” experience will drastically drop to a real low. How can you plan your day to be back across the park in 2 hours when you have dinner reservations or leave to go take your kids to get a nap at the hotel. BAD MOVE Disney! BAD MOVE! The comment about leaving a store without buying anything should speak for itself! Lower income for Disney if no one has time to shop or sit and eat at a restaurant because they are always watching their clocks!!! Very disappointed!

  10. It would be nice if Disney would have kiosks throughout the parks where you could print a Fastpass ticket for ANY attraction that uses the FP system. We are at Disney with four kids and it is a pain to drag them from one side of the park to the other just to attempt to get FP tickets for one ride. Impossible to stick to any kind of schedule or system!

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