Is Disney’s Tech Innovation a Nightmare or a Time Saver?


Yesterday we wrote about how unscrupulous people where taking advantage of Disney’s online dining reservation system to book the best restaurants and times and then scalp those reservations to guests who weren’t able to get them on their own. I think most Disney fans are aware of what a mess the dining reservation system has become. However, it’s not just theme park fans who are complaining.

Over the weekend a column ran in Fortune magazine decrying how Disney’s tech innovation has made the vacation experience too structured.

but the thing about these FastPasses is that you don’t sign up for them when you arrive at the park, or even first thing in the morning. No, if you’re staying in a Disney hotel (as we are), the FastPasses go on sale 60 days before you arrive (30 days for everyone else). And, from what I’m told, they go so quick that if we don’t have a plan of action put in motion at 12:01am, we might as well not bother.

And that doesn’t even take into account the process for making reservations for character meals, like what we had hoped to be her birthday dinner in Cinderella’s castle. Those began 180 days out, and we hadn’t decided on the trip by then. So that’s not happening.

To Disney, all of this is supposed to make our trip easier and, thus, more enjoyable. But Disney is wrong.

I think it’s important to note, that reserving 3 fastpasses does not take all the spontaneity out of one’s visit. But having to book them 30 or 60 days out does add to that feeling.

I understand Disney’s motivation behind the MyMagic+ additions. Walt Disney World vacations are an expensive proposition that most families have to save for. When you’re selling a premium experience, you want guests to be able to plan ahead to make sure they get those few premium experiences they want to have. Obviously this is only working for a percentage of guests. Those guests are happy, the rest. Not so much.

With complaints about Disney’s next-gen technology making it into main street media (even worse, Fortune, which is read by exactly the type of families Disney wants to attract in the future), is it time for Disney to make some adjustment to accommodate both the planners and those who like the freedom to make last minute decisions?