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Oft Requested Changes To Fastpass+ Coming

File this one under, “Gee, Disney really does listen to guest complaints (sometimes).” In an announcement made on the Disney Parks blog today, Disney Parks chief Tom Staggs announced two major changes coming to the MyMagic+ Fastpass+ system currently in use at Walt Disney World.… Read More »Oft Requested Changes To Fastpass+ Coming

Online Fastpass+ Reservations To Roll Out To All Guests Very Soon

MyMagic+ Takes the Guest Experience to a New Level with MagicBands

Annual Passholders who pre-ordered online are now receiving their MagicBands in the mail. I just received mine and you can watch my Instagram unboxing video below. All APs can now go through the My Disney Experience website to connect their admissions media with the My Disney Experience App and make Fastpass+ reservations as far as 30 days ahead. You may have any 7 days booked in that rolling 30 day window.

The latest rumor, although there’s no official word from Disney, is that beginning March 31st, just like Annual Passholders, off-site guests will be able to book their Fastpass+ 30 days ahead of time. Guests will be able to enter their ticket information via the My Disney Experience website and have access to the same booking window as APs.

Disney resort guests can book 60-days out. Which is Disney’s big incentive to get you to stay on property (although I always thought that being enveloped in the Magic was enough incentive).

As a local and an annual passholder, I never really know which park I’m going to be at until a few day ahead. If off-site guests and APs share the same booking window, it means I will have to plan at least 30 days ahead to make sure I’m not letting the 10’s of thousands of off-site guests ahead of me in line to reserve their Fastpass times. So far, with only resort guests having an earlier booking window, there have been good options to making FP just a few days out, but with everyone in the pool, it might get more difficult to secure that E-ticket FP+. Making plans 30 days ahead is definitely a change to how I do things now, but I guess I’ll get used to it or I just won’t get many FP+ for popular attractions.

Off-site guests will be able to use their RFID enabled tickets or upgrade to a MagicBand for an, as yet, unannounced price. If you plan to do this on your day of arrival, you might want to allow some extra time in the morning to configure your wristbands. A better strategy might be to head in and enjoy the park in the morning, then get your bands when the park is experiencing mid-day crowds.

Keep in mind that the system is still technically in testing (although as was pointed out to me, when everyone is forced to use it to the exclusion of the old system, it’s not really testing, it’s experimentation). So everything is subject to change.

More details on the MagicBand and Fastpass+ below the jump:

Read More »Online Fastpass+ Reservations To Roll Out To All Guests Very Soon

FastPass+ and MagicBands Takeover Walt Disney World – Part 2: Challenges and Solutions Ahead

One tap of the MagicBand and Guests access their Disney FastPass+ attractions which can be secured before they even leave home. (Kent Phillips, photographer)

One tap of the MagicBand and Guests access their Disney FastPass+ attractions which can be secured before they even leave home.

The switch from Legacy Fastpass (where select attractions were able to be reserved on a day-of basis as many times as you could according to the rules) to the Next-Gen technology driven Fastpass+ (where most major attractions and many minor ones now offer FP+ entry, but you’re limited to just three FP+ a day) is nearly as drastic a change as the transition from the famous A-B-C-D-E-Ticket ride coupons to a passport system where one ticket gets you in the park and on every attractions.

My memory is a little hazy, but I don’t recall guests getting so worked up about that switch. That’s because it was largely a switch in the method of accounting in the guest’s vacation ledger. With ride coupons park admission was merely a token charge, the real money was in the coupons. So grandma could take the kids and she would only have to pay a small amount for herself. Single admission changed that model forever. The new model meant Disney got more at the gate, but a savvy guest could work the system by staying from open to close (we called them marathon days) and ride many times more attractions than they could with a coupon book. Plus they wouldn’t be stuck with a bunch of unused A-tickets at the end of the day. So in the end, the ledger balanced for the guest.

A certain camp of Disney Imagineers believe this switch was the worst thing to happen to the parks. That the move away from ride coupons and to a single passport, meant that new attractions couldn’t be cost justified based on coupon purchases, that guest behavior was unleashed and less predictable, that minor attractions suffered in attendance, and that it made more difficult for a family to come and enjoy the park if they had to pay a large chunk up front just to get in. The counter arguments were: that most families on vacation had a set amount to spend and they’d spend it on passports or ride coupons just the same, that allowing guests to experience the park without worrying about buying another E-ticket for Space Mountain provided a better guest experience, and that the real money for Disney was in hotels, food, and souvenirs. Read More »FastPass+ and MagicBands Takeover Walt Disney World – Part 2: Challenges and Solutions Ahead

FastPass+ and MagicBands Takeover Walt Disney World – Part I: My Magic Kingdom Experience

Update: Welcome to NY Times readers. Please find the latest news on MyMagic+ and Fastpass+ here. See all of our coverage here.

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I went to the Magic Kingdom on Sunday to test how the FastPass+ (FP+) experience would work for someone who has time for a mid-day 4 hour visit. I’m still building back up to theme park conditioning, so anything more than that exhausts me. I’m a local and haven’t yet booked a night at at Disney resort, so I don’t own a MagicBand. Even though FP+ has been running in place of the paper (aka legacy) Fastpass system at Disney’s Animal Kingdom since before Christmas, this was my first experience with FP+.

Given that the FP+ system had been live for a few days already, I made sure to read various discussion boards about other people’s experiences and tried to determine an optimal strategy for myself and my son. Unfortunately, almost nothing turned out the way I thought it would.

My first attempt at accessing FP+ was a strikeout. I had read a few accounts of how guests were able to make FP+ reservations at the TTC via Guest Relations cast members armed with tablets. When we arrived at the TTC via the parking lot tram around 10:45AM there were no Guest Relations cast members to be found. Disney might have just been experimenting with that service earlier in the week. In theory, almost everyone arriving at the TTC is on the way to the Magic Kingdom, but you don’t really know until they’ve actually swiped their cards at the front gate. So I can see why they pulled that option.

After a quick ride on the monorail to the main gate, we immediately headed to the Main Street Opera House to score our FP+ reservations. I entered and went right to the MyMagic+ terminals, which would let me make a FP+ reservation if I was a Disney resort guest, but apparently not if I was a day-guest. There was a separate queue for that. A queue with a long-line as it turns out.Read More »FastPass+ and MagicBands Takeover Walt Disney World – Part I: My Magic Kingdom Experience