Tour Guide Tuesday: Walt Disney World testing fourth FastPass+ option as new queue system continues to grow

in Disney's Animal Kingdom, Disney's Hollywood Studios, Epcot, Magic Kingdom, Park Secrets, Technology, Uncategorized, Walt Disney World

It has been more than a year since the new FastPass+ system debuted at Walt Disney World. This huge leap in technology has its plusses and minuses, and is still a work in progress. There are guests who like the ability to make FastPass reservations months in advance, yet there are others who would prefer not to make those planning decisions so far ahead of their vacations. Also, many people like the convenience of utilizing their computer or smart phone to obtain FastPasses, while others are not fans of the technology. Although there are differing opinions on the subject, there is one desire that seems to be universally agreed upon. Guests would like the ability to reserve more than three FastPasses, especially at the Magic Kingdom.

Busy FastPass+ Kiosk Queue

Disney took the first step in this direction last year, only a few months after the new system was put into use. Guests were allowed to book a fourth FastPass after using up their first three. They could then book a fifth after using their fourth, and so on. This process is still in play, but there are several obstacles that make it difficult for many guests to utilize. First off, it requires that the first three FastPasses be booked early in the day, or there won’t be enough time to enjoy any additional ones. For example, if you book one for the special fireworks viewing area at the Magic Kingdom, you basically give up the ability to get any additional FastPasses. Finally, guests are required to book all additional FastPasses at an in-park kiosk, which can have very long lines during busier times of year.

Because of the limitations, it seems that many guests aren’t taking advantage of adding the extra FastPasses. It looks like Disney has taken notice and is making some changes. Over the past few days, guests have had the ability to reserve four FastPasses at the Magic Kingdom or Hollywood Studios. I was pleasantly surprised to see this pop up on the the kiosks at both parks. In the case of the Magic Kingdom, I was also able to reserve four FastPasses on the My Disney Experience website and app. I have spoken to several cast members about this change, and they have all said that it is just a test. However, it certainly looks like Disney will be moving in this direction in the near future.

Bonus FastPasses and Changes

At the Magic Kingdom, it seems like the fourth FastPass was always for Mickey’s Philharmagic and appears to be a “bonus.” This is similar to the old paper system, where Philharmagic would be given in conjunction with Peter Pan’s Flight or Winnie the Pooh. However, the FastPass+ system allowed me to change the bonus to any attraction that was available.

Magic Kingdom FastPass Kiosk

Although I never saw a fourth Hollywood Studios FastPass pop up on the website or app, I was excited to see how it played out on the in-park kiosk. It started out like Magic Kingdom, where I was awarded a bonus. Then, it actually allowed me to pick an additional “tier 1” FastPass. Now, since it was a busy day, Toy Story Mania and Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster were already gone, but it was interesting to see the ability to get multiple tier one FastPasses. The cast member thought that this was probably a glitch.

Hollywood Studios Kiosk

It is important to note that as of today, I am only able to reserve four FastPasses until April 1st (tomorrow). However, I wouldn’t be surprised if they extended the testing period. Also, on the app and website, it didn’t always give me the bonus FastPass. It seemed like it popped up every other time I checked. It is anybody’s guess whether or not the fourth FastPass becomes the norm in the immediate future. However, it looks like Disney is listening to concerns and is once again evolving the system in an attempt to provide a better guest experience.

I hope you enjoy “Tour Guide Tuesday.” If you want additional tips while you’re in the parks, WDW Guided Tours is happy to help!

15 Comments

  1. Avatar

    Debbie

    I signed up for my 3 fastpass+ for Sunday, April 26. Why won’t it let me sign up for the 4th? What do I need to do?

    1. Avatar

      Elaine

      it stated in the article that it would end April 1 for now

    2. Avatar

      Stephanie S

      You need to use those 3 before you can sign up for more. They can’t make it unlimited or else the fast pass system wouldn’t work

  2. Avatar

    Joe

    I’m curious as to how they plan to integrate FP+ with dining (i.e. Be Our Guest). Last I recall the sign-up was not linked to your actual MDE account. There was also early confusion whether it counted towards the three attraction FP selections.

  3. Avatar

    Jeremy

    Still hate FP+. I tried for over 24 hours to get fast pass to soarin’ or fast track at EPCOT last week. They were completely full and locked out at least 2 days prior to my visiting the park.
    For passholders that decide to visit the parks a day prior or even the same day, it is very inconvenient to not have any fast pass available for the most popular rides. This also seems as if it is punitive to those of use that have passes and don’t plan a vacation months in advance.
    I’m ready to stop giving my money to Disney. They seem to have a resounding voice lately, stating “our passholders really don’t matter”.
    Many disappointments with Disney, and FP+ is just an additional disappointment.

    1. Avatar

      MadMarchy

      You do realize this is peak season right? I’m an annual pass holder as well, and I’ve never really had problems booking fastpasses. Usually Disney trips are a spur of the moment thing for me, so I get my passes the day of. Do I expect to get A-level attractions the day of? Not usually. But there are a few tricks that can land you times for attractions that are seemingly “sold out”. Also, they always leave a certain number of times for day of guests through my Disney, as well as at the kiosks in the parks. You can always try there. Ask a cast member real nicely and maybe they’ll show you a few secrets.

    2. Avatar

      Jeff Lynch

      I really don’t think that the parks should be for locals who have passes. Sorry, but just being honest. The Disney parks should really give priority to those of us from out of town who are spending big money to come for a week’s visit. This is something we have to save up to do. I really wish they would stop selling passes to locals period. Let the locals pay full price and go less often.

      This way, the parks won’t be as crowded for those of us coming from far away and spending many thousands of dollars to make what is a once in a while trip. For some families, the expense is so much that it is a once in a lifetime trip. Every time I hear the locals whining and complaining, it just makes me roll my eyes because you have no idea how lucky you are to be so close to the parks. I feel like you take advantage of them and complain too much because when you live right there and have an annual pass, waiting in line for 2 hours is no big deal. You do not have the pressure of a tourist family having to cram everything good into just 5 days or so. Locals have the benefit of being able to go to the parks all the time and should not expect to get on every ride every time. That discounted annual pass you have should also mean that you don’t get in the way of families vacationing and spending thousands of dollars to be there.

      1. Avatar

        Disney Tarveler

        Traveler

        Jeff Lynch, I totally agree. You might be a little harsh in how you said it … but I totally agree. I would also pile on and express frustration with the locals who criticize (yes, criticize) the tourists who visit Disney and “over plan”. Seriously, if I spend > $4k, you better believe I am going to over plan. Every minute counts. We visit the parks every other year from the Midwest and that is somewhat excessive as I know many cannot afford that. Of course, I make sure every minute counts. When I go to my local state park – it is different. It cracks me up to hear the annual pass holders talk about how sitting on a park bench in some random area of the park and people watch or look for some obscure reference is just as fun as hitting all of the attractions as many times as possible. Talk about being spoiled. Annual pass holders don’t matter (as much). They spend a fraction of the amount compared to what outside Fla residents pay – they should get a fraction of the “E” tickets rides. Makes sense to me. If Disney really wanted to be fair and to not be worried about public backlash, they would allow DVC members to get 4 or 5 FP+ tickets per day since they are the ones who provide the steady revenue stream to the company. Annual pass holders should be allowed two.

        1. Avatar

          Michelle

          If you’d like, I can call the wambulance for you.

          I’m a local transplant from the Midwest who now lives 90 minutes from WDW, and I go over at least 1x per month. I usually don’t criticize over planners, unless it’s 1AM and you still have the 3yr old up and on Space, you walk 5 abreast or you ask for another explanation of your dining plan.

          Don’t be jerks, we work hard and pay a nice sum to go have some fun at the parks too. There’s enough room for all of us.

          1. Avatar

            Disney Tarveler

            Your name calling is misplaced. I am reacting to Annual Passholders who are whining about the system and how it is unfair. Tourists (who plan) can deal with the system just fine.

  4. Avatar

    Rich

    would be great if you could do mulitple parks

  5. Avatar

    Jaipreet Chawla

    I am interested in 4 or 5 passes for may 6 to 12. My family is visiting from india. Please advise how can I get them

  6. Avatar

    Eddie

    Lol @ locals shouldn’t get discounts or privileges. You guys go to magic kingdom or whatever once a year. While a florida resident goes 3 to 6 times or however many times. Guess who is spending more money when is all said and done? Hence we get the discount cause when all is said and done we locals are are wasting more money. Makes perfect sense. I understand your salty about it but it’s what it is. Disney knows that if not it wouldn’t be what it is.

  7. Avatar

    Emma

    I know this isn’t the newest thread but after reading the comments I just had to weigh in.

    To the point which was made of “I saved to come once in a lifetime so I deserve more”. No you don’t, no one deserves more. Period, end of story. We are all as worthy as the next person. My only exception to this would probably be make a wish foundation kids. Those kids and their families deserve all the magic they can get… but that’s another thread.

    Still, for fun, let’s say we run with your theory that dollar spend makes you more worthy. If we take this to be true, the “once in a lifetime visitors” are pretty much bottom of the barrel for Disney. Sure, it’s nice to get 4k from you and your family’s one trip, but Annual Pass holders even if they don’t stay on property and are locals, are worth far more than that. How you ask if they aren’t staying on property? Simple, merchandise & dining added to the cost of the annual pass.

    Now, you may think I’m full of it so… math time. For the sake of argument let’s say the average family of 4 spends on average $4,000 on a 5 day vacation all in. Now, divide that by 4 and you get a $1,000. So, for the annual passholder to be more “worth it” than the average once in a lifetime traveler, he needs to spend more than a $1,000 in his LIFETIME. For the sake of this experiment let’s say the AP holder only has an annual pass that one year. Annual Passes for Florida residents costs $550 for the middle of the road pass. Some blackout dates but not too restrictive. So, let’s run with that number. Now, if you take that $550 and then subtract it from the $1000 you’re left with $450. That local Annual Passholder who goes all the time is gonna go at least 20 times a year (1-2 times a month). So, divide $450 by 20 and you’re at $22.50. If that Annual Passholder gets nothing more than a quick service meal and a dole whip each time they come to the park, plus a T-Shirt or two, they are worth more than the once in a lifetime peeps. Now, being more realistic, these guys don’t just have an annual pass for one year and most of them enjoy the table service restaurants at least a few times a year so you can easily see how that would rack up. Not to mention all the cool merchandise with Annual Passholder written on it that they seem to make in droves.

    So, even if you are not of the same mind set as me that everyone is equal and deserves to have a great time at Disney World and have equal right to air their grievances, you are certainly no more worthy due to dollar spend. You may feel more entitled, but that’s something you gotta work out with yourself.

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