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.
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.
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.
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.
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!