UPDATE – 9/25 — Testing for Fastpass Plus is almost over! During October, many of the resorts are coming online and it looks as if this program will be fully rolled out by the end of the year! Stay tuned and read on for exciting info on this new Disney experience!
Disney is currently testing the revolutionary Fastpass Plus system at the Magic Kingdom and other Disney parks. The new FP+ system should allow for many fun and unique experiences that you can’t receive at other theme parks. First we’ll give a brief overview of the system, then we’ll analyze how this system can benefit resort guests.
How Fastpass Plus Will Work
There are a few things that we know:
- Fastpass Plus will be for one park per day
- You will get three “Fastpasses” per day
- There will be kiosks in the parks for those that don’t have smartphones
- You may book your fastpass times up to 60 days in advance.
60 days in advance? This option is very scary to those that procrastinate, and also to local residents who love to go to Disney World at the “spur-of-the-moment”. No one can honestly say what this will mean, but any last-minute travelers have to be a bit nervous. If you aren’t a big planner, and are nervous about it, we recommend that you let some of our experts help you plan! If you love planning, then we have many articles that help you do so.
Regarding the 60 day booking, if this scares you, stop and read our article on Creating a Disney Schedule. If you are planning a trip, you really need to know what your daily schedule will be at the time you book, so that you can book your dining experiences. Now when you arrive at the 60-day mark, there will be no FREAKING OUT, because you will know exactly which park you will be in on each day. You will be ready to put in your FP+ times and have full confidence in your schedule.
At this time, you will be able to book up to 3 FP’s per guest, and they all 3 must be on different rides. Also, all 3 must be used in the same theme park. Now that we’ve gone over a few of the ground rules, lets see what benefits this new system might bring us.
Potential Benefits of Fastpass Plus
I see this as an unbelievable tool for planners like myself. If you are on this website, you probably are a planner as well. Let’s focus on how this new system might affect our Hollywood Studios Plan.
At Hollywood Studios, we are going to use the new system to pre-book Toy Story Mania, Aerosmith RR, and Tower of Terror. If we are at the Magic Kingdom, you’d likely want to use them on Space Mountain, Splash Mountain and Thunder Mountain. I’d probably advise guests to book those FP times for the afternoon. Why? Because typically Hollywood Studios is very busy after lunch. Being able to go ahead and grab those FP’s enables us to do one of two things:
1. We can focus our early-morning on shows and events that aren’t crowded
2. We can ride the three popular rides in the early-morning with little to no lines, and then catch them with FP’s after lunch.
At this time, the smart strategy would appear to be to use your pre-book FP times for the busiest times of the day. One thing is for sure, we will still be advising everyone to get there 30-45 minutes before rope drop, as there will never be a better way to tour the park than in the early morning.
Questions regarding Fastpass Plus
There are a number of questions about this new system. We’ll try to answer them to the best of our current knowledge.
- Can Fastpass Plus users get more than 3 FP’s during the day? At this time, it looks like FP+ users will be limited to 3 a day. There are rumors of a “pay” system that eventually could allow us to pay for additional FP’s. But initially this won’t be the case. There are reports in early testing of Disney giving out BONUS fastpasses for particular rides to guests. Disney really has a lot of options with this!
- How long will the new system coincide with the old system? Unknown. There are no official announcements. Eventually it would make sense that the old system would go away.
- Are the FP Plus passes pulling from the old system or pulling from the general queues? There are no free lunches. If they pull from the old FP system, there will be far less FP’s available in the old system. If they pull from the general queue, then stand-by lines will get much longer. The intent is to lessen wait times all around. But you can’t force more people through an attraction than the attraction is designed for.
- It appears that you will not be able to use both FP systems at once. If so, will it be smarter to use the new system or the old? Initially, I would have to think that it will be more beneficial to use the old system. If a large number of guests are “trying out” the new system, and are held to the “3 attractions per day” rule, there will be a lot of extra FP’s around for those still on the old system. That being said, you won’t have much of a choice if you are getting a Disney package deal.
What is the Future of Fastpass Plus?
I’m very excited about the long-term possibilities of this system. One of the biggest problems with the old FP system is the need to have someone run across the entire park to grab FP’s for different rides. Now this can be done with your cellphone. That has the potential to save you a lot of time in the park. However, my enthusiasm on this new system is tempered somewhat with the likelihood that we can only have 3 FP’s per day.
It appears that Disney is trying to “spread out” the guests. As such, I really worry what will happen to guests who like to go at the last minute. If the 60-day booking period gets popular, the most attractive rides could see all Fastpasses completely sold out by the time that day rolls around. What will likely occur in the future, is that Disney will not allow all times to be booked in advance, and will allow some to be booked on the same day. If that happens, it will be yet ANOTHER reason to get there early!
The optimistic part of me feels that this could still be good long-term. The ability to snag three FP’s for use during peak times will be of great benefit! Since Disney began enforcing the times on the Fastpasses, the 2-8 timeframe has become difficult. Fastpass times can get very long.
So this system opens up possibilities that we currently cannot take advantage of. Right now, if you arrive at a park at 4-5pm, you can forget about riding the best rides. Now, we can pre-schedule that. This is an exciting possibility! It remains to be seen how quickly those FP times fill up, and whether we will need to be on our computers at 5am 60 days in advance. If so, planning is going become of even greater importance than it is now.
As we get more details on this exciting new system, we will continue to update this page.
Please head to our next article on Disney World tips. Inside you’ll find a quick list of tips that you can print out and take with you on your vacation!
By: Ryan Shade