Fastpass+ at Walt Disney World Resort

In recent months the Walt Disney World Resort has made significant changes to enhance their guests’ experiences.  Dubbing the new program MyMagic+, changes to streamline guest experiences have included an online trip planning app called My Disney Experience, implementing MagicBands for guests staying at WDW resort hotels, and a redesign of the Fastpass program.

What is (was) Fastpass?

For those unfamiliar with Fastpass, it is a system whereby guests could simply insert their tickets or Keys To The World cards into a Fastpass kiosk and out would come a ticket that could be redeemed at the appointed time.  For instance, it’s 11am and the line to Splash Mountain is 60 minutes, simply insert your ticket and you will be given a return time between 1:30 and 2:30 pm. With a little bit of planning, one could redeem several Fastpasses a day.

What is Fastpass+?
Fastpass+ has the same benefits of Fastpass.  There are a few differences though:

  1. You pre-select your rides online via My Disney Experience.
  2. There is a limitation of up to 3 per day. 
  3. You can only choose from one park per day.  If you have a Park Hopper Option ticket, you can only pick one park to use your Fastpass+ per day.
  4. You must be staying at a Walt Disney World Resort hotel in order to pre-select.  

So how does Fastpass+ it work?
For guests staying at Walt Disney World Resort hotels, you select your Fastpass+ experiences via the My Disney Experience app on the Walt Disney World Resort website.  As of now guests may select up to 3 Fastpass+ experiences per day, at one park, for the number of days of tickets/number of nights you are staying on property. If you have a 5 day ticket, you can choose up to 3 experiences per day in one park for a total of up to 15 per person. Each park has a listing of Fastpass+ attractions you can choose from including rides, parade & firework seatings, shows and events.  You also can select the time you want to ride the attraction.

For instance, we chose afternoon Fastpasses for the Jungle Cruise (3:00-4:00), Splash Mountain (5:00-6:00) and Buzz Lightyear Space Ranger Spin (7:00-8:00) at the Magic Kingdom.  Each selection we were given an hour window to ride the attraction as shown above. We arrived at the attraction at our given time and swiped our MagicBands to the reader.  Once it prompted a green light the cast member let us enter the Fastpass queue.

Fastpass+ may be preselected only by resort guests.  Those staying offsite can go to a Fastpass+ kiosk upon entering the park to select their Fastpass+ experiences for the day.

What if I miss my window or the ride is closed?
One night it was pouring down rain.  We had Fastpass+ selections for The Barnstormer
and it was closed.  My Disney Experience app sent an email notifying us that the ride was down and gave us a selection of several other similar rides in Fantasyland and New Fantasyland that we could ride instead during that timeframe.

What if I want to change my ride selection?
You can make changes anytime via My Disney Experience on your computer, smartphone, tablet or at any of the kiosks located throughout the parks. One day we were there and they were having issues with the site.  A cast member gave us a handwritten Fastpass voucher instead.  They go above and beyond to make sure your experience is a good one.

What if I have a Park Hopper Option Ticket?  
As of now, guests may only choose Fastpass+ for one park per day.  I would recommend making selections for the afternoon/evening park that you plan on being in. Crowd levels tend to be lower in the morning meaning shorter lines and wait times.

What if I am not staying at a Walt Disney World Resort Property?
In this case, you need to make your selections once you enter the park.  There are several kiosks and cast members to assist you.

Drawbacks?
You may not get to ride on some of the more popular rides if you don’t pre-plan. We decided to add a day at Hollywood Studios and arrived at the park at 10am.  We went to Toy Story Midway Mania and they were completely out of Fastpasses, both paper and the Fastpass+.

It has been said that having to pre-plan can take some of the spontaneity out of your experience.  There is also the issue of only being able to choose 3 per day. For mad planners, we could squeeze a lot more than 3 Fastpasses into our day.

Do they still have traditional Fastpass at the parks?
As of the time of this writing they do still have traditional Fastpass in Magic Kingdom, Hollywood Studios and Epcot but not in Animal Kingdom.  However, all resort hotels are using only MagicBands as of the new year (no more Keys to the World). So unless you have hard tickets via a broker like Undercover Tourist, or purchased at the gate, you will not be able to access the Fastpass.

Is there still Rider Switch?

Rider Switch Pass

Yes, the rider switch option is still available.  Simply let the cast member know at the entrance to the queue that you need a swap and they will issue you the swap ticket.

Overall thoughts
Overall, it’s hard to rate a service that hasn’t been fully implemented.  It is obviously designed to give a bit of a thank you advantage to guests staying onsite. I also like that now you can select a Fastpass+ for seating at parades and fireworks shows.

Some über Planers like having this option to further drill down their day.  And for folks with teenagers, who don’t believe that there is such a thing as wake time before noon, it ensures that they can ride the rides they love.

Have you experienced Fastpass+?  Please provide your thoughts and input in the comments section below.

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2 thoughts on “Fastpass+ at Walt Disney World Resort

  1. mypathunwinding says:

    Great post! I had never heard the tidbit about the system sending you an email when a ride is down. I'll add that once you have a Magic Band you can keep using it for future visits so long as you have a ticket linked to it, even if you are not staying on property. For example, we have Annual Passes linked to our bands and can prebook FP+ using My Disney Experience up to five days out even without Disney resort reservations.

    Like

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