By the co-author of The easy Guide to Your Walt Disney World Visit 2017, from the best-reviewed Disney World guidebook series ever. Paperback available on Amazon here. Kindle version available on Amazon here. PDF version available on Gumroad here.



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The Correct Reaction to the Fastpass+ News: Chill Out



By Dave Shute

FASTPASS+ AND THE APOCALYPSE

There’s been a ton of reaction to Tom Stagg’s Disney Parks Blog post on “MyMagic+” and “FastPass+” and to prior and subsequent press.

There’s not much new in any of this, other than the beginning of rollout—February; the length of rollout—all year; and the order of rollout– starting with Walt Disney World resort hotel guests, probably BoardWalk Inn guests at first, with the program expanded slowly to others.

But oh my, there’s been a lot of noise!

In general, any noise about this is good—I’ll come back to that in a bit—but the general tone out there is that the new program will be either a cataclysm, or the best thing since the forward pass.

LET’S ALL STAY CALM…THERE’S NOT MUCH TO SEE HERE

Well maybe it will be one or the other, but I doubt it; it’ll end up somewhere between, as do most human endeavors.

Moreover, there’s some key facts that just aren’t out yet, and some emergent behavior to observe that we’re all just gonna have to wait for.

The key missing facts are

  1. How many daily FastPasses will be available to all guests, and
  2. How these will be divided between those reserved for those who book them ahead and those that are available to anyone on the day of visit, just like today.

The answer to these questions will make a huge difference to the overall guest satisfaction with the program, especially for those who don’t, or don’t want to, reserve their rides ahead of time. (See this for more.)

Stay calm on this point, since as the link notes, Disney World could be on the way toward daily FastPass capacity triple what it offers today…plenty for advance reservation users and “unplanned” users too!

The behavioral question is will the “schedule from home” system lead more people to get up early if the only time they can reserve Space Mountain is at 9.15a? And if so, does that mean the time-honored strategy of getting to the parks at rope drop to beat the crowds will no longer work so well?

Stay calm on this too…mostly because we won’t know for a while, and in the meantime it’s best to bet on human nature, and thus tens of thousands still sleeping in…

Much of the cataclysmic thinking about FASTPASS+ comes from either those with privacy concerns (who, if this remains an issue for them, will need to opt out) or experienced Disney World visitors who have an approach that works for them, and are worried that the new system will get in the way of something they understand and are happy with.

I have a lot of sympathy with this latter group–as I’m in it too!—but that’s not what I’ve got my eye on.

Since I started thinking about this site, I’ve had one example family sharply in my mind’s eye:

They’ve been in line for Peter Pan’s ride for hours in the Magic Kingdom on an early July afternoon. They didn’t know that July was a bad time to go, they didn’t know that not sleeping in but rather hitting the park at opening was the best way to see Peter Pan without much of a wait, and they didn’t know that FastPasses are free with their ticket, and so don’t use them.

I want this family to have a great time, and FastPass+, if it lives up to its promise, can help them see great stuff without waiting so long…even on a July afternoon.

And that’s the reason I like the noise. The more noise, the more likely this family will find out how best to do Walt Disney World—however the new best way to do it emerges to be!

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11 comments

1 Heidi { 01.09.13 at 8:22 am }

Great thoughts, Dave – and I agree! Sometimes it’s best to just stop talking, sit back, and wait. While it seems pretty extreme, I can usually count on Disney to come up with something that’s awesome.

2 Dave { 01.09.13 at 9:03 am }

Thanks Heidi!

3 Jodi Whisenhunt { 01.09.13 at 9:19 am }

Excellent perspective, Dave! I’ll be sharing this with my readers too! I just hope it doesn’t backfire to where it’s pointless to even get a FastPass because everyone has one – and thus, there will be no difference between the FP line and the standby line waits. Time will tell! Guess I’ll find out in September 🙂

4 Dave { 01.09.13 at 9:25 am }

Thanks Jodi! Even with lotsa fastpasses out, those with FP will still wait less than they would have without one, since they’ll have an “appointment.” The core operational insight of FP+ is that everyone who rode Space Mountain yesterday could have done at the exact same time they rode without hardly any wait, if they had had an “appointment”–that is a FP+

5 solomani { 01.09.13 at 9:30 am }

So, I can essentially book my rides ahead of time? Any timetable for the band roll-out, I hazard to guess it will be by hotel?

6 Steve from MilitaryDisneyTips.com { 01.09.13 at 10:34 am }

Great post Dave,

No great plan survives engagement with the enemy.

Disney has been working very hard at guest (crowd) attraction/control/management/dispersal for many years. And each new idea has had both intended and unintended consequences.

We’ll just have to wait and see how it plays out, and as you said, don’t panic…

For me, no big changes, we don’t do many rides anymore and when we do it’s spur of the moment to see a favorite or fill some time. We also try to go when it’s less busy, but those opportunities are becoming less available and more busy (see above).

7 Dave { 01.09.13 at 11:58 am }

Solomani–Well, it’s still unfolding–or to put it another way I dunno yet! So the answer to the first question is maybe, and to the second, probably…

8 Dave { 01.09.13 at 12:03 pm }

Thanks, Steve!

9 Tom { 01.11.13 at 11:39 am }

We’ll have to wait and see. There are many attractions that I would want to come back time and again, such as Splash Mountain for instance, and if I could schedule my visit to the park knowing that I’d be able to ride it at specific times for sure, I wouldn’t mind at all.

10 Mike { 01.12.13 at 5:51 pm }

This change is going to make the “child/rider swap” passes even more valuable, provided they don’t get rid of them. Dave, you should open a “rent a stroller with fake baby” side business.

11 Dave { 01.13.13 at 10:38 am }

:), Mike

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