Wednesday, July 10, 2013

What We Know So Far About FastPass+

Edited: 7/26/15







Currently the Walt Disney World Resort has been rolling out its all-new system for enjoying the vacation destination...it's called MyMagic+.  This new system involves terms such as MagicBands, and FastPass+ and My Disney Experience; all of which will impact your next Walt Disney World vacation, from here on out. But what exactly is it all?  How does it work?  The process is now officially out of the testing phase, with MyMagic+, along with its components (like FastPass+) pretty well rolled out in their entirety, with a few minor and major tweaks now taking place occasionally.

Here's what we know currently about FastPass+.  (I'm going to apologize for the length of this article now...there is just so much that is going to tie into this new system and thought you should know all the information.)

Pause:  What is FastPass+ you ask?  FastPass+ is a ride reservation system that allows guests the ability to make reservations for attractions months in advance. There are limits on how many FastPass+ reservations you can obtain per day. FastPass+ is free with park admission and has replaced the original version, known as just FASTPASS (or Legacy FASTPASS) in the parks.  All four parks have rolled out FastPass+ to guests.  (No more being able to pick up Legacy FASTPASSes.)

©Disney
With that understanding, now we will begin talking about the individual components of this new NextGen system.  The MyMagic+ project will allow guests to do a multitude of things, including using MagicBands (a rubber bracelet with an RFID chip embedded in them) to gain access to Disney resort rooms, serve as theme park admission, hold Disney PhotoPass photos, to pay for dining and retail purchases by simply tapping to pay and entering in a pin number, and it will hold your FastPass+ "tickets".

FastPass+ will be tied to the My Disney Experience site and app.  All guests are now able to either go online to the My Disney Experience site or interact with the app and make their FastPass+ reservations for attractions and shows that they want to make sure they hit while they are on their trip.  This is similar to what guests currently do for dining.

Wait...hold up...now that we're discussing My Disney Experience I should probably mention what exactly does the My Disney Experience app and website allows guests to do?

In addition to enhancing aspects of a Disney vacation, The My Disney Experience will allow guests access to things like checking wait times while in the park, checking park hours, character locations, etc. Here's some other things My Disney Experience does: 


  • It includes complete information about Walt Disney World Resort attractions, experiences, dining and resort hotels.
  • Has interactive maps, videos, itinerary tools and more.
  • Allows the ability to lock in some of their must-do experiences in advance through FastPass+.  
  • Helps to find restaurants (more than 80 to choose from) and make dining reservations
  • Connects you with family and friends to coordinate plans and share photos.
  • Allows guests to purchase tickets via their phone or tablet.  
  • You can access all Walt Disney World Resort details from a smart phone, tablet or other portable device.

My Disney Experience features for guests include:
  • Complete information about Walt Disney World Resort attractions, experiences, dining and resort hotels becomes easier than ever to access.
  • Interactive maps, videos, itinerary tools and more, all in one easy place.
  • The ability to lock in some of their must-do experiences in advance through FastPass+.  Make show, ride, fireworks or parade viewing or Disney Character Greeting reservations in advance or on the day of their visit. With no worries about experiencing favorite attractions and shows, everyone can relax and focus on their time together.
  • Find restaurants of every flavor (more than 80 to choose from) and make dining reservations direct from their mobile app or MyDisneyExperience.com
  • Connect with family and friends to coordinate plans and share photos.
  • Access all Walt Disney World Resort details from a smart phone, tablet or other portable device. Now, guests can take their Disney vacation with them and have the plans they created at home – along with interactive maps, character moments, dining reservations and wait times – at their fingertips as real-time info.
- See more at: http://wdwnews.com/releases/2014/03/19/as-testing-continues-mymagic-transforms-the-walt-disney-world-experience-for-guests-delivering-more-magic-and-customization/#sthash.stigSU4b.dpuf
Ok...now that we know that...back to FastPass+...FastPass+ and the My Disney Experience App as a whole, are connected together.  So all reservations, including things like dining, will allow the whole family to be connected, under one umbrella, if they choose to be.  This is helpful if traveling with a larger group. Of course, if one guest doesn't want to ride, say Tower of Terror, they do not have to hold a FastPass+ reservation for that option, and will be allowed to choose another attraction to hold a FastPass for.  (Although, the problem is everyone else will have already used their FastPass+ option...and won't have an extra FastPass for the extra attraction...so...there's that...) 
  
©Disney
FastPass+ will also work for fireworks and parades, by giving guests a designated viewing area that you will be able to go to.

To make FastPass+ reservations, you MUST have a My Disney Experience account.  You also MUST have some form of ticket media already purchased to tie to your My Disney Experience account before any FastPass+ reservations can be made.

If you have any old tickets from the past, these will have to be converted to new RFID tickets at the parks and must be tied into a specific account.  These will then be able to be connected with your MagicBand using the My Disney Experience account.

As of now, all guests have access to FastPass+.  Currently, for those staying at a Disney Resort, guests will be able to make these reservations online up to 60 days out. Annual Passholders will be able to make their reservations online up to 30 days out.  For more information about Annual Passholders, keep reading.

Those who are staying off-site can now also make their FastPass+ reservations in advance.  Guests staying off-site will be able to make reservations up to 30 days in advance. Day guests will also have access to the My Disney Experience app, as well as the website, and are no longer be restricted to using in-park My Magic+ kiosks.  Do keep in mind that some kiosks will remain available for anyone who does not have access to an iPhone or similar device or just wishes to utilize a kiosk.

To make advance FastPass+ reservations, day guests will need to make sure to purchase tickets in advance, as well as link their ticket into their My Disney Experience account.  Also, Disney is now selling MagicBands to off-site guests for $12.95 each. More on where you can purchase MagicBands in a minute.

©Disney
Here's how the whole FastPass+ process works to make your reservations:  Guests will utilized the app and select the park they want to visit.  From there, they will choose 3 experiences out of a list of options.  At some parks, you will be able to choose any attractions that you would like to experience.  (Those parks would be the Magic Kingdom and Disney's Animal Kingdom.)

At others, (Epcot and Disney's Hollywood Studios) these options will be divided into columns.  You will get to choose some attractions off of column A and some off of column B.  Column A will feature more popular attraction, and Column B will feature additional attraction choices.  As part of the tiering, for example, you will NOT be able to choose Tower of Terror, Toy Story Midway Mania, and Rock n' Roller Coaster at Disney's Hollywood Studios. 

Disney will now allow guests a fourth rolling FastPass+ reservation.  Here's how it works:  Once a guest uses all three of their FastPass+ reservations, they are allowed to head to any of the FastPass+ kiosks in the park to make an additional reservation.  The best part is that this reservation will be rolling, so once you use it, you'll be able to head back to any FastPass+ kiosk to make additional reservations throughout the day! (Do keep in mind that you will only get one additional FastPass+ at a time, but you can choose repeat attraction now, if you would like.)

In addition, guests will also be able to select and use their additional FastPass+ reservations when hopping from park to park.  In order to accomplish this, guests must first use their beginning three FastPass+ entitlements in the first park they visit.  After that, when they choose to park hop, they can make additional FastPass+ reservations at the second park at any FastPass+ kiosk located in the park.

Attractions That Offer FastPass+

Magic Kingdom
  • Ariel's Grotto
  • The Barnstormer
  • Big Thunder Mountain Railroad
  • Buzz Lightyear Space Ranger Spin
  • Disney's Festival of Fantasy Parade
  • Dumbo
  • Enchanted Tales with Belle
  • Haunted Mansion
  • it's a small world
  • Jungle Cruise
  • Mad Tea Party
  • Main Street Electrical Parade
  • The Magic Carpets of Aladdin
  • The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh
  •  Mickey's Philharmagic 
  • Monsters Inc Laugh Floor
  • Peter Pan's Flight
  • Pirates of the Caribbean
  • Princess Fairytale Hall - Meet Cinderella and Rapunzel
  • Princess Fairytall Hall - Meet Anna and Elsa
  • Seven Dwarfs Mine Train
  • Space Mountain
  • Splash Mountain
  • Tomorrowland Speedway
  • Town Square Theater - Meet Mickey Mouse
  • Town Square Theater - Meet Tinker Bell
  • Under the Sea - Journey of the Little Mermaid 
  • Wishes


Epcot 
    Column A (Choose ONE option)
    • IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth
    • Living with the Land
    • Soarin’
    • Test Track
    Column B (Choose TWO options)
    • Captain EO
    • Epcot Character Spot
    • Journey Into Imagination with Figment
    • Mission Space
    • Spaceship Earth
    • The Seas with Nemo and Friends
    • Turtle Talk with Crush


      Disney's Hollywood Studios


        Column A (Choose ONE option)
        • Beauty and the Beast – Live on Stage
        • Fantasmic!
        • The Great Movie Ride
        • Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster
        • Toy Story Mania!
        Column B (Choose TWO options)
        • Disney Junior – Live on Stage
        • Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular!
        • Lights, Motors, Action! Extreme Stunt Show
        • Muppet*Vision 3D
        • Star Tours: The Adventures Continue
        • The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror
        • Voyage of the Little Mermaid

            
          Disney's Animal Kingdom

          • Adventurers Outpost - meet Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse 
          • Dinosaur
          • Expedition Everest
          • Festival of the Lion King
          • Finding Nemo The Musical
          • It's Tough to be a Bug 
          • Kali River Rapids
          • Kilimanjaro Safaris
          • Primeval Whirl
            
          If you are unsure where to start, Disney will offer to recommend FastPicks, which is a set of three FastPass+ selections to get you started.  However, I have a better way for you.  I have recently written a blog article on which attractions that I believe would be most beneficial to obtain FastPass+ reservations for.  Make sure to check it out.
          Not sure where to start? Disney will recommend FastPicks, a set of three FastPass+ selections to get guests started. - See more at: http://wdwnews.com/releases/2014/03/19/as-testing-continues-mymagic-transforms-the-walt-disney-world-experience-for-guests-delivering-more-magic-and-customization/#sthash.stigSU4b.dpuf

          For guests who want to take advantage of FastPass+, it works like Legacy FASTPASS did.  Guests will only have the one hour return window to make it to their specific ride time. Different from Legacy FASTPASS, guests will be able to modify their FastPass+ options.  They can even modify them day of, however, once you use a FastPass+ reservation in one park, you cannot change the park you have FastPass+ reservations for.  (You may modify the park prior to your FastPass+ return time window opening though...so for example, say you have a reservation for Expedition Everest at 11 am, but decide to go to Hollywood Studios instead that morning, you have until 11 am to change your park for FastPass+.)  In addition, once you use your FastPass+ in a park, you can only modify your remaining FastPass+ reservations for that specific park.  As soon as the ride time window comes up, you cannot modify that attraction any longer.  

          For those who will be in the parks who do not have access to a smart phone, they will be able to go to Guest Relations in each park, in addition to other areas, where kiosks will be located for guests to make their FastPass+ changes.  To make a FastPass+ reservation at one of these kiosks, guests will need to use their RFID-enabled ticket or MagicBand in order to access the FastPass+ kiosks and Mickey touch sensors.

          ©Disney


          FastPass+ Kiosk Locations

          Disney's Animal Kingdom

          • Disney Outfitters
          • Kilimanjaro Safaris
          • Kali River Rapids
          • Primeval Whirl
          • Expedition Everest
          Magic Kingdom
          • Outside Mickey’s PhilharMagic
          • The breezeway between Adventureland and Liberty Square
          • Jungle Cruise 
          • Near Stitch's Great Escape
           Disney's Hollywood Studios
          • At the Sid Cahuenga's FastPass+ service center
          • Tip Board
          • The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror
          • Voyage of The Little Mermaid
          • At Guest Relations outside the park  
          Epcot
          • Tip Board 
          • International Gateway
          • Future World West Breezeway
          • Future World East Breezeway
          • Guest Relations

          What happens if a ride goes down during the time of your FastPass+ window?  It will depend.  It appears that if the closure happens earlier in the day, the current FastPass will be expired and guests will be given the option of either the chance to return to said attraction when it reopens or to choose from a list of up to eight different options at that same park for that same day.  If by chance the closure happens later at night, the guest may select any FastPass+ option at another park for the following day.  Guests will be notified of a FastPass+ closure for their reserved time slot with both a notification email and a message in the My Disney Experience apps, as well as the website. (Check out this blog post for a full description of what happens when an attraction goes down and you have a FastPass+ reservation.)

          I wrote a blog article explaining my first trip to Walt Disney World where I had to utilize FastPass+ only as my way of touring the parks, as well as how my day went using FastPass+.   
           

          MagicBands


          MagicBands are available in a variety of colors.  They include Red, Blue, Green, Yellow, Pink, Orange, and Gray.  Guests staying on property are able to select their color and customize their band prior to arriving. If a guest is staying off property, they may choose to purchase a band, which can be found in many different gift shops throughout the Resort. More on that in a minute.

          Bands are made of hypoallergenic material that's flexible, durable, waterproof, and equipped with a three year battery.  They are relatively comfortable to wear, can be made to fit any wearer (yes, even children), and have ridges that help air to circulate between the band and wrist.  In addition, each MagicBand will be able to house different tickets.  

          In addition, all Guests now have the option to purchase MagicBands with designs included printed on them.  Options have included Disney Princesses, Mickey Mouse, Olaf from Frozen, Darth Vader, Holiday-themed options, and more. 




          Guests are also able to customize these bands by purchasing Cover Bands (which are made of fabric and go over your band), Magic BandIts (made from rubber and like the jibbits for crocs), and MagicSliders (which cover the Mickey head of the band, which is where your RFID chip is located.)  Disney has also introduced watch faces that slip on bands as well.

          ©Mary Jo Collins

          ©Mary Jo Collins

          ©Mary Jo Collins


          MagicBands, if a guest staying on property has created their trip in My Disney Experience prior to their vacation, will be shipped to a guests house from 30 - 10 days before someone's vacation, worldwide.  If within the 10 day window, it will be shipped to the guest's Disney resort.  If a guest makes their selection within 5 days, their band will be available at the resort.  If a guest should loose their MagicBand, the replacement will be the Gray band. 

          All Walt Disney World Resorts are issuing only MagicBands to resort guests to use throughout their stay.

          For guests who didn't customize and receive MagicBands prior to their vacations, they will receive a gray colored Band at check in.  Also, resort guests will not receive a back up Key To The World card, however, if it would be preferred, a RF-enabled Key To The World card can be issued to a guest upon request. The card will work the same as the MagicBand does.

          Resort guests who would like to use FastPass+ during their vacation may do so using the My Disney Experience app, visiting Guest Relations, or by stopping at a MyMagic+ kiosk.

          Many people worry about security issues, but have no fear.  According to Disney, extensive measures are in place to protect the privacy of guests and the security of personal information that they choose to share via My Disney Experience.  MagicBands do not store any personal information.  Instead each band contains a randomly assigned code only, that will then securely link to an encrypted database, which then associates the guest's MagicBand (or Key to the World card) with the Disney experiences they've selected.  In addition, MagicBands can be disabled remotely if they are lost or stolen. 

          For those off-site guests who wish to, they may purchase a MagicBand at various locations on Disney property. Those locations include:

          Magic Kingdom

          • Emporium on Main Street U.S.A.
          • Frontierland Trading Post
          • Space Mountain Gift Shop
          • Mickey's Gift Station at the TTC
          • Big Top Souvenirs

          Epcot

          • Disney Traders in World Showcase
          • Camera Center under Spaceship Earth
          • World Traveler at the International Gateway

          Disney's Hollywood Studios

          • Legends of Hollywood
          • Stage One
          • The Darkroom

          Disney's Animal Kingdom

          • Chester and Hester's Dinosaur Treasures
          • Disney Outfitters

          Downtown Disney

          • Disney's Pin Traders in the Marketplace
          This is not a full list, only partial, and locations do change.  If you're looking for MagicBands for sale, the largest selection will be at the bigger stores on property. 

          Options of where to purchase MagicBands keep popping up all the time, so be sure to be on the lookout, especially at resort hotels.

          Guests are able to purchase and link additional bands to their My Disney Experience account, so if you already have a band, but want another one, you can choose to purchase it and add it. (Of if you are staying off-site and don't have one, you can now purchase one.)  Once linked to your My Disney Experience account, MagicBands can be retained and used for future trips.  You do not have to have valid park admission any longer to purchase MagicBands.  The cost of specialty MagicBands range anywhere from $12.95 to $30.

          Many people wonder, if MagicBands (and some of us already have quite a collection) can be re-used.  Yes! They can. As long as they are valid in your My Disney Experience account, you can use them. So if you want to mix and match while on vacation, feel comfortable to know that you can use any MagicBand you would like, as long as it shows up in your account.  

          However, what if you already have lots of MagicBands or you are doing a split stay and you DON'T want additional MagicBands sent to your home?  Walt Disney World Resort Guests are now able to choose to opt out of customizing and receiving a new MagicBand if they already have a MagicBand from a previous visit linked to their account on My Disney Experience. In addition, Guests with more than one reservation during the same visit will only receive one MagicBand for the whole visit if they do not customize a MagicBand for the second reservation.  To accomplish this. Guests can manage their MagicBand preferences through the ‘Customize Your MagicBand’ section on their My Disney Experience account by either declining a new MagicBand if they prefer to use an existing one or reactivating a MagicBand by changing their selection. 


          Annual Passholders


          ©Disney
          Disney is now allowing Annual Passholders to make advance FastPass+ reservations, use My Disney Experience, and customize MagicBands.

          Like other guests, Passholders are able to make 3 initial FastPass+ reservations at a single park per day. (Additional FastPass+ reservations can be made after your first three have been used.) AP holders can make make FastPass+ selections by using either the My Disney Experience app or by stopping at a FastPass+ kiosk. Passholders will be able to make up to seven days of FastPass+ selections over a continuous 30 day time period.  (Or, if staying at a Disney resort, the number of days staying at the resort, whichever is longer.)  Passholders also can only make FastPass+ reservations for up to 30 days in advance now.

          Passholders will also receive a discount card. This card must be used (along with a photo ID) to receive your Passholder discounts. Cards will come in either black or gold. The gold card indicates complimentary parking is included. The black card indicates that the guest has no complimentary parking.


          If you'd like to learn more, visit the Passholder information page.


          The MyMagic+ system has technically been fully rolled out.  However, tweaks are constantly being made.  Keep updated by visit this blog for more details!

          Now it's you're turn.  What are your thoughts about the system?  Be sure to let me know on the Facebook page.


          Also, if you like this article, I shamelessly ask that you spread the word!  Share it on Twitter or Facebook...pin the photos on Pinterest, hit up the Google + emblem...just let others know about us here!  Also, make sure to LIKE our new Facebook page! 

          16 comments:

          Frank said...

          Hello, I absolutely love your blog, visit often but never commented.

          I have opened my own Disney blog last week.

          www.thewdwexperience.blogspot.com

          Thanks.

          Anonymous said...

          I have my bands, fast passes, dinner reservations, hotel and annual pass all linked up. I go the 22-30. Ill let you know how it goes

          Rikki Niblett said...

          Awesome! Can't wait to hear about your experience!

          Anonymous said...

          Do you know how this will affect the extra magic hours as far as proving you are staying on property? Will only the guests staying on property get the bands? My family is going in August this year

          Rikki Niblett said...

          As far as I know, in the morning, you will have to have your MagicBand, which proves you are staying on property, for the time being. I don't have off-hand knowledge of what happens during Evening Extra Magic Hours. No word yet on if off-site guests will be able to get the bands (I'm hearing they may be able to purchase them eventually.) Trutfully, there are still a lot of unknowns with this new system that they are testing out. (For example, I'm a AP holder, will I get a MagicBand? Original thoughts said yes, but now not so sure. The last thing I heard was that things are now 6 months behind for AP holders...so, things seem to change almost daily in regards to information...)

          Anonymous said...

          WE did the band on our trip this past november. I do like the advance purchase. I don't like the limit, with the regular you can keep on getting more passes during the day. you can not with the band. I also always get park hoppers so i don't like that they all have to be at the same park.

          Anonymous said...

          I'm not a fan of only resort guests getting to make advance Fastpass+ reservations. It's unlike Disney to discriminate against the locals.

          Anonymous said...

          We were in on the testing in September and the bands worked very well. Just wish they could code you are a passholder so you would not still need to carry your tickets to get purchase discounts. Also not happy to be limited to three fast passes. But it did work well at the park and at our resort. I also think it will be wonderful in case a child is separated from the group. As your room, name and cell phone number is coded in so they can get a hold of you. We instructed the kids if it should happen to look for a cast member.

          Orlando Resident/ Annual Passholder said...

          As an Annual Passholder for the last 13 years, I am stomping my feet having a tantrum against the darn bands! Completely takes away all spontaneity from deciding to go to the Park for the day! We have been to Epcot as early as 10:00 on a non-Holiday weekday and all FastPasses are gone when before the bands they wouldn't have been. Also, when I go on vacation, I don't want to have practically every minute of every day planned out! Definitely NOT on the BANDwagon!

          Anonymous said...

          We just got back from Disney. You cannot get into rides during magic hours unless you are a resort guest. You have to touch your magic band. If it doesn't turn green you do not get on during magic hours.

          Jenna said...

          Regarding the bands- Do you know if the rubber is latex or silicone? I am highly allergic to latex so if that is what they are made of, this would never be an option for my family. Thank you!

          Rikki Niblett said...

          Hi Jenna! So according to Disney, the bands are made of a non-latex hypoallergenic material. If you are still worried, you could potentially buy a CoverBand, which is made out of fabric and fits completely and wholly around a MagicBand.

          If you are still unsure, you can always request a Key To The World card at your hotel instead.

          Hope this helps!

          Angela said...

          We had the bands on our trip at the end of January. For extra magic hours--we had to scan our bands before going on rides; since the bands are linked to your hotel it shows up green if you qualify for extra magic hours. We thought it would really tie us down to a schedule but turns out it was nice to have fast passes ahead of time. With the old passes it was a pain to go all the way over to (example) space mountain, get fast pass ticket, leave for 50 minutes, then come back. We also were able to change fast pass selections while we were at the park if we changed our minds. It does suck that you are now limited to fast passes. However, my understanding is people learned to really work the old system while others who were less experienced with Disney lost out (ex. Toy story Manila fast passes we're usually unavailable 10 mins after the park opened). Also disney has become so popular and crowded disney probably didn't have a choice but to limit fast passes. The worst part is having to have all your fast passes for the day at one park (not ideal with park hopper). A Disney employee did tell us that was one aspect being looked in to. I think once it is in full swing it will make the regular lines flow better as well. Even though there are limits to the passes, we were able to enjoy every ride we wanted to and go on favorites multiple times!

          Rikki Niblett said...

          Thanks so much Angela for this great review!

          Anonymous said...

          We used the system when we went during the week of New Years. I personally loved it - I am a crazy planner and loved having every detail worked out before we left. With the crazy crowds we were guaranteed to ride a absolute favorites. I also loved not having to keep up with all of our key cards and fumble with those.

          One more thing to note (you may have addressed this elsewhere) - With My Disney Experience you can also do online check-in before you reach your resort. Our check-in process at the resort took no more than 5 minutes b/c of this.

          We are going back in October - yes less than a year! :) - and I look forward to using the Magic Bands again.

          G Parker said...

          FYI I have been told even if you are staying on site, if you live in Canada they will not ship your bands to you ahead of time. You have to pick them up when you check in. I am guessing it is because 1. Customs-possibly taking too long to process. 2. The possibility of them going missing etc.