Fastpass+ – Too Much Planning

A couple of months ago, I wrote an article on trying to figure out if Fastpass+ is a good idea or over-planning.  When I wrote the article, I had yet to go through the experience of planning out my Fastpass+ reservations for a full vacation.  My wife and I had planned out some FP+ reservations for a short trip in August.  That trip was just for two people and only for a couple of days.  It was a much more relaxed trip than our usual family vacations.  Earlier this week, our Fastpass+ reservation window opened up for our family vacation in November.  After the night of making reservations, I was ready to go play in traffic.  I don’t know how my wife must have felt since she was on the My Disney Experience system and making the reservations.  I was just lobbed question after question about attractions, times, etc.

It feels like it takes the spontaneity out of a vacation

With the new FP+ system, I feel like my vacation time is getting scheduled for me.  I spend the other 51 weeks of the year getting my time scheduled for me.  I don’t want to spend my week on vacation bounced from appointment to appointment.  That’s what FP+ feels like to me….appointments.  I like the ability of getting to the park and seeing what my options are.  Let me see what attractions have short lines, what attractions have waits, and let me plan my day accordingly.  With FP+, I now have three appointments to keep during the day and have to plan my day around those appointments.  Hmmm….continues to sound like the other 51 weeks of the year to me.

Three selections is too many

Being forced to make three selections in a day is too many.  There were a couple of times, especially in Animal Kingdom, where I was making a FP+ reservation not because I wanted to but because I had to pick something so I had three reservations in that park for the day.  For example, the only must do attraction for me in Animal Kingdom is Kilimanjaro Safaris.  Everything else is a stand-by, “if I see it or go I on….great, if not, no big deal.”  There have been times where I’ve gone into Animal Kingdom, rode the attraction, and then left the park for the day.

My first FP+ selection for Animal Kingdom was Kilimanjaro Safaris.  Great, now, I need to find two more attractions in a park where I don’t go on many of the attractions.  I think my selection was the Finding Nemo which is nice because I’ve never seen it.  My third, I believe, is the character trail not because I wanted to go on the character trail but because nothing else appealed to me and I had to make a third selection.  If I don’t want three selections in a day, I should not be forced to make three selections in a day.

What system should we have instead

I will freely admit that I am a fan of the old FastPass system.  It didn’t require advance planning.  The FastPass were transferable to other guests if the times didn’t fit your plans.  You didn’t have to choose three attractions for each day.

I would implement the system that was tested for Anna and Elsa in the Magic Kingdom and with Soarin’ in EPCOT.  The cast members let the queue fill up to a 30 minute wait.  When the queue reaches 30 minutes, then issue paper FastPasses who want to experience the attraction.  If the wait time drops and stays below 30 minutes, then the cast members don’t have to hand out FastPasses and just let guests in the queue until it reaches 30 minutes again.  This keeps the wait times down for everybody.

Yes, it will probably bring back the Toy Story Midway Mania/Soarin/Frozen 5k as people race to get into the queue so they don’t need a FastPass.  But, it eliminates the need for some attractions to have FastPass lines.  Some attractions never have a wait about 15 minutes let alone a 30 minutes.

Why do these attractions have FastPass+?  Because people need three FastPass+ reservations each day and they can only choose an attraction once per day.

For those of you who have experienced FastPass+, what are your thoughts on the reservation making experience?  Is it too much planning?  Do you like have the reservations for your attractions ahead of time?  Drop me a comment on the article or in the Facebook group or on Twitter.

5 thoughts on “Fastpass+ – Too Much Planning”

  1. I have to disagree, I like the new system. As the parent always running ahead to get the fast passes I understand the reasoning for the change. Now we spend more time together, rarely seperating. Also I reserve my must dos in advance. For example before Toy Story Mania, we never went to DHS until after lunch. We spent the morning at the pool then off to enjoy the park. When TSM opened, the only way to ride it was to get a fp at park opening. This changed our entire strategy. We were now going early and hoping our return time wouldn’t be during our break in the afternoon. Now I can schedule it for a convient time and get to the park later in the day.

    I will also say when I plan our trips to Disney I know what park we are going to on what day and have one ADR already. Adding a couple of FP doesn’t typically change my plans very much. And last trip we did make a change and I just switched our FP around while relaxing by the pool.

  2. You don’t have to plan your fast pass that far in advance. We plan ours the day of and spread everything out. I feel like this system is more fair than the old one… I hated the idea of RUNNING through MK just to get a fast pass for Peter pan. The system was abused. Three Fast passes are perfect to me. Change is good embrace it. And remember just because you get the fast passes doesnt mean you have to use them.

  3. I completely agree. I loved the old FP system. If you decided to change which park you’re going to due to weather or something else, it wasn’t an issue. You could still get FPs. With the new system, you can’t do that. I do think having the FPs in the app is a great idea, but I think it would work a little better if you couldn’t get them until the day of. They could have it similar to the old system where you can start getting them when the park opens and the times will start in the morning and go throughout the day. Then everyone has an equal chance to get a FP and you don’t feel like you have to schedule every minute of your vacation.

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