Disney's Fastpass+ Review

Walt Disney World

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In January, Chris and I spent a few days at Disney World.  Since last September Disney has been slowly rolling out the new My Magic Band and Fastpass+ system.  The first few times we tested the new system everything was great.  We loved having our park tickets, Fastpasses, and room key all in one place.  Since I’m a planner, I really enjoyed planning out our days and Fastpasses before even leaving for our trip.

On our trip last month, the testing phase of the new system was over and everyone (including locals) were finally on the same system.  The old Fastpasses (the paper Legacy Fastpass) are no more.  Chris and I were pretty optimistic that the new system would still be great to work with, but found that this trip we had a very different experience than we had previously.

Now that Chris and I have tested the program a few times, I finally feel like I can give an objective opinion on the whole thing.

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Here are the facts on the new Fastpass+ system:

  • Locals cannot plan and book their Fastpass selections before going to the park.  There are kiosks all over the parks where Cast Members can assist them in planning out their day once they arrive.
  • People who stay on-property at Disney World can get online at www.disneyparks.com, make an account, and link up their Magic Bands so they can book their Fastpasses before arriving at their Disney vacation.
  • You can pick betweenfour time options for your Fastpass selections.  You can either pick morning, afternoon, evening, or best match, whichever works best for your and your family.

    Scanning his magic band for the Princess Fairytale Hall.  We like to book our Fastpasses in the afternoon/evening.
    Scanning his magic band for the Princess Fairytale Hall. We like to book our Fastpasses in the afternoon/evening.
  • Park visitors can no longer use Disney’s My Experience app (on iPhone and Android) to make changes to their Fastpass selections while at the parks.  They need to visit a kiosk inside the park to make changes.
  • You can only get three Fastpasses per day on the new system.  You can’t get the passes at different parks either.  You can only get three passes at the park of your choice for the day.
  • You will not get Fastpasses for all of your favorite rides on the same day because Disney has grouped together the most popular attractions at each park.  For example, at Hollywood Studios you can only pick one of the following three attractions to geta Fastpass to: Toy Story Mania, seats for Fantasmic, or Rockin’ Roller Coaster.  This is a major bummer because on the old system you could get Fastpasses for all three rides if you arrived at the parks early enough.

    Big Thunder Railroad
    Big Thunder Railroad
  • Park Hopper Park Passes are pointless.  Since you can now only get three Fastpasses per day at one park, there is no point in paying extra to go to multiple parks in one day.  Unless you want to visit one park per day to use your Fastpass and then go to Disney’s Extra Magic Hours at a different park that night.
  • Fastpass lines are no longer fast.  Chris and I had to wait 5 or more minutes in front of some attractions to even get into the actual line for the ride.  While the new bands are great for having everything in one place, they can cause problems when the Cast Members have you scan them to be able to enter the ride line.  Sometimes the machines read them quickly, but most of the time they don’t (this could be more user error than machine error).  Because of this, getting into the ride line can be a bit of a wait.

    This is the line outside of the ride.  We're waiting to scan our Magic Bands so we can get in the actual line.
    This is the line outside of the ride. We’re waiting to scan our Magic Bands so we can get in the actual line.

Here is my personal review:

My Magic Band

Chris and I were not too happy to use the new system this time around.  We found that sometimes the Magic Bands wouldn’t pull up our Fastpass reservations and other times the machines had a hard time scanning our bands (which, in turn, held up the line to get to us into the line for the ride) .  There is also a lot of wait time in-between Fastpass times and Chris and I found that when there was a lot of downtime in-between Fastpasses we were bored.

The worst part about getting Fastpasses with the new system is that you are limited to three a day.  I’m sure that I am not the only one that is upset by this and I’m sure I won’t be the last.  With the old Legacy Fastpass, if you stayed at the parks for 12 hours a day you could get anywhere between 8 and 10 passes a day.  Now, we’re limited to three.  Disney has said that during surveys they found that most park-goes only used 2 and a half per day. I’m not sure who they were surveying but that number is definitely false.

I am very hopeful that Disney will notice that us park-goers are unhappy with the new system and that they will continue to make changes until they find a solution that everyone is happy with.  Chris and I love our Disney trips and we can always find something to do while we’re there, we just wish we could get more Fastpasses for some of our favorite rides.

Don’t let this new system deter you from visiting Disney.  Every visit is still magical and fun, even though Disney has changed a bunch of stuff lately.  If you plan your trip right you can still do every attraction you want, multiple times.

Have you used the new Fastpass+ system yet?  What are your thoughts on it?  Let me know in the comments below!

19 Comments

  1. Wow! So happy I read this! My family and I are planning a trip to Disney, and after my last experience there (Florida, Summer, 110 degree weather, lines ridiculously long) I was considering getting the fast pass. Apparently that’s not the best option either. I think we’re just going to wait until the off season to go. Much better weather and less crowds.

    Thanks for sharing your honest review!

    1. Thanks for the comment! Fastpasses actually come with your Magic Band, you just have to book which rides you want online once you get the band in the mail. I definitely recommend getting them so you’ll be able to somewhat quickly get on your favorite rides, just don’t expect to walk straight onto the ride like you used to be able to with the old Legacy Fastpasses.

      I have another post in the works about the best times to go to the parks, so if you’re looking for off times you may find that helpful. 🙂 We usually don’t go in the summer because of the weather and crowds, so we’re all about the off-times.

      Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment!

  2. This was super helpful! Having only gone to Disney once as an adult/parent we did just one park in one day and it was during a slow time of year. Everything else seemed really confusing but this breaks it down nicely and in an easy to remember way! Thankyou!

    L,
    Vicky
    http://www.themummychronicles.com
    #CommentLove #SITSBlogging

    1. I am so glad you found it helpful, Vicky! I definitely think Disney can be intimidating, especially if it’s a first time trip. There’s so much to do and see that so many people get overwhelmed. I hope that, if you go back, you’ll be able to use some of these tips to make your trip more relaxed and fun!

  3. Very helpful tips! Our last trip was in 2011 so I need to “study up” on this new fastpass system. I like the convenience of having everything in one place but I hope they get the bugs worked out (and add more than 3 fastpass opportunities per day!).

    1. Thank you! I just heard that Disney is testing out more than 3 Fastpasses today, which is excellent news!! I too, like the convenience of having everything in one place because it was always such a hassle pulling out my wallet every so often to get my room key, credit card, or Fastpasses out. I have to say that I do like the thought process behind the new system, I just hope that they tweak a few things about it to make it better. Glad you found the post helpful!

  4. We were just at DisneyWorld in Disney the very week that they started implementing Fastpass+. The first two parks we went to had the normal FastPass system but then, by the third day, Fastpass+ had started and we were not happy with the way it worked! I definitely prefer the previous Fastpass system. We had a group of 12 people, and the kiosk FastPass+ employees couldn’t figure out how to do 12 passes at once, so they separated us into two groups, which ended up meaning that our Fastpass times didn’t even overlap in some cases so that we couldn’t all go on the rides at the same time! I do hope that Disney realizes the aspects of this system that aren’t working so great!
    #SITSBlogging

    1. How frustrating! I read an article last night that Disney is going to unveil the new system in May to the press, so they’re hoping that all the kinks will be worked out by then. I know that there will be problems to be sorted out with new systems and I am always willing to give Disney the benefit of the doubt in these types of situations, but they’ve been testing out this system for months so you’d think things would be getting better. I’m hoping that the next time we can make a trip down to the parks there will be changes to the new system that I can tell you all about!

      Thanks for stopping by and sharing your story!

    1. You’re welcome! I’m glad you found this helpful and informative. Have a great trip and have fun planning it. I can’t wait until we get to go back!

    1. Thank you! This new system is definitely better for those of us who like to plan out our days at the parks. I know a lot of people don’t like “planned” vacations but I honestly think this is great. We don’t have to get up early anymore to reserve Fastpasses for the more popular rides, and we can take our time getting to the parks each day. I’m definitely giving Disney the benefit of the doubt and I know they’ll work with us until the majority are happy with the new system. I’ll be bringing up to date information to you all as I get it. Happy planning! 🙂

  5. Thanks so much for sharing at our Best Of The Weekend party! I am an Orlando local and tried the new Magic Bands as well in the Fall. My experience may have been different because we did stay at a WDW resort, though. We’ll have to pow wow about it soon but glad to read your review!
    Have a great week! xo

    1. We tried them last Fall as well (once in September and once in November) and we thought they were great (and we stayed on property too)! They were still in the testing phase though, so a lot of the stuff I mentioned above hadn’t happened yet. Now that the testing phase is over and we found that the system is a little different than what we had previously tested. It’s still okay, but not great. I’d love to hear how your experience was, and what you think once you go back and try the system again! Thanks for stopping by!

      Hope you have a great week as well. 🙂

  6. Thanks for the nice article. Like you, I also tested out the Magic Band and Fastpass+ last year and liked it well. I’ve booked to go again this fall. Just today (5/26), however, I found out that they have removed the paper fastpasses! Now there are only 3 passes in a day! One can book more, but only at the local kiosks with long lines! This is seriously freaking me out! I’ve been going to Disney World every year for the last 4 years. I adore the fastpass system! I don’t know what to do about it except to not go next year. This may be my last year.

    1. I wrote a more recent article about the Fastpass+ system (http://www.craftywife.com/how-to-reserve-fastpass/05/2014) a while ago and there are a few tips in there to help you navigate the system with ease. It’s really not that bad without the Legacy Fastpass (paper) system in place. I actually really like Fastpass+ because we can plan out our days before we get there and make sure we get on the rides we really want. Don’t freak out about the system! I think you’ll find that, while there are a few hiccups, it’s actually really great!

  7. My wife and I went in February (keep in mind this is OFF season) and the new FastPass+ system was being rolled out. Bottom line…it’s TERRIBLE! I’ve been to Disney 20+ times, but it was SO BAD I postponed the trip with the entire family until maybe next year (hoping it will get better)!

    You only get 3 FastPasses per day/park and you choose from two different groups of attractions, basically one from the really good attractions (ie: Soarin, Test Track, Norway, etc.) and two from a group of attractions you never needed FastPasses for (ie: Imagination, Spaceship Earth, Nemo, etc.). It created MUCH longer lines and wait time at rides you would never have needed FastPasses for and all but made us skip rides we would have been able to do with a traditional FastPass because the lines were too long.

    This new system was put in place to “reward” those that stay on Disney property by allowing them to book their FastPasses months in advance. Disney claims this will enhance the park experience…sounds good, but the only thing they’re trying to enhance, is their bottom line.

    Theoretically, if my family stays offsite and pays FULL price for park admission, we could be locked out of an attraction because the guests staying onsite might have booked all the FastPasses for that attraction. How is this fair???? How is my dollar worth less? Since I saved money by staying offsite, chances are I’ll spend more in the parks…duh!

    You will and SHOULD lose lots of loyal fans if greed gets the better of you. I guarantee Walt would have fired the people that came up with this debacle!

    I hope Disney changes this, but if not…

    1. I am sorry to hear you had such a bad experience with the new system. Fortunately, Disney has changed it and it is much better than before! My husband and I have annual passes and go about five times a year, and have been able to test out the newer version of the system twice in the past few months. There are still kinks that need to be worked out, but it is by far superior to the original rollout of Fastpass+.

      Some of the new changes are as follows:
      1- You are allowed more than three Fastpasses a day! Once you use all three of your Fastpass+ selections, you are able to go to an in-park kiosk and add another one. Once that one has been used, you can add another one…and so on, and so on until the park closes.

      2-I have read that as of March 31st any guest staying off-property can book a Fastpass+ reservation up to 30 days before their trip.

      We’ve tested the system when it was first rolled out and have tested it since and we love it now! I do wish we could book more than three Fastpasses initially, but I am confident that Disney will do all they can to make the new system work for all of us. My Magic+ is still fairly new, so I am definitely looking forward to the changes and updates to the system in the future!

  8. I have been going to Disney World for 25+ years and have over 70 visits to the parks. I am also a DVC member since 2001. The fastpass + system I feel is to restrictive for my taste. I am one that does not decide what park to go to till the day before even when staying a week on property. This could be due to weather or other factors since I don’t go to the parks 7 out of 7 days. When I have to plan what park and what ride to be on 60 days out is crazy to me. I also was a Huge park hopper fan. Sometimes hitting 3 parks in one day when magic hrs run till 1-2am. That has been squashed since I am limited to fastpass in only one park now. Another problem with only allowing 3 passes is buy the time those are gone and you stop by a kiosk to get your 4th pass there are no good passes left. They have put fastpass on rides that should never have one but they have to give one to every ticket holder so need more to give out. From what I saw my last visit the fastpass lines were longer and slower than the old system. Sad when I cannot get a fast pass for certain meet and greets 60 days out (Anna & Elsa)!!! I feel it should be the old first come first serve!!

    Bottom line for me is with all the scheduleling and checking my phone seeing where to go next and the longer wait times I feel that it’s not fun!! That’s the reason for going in the first place. And to boot price hikes again and non expiration gone. I have canceled my trip for 2015 first time in 10 years I will not go to Disney. I am banking my DVC points and heading to the Caribbean for 2 weeks. Not sure what 2016 will hold but if they don’t make major changes I will be saying goodbye to the mouse!!!!!

    David

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