You’ve read about our use of FastPass+ during our trip and, since it’s a very new feature at Disney World, I thought I’d give you a little information about our experience with it.
In the past, Disney World has provided guests with a “Key to the World” card which acts as their room key, park admission, credit card, etc during their stay. Over the past six months (ish) they’ve been debuting a new system called MyMagic+ which includes MagicBands and FastPass+.
(Before I get into detailing our experience and what I know, please know that this information is purely based on our use of these services and is not a definitive look at the system and all it’s features.)
After we paid our final balance on our trip 60 days out from arrival, we were sent information to register for MyMagic+. This led us to register on the My Disney Experience website and we linked our hotel and dining reservations to our account. We then were able to customize our MagicBands by color and name. These shipped and arrived about 2-3 weeks before we left for our trip.
When these arrived we didn’t really know what they were, but the instructions said not to forget them and explained that we’d use them to enter the parks so I made sure I knew exactly where they were packed when we headed down to Disney!
It ended up that these bands were your one stop shop for everything Disney related. They were our room keys, they got us in to the parks, they held our Fast Passes and let us on to rides, they had a credit card linked to them which allowed us to charge meals and snacks back to our card, and they were used by photographers to link photos to our account. We wore these any time we left our room. They were created with a special smaller band inside the larger band to make it easy for kids to wear and snapped on and off but were secure enough that we didn’t worry about them accidentally popping off while we were there. James didn’t really need one since he was two and didn’t have a ticket or need his own FastPass but he wanted to wear his daily to be like everyone else.
In summary, my opinion of the MagicBands, A+! It’s great to have everything on your wrist so you don’t have to worry about dropping cards or digging them out of your purse or pocket. They are obvious in pictures though so hide that hand if you don’t want them seen!
Moving on to FastPass+. This is the new FastPass service and, I believe, replaces the paper FastPasses at the park. When we were there the MyMagic+ was still in it’s trial so there were still paper FastPass options as well as FastPass+ kiosks, I’m not sure if the paper FastPass stations will disappear once MyMagic+ is totally rolled out or not.
The great thing about FastPass+ was that we were able to choose our FastPasses through the MyDisneyExperience site before we left the house. This let us plan our route around the park and forced us to do ride research before we left as opposed to walking in to the park clueless about rides and what we wanted to do. I thought this was great!
However, I had issues with the website reserving my FastPasses for a few days which was frustrating. I’m sure they’ll work all those bugs out before finally releasing to everyone. In addition, it was confusing to me how you could reserve passes. Let me summarize for you what I found.
– You can only reserve FastPass+ passes for one park for each day.
– You can only get THREE FastPass+ passes per day.
Summary: Your ParkHopper option is less valuable because if you hop to another park, you can’t get any FastPasses at the second park at all. There was a limit to the old FastPasses that you could have out at a time, but once you had used them and the time expired you used to be able to get more FastPasses. Not so anymore, you get THREE FastPass+ passes PER DAY. Once you use one you can’t get another one to replace it. I never found that in any text form but this was explained to me by a FastPass+ kiosk staffer while at Disney.
This new feature of only allowing three FastPass+ options per day and all must be at one park might be only during the testing phase, I sincerely hope it is. FastPasses make doing Disney with kids so much easier and so much more enjoyable. By limiting the number of passes to three total per day the amount of rides that you get to “skip” the line on is severely limited. This makes it much harder to do Disney efficiently or with kids.
For instance, on our first day we did Hollywood Studios and then hopped to Epcot. We needed FastPasses at Hollywood Studios and so scheduled them for that park. Which meant by the time we got to Epcot, we had no FastPasses for Nemo or Soarin’ or any of the other rides, some of which had waits of two hours. It would have been nice to have been able to get a FastPass+ for Soarin after we had ridden and used our first FastPass+ from Hollywood Studios but not only can you not get additional FastPasses after one has been used, but you can’t have FastPasses at multiple parks. Bummer.
There are a lot of benefits to the FastPass+ system though and the biggest one is being able to schedule them remotely. Not only could I schedule them from the website, but Disney has a MyDisneyExperience app that allows you to modify, create, and delete FastPass+ reservations right from your phone. I used the app for this multiple times while we were in the parks. There are also a few FastPass+ kiosks in the parks to modify your FastPasses but they are certainly not at every FastPass+ ride like they are in the old FastPass system.
Overall, I’d give the FastPass+ system a B. The limitations on procuring FastPass+ passes is a huge downside for me when thinking about going back to Disney with small kids….or at all for that matter.
Again, please know that the specifics for the MyMagic+ and FastPass+ systems might change in the future or might have already changed since we traveled in December 2013. This is solely based on our experience with these systems and hopefully will help you gain a little bit of information for a frame of reference if you’re traveling to Disney and will use these systems.