Today marks the last day for “Legacy” Fastpass at the Magic Kingdom in the Walt Disney World Resort. You may know of it just as Fastpass, rather than Legacy Fastpass, as it is the system guests have used for years—using their ticket media at kiosks near attractions to obtain a Fastpass for various rides and attractions. Now, guests will be using only Fastpass+ at the Magic Kingdom, regardless of whether they are staying on-proper at a Walt Disney World Resort, off property, or just visiting for the day. Fastpass + is the process of selecting attraction times and having them digitally attached to an account loaded onto a Magic Band or bracelet that guests wear.
The changes to Fastpass have been gradual, over the last several years. When we first started visiting Walt Disney World, guests could obtain Fastpasses and the general rule was that the return times listed on the Fastpasses were ignored; guests could return anytime to the ride/attraction after the return time window opened up. For example, if your Fastpass return time was 1:00-2:00 pm and you arrived at 3:30 pm, the Fastpass was honored. The rule was unwritten, but widely known and utilized.
Then, in 2011, the rules became written and enforced—guests had to return to the attraction within the return time window. So, if your Fastpass had a return time of 1:00-2:00 pm, guests had to return to the attraction during that time or the Fastpass would not be honored. This change ruffled some feathers, including our, but we were able to adhere to the rules and get the most out of our Disney vacation. At the time of the change, it was reported that Disney was working on some “next generation” technology that would eliminate Fastpasses altogether.
When we were at the World in July 2013, testing of Fastpass + was evident as was the use of Magic Bands. You could also see the changes to the attraction that were being added to the Fastpass + line-up such as Pirates of the Caribbean. This attraction was never a “Legacy” Fastpass attraction, but was going to be a Fastpass + attraction and it was confusing for guests who were looking for the Fastpass machine, only to realize that there is no machine to distribute Fastpass +.
The time has finally come and Fastpass + is sweeping the most magical place on earth. We have yet to try it and at the same time are looking forward to giving it a whirl.
What intrigues me is how non-Disney entities are responding to the changes. For example, there are people who make money devising and selling touring plans that include the use of Fastpass. What are they doing now? Are they directing prospective guests on which Fastpass +’s to select prior to their trip? What happens to the first time guest who hasn’t done much homework( believe me, we have seen this!) and they arrive a part and are invited to select their Fastpass +’s? Or, the planners who have yet to commit to which park they will visit each day and want to select Fastpass +’s online for multiple parks on the same day so that they can get up that morning and decide which park? The Fastpass + system, by the way, does not allow that to happen—only 1 park per day to pre-select Fastpass +. And, given that the system will not allow guests to select Fastpass +’s for more than one park on one day, what incentive then do guests have to add Park Hopper option—which allows guests to go to more than one park in a day-- to their park tickets for an additional fee?
These questions will eventually be answered by Disney themselves or others who figure out the system. In the meantime, we are having a moment of silence at the Williams household for our departing friend, Fastpass.