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Old 02-18-2014, 11:20 AM   #1
Magic Fanatic
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Fass Pass Plus Observations from this weekend

Normally my family and I take the motorhome down to Fort Wilderness and stay for 7 or 8 days at a time. We usually purchase the meal plan and a 5 or 7 day park hopper, depending on the trip, and spend much of our days in the park waiting for the next fast pass window to open. We have been doing this for many years.

This past week my wife and I had the opportunity to tag along with some friends for a 4 day weekend trip to Disney (Presidents Weekend). Because we were not actually on the room reservation, my wife and I bought a simple 3 day single park ticket as we were not going to be hopping around.

What I experienced has me looking at the Fast Pass Plus from both sides of the coin. First as a long time visiter to Disney World, I can certainly see how I can make it work for me and my family in the future. I know every inch of all of the parks and I know what is popular and what is not, thus where a Fast Pass would be beneficial.

However, my experience this past week with just a simple ticket has shown me how bad this new system can be for a random visiter to the park or someone who does not know enough about the parks to thouroughly plan a head.

On Friday when we entered, I went to buy our two 3-day tickets (at a cost of over $600). The lines were so long to purchase, it took us over an our just to get a ticket. There is simply just two much information being asked during the sale of a single ticket to move the lines efficiently. By my unscientific estimation (my watch), it took aproximatly 13 minutes for a customer to approach the window and leave with a ticket. There has to be a better way. Yes, I know I could have preordered tickets and that is a great option but there are still many who make spur of the moment visits that cannot plan that far a head.

The Fast Pass Plus kiosks are great in theory, but this past week end was a big mess. Granted presidents day weekend is the first real busy weekend of the new year, but the crowds are typical of a normal summer day. The kiosks where lined up 30-50 people deep. Very long wait to get a fast pass. I will credit the cast members, they were very hdlpful and did the best job they could to move the line.

The technology still seems to be very buggy. There were many times that the ride card readers had a hard time reading the imbedded chip. Not a huge issue, but still adds to frustration.

I can see this being a very frustrating experience for anyone visiting for the first time and not being aware of the layout of the parks and the more popular attractions. As for me, when we go back again for a full family vacation, I look forward to planning my days with Fast Pass Plus. It will mean I can get into the park on my schedule, ride the rides and see the atractions that I want to see and then get out and return to the pools or do other things away from Disney. I imagine this is going to keep more of my cash in my pocket because if I am able to plan well, I will be spending less time in the parks.

Just my observation....
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Old 02-18-2014, 11:41 AM   #2
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Interesting observation thanks for the input. From reading the boards and following people on their trips on Facebook or Twitter I've seen many different observations. You are one of the only ones that have said that if you were on your typical week long vacation that this would work better but since you weren't it was not so great. I think over time the technical issues with the new system will get better as it technically isn't completed yet. I also think over time kiosk wait times will go down because CMs and repeat guests will get the hang of the new system.
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Old 02-18-2014, 02:20 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Borishack View Post
And first/one time visitors (a large chunk of the WDW audience) won't get the hang of it. Their first experience in a WDW park will be....standing in a slow-moving line to reserve experiences.

Bottom line: from the get-go, this system has violated the primary axiom of "if it isn't broken, don't fix it" and as the OP observed is not necessarily going to get the seasoned visitor to spend more in the parks.

And just wait for the howling to really start here, once when Disney (as it is abundantly clear they are planning to do) introduces a "pay for play" structured fastpass system. Those with means will wait for nothing while the peasants have their "express opportunities" rationed.
No amusement park would ever do this! Oh wait!!! Universal already does this. Same with Sea world!
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Old 02-18-2014, 02:58 PM   #4
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If you have an account setup, can you link the band that you get as an off-site or single day (or even three day as in the example above) up to it and avoid the kiosks?

As an example, say I go to Orlando for a business trip, decide to buy a 3 day ticket... could I then just link that to my account, and once I get in the park, use my smartphone to choose the FP+?

If not, I imagine that will be coming sooner rather than later.
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Old 02-18-2014, 03:00 PM   #5
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Let's not forget that you don't HAVE to use the fast pass system. Some people simply choose to go through the parks at their own pace and don't worry about fast passes. So, first time visitors who won't catch on can still manage to have a great visit and just not worry about FP. If you're gonna stand in line an hour to schedule fast passes you could be standing in line at a popular ride. Just sayin'
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Old 02-18-2014, 03:15 PM   #6
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an informative post, OP.
in general it sounds like fast pass rewards the folks who spend time online preparing ahead of time for the trip. i'm ok with that and will be sure to do so. granted i'm the type that enjoys spending the hours on the experience page and setting up the reservations and whatnot. if you're the spontaneous type, well, you're going to be waiting in lines
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Old 02-18-2014, 03:26 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Borishack View Post
And first/one time visitors (a large chunk of the WDW audience) won't get the hang of it. Their first experience in a WDW park will be....standing in a slow-moving line to reserve experiences. Bottom line: from the get-go, this system has violated the primary axiom of "if it isn't broken, don't fix it" and as the OP observed is not necessarily going to get the seasoned visitor to spend more in the parks. And just wait for the howling to really start here, once when Disney (as it is abundantly clear they are planning to do) introduces a "pay for play" structured fastpass system. Those with means will wait for nothing while the peasants have their "express opportunities" rationed.
the if it isn't broken don't fix it line isn't going to work because they didn't fix it they wanted to digitalize it with an ease of access type thing with the magic bands. Disney also wanted to give more people the chance at a FP.
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Old 02-18-2014, 04:06 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by BayouDiz66 View Post
Let's not forget that you don't HAVE to use the fast pass system. Some people simply choose to go through the parks at their own pace and don't worry about fast passes. So, first time visitors who won't catch on can still manage to have a great visit and just not worry about FP. If you're gonna stand in line an hour to schedule fast passes you could be standing in line at a popular ride. Just sayin'
I agree, but it was my experience on Friday afternoon at 2:00 that every ride had at least an hour wait and many two hours or more.
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Old 02-18-2014, 04:38 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by Magic Fanatic View Post

I agree, but it was my experience on Friday afternoon at 2:00 that every ride had at least an hour wait and many two hours or more.
And THAT'S why I think they may have no idea what they're doing...
1-2 hour waits are bad for all parties involved.

That sounds like the pre-fastpass era on steroids
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Old 02-19-2014, 07:02 AM   #10
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And THAT'S why I think they may have no idea what they're doing...
1-2 hour waits are bad for all parties involved.

That sounds like the pre-fastpass era on steroids
The amount of people in line fortune rides is a result of park attendance and not FP+. FP or per-FP, the ride capacity is still the same.
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Old 02-19-2014, 09:24 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by ilovemk76 View Post

The amount of people in line fortune rides is a result of park attendance and not FP+. FP or per-FP, the ride capacity is still the same.
Really?

I know that...but fastpass was designed to stunt the blow to the "in demand" rides. It didnt mess with all the others...
Now you have "mandatory" prebooked rides (because they make you take 3 automatically) that could throw the whole system out of whack. The lines - crowd control - take that into account. Don't be fooled.

Honestly, I'm sure there are many nuances to this and I don't pretend to know them all.
But 2 hour lines are an epic fail. That's not what they want...that's lost revenue
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Old 02-19-2014, 09:27 AM   #12
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@Magic Fanatic

How were the crowds/lines at the non-MK parks?
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Old 02-19-2014, 09:47 AM   #13
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Actually ride capacity has dropped at Epcot. Sad but true.

This is interesting. Thanks for the report.
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Old 02-19-2014, 11:02 AM   #14
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@Magic Fanatic How were the crowds/lines at the non-MK parks?
We spent Saturday in EPCOT. The lines were crazy at the Fast Pass kiosks, but again there were several cast members around to assist. The funny thing to me is that some of the less popular rides are included with Fast Pass Plus. For example, Michael Jackson's Capt Eo is now included. That is ridiculous. All day the wait time boards listed it at 10 minutes. Why even spend the money to install the Fast Pass equipment at an attraction no one visits? It goes to my point that a first time visitor, not knowing any better, could possibly waste a fast pass on a ride they could just walk onto. Sunday we were at Hollywood Studios. Many, many people. Lines at Fast Pass kiosks were bad with not enough cast member support.
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Old 02-19-2014, 05:27 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Magic Fanatic View Post
We spent Saturday in EPCOT. The lines were crazy at the Fast Pass kiosks, but again there were several cast members around to assist. The funny thing to me is that some of the less popular rides are included with Fast Pass Plus. For example, Michael Jackson's Capt Eo is now included. That is ridiculous. All day the wait time boards listed it at 10 minutes. Why even spend the money to install the Fast Pass equipment at an attraction no one visits? It goes to my point that a first time visitor, not knowing any better, could possibly waste a fast pass on a ride they could just walk onto. Sunday we were at Hollywood Studios. Many, many people. Lines at Fast Pass kiosks were bad with not enough cast member support.
There really wasn't much to install. Capt EO had FP when it used to be Honey I Shrunk the Audience. Most of the hardware was there they just needed to install the scanners.
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