More Musings on My Disney Experience / MyMagic +

IMG_2531In a couple of weeks, The Fam and I will be able to make our FastPass+ selections for our upcoming Walt Disney World Vacation (pretend that last part was said in a loud booming voice with an echo!).  I’ve been listening to a ridiculous number of podcasts, pouring over other Disney blogger’s posts, and surfing Disney message boards in preparation.

Now, I feel I need to preface the remainder of this post with a disclaimer:  This is my blog and the words you are about to read are my personal, amateur, Disney non-specialist opinions…Opinions formed by all the unofficial research I’ve been doing.  There, now, I may proceed with a clear conscience.

The FastPass+ portion of the My Disney Experience / MyMagic+ is still a very hot topic.  Overall acceptance to the new way of vacationing at the World is gaining traction – people seem much more positive today than they were even a month ago.  More users are reporting positive experiences with the structure of the program as it stands today (still in testing, according to Disney).  I am absolutely certain we are going to love Magic Bands!  I also believe that Disney is indeed still actively testing and we still haven’t seen the final version of the experience.

That being said, there are still two areas that remain sources of angst I want to address:

  1. Folks still do NOT like the 3-FastPass, 1-Park, Tiered-attraction aspect.  A very decisive IMG_2608person normally, I find myself on the fence.  I’m okay with the 3-FastPasses (we very rarely used more than 3 in a single day, ever).  I think I can be okay with the 1-park restriction as we’d always planned (from the first time we heard about this) to book our FastPasses for the afternoon – do rope-drop (arrive prior to park opening) at park #1, ride E-Ticket attractions early (no FastPasses needed), then hop over to park #2 where we’ve booked our FastPass usage.  The tiered-attraction aspect is, most likely, going to hurt.  Attractions are tiered at Epcot and Disney’s Hollywood Studios.  In the old system you could have FastPasses for all the E-Ticket rides you could score in a day, no restrictions – as long as they were available and you were willing to use the specified return time.  I’m mulling this over and working out different strategies based on park hours and where we’re eating (Advance Dining Reservations booked months ago).  I’ll let you know what plan I decide on later.
  2. IMG_3040The forced planning of FastPasses 60 days in advance is troubling for many vacationers.  The biggest complaint being it’s too restrictive; it’s killing the magic and spontaneity.  This is a very hot issue!  And, never one to shy away from controversy, I have to say I completely disagree with these people!  The number one thing I did NOT like about the former system was how restrictive I thought it was with FastPass return times.  One of us, carrying all our park tickets, would run to gather FastPasses for a favorite ride, only to find out that the fast pass return time would not work for us at all.  It was either too late in the day or smack dab in the middle of a dining reservation.  Also, obtaining and using the legacy FastPasses often required a LOT of schlepping around, back and forth, across a park, in the summer sun!  I believe, if people would be a little open-minded, they could potentially find this pre-planning actually less stressful and more freeing.  No more sending a runner, no more having to go back out to a park at night specifically to use FastPasses that you would have much preferred using earlier in the day.  I’m picturing our commando-touring style still working for us – but we’ll know our FastPass times are times WE chose, not obtained at the mercy of the machines cranking out slips of paper to the other guests who got there before us.  There is positive feedback coming from actual users who are embracing these changes and making it work – believe it or not, they’re still having great vacations!  I’m convinced we will, too.  I’m fairly happy/content in stand-by lines up to about 40-45 minutes long.  Yes, that’s mainly due to not having small children, but even with little ones, some creativity can make waiting in line bearable.

Final Thoughts:


Photo Credit: Nicholas Maglio

If you are unfamiliar with which rides are the most popular and would normally require a FastPass (to avoid wait times in excess of 30 minutes – sometimes as high as 90 minutes or more) – this may cause you to dislike the new system.  See, here’s the dealio:  With this new set up, FastPasses were added to rides that never had them before.  These are rides with normally low wait times (relatively speaking).  Haunted Mansion, It’s a Small World, and Pirates of the Caribbean come to mind at the Magic Kingdom.  So if you don’t choose wisely, you may end up with 3 FastPasses you don’t need at all and subsequently face very long stand-by lines for the rides you should have chosen instead.  To resolve this issue I suggest you research like crazy (online, books, podcasts) OR consult a travel agent that specializes in Disney travel.  A competent travel agent could be invaluable in helping you choose dining and attractions and then…wait for it…the travel agent will actually book everything (dining, FastPasses, tickets, accommodations, transportation etc.) for you so all you have to do is show up for vacation!!!  If planning, strategizing, and/or research is not your thing – just call a travel agent.  They don’t cost anything!

Okay – now it’s your turn.  Do you have (or have you taken) a Disney vacation this year?  What are your thoughts on My Disney Experience / MyMagic+ / FastPass+?

If you missed my previous posts about using MyMagic+ and Magic Bands and want to know what I said, go here.

6 thoughts on “More Musings on My Disney Experience / MyMagic +

  1. I think you already know this but I agree with you entirely on pretty much everything you said here! I *know* I have mentioned it but I still think some of the restrictions may turn out to be temporary until they finish testing – or at least I hope; in particular I think that the fact that Animal Kingdom and Magic Kingdom haven’t gone to tiered FP+ yet could possibly mean that they aren’t “sold” on keeping that as a thing.

    I DO know that some people were really able to work the FastPasses before, so even though I – like you – never really used them all that much and 3 is OK for me, I know some others are feeling the pinch more than I. That’s another reason I hope the restrictions lift or at least ease up some! It’s hard to go from “technically unlimited” to “strictly 3”. But the rope drop at one park, then FP+ in the afternoon with another, is the strategy I’m planning on using next trip. I think it’s actually really convenient to be able to get FPs in the afternoon or evening, for sure! And I could even counter the negative point about having to make your FP+ selections in advance… you can change them at any time the day you’re in the park, even one at a time, via the app or the kiosks. So spontaneity is not necessarily dead. 🙂

  2. Good answer on the waiting time in line. I won’t wait in any lines at home but at Disney I sometimes can make exceptions. I think the fast passes will be fine at EPCOT. Just do rope drop straight to one of TT or Soarin’ and fast pass the other.
    This would be a great area for Disney to do some perks for DVC members. Allow park hopping and an extra FP would be easy in my opinion. My wife told me last night that Annual Pass holders are going to get magic bands too. Rock on!

  3. Fabulous post! It made so many thoughts swirl through my mind. Now let’s see if I can get them organized:
    1. “Commando-touring style” – love it! That is SO us!
    2. “Here’s the dealio” – did you get that from Uncle Rico? If so, I have tremendous respect for you. We LOVE Napoleon Dynamite around here.
    3. Yup, the 3 FP+, 1 park, tiered attraction aspects are making my three boys groan with dread. However, my husband and I went to WDW for a long weekend in January (specifically to try out the new system before we had our whole crew with us, and also to eat at some places that they would find too “fancy”) and it went much better than I anticipated. If you rope-drop (which is very tough for my younger two boys, but I’m hoping they’ll learn to embrace it), you can hit some of those E-ticket (which I’m now thinking of as “Tier 1”) rides, then do other Tier 1 rides later with a FP+. (I’m sure you know this already. I’m just saying, yes, it works.)
    Can’t wait to hear how the new system works for you!

    • Hiya Heather! How goes it? 1. The family motto is “we will rest when we’re dead” and while we’re usually in bed right after Wishes, we are up and gone EARLY in the morning. Rope-drop is a must. Now that our children are “grown” then can stay out later by themselves if they want to, but they know that when I say get up, Raymond and I will leave without them if they aren’t ready on time. 2. I can neither confirm nor deny my knowledge of the existence of Napoleon Dynamite, much less my ability to quote anything from the movie. Now, make yourself a dang quesadilla! 3. I’m glad you had a good experience with FP+ – gives me hope for my ultimate goal – seamless integration into our vacation! As always, Heather, I can’t tell you how much I appreciate you stopping by with comments!!!

  4. This new system and the opening of the new Mine Train are the two questions in my mind for our June trip. We just subscribed to mostly to see what’s going on with this new FastPass system. I’ve had concerns and have been hearing many of the comments too. But honestly, for long time park hoppers like us, what does it matter? We know which attractions to prioritize and we’ve rode them all before anyway. We had to skip Haunted Mansion on our first day last year and didn’t go on till later in the week. That’s just the way it goes. It seems to me that there are no down time at Disney World any longer. It’s always crowded. I’m surprised you can do a 45 minute wait. 🙂 We bypass the long lines and it’s fine. There’s always a plan B.
    We like to do some plans ahead of time but I find that we’re always changing our plan. This even includes which parks we’re doing on what day. I hope changing our Fast Passes online work well. With 7 adults going, there will be times when they’ll want to break off from us too.
    I just hope that Mine Train is up and running. I’m sure we’ll want to ride it multiple times too. We’ll beeline it there at rope drop and use a Fast Pass later in the day. With our room at BLT, we can make late night runs too. 🙂
    Enjoy your blog!

    • Wow, Curt! That’s the most you’ve ever said to me at one time, I think. I’m totally with you…I’ve been waiting for the Mine Train FOREVER (stood outside the construction walls in May 2012!) and if I don’t get to ride it, you’ll be able to hear me cry from your house. We will always park hop – because I refuse to let my dinner ADRs dictate in which park I start the day! The reason I don’t mind waiting in line a pretty long time is that I’m with my most favorite people and I’m at Disney World – In reality, my job can be extremely stressful and Disney really is such a happy and relaxing place for me…I just like being there, no matter what I’m doing. Now, while we usually plan which park we’ll be in each day and, to my knowledge, have never deviated from that plan (mostly based on morning EMHs) – I will certainly want to change our FP+ on the fly if the wait times are low (waste-not, want-not). That’s what I’m most worried about, I think – I need for that to be smooth and easy. I will let you know!

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