As of this morning, we are officially 60 days out from our trip to Disney! So exciting! It also means it is time to set up our FastPass+ selections. We’ve already ordered our Magic Bands and made sure everyone in our party is linked up (which is crucial if you’re going to make your FastPass+ selections together).
FastPass+ is definitely something that has caused lots of discussion since Disney started trialing it several months ago. The Touring Plans explanation of the new system does a good job of introducing the new system and the rationale for some of the choices Disney has made with this new program (read here). The thing that has been most upsetting for most people is the restriction to three FastPasses a day and to a single park a day. In the pre-kid visits my husband and I did to Disney World, we could easily get 5+ FastPasses a day because we moved through the parks fairly quickly and were good at planning our ride selections. We would also park hop a lot and get Fast Passes at the new park during the day as well. All of this is going away with the current plan (although in some parks you can still get traditional fast passes right now, in addition to your FastPass+ selections). This new plan would have drastically hindered our typical park touring (not to mention the tiering in Epcot & Hollywood Studios!). As this trip is with a two year old, we really aren’t anticipating a very fast pace through the park, so the limit in FP+ isn’t much of an issue. We’re just planning on doing what he’s in the mood for and taking it easy. I did go ahead and make some selections this morning, just in case they’ve pulled out the traditional FP machines everywhere by the time we get there. Anytime I can limit waiting in line with a two year old, I’ll do it! For anyone who hasn’t been through process, I thought I’d do a little walk through as I personally had a hard time finding out many specifics about the process beforehand.
I started out on the My Disney Experience website this morning:
After you log in, click the button on the right to make your FastPass+ selections:
You’re then taken to a screen where you choose the first day for which you’d like to make choices. I started with our day at Hollywood Studios since Toy Story Mania is still one of the bigger draws and we’re going to try that one with O (although we aren’t sure how he’ll handle the 3D aspect).
After you select a day, you select the guests for whom you’ll be making arrangements. For us, we selected everyone for each option. Even things like Tower of Terror that we’ll be doing in turns while the other adult hangs out with O, we set up in the same hour so we can just do it while we’re there. Notice that if you have anyone in your party under age 3, they don’t actually count as a selection because they aren’t traditionally ticketed. They just get to come along with whoever has the FastPass.
Then you can choose your park. Remember that you only get to choose one park each day.
Once you choose a park, you can choose 3 options for that park. You choose all 3 at once, rather than working one a time to set up a time for each item. I personally found that aspect a little clunky. For Epcot and Hollywood Studios, the options are tiered so that you get one option from Tier 1 (theoretically the higher demand items but Maelstrom? Really?) and two from Tier 2. There wasn’t actually a Tier 1 option we wanted from Epcot, but there isn’t an option to select three from Tier 2 instead. I’ve heard that I may able to manage this particular switch in the park. If you do not choose three options (for instance, we only selected two Tier 2 options for Epcot), the third option is assigned to you. I find this particularly ridiculous – I have FP+ for Soarin that I do not want and that takes a slot that someone else could actually use. It is building some artificial scarcity into the system. Unlike with the paper FastPasses, I can’t just hand it off to someone else in the park either. I’m hoping I can delete those or work around that when we actually arrive. We also got assigned FP+ for Dinosaur at Animal Kingdom because we’d only made two selections there on one particular day.
Two things I’ve read about that were not available to us this morning: 4 FP+ selections at Magic Kingdom – we were only offered three; and parade / firework viewing at MK. I’ll keep checking into this as we’d be interested in the parade option in particular. Maybe it’ll pop up later. I’ve heard the Be Our Guest lunch FP+ option will pop up closer to the trip – maybe the parade is the same.
On the plus side, under any of the attractions you could select it did list any height restrictions that applied so you didn’t waste a FP+ selection if your kiddo was too short. Ours is too short for anything with a height requirement at this point, which did help limit the number of things we could a FP+ for anyway (thus minimizing the “only 3” angst).
You have the opportunity to prioritize your choices, ie which selection is most important to you. You are then presented with several options of times for your particular attractions. Don’t get unnecessarily frustrated with this part (like I did!). There will likely not be a perfect option and you have depressingly little input into the times you’re offered. Choose the best one to get them booked and then it is fairly easy to change the time of the individual event after you’re done (I did it on the app – far easier than working with the website!).
You then select “Next” to confirm your choices. Like almost all of my experiences with the not so lovely Disney websites, this was what I saw next literally every single time I did this:
Poor Donald got hauled out a lot this morning. Even though I got this error message every time, looking at my itinerary I could see that my selections were being saved:
I found the whole process to be slow and clunky, particularly given the server error over and over. I wonder if the whole thing would be easier to do through the app. I was able to go in and move the times around for lots of our FP+ on the app later in the morning much faster & easier than using the website in the first place. It is concerning that a lot of the money for this project was supposed to go into the electronic infrastructure to make the digital selection process easy for people – that was definitely not the case today!
Once I had everything selected, I did go ahead and print out the itinerary. Early in the FP+ roll out, I saw lots of reports of people who weren’t having their previously booked FP+ choices recognized when they got to the park. Those that had their itinerary printed out had an easier time working with the cast members to get on the rides. It’ll be interesting to see what this does to lines overall in the park, as this process has added FP+ to several rides that didn’t have them before and forcing people to make FP+ selections (like Soarin and Dinosaur for us) is also adding some artificial demand. Hopefully, by the time O is old enough for us to cover more of the parks they’ll have this working smoothly!
Be aware that this program is evolving day to day, so who knows what this will look like next week, much less 60 days from now when we actually get to the park. It was still fun to think about where I’ll be in 60 days. 🙂