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Disney Dining Blog: My First Experience With FastPass+ for Offsite Guests

Disney Dining Blog: My First Experience With FastPass+ for Offsite Guests

Let me start off by saying right away that I was a huge fan of the old FASTPASS system. I liked the fact that we could pick and choose what we wanted to do on any given day based on which tickets we could get. It was almost like a game to me. When I first heard that Walt Disney World was testing FastPass+ with some hotel guests I thought that it would be okay, since the regular paper tickets were still available to everyone. When I learned that the entire system was being changed over and the paper tickets would soon be history, I was less than happy. As a local I am not planning to stay at any of the hotels, so booking FastPass+ times in advance in not an option for me. I used to refer to the old FASTPASS system as “The Great Equalizer” because everyone had an equal shot. I wish that I could say that I decided to try FastPass+ with an open mind but I would be lying. I never had high hopes for the new system.

 

When it was announced that Disney’s Hollywood Studios and Epcot would soon be switched    to FastPass+ my daughter and I made a trip to Animal Kingdom. We had not tried FP+ yet and we figured that since it was the first park to implement the system that the kinks would have been worked out. What we found were long lines at all of the kiosks and people walking away disgusted. I wasn’t going to wait in a line so that I wouldn’t have to wait in a different line. We left without trying the kiosk.

Wednesday, January 22 we decided to try again. At a little after noon we went to Disney’s Hollywood Studios, which is the park that we spend the most time in. It was the second day of FastPass+ there. The lines for the kiosks were long, but Disney was trying to combat the problem by having other stations setup without permanent machines. Cast members held tablets and were doing their best to assist guests. As we walked around the park I noticed that the Wait Times were all pretty long for a day that was not crowded. We eventually found a kiosk that didn’t have anyone waiting (not sure how that happened) and decided to give the system a try. I scanned my ticket, then tried to add my daughter’s. It wouldn’t take. The touchscreen on the machine did not want to work. A cast member who somehow still had a smile on her face came over to help. The touchscreen didn’t want to work for her either. She had to hit it hard with her pen to get things to register. The only ride that still had times available was The Great Movie Ride, the rest were all gone. We used our other two choices for Lights, Motors, Action and Fantasmic!. We have seen LMA dozens of times and had never been turned away because there weren’t seats, so that was one of three choices wasted. We were gone before Fantasmic!.

Later we talked to a cast member who doesn’t work at DHS about our impressions of the new system. I told him that I didn’t like it and I went into my reasons why. He said that he’ll tell his boss what we said, which means that Disney is looking for feedback. That was the one bright spot in the whole experience.

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A few days earlier we were at Epcot and a stranger randomly handed us paper tickets for Soarin’. I’m going to miss encounters like that. I’ve come to realize that my chances of riding Soarin’ again are slim, because I am not going to wait in the crazy long lines and I know that I’ll never be able to get a FastPass+ time the way things are now. The same holds true for Toy Story Midway Mania!. It seemed to me that FastPass+ made the lines longer. I still need to see what is going on at the Magic Kingdom, maybe our experience will be different there. If it’s not, I doubt that I’ll be using FastPass+ all that often. It’s just not worth it to stand in a long line, only to find out that all the times are gone.

 

 

About PaulaK

I grew up in Western Massachusetts. When I was nine my family went to Disneyland and I was hooked. I grew up, attended New England College in Henniker, NH and eventually moved to Virginia. I worked as a disc jockey, married and became a full time mom when our daughter was born. Fast forward several years. In 2010 we moved to Central Florida and my Disney obsession grew. I now work as a freelance writer and spend my spare time in the parks. Under the name Paula Brown I penned the novels Dream Wanderers and The Coffee Cruiser. I also am a co-author of Dining at Walt Disney World: The Definitive Guide. I'm obsessed with Star Wars, so this is a good time to live in Central Florida. I've been a vegetarian for well over a decade, a choice that my daughter eventually made as well. While my husband still hasn't joined us fully he has given up most meats except for seafood. I was relieved to find that vegetarian dining is not difficult at Walt Disney World.