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Friday, September 7, 2012

First look at Disney's new Fastpass+ Experience

Today is a special post- I have been extremely lucky to have a guest blogger, Paul Gibson. Paul is going to Disney World soon, with his family- and they have been selected to take part in the trial run of the Fastpass+ Experience!

Paul has so graciously agreed to share his experience. Read on to find out about the future of Fastpasses at Disney!

Allow me to introduce myself, My name is Paul, and I am addicted to Disney World.

 It all started when I was younger, and we started regular visits to the magical world created by the Disney Company in Lake Buena Vista, Florida. We attended for special events the 20th Anniversary, the 25th when Cinderella’s Castle was turned into a giant pink cake, and then we joined the Disney Vacation Club (DVC) and started to go every year, sometimes twice a year.

            Since then I have been fascinated with all things of the mouse, became an owner in the DVC, and frequent many news, information and rumor websites daily.

For a long time the idea of the FastPass+ system has been speculated on the many websites, as a step up from the current FastPass system in the parks that allows you to virtually “wait in line” for rides and return at the time on your FastPass card.

The rumors have speculated everything under the sun for what the Plus upgrade would entail: costs, amount of attractions you can use it on,  time frames,  and more; I kid you not when I say I could read posts for days about rumors on the FastPass+ (XPass – an original rumored name) and not get through them all.

            I can say I was floored when I opened my emails the other night to an email from Disney Destinations asking me to participate in a test for the FastPass+ program for our upcoming trip (we depart 9/19) at first I said “NO WAY….” Ok who am I kidding, I wanted to log on right away, and check it out. Later that evening when I had time to concentrate, I clicked on the link they sent me on the email, and it asked me for my Disney website ID, Password, and Reservation #. As soon as I logged in, it was a typical look and feel of a Disney website and asked me to confirm the guests in my party, and even included my 20 month old daughter, who is not a ticketed Disney Guest, but free due to her age. After confirming that information it asked for any celebrations for each guest, and favorite Disney character (from a limited list.)

            I was then taken to a page that showed my vacation days, and the days I was being offered to participate in a FastPass+ Test at the Magic Kingdom, luckily one of the days offered was an afternoon/evening we already planned to be there based on our Advanced Dining Reservations, so I selected that evening. I was informed I would be able to test the system by reserving ride/show times on four attractions that day and was asked me to pick my two rides/attractions/shows that I definitely wanted to try to use the system on, and then 2 more that I might also want to do, but could be substituted if the system needed to.

I selected Main Street Electrical Parade, and Wishes, thinking that it would be awesome to have reserved seating, for those and not have to waste time sitting and holding a spot with a 20 month old,  at the end of a day in WDW, and they selected Dumbo and Barnstormer for us. It was easy to manipulated the times around our scheduled dinner at Liberty Tree Tavern.

After confirming the times, and giving it one last look over, I hit submit, and was greeting with a message that said my FastPass+ cards would be arriving by mail about one week before we leave for WDW, but if we do not receive them, you can check in at the kiosk at the airport or at city hall inside the Magic Kingdom. That was it, process was over, so simple and painless.  I logged off, and then logged back in, and could view, edit, or cancel all of my selections, and even make separate ones for members of the party, if not everyone had the same interests.  All in all I am super excited about testing this program, and seeing what its going to do to our vacation planning and actual vacationing in the future.

Stay tuned for Part 2, in a few weeks, when I describe the process of using the FastPass+ and my overall review of the entire process!

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