Saturday, June 7, 2014

FastPass+ Step by Step Guide

Over the past year, Disney has been testing and implementing many changes around Walt Disney World.  Technology that was once thought to be available only to the Jetsons is now in place all around property, making the guest experience even more seamless and enjoyable than it was before. The new program is called MyMagic+, and is continually improving with the addition of new features.

Image courtesy Disney Parks Blog
Your entire vacation experience is now linked to waterproof, durable wrist bands called MagicBands. These have the same functions as the old Key to the World cards, and more. These will serve as your room key and park tickets, and store information for Memory Maker, dining plans, and FastPass+.

FastPass+ is an all new program, taking the basic function of the previous FastPass system and enhancing it. Before, FastPass was a tool to help guests avoid standing in lines for certain attractions throughout the day, by issuing a paper pass with a return time equal to the amount of time you would have stood in line with the current wait time. Essentially, it held your place in line, allowing you to go shop, eat, or experience another attraction. It was a great perk, and when utilized correctly, was a great way to maximize your park time.

FastPass+ works similarly, but adds the convenience of pre-selecting 3 experiences per day. Gone are the days of crossing back and forth across the park to gather paper passes, and then return during the designated window. No more worrying about whether you'll make it to your favorite ride or show. With FastPass+, you'll schedule 3 selections ahead of time (with the ability to choose more while you are in the park). With the new technology also comes the ability to offer FastPass+ at more locations than before. Along with attractions and shows, you can now use FastPass+ at many character locations, as well as entertainment such as parades and nightly shows (Wishes, Illuminations, Fantasmic!).


Because this is a paperless system, you have the ability to schedule your FastPass+ selections at home before you go, as well as in the parks. Everything is controlled in your My Disney Experience account, which you can access on your home computer, or on any tablet and mobile device via the free app. In the park, you can use your phone/mobile device, or go to any of the kiosks with the FastPass+ logo (using your MagicBand).

Disney is also continually updating and improving the functionality of My Disney Experience. Since it was implemented in 2013, the FastPass+ portion of the website has undergone many changes - always making the experience easier.

Here is a step by step guide on how to make your FastPass+ selections:

STEP 1 - Begin
The window to select FastPasses will open at 60 days for guests staying at a Disney resort, and 30 days for all other guests. As soon as possible, create a My Disney Experience account, and link your package and/or tickets. You'll be asked to specify who is in your party, so the tickets are properly assigned to the correct guests.

When your window opens, you'll log into your My Disney Experience account, and select "FastPass+" from the drop down menu.

STEP 2 - Choose a Day
You'll make your selections day by day. You can make FastPass+ selections for as many days that you have valid park tickets. Start by selecting the first day you'd like to plan during your visit, and click next.

STEP 3 - Select Guests
You can make FastPass+ selections for all the guests who are traveling with you. Even if you aren't staying in the same room, you can connect as Friends and Family. This makes it easy for large groups who want to make plans together. FastPass+ is very flexible; you may make plans as a group or individually, or in any combination you'd like. You can also start all together, and then go back to edit and tweak things separately. To begin, simply select whichever members of your party that you'd like to include in that day's FastPass+ plans.

STEP 4 - Choose a Park
The next step is to choose a park. For your convenience, park hours are listed under each option. If you already have other plans, such as a dining reservation, it will show up under "my plans" in the box of the appropriate park, helping you keep track of where you would like to go. Check the park you'd like to visit, and click next.

STEP 5 - Make Your Selections
This is where the fun begins. You can select your top 3 choices where you would like to use your FastPass+ selections.  If no FastPasses are available for an attraction, it will be listed as standby only, and you will not be able to select it. The sooner you make your selections, the better your chances of getting exactly what you want, when you want. If you're not sure which attractions you would like to select, you can click "Fastpicks" on the bottom right, and 3 choices will automatically be generated.

At Epcot and Disney's Hollywood Studios, the FastPass+ options are grouped into two groups: tier 1 and tier 2. At each of these parks, you will need to choose one option from tier 1, and 2 options from tier 2. At the Magic Kingdom and Disney's Animal Kingdom, you'll simply choose 3 options, as they are not tiered (as of now).

STEP 6 - Prioritize the Experiences
In this step, you can arrange your choices in order of preference, putting your most important choice at number 1.
In the next step, you will be given 4 possible schedules, based on which priority you gave each experience.

STEP 7 - Choose a Schedule
After making your choices, you'll be given 4 scenarios for a schedule: the "Best Match", and alternatives A, B, and C. If you already have dining reservations, an alert will be placed here to show any problems with overlapping times. If none of these 4 options are exactly what you would like, you can choose the one that is closest to your preference. Once you save it, you can go back and fine-tune your FastPass+ selections one by one.

STEP 8 - Finish, or Edit
Congratulations, you have scheduled one day of your visit! If the selected times work for you, you can either select "done" on the bottom right, or click "plan another day" to continue your plans for another day of your visit. If you would like to make any changes to the time or experience of the selections you just made, click "make changes" next to the scheduled experience.

STEP 9 - Changing the Time
You can change the time, the experience, or both.

To change the time, simply click on the drop-down menu and pick a time that works better for you. Once you have changed it to your preferred time, click "update", and then "done" to finalize your plans.

STEP 10 - Changing the Experience
If you would like to change the experience you have scheduled for a different one, click "change experience" in Step 9. You will be shown a list of open experiences. Once you select the new one you'd like to schedule on the left, the drop-down menu with available times will show up on the right. Select the time you prefer, and click "update" to finalize it.

STEP 11 - Completion! Viewing on Itinerary
Once you have finished making all your selections, you will be taken to your itinerary. This will show you day-by-day which FastPass+ selections you have made, along with your resort reservation, dining reservations, and any other experiences you put on your Wish List. You can come back to this page by selecting "My Itinerary" in Step 1.

STEP 12 - Managing Your Selections
If you would like to go back and update any of your selections at another time, simply click on FastPass+ in Step 1 again. You will be taken to this screen which gives you the option to select FastPasses on a previously unscheduled day, change your current selections, cancel all of your selections for a certain day, or copy your existing FastPass+ selections to another member of your party (depending on availability). 

That's it! The last and most important step is to enjoy your vacation. You can relax knowing that you are guaranteed a spot at your favorite experiences, yet still have the flexibility to change your schedule on the go.


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