Thursday, October 23, 2014

Scheduling FastPass+ Experiences

By: Lindsey

Scheduling FastPass+ Experiences

Did you know that there are TONS of controversial Disney topics? Until I started planning Disney trips, I had no idea. Disney’s new FastPass+ (FP+) system is one of those topics.

FP+ is very similar to the old FASTPASS system. The new system is digital and links to your Magic Band. You can log into My Disney Experience (either using their website or the app) to select new FP+ or to change existing ones. You can make FP+ reservations when you are staying on property 60 days in advance. If you have purchased tickets, you can make your selections 30 days in advance. If you have an annual pass, read about that here.

You get to select up to three FP+ per day for one park. After you use your initial three selections, you can make other FP+ selections, one at a time (you must use that one before booking the next), at any park. Additional reservations can be made at the kiosks located in the parks. If you need to modify or update a FP+, you can do that from a kiosk, the app, or at your Disney resort concierge.

Another great feature of the FP+ is not all of your party has to book the same FP+ attractions. When you set up your My Disney Experience and book your trip, you can add people that are traveling with you. When you go to book your FP+ selections, you get select the people that will be riding with you.

For example, Anniston loves the tea cups. Nick hates the tea cups. So Anniston and I can reserve a FP+ for the tea cups while Nick can reserve a FP+ for Space Mountain. During the selection process, which I’ll show you down below, I would just select that I was make a FP+ selection for Anniston and I. Once that selection was made, I could go back and make a selection just for Nick. That’s a nice option to have if your party likes to ride different rides.

They started rolling out tests of the system in 2013. We were lucky and got to be a part of the test on our last trip. I didn’t think we were going to be able to use the new system and I was disappointed. Then, at the last minute, our resort was added to the test. We were able to try it out and we LOVED it.

When we went, you only got the three FP+ per day. There were no additional ones. Plus, the system was new and it wasn’t difficult to use, but it most definitely wasn’t the easiest to use either. When we decided to go again this year, December 2014, we were excited to read about all of the changes to the FP+ system and the scheduling system.

Many people do not like the new system. They feel you have to plan too much too far out in advance which leaves no room for spontaneity. I’m a planner by nature and I would have to disagree with them. Yes, I have to plan certain rides out 60 days in advance. But you know what? I pick the rides I know we want to ride, the rides we can’t miss. I don’t have to worry about running for a paper FASTPASS and hoping I get one.

I also know that each FP+ window is an hour long. So if I have a reservation at Splash Mountain from 1:30-2:30 and I show up right at 1:30, mostly likely I’ll be off the ride by 2. If my next FP+ ride isn’t scheduled until the window of 3:00-4:00, I still have an hour to ride additional rides or see a show. That leaves enough room for me to be spontaneous but still be able to make sure I get reservations on rides that I know I for sure want. That makes this planner’s heart a very happy heart.

I used the My Disney Experience website to book our FP+ for this trip. I went through and did my research on what rides we wanted. I also knew that I wanted to book them for earlier in the day so that we would have the potential to grab a few more later in the day after we used our initial selections.

I created an excel spreadsheet to keep up with my choices, the days we wanted them, and our current dining reservations. That way we wouldn’t have any overlapping times. Here is how the system works when using the online My Disney Experience to select a new FP+.

Log into your My Disney Experience account. Click on FastPass+.

You’ll land on this screen. Click New FastPass+.

You need to select the People in your party that you are making selections for. In our case, we are going to pick one for all three of us. If you were going to do only part of the party, just select those people. Click Next.

Pick your park and the day you want to make the selections for and the date you want the reservations on. (Ignore the little warning boxes. I’ve already made my selections before I took these screenshots so it’s warning me about that.)

From this point on, it wouldn’t let me move on to take screen shots without canceling my current FP+ selections. I love y’all but not enough to cancel my selections. ;)

After you’ve picked your park, you’ll come to a screen with a list of rides that have the FP+ availability. You can select one ride at a time (which you’ll need to do if you are booking different rides for different party members) or you can select all three you want at once. Once you’ve picked the rides you want, click next.

This takes you to the screen with four different time options. Look at each option and decide what would work best for your schedule. Keep in mind dining reservations, parade times, etc when you are looking at these. Select the option that works best for your family. There may not be a perfect one, but select the one that works best. Click on done.

There you go! You’ve made FP+ selections for one day. Continue on and do the rest of the days of your stay. Now, if you selected an option that maybe one ride wasn’t at a good time, but it was the best option, then you can change it now.

Here is how I do that:

Go to My Disney Experience, My Itinerary.

Go to the day that you need to make the change. And click on View Details.

When this window opens, Click on Modify FastPass+.

You can Add or Remove people from this reservation or update the time from this screen. You can also change the experience (or ride). When you are finished, click update.

It’s pretty simple. If you plan ahead and know what you want before you begin the selection process, it doesn’t take very much time. The window for selecting your FP+ opens at 12:00am EST on the day of your selection. If you are in a different time zone, remember to adjust the time accordingly.

Have you used the FP+ system? Did you love it or hate it?

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