Walt Disney World’s FastPass Plus - Creating a Classed Theme Park Society
FastPass Plus is the new attraction, event, and experience planning system which has taken the place of the old legacy paper ticket FastPass system.
(Updated May 2018)
In the old system all theme park guests competed on an equal basis, daily in the parks for one at a time FastPass tickets which allowed them to bypass the regular standby line.
What Is FastPass Plus?
At its very basic level it is presented by Disney World to their guests as a way to make your vacation more smooth and time efficient. FastPass+ reservations may be reserved ahead of time, up to 60 days in advance based upon your “Class.”
To Disney World at the basic level, it is a way to spread out increasingly larger crowds. This allows more revenue generation through greater attendance while helping keep guest frustration tolerable, without having to build and run a new theme park to handle the volume of people on property.
At a higher level it is just part of Disney’s social management experiment generally referred to as My Magic Plus.
FP+ Love It Or Hate It
Many either love or hate the new FastPass Plus.
Those who go to WDW in less busy times of the year, who often stay at Disney World resorts, or don’t need to hit all of the big attractions find that FP+ improves their experience.
While those who go during very busy times, for short stays, might not be staying at a WDW Resort, or have very specific high demand attractions that their kids must do (Frozen’s Elsa and Anna Meet and Greet, Toy Story Mania, the new Dwarf’s Mine Train ) are often frustrated out of their minds.
Here is a recent post on how this affected our vacation plans.
The Disney Theme Park Guest Class System
There are different levels of usability, or classes of FastPass Plus users in the WDW Theme Park Society if you will.
In this theme park society of multiple classes you will find there are the haves and the have not’s. Here is our list from the peasants to the royalty.
- Daily Planners (those who don’t care to preplan or those who have decided to go to WDW spur of the moment)
- Non Disney World Resort Guests, WDW Passholders, day guests, and Disney Resort Guests all of whom purchased their theme park tickets less than 30 days or less in advance.
- Non Disney World Resort Guests, WDW Passholders, and day guests who will preplan. These guests must have purchased their theme park tickets more than 30 days in advance.
- Disney Resort Guests (including Shades of Green, WDW Swan and Dolphin, Disney Springs Hotels) who purchase their theme park tickets between 31 and 59 days in advance.
- Disney Resort Guests (including Shades of Green, WDW Swan and Dolphin, Disney Springs Hotels) in 9 sub levels based on the length of their stay (Check in to Check out). These guests must have purchased their theme park tickets more than 60 days in advance.
- 10 Plus Day Guests
- 9-Day Guests
- 8-Day Guests
- 7-Day Guests
- 6-Day Guests
- 5-Day Guests
- 4-Day Guests
- 3-Day Guests
- 2-Day Guests
So you see we have 13 levels, classes, or casts in our new Theme Park Society.
How FastPass Plus Works
To make an advance FastPass Plus reservation you must establish a My Disney Experience Account, Link your theme park tickets to the account, and if staying at a WDW resort, link your reservation.
Once you establish an account and link your ticket the immediate next 30 calendar days become available for you to make FP+ reservations. This is a rolling 30 days, so on the following day the 30th day rolls to the next 30 day out calendar day which is then available for reservations.
If your vacation is more than 30 days away, this does you no good. You’ll have to wait until the 30th day window rolls to your check in date to begin making reservations. You’ll have to wait until the next day to make your second day of FP+ and so on.
If you’ve linked a WDW Resort reservation to your MDE account, on the 60th day prior to check in a 10-day window will open up starting on your check in day. So on that 60th day prior you’ll be able to schedule FP+ beginning on your check in day through the day you leave WDW.
See: Waiting on your 60-day FastPass Plus Window to Open
The Classes of Our New Disney Society
-Disney Resort Guests who purchase their theme park tickets more than 60 days in advance.
Disney Guests staying in a WDW resort for 10 or more days. These guests are the royalty of our Disney Guest Society, the Kings and Queens, Princesses and Princes, they’ll have the most magical experiences, getting to select from a wide open field of attraction and experience selections.
These guests at midnight Eastern Time 60 days prior to their check in date may begin selecting their FP+ items for their check in date and the 9 days following.
Disney Guests staying in a WDW resort for 9 days. These guests are just a slight notch lower in social standing. They are the Grand Dukes and Grand Duchesses.
These guests at midnight Eastern Time 60 days prior to their check in date may begin selecting their FP+ items for their check in date and the remaining 8 days of their vacation.
Disney Guests staying in a WDW resort for 8 days. This is the next rung down on our social ladder. The Arch Dukes and Arch Duchesses.
These guests at midnight Eastern Time 60 days prior to their check in date may begin selecting their FP+ items for their check in date and the remaining 7 days of their vacation.
Disney Guests staying in a WDW resort for 7 to 2 days. Follow the same decreasing pattern of decrease in stature until at the 2-day stay.
In order these are:
- 7-day - Dukes and Duchesses
- 6-day - Viceroys and Vicereines
- 5-day - Marquess and Marchionesses
- 4-day - Counts and Countesses
- 3-day - Viscounts and Viscountesses
- 2-day - Barons and Baronesses
Lots of Compitition
While all WDW guests checking in on the same day can begin making FP+ reservations at the very same time and date, others who have check ins on earlier dates have already had a crack at your date.
Everyone checking in for the previous 9 days has already had a crack at your check in day. During very busy times, this can totally use up the most desired FP+ reservations use up all morning availability on the next most popular items.
The chart below illustrates all of the people competing for on day of FastPassses (10 Jan).
In fact, if you are going during a very busy times like Christmas or Spring Break, you may find that the FP+ system has very few items you want.
Look at the chart below which represents a 4-day stay on 23 – 26 December. You can see all of the other guests who can make FP+ reservations for your dates before you can.
Each colored bar is a length of stay. The Xs indicate the days on which those staying those days can make their FP+ before you are allowed to.
Levels below the 60 day planners
-Disney Resort Guests (including the WDW Swan and Dolphin) who purchase their theme park tickets between 31 and 59 days in advance. These are our Baronets and Baronetesses , the highest of the Knights of the Disney Resort Guest Kingdom.
These guests who for some reason purchased their ticks late, can begin selecting their FP+ items for their check in date and the number of days of their trip (up to 10 days) as soon as they link their ticket and resort reservation.
-Disney Resort Guests (including Shades of Green, WDW Swan and Dolphin, Disney Springs Hotels) who purchase their theme park tickets 30 days or less in advance. These are our Knights and Dames of the Disney Resort Guest Kingdom.
These guests who for some reason purchased their tickets very late, can begin selecting their FP+ items for their entire stay as soon as they link their ticket.
-Non Disney World Resort Guests, WDW Passholders, and day guests who will preplan. We’ve reached our commoners in the Disney Resort Guest Kingdom, while holding no title, these folk are still reasonable well off.
These guests can begin selecting their FP+ items for their check in date 30 days before the date they need them and then each day thereafter make the next day’s FP+.
-Non Disney World Resort Guests, WDW Passholders, day guests, and Disney Resort Guests all of whom purchased their theme park tickets less than 30 days in advance. The lowest of the common folk, these folks scrimp by as best they can.
These guests can begin selecting their FP+ when they buy their tickets.
-Daily Planners are those who don’t care to preplan or those who might have decided to go to WDW spur of the moment. They may buy their theme park tickets when they arrive at a Disney World theme park. These people truly are the bottom of our Disney Resort Kingdom Society. They are the beggars, existing on the scraps others have left. These folk can only hope for the magic intersession of their fairy godmother.
These guests, by choice, will not make advance FP+ reservations.
These guests must fight over the scraps. They’ll need to go to a FastPass Plus location (either a kiosk or location that has cast members with PDAs).
Once there they can see if any FP+ reservations are left for that day and reserve up to 3 items from what is left. Often these are things they (and others) don’t care about and which they most likely could walk on with no wait anyway.
Is FastPass Plus a Good thing?
In the long run I think it really will be. I poked fun at it in this post, as there is currently lots of frustration amongst many people.
I do think that with modifications it has the potential to be very good!