Last November I spent a few days at the Walt Disney World Resort and experienced my first Fast Pass Plus weekend.? I had mixed feelings about it.? Here’s the link with my previous experience.? I had another go at the Fast Pass/Magic Band process with a trip to the Princess Half Marathon in February.?? Due to staying at multiple resorts I ended up with quite a collection of Magic Bands.
And it’s growing. We’re going back to Walt Disney World this spring for Star Wars Weekend.
We aren’t padawans when it comes to this particular event weekend.? We first visited in May 2006 and again in May 2010.? There’s a pattern developing, right?? It looks like every 4 years is going to be our Star Wars Weekend.? But this time we are going with the aid of Fast Pass Plus.? Will the Force Be With Us?
A side note: let me tell you what convinced me to put money into this completely last minute and un-budgeted trip.? They almost had me when Disney announced Mark Hamill would attend one of the weekends.? My kid’s name isn’t Luke by accident, y’all.
But the truth is I wasn’t breaking out the credit card until we had the option of Star Wars Character Meals.?? Eating with Darth Vader and Jedi Mickey actually trumped meeting Luke Skywalker.
Yes, I planned an entire cross country trip during the school year because I get to eat at the Sci-Fi Diner watching Star Wars movie clips as Storm Troopers patrol my sector.
I’m not sure what that says about me, but I know I’m not alone.
Dear Disney,? Please make this a permanent dining option.? Oh, and add that Star Wars (Half?) Marathon at Disneyland too, will ya? ? Smooches!
Back to the Magic Bands.? Today I finally sat down, linked our passes, and set to work choosing my FP (Fast Pass) selections.? I had a small, ok, HUGE fear that there wouldn’t be anything worth pre-selecting. I’m a planner and would typically be making these choices at my earliest window to ensure my best choices.? Not this time.? This trip was planned on the fly.? It was getting late- surely I’d be stuck with FP for the Carousel of Progress and the People Mover, right?? (I love these rides, but they are not worth spending one of only THREE precious FP that Walt Disney World allots!)
What I discovered was a pleasant surprise.? I found Fast Pass options for every E-Ticket I desired.? Shut the front door!? A small caveat:? I didn’t try for Elsa and Anna and I’m not a lover of the parades or fireworks, so I did not hope for or look for those experiences.
I did find the three mountains in Magic Kingdom, Haunted Mansion, Peter Pan, and It’s a Small World to name a few.? Not only that, I was able to book them at decent times.? Huzzah!
The time options My Disney Experience gave me were spaced out a lot farther than I preferred.? This is where I got frustrated last fall.? I spent a lot of time trying to change times and line my experiences up in a way that works for me.? Not today!? Today was so simple I couldn’t believe it.? Here’s a few screen shots to show you how easy it is to make changes to your Fast Pass.
|First I changed the time of the experience.|
|Then I decided to change the experience altogether.|
Not only was it more intuitive, it was also running faster for me than it was last fall.? I was seamlessly clicking through the pages without any major hang ups or hick ups.
The streamlined steps to choosing and then modifying your Fast Pass selections is a great improvement over the last time I selected Fast Passes.? It’s still not perfect, but it was a lot better.
My biggest problem was user error.? Hey- no one’s perfect!? I had Friends listed in my Family section and Family listed in the Friends section.? I also had multiple accounts for some of my friends from way back when I eagerly dove into the My Disney Experience and they had not quite set up their accounts.? When they did set up their own accounts and we were linked properly with each other, I couldn’t figure out how to safely remove the “fake” accounts that had been set up.? So I left them there.
With so many Friends in the wrong places, I accidentally added my pal Sarah to one day of rides rather than my youngest son, Seth.? Oops!? Sorry little dude.? I thought it would be simple to drop Sarah and add Seth, but it wasn’t.? Ah, FP, we were doing so well together, too!? No fear- Sarah actually lives near Walt Disney World and mentioned that she had Magic Bands to spare and would just bring him one if I couldn’t get the system to add Seth.? She was joking, Disney.? I promise.
While this problem languished on my Saturday Fast Pass page, I went ahead and moved on to Sunday.? We planned to hit Animal Kingdom that? morning.? And here’s where I made another mistake.? We have some thrill seekers who want to ride Everest as soon as we enter the park, and then we have #OhLucy and her not as adventuresome brother #OhSeth
In Animal Kingdom I decided to book the 3 thrill seekers on their rides, and then separately go in and book the rest of us on tamer experiences.? It was easy enough to book Rob, Luke and Claire on their high adrenalin rides. ? And then issue number two happened:? I couldn’t figure out how to book Seth and I at all.? My goal was to have all 6 of us ride the Safari first thing together, then I’d take the younger kids and head to watch Nemo or ride Triceratops Spin.? But FP wasn’t having any of it.? I was stuck.
At this point I broke down and admitted defeat.? I settled in for a long call to Disney IT to help me figure out where I had gone wrong.
Our hero, Mayling, from the IT Helpline solved all my problems.? Not only did she fix the hotmess of? My Disney Experience, but she talked me through how she was fixing it.? Lesson here:? if you need help, don’t hesitate to call IT!
Have you noticed the changes to the Fast Pass Plus booking processes?? What are your thoughts?? Are you slowly growing to like all the planning? ? Or are you still unimpressed?
Patty Holliday is a Marvel loving, Disney obsessed wife, and mother of four. She’s a travel agent specializing in Disney & Universal vacations- and loves a candid confession. Find her in Virginia (or anywhere frequent flyer miles or her trusty minivan takes her.)