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Are Changes Coming to Walt Disney World’s Fastpass System?



Our good friends at Touringplans are reporting that cast members at Walt Disney World Resort have been informed that beginning March 7, 2012, return times on Fastpasses will be enforced for all guests. Whereas in the pasts, guests could get a Fastpass for a scheduled return time and then save it for later in the day (so long as it was used the same day), guests using a Fastpass will reportedly be given only a small window in which to use the pass. Guests will be allowed to present the Fastpass 5 minutes prior to or up to 15 minutes after, the return time printed on the ticket. Guests presenting Fastpasses after this time will be denied admittance.
Why the change in policy? That is unknown to us at this time. Perhaps it is due to the fact that because people often save Fastpasses for later in the day or evening, the result being that Fastpass lines can have 20-30 minute waits, thereby defeating the purpose of the system itself.  Alternatively, this may have something to do with the rumored introduction of X-Pass coming to the parks later this year, with Disney looking to streamline the process so as to guarantee X-Pass holders immediate entry onto attractions.
I suspect this isn’t going to go over well with park guests, many of whom are used to saving up Fastpasses during the day and then using them all at once. I would hate to be a cast member at the parks when this rolls out. Hopefully, Disney starts to publicize this change immeditely to give people time to adjust to the new policy.
Whatever the reason for the change, I do think it’s interesting that the policy is currently only going in effect for Walt Disney World, and not Disneyland Resort at this time. 

What do you think? Is this change long overdue? Or should Disney let park guests use Fastpasses however they choose? 

16 Comments

  1. I always abide by the time slot on my FastPass so this doesn’t really effect me. It’s a shame to hear that people were abusing the system like that. Can’t wait for the X-Pass though! That should be cool.

  2. Great post!! I shared it on Guru Facebook. :0)

  3. I believe it is a good idea, the whole reason for the Fast Pass is to use it within the time period given so that the line is not long and you don’t have to wait. I have been to WDW twice already and am going again this year and I have always went on the alotted time period, did not even know there was the option of waiting till a later time, so it won’t affect me and my family at all. Can’t wait to go again, We love WDW !!!!

  4. when they first came out with fast pass I remember the cast members checking for time, and I had presumed that they still did……yes, I saw them let it slide a couple of times but I thought that was just Disney being Disney……it’s ok with me that they enforce it, I was enforcing it on myself anyway LOL

  5. I think it is a good idea. My family has gone to WDW twice already and going again this year. We have always used the Fast Passes and always used them in the alotted time period. Never knew there was the option of waiting till a later time, so this will not affect us. The whole reason for the FP is so you don’t have to wait in such a long line, so I say everyone should have to be back to the time period stated. We LOVE WDW, can’t wait to go back !!!!

  6. This has been one of my families (and many WDW geeks) strategies for a while. I knew it was destined to come to an end one of these days and will have to look for a new approach…

  7. I think it makes sense. Although I loved keeping Fastpasses for later in the day, it did seem like a flaw in the system.

  8. I think it makes sense. Although I loved keeping Fastpasses for later in the day, it did seem like a flaw in the system.

  9. I sure hope this helps to make the stand-by lines shorter. I don’t use the fast passes and never will. I wish they would get rid of the whole thing. All it is is yet another example of inpatient people getting what they want.

  10. I’m more worried about what the X-pass will look like than how folks use fastpasses now.

  11. Bernie,

    The point of FastPass is to make people feel like they’re not waiting in line, but it’s really for Disney.

    If you’re not standing in line, you’re spending money on food and gifts.

    They want your money.

  12. Is the alleged “XPass” truly and honestly that horrible of an idea? I’m torn. All sides offer compelling arguments. In the end for me personally I would pass on the “XPass”. Why? I do not like my vacations or time at Disney planned to the very minute. My husband and I are annual passholders here at Disneyland and we are there at least every 4-6 weeks. We LOVE it. But to have our itinerary planned for each ride we wanted to go on to the very minute? No thanks. But if John or Jane Doe wanted that option and were willing to pay for it- I don’t see the problem. Years ago I was taught that no one can make you feel something about yourself unless you allow them. In an article on another website about the “XPass”, someone made the comment that those standing in line for a ride while “Xpassers” whizzed by them would be made to feel like peasants. Really? So then Walmart should stop making their off brand versions of grocery items (cereal, etc) because if I can only afford the Great Value version of Cheerios and John Doe can afford General Mills’ original version- I will somehow feel less than him? Sorry. I don’t buy that. If someone is willing to fork out the $$$ for the “XPass” no matter the strings attached- good for them. I am not paying attention to them as I am there to enjoy the park. If I want what John or Jane has- I’ll buy it. That being said- I do feel Disney has become more about $$$ than about the guests at the park. While Disneyland may not be the gang infiltrated experience like Six Flags is out here (we go there once a year during a private party that is not open to the general public)- that magic of Walt himself has and continues to slowly errode to corporate greed.

  13. What I find funny is that people out there actually have a strategy for all of this instead of just going to the park and enjoying your day. I also say, “Follow the rules, and the rules should be enforced. If you have a ticket that is good for 3:15 – 3:30, with a small grace period, then make sure you are at that attraction at that time.”
    If we see that a line is too long, then we will not stand in line, its just that simple. I know I will be back, so maybe it will be shorter the next time around. Perhaps Disney should create a way of closing out fastpass tickets by scanning them. This way, you cannot get a second one if you hold onto the first one well past the designated time on the ticket. You don’t get a new one until you use the first one. Its a simple concept.

  14. People should be turned away if they are not at the attraction at the alotted time and day. Come one people grow up! The sad thing is most of the people are probably adults – so sad. My husband and I love Disney and go yearly. We use very few fast passes. Plan your day – everyone there wants to have fun!

  15. “What I find funny is that people out there actually have a strategy for all of this instead of just going to the park and enjoying your day.”
    Those of us who have a plan and maximize what Disney allows us to do, think it’s funny that people come to the park with no planning. Spending all that money on a vacation and not having a plan is what I call hilarious. Believe me, we are enjoying our day when my kids are getting to ride 14-16 rides a day without ever waiting more than 20 minutes in a line during the busiest week of the year. However, we’ll adapt to whatever changes Disney makes an maximize the system to our benefit.

  16. It honestly would have never crossed my mind to complain that a system based on allotting passes based on demand would need the return times enforced to make it work.

    I’ve always felt that my family was pretty strategic in how we use Fastpass, but until today I had no idea you could use the pass whenever you wanted–that doesn’t make a bit of sense to me. The system can’t work as intended if you don’t enforce the times–what you end up with is simply two stand-by lines.

    I agree with the Anonymous who is puzzled that people who choose to stand in a stand-by line are “made” to feel a certain way by those who planned ahead and used Fastpass. If you choose to go stand-by it’s not someone else’s responsibility to change your diaper and make sure your self esteem isn’t hurt as a result of your choice.

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