As part of Disney’s new MyMagic+ initiative at Disney World to give guests “more control” over their experiences–and mostly to track their movement and spending throughout the four main parks in a dual effort to lessen the crowd overload and encourage shopping. Although that’s a simplified description, it gets across the gist of the program. As part of MyMagic+, guests receive RFID-enabled magic bands to wear that act as key cards, credit cards, and more. Whereas Disney used to have paper FastPasses (FP)–slips of paper that allowed guests to return to a ride at a specific time later in the day and bypass the long standby line–the technology has all been moved online. That’s where FP+ comes in.
Starting 60 days before their trip, guests can log onto a new Disney website or app (“My Disney Experience”) and book up to three attractions or events that they plan to visit during their upcoming trip. As someone who finds planning my trip almost as fun as the trip itself, I don’t mind the extra time and effort that goes into this, and I don’t have a problem with minutely detailing every aspect of my vacation–from which parks we’ll do on which day to where we’ll go for breakfast, lunch, and dinner–in advance. In fact, I like that it reduces the planning I’ll have to do while I’m actually at Disney World so that I can just enjoy myself during my vacation. So needless to say, I was anticipating making my FP+ selections, and Todd and I had already jotted down a list of certain rides we wanted to choose and were counting down to the 60-day mark. Yesterday, that day finally arrived!
My Disney Experience didn’t give me any trouble when booking the FP+, so that’s was a relief. Sometimes the site glitches or lags pretty bad. For Magic Kingdom and Animal Kingdom, a wide variety of experiences were available, all equally possible to choose. For Epcot and Hollywood studios, the attractions were broken down into two tiers–one for big, headliner-type rides and the other for smaller, less popular rides. That meant trying to choose between Toy Story Midway Mania and Aerosmith’s Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster, both of which are super fun and get extremely crowded, with wait times sometimes over two hours.
The only real disappointment was that I didn’t score a FP+ for lunch at Be Our Guest, the new restaurant in Magic Kingdom. I’ll still be able to eat there if I wait on a long line, but a FP+ would have allowed me to go straight into the restaurant and to my table. You can even preorder your meal in advance, but I wouldn’t go that far. As much as I love planning, I know that you need to leave some room for spontaneity. After all, surprises can be magical, too!