Paid FastPass+ for Club Level at Disney World: Thoughts & Info
Rumors have been floating around for years that Walt Disney World would attempt to monetize FastPass+. These gained momentum last year with the successful rollout of MaxPass at Disneyland, at which point we predicted that it was only a matter of time before Walt Disney World saw some sort of hybrid free/paid FastPass+ service. Well, that time is now upon us.
Walt Disney World has confirmed that beginning January 12, 2018, guests staying in rooms at select Walt Disney World resort hotels that are eligible for Disney Signature Services (meaning Club Level, plus the Poly Bungalows, Cascade Cabins, and Swan/Dolphin Suites) and who have purchased a 3-day or longer theme park ticket or Annual Pass are able to purchase a new “theme park extra” for $50 plus tax per guest per day as part of a limited pilot program. Since Disney has yet to give this an official name, we’ll call it VIP FastPass+.
These guests will receive the following:
- Three additional FastPass+ selections per day.
- Ability to reserve these three additional FastPass+ selections in more than one theme park when a valid Park Hopper option is also purchased.
- Booking window of up to 90 days in advance for these three additional FastPass+ selections and the ability to book them at multiple top-tier attractions.
- Preferred viewing location for nighttime spectaculars, one per day, including Happily Ever After at Magic Kingdom, IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth at Epcot, Fantasmic! at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, and Rivers of Light at Disney’s Animal Kingdom.
All theme park Guests with valid theme park admission continue to receive up to three FastPass+ selections at a single park per day at no extra charge, as well as additional day-of in-park selections that may be reserved and redeemed one-at-a-time after those initial three selections are redeemed.
This news has been met with an extreme negative reaction by many long-time Walt Disney World fans. Most of this has been directed at FastPass+ availability, and worries that Avatar Flight of Passage, Frozen Ever After, Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, and other highly coveted FastPass+ attractions will now have nothing at the 60 day mark.
While we think this general sentiment is warranted, we don’t believe the specific worry about FastPass+ availability for specific attractions is. Even with a 100% adoption rate by guests staying Club Level (and there’s no way it’ll be anywhere close to that–more like 10% to 20% at best), the FastPass+ pool for each popular attraction is exponentially larger than the total pool of Club Level guests.
Daily attraction capacity (and, to the point, the percentage of that capacity allocated to FastPass+) is simply way higher than the number of eligible rooms that can purchase this upcharge. If you booked your FastPass+ early in the morning at the 60-day mark before, you should have roughly the same results now. You won’t notice a difference, but perhaps those booking at the 55-day window will notice a minor one–and even that’s a stretch.
The real problem lies in the future. This is a pilot program, and if successful it most certainly will not be confined to just a small subset of all Walt Disney World guests. The next logical step would be all Deluxe Resort and Disney Vacation Club guests.
Once rolled out to those tiers, the impact could be more pronounced. While not a clean comparison, we only need to look to MaxPass, which has negatively affected regular Disneyland guests. Not to the point that it’s blatantly noticeable, but it is apparent if you do a side-by-side comparison (which we’ve done–and that results in about 3-4 fewer FastPasses in a given day).
The reason it’s not a clean comparison is because MaxPass is $10 per day or $75 for the life of an Annual Pass, and available to everyone on a day-by-day basis. Quite simply, cost is going to be a significant barrier to entry for the VIP FastPass+ service as compared to MaxPass, since the “cheapest” per person buy in for these extra FastPasses is $150.
Still, we could see this making an Avatar Flight of Passage FastPass+ more difficult to score at some point down the road. Not enough that we have any immediate sense of fear or outrage, but enough that we have vague concerns about what else will be unveiled ahead of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge.
Speaking even more broadly than just these VIP FastPass+, this should be concerning because it’s part of a trend in the last several years towards more and more upcharge offerings at Walt Disney World. We’ve graded some of these Walt Disney World “Enchanted Extras” in the past and discussed how many felt like they were hastily put together without regard for value.
When viewed in isolation, most of these new upcharges are ostensibly defensible. In certain situations, regular guests might have compelling rationale to use X or Y service, splurge on a dessert party, etc. The individual offering, by itself, does not detrimentally impact the overall experience of other guests to a significant degree.
However, once you step back and look at all of these recent upcharges, it’s easier to see how their aggregate effect does burden the normal park-goer’s experience. There are fewer good seating areas for parades and fireworks, less FastPass+ availability, new surcharge transportation offerings are introduced instead of fixing the broken legacy ones, etc.
To be sure, not all of these new services Walt Disney World has introduced are bad or blatant cash grabs. To the contrary, we are fans of things like Minnie Vans (even though the service isn’t for everyone), and find some Enchanted Extras to be all upside (things such as Behind the Scenes tours, certain culinary experiences, etc) that don’t at all detract from others’ experiences.
Beyond that, there’s the simple fact that Disney is investing billions of dollars into Walt Disney World right now, and the amount of money being dumped into the parks between now and 2021 is fairly unprecedented. If a few minimally-intrusive upcharges aimed at affluent guests are what it takes to help fund (obviously this is an oversimplification of the process, but you get the idea) new stuff for all, that’s fine.
For me, the problem lies in the upcharge offerings that have the potential to significantly impede or dilute “standard” theme park admission, or stratify the theme park experience to an unsavory degree.
Unfortunately, I fear that’s what will ultimately happen with off-site guests and locals. We’ve said it before, but we’ll reiterate: Walt Disney World is a hotel business that happens to also operate theme parks. This might seem counter-intuitive since most fans view the four theme parks as the heart and soul of Walt Disney World, but the more lucrative portion of the business is the hotels and the guest spending those hotel stays drive.
Walt Disney World has made a concerted effort to get more people to stay on-site, and that has largely been successful. Hotel occupancy has crept up over the last several years to the point where many seasons are close to full occupancy.
This is why we’ve seen Walt Disney World on-site perks extended to the Disney Springs Resort Area, and we’d expect Disney to find new ways of nudging guests even more towards Disney-owned and affiliated hotels. Increasing per guest spending is one of the next logical steps, and is accomplished via similar initiatives. Expect to see more like VIP FastPass+ as we draw closer to the opening of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge. Not all at once, as the aggregate impact of that is more likely to be met with outrage, but little by little.
Of course, this prediction is made in a vacuum without regard for greater economic conditions. We already discussed this at length on Page 2 of our “Should You Visit in 2018 or Wait?” post, but Walt Disney World is benefitting right now from a strong economy and high consumer confidence, both of which are drivers of travel spending.
Add a hot property like Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge to the mix, and the sky is the limit on what upcharges are introduced, and even how base pricing creeps up. Remove that hot economy (as could very likely occur before the end of 2019), and the equation changes considerably. The good news is that we don’t think these upcharges and price increases are sustained indefinitely. They very well might be sustainable through the opening of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, but at some point, a course correction is due–perhaps one is already overdue. The bad news is that we’ve been wrong with these predictions in the past.
Ultimately, this is a long and rambling way of saying that you shouldn’t necessarily be outraged by this specific upcharge offering, but you should be concerned about what it represents, and the overarching trend. That is, unless you’re super-duper wealthy; in which case, Walt Disney World will welcome you with open arms and make your experience as stress-free and frictionless as possible!
Planning a Walt Disney World trip? Learn about hotels on our Walt Disney World Hotels Reviews page. For where to eat, read our Walt Disney World Restaurant Reviews. To save money on tickets or determine which type to buy, read our Tips for Saving Money on Walt Disney World Tickets post. Our What to Pack for Disney Trips post takes a unique look at clever items to take. For what to do and when to do it, our Walt Disney World Ride Guides will help. For comprehensive advice, the best place to start is our Walt Disney World Trip Planning Guide for everything you need to know!
Do you agree or disagree with our take on VIP FastPass+ being sold to Club Level guests at Walt Disney World? Do you think this pilot program will be expanded and, if so, what do you think of the long term ramifications? Are you concerned about pricing trends once Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge opens? Any thoughts or predictions of your own to add? Any questions we can help you answer? Hearing feedback about your experiences is both interesting to us and helpful to other readers, so please share your thoughts below in the comments!
We were at Disneyland in September and thought about using MaxPass for one of the days we were going to be in the park a little later in the day but found out you can’t even purchase MaxPass until you have entered the park. I thought this was silly as we already had our tickets purchased. I honestly didn’t see the benefits of it and would be disappointed if Disney world started doing this as well.
When I first heard about this, I was annoyed. But TBH, I doubt I would have even heard about it if I didn’t read this blog regularly. I agree with you Tom, I don’t think it’s going to have a real impact on other guests that will be felt, and will go mostly unnoticed by guests unaware of its existence. As far as fastpass and wait times go, we were there in December (4 parks, 4 days) and by effectively utilizing FP+ and rope drop, we were able to ride everything we wanted INCLUDING FoP twice, frozen, 7DMT, and many other popular attractions, and still have a midday nap. It is possible! I hear a lot of people complaining of wait time 2 + hours long, but they must not remember the days of PRE fastpass, when it was not out of the ordinary to wait 3, even 4 + hours for Splash, Space etc. Those queue lines behind Splash and into Space Mountain used to be utilized and completely filled and spill out into the rest of the park. No thanks!!
Just bring back the original fast pass where you physically had to pick the pass up at the ride. This booking online is such nonsense. Unfortunately there’s not much you can do about the increased crowd levels. I dislike it as much as everyone else. A cap on attendance would be nice. Definitely miss low seasons…
I agree Jared. All of this is a mess and not user friendly. I have an annual pass and hop, but can’t make FP in multi parks in one day. Not fair. That needs opened up to multi parks in same day at least, but miss the old system.
WDW is becoming more and more expensive, and less and less fun. Spontaneity. Forget about it! Make park admission free and go back to selling tickets to all attractions with arrival time windows. With this method I can spend on just what I enjoy instead of subsidising attractions that I do not care for. Raise the ticket prices and limit the crowd numbers. I would rather pay three times as much and go a third as much. This is radical thinking, but a new way to do business is needed. These may not be the answer, but something needs to be done. WDW is headed for the ditch and our yearly trip is headed there as well. It is just not worth it anymore.
$50 a day per person for 3 measly additional fast passes? No thank you. My family of four would never pay $200 a day for this service. We work hard for our money and it takes us a while to save up for a vacation. Disney is slowly ruining “The Most Magical Place On Earth” with more restrictions like tiers for fast passes, booking fast passes far in advance instead of ‘day of’ and all these extra fees. Universal is looking better and better, and Universal includes UNLIMITED “front of the line” passes with a premium hotel package which is good for almost all the attractions. The Magic Kingdom is losing its magic.
the package actually includes 3 fast passes (no tiers), 90 day booking window, and reserved seating viewing at the park of your choice .while I can appreciate any families decision on what they consider value or worth their money I would have to believe and I hope you would agree that every family works very hard for their money weather not they decide to purchase this add on or any other extra offered at Disney World…….
As for Universal I have to say in my opinion, I stayed in one of their premium resorts, and while it was nice I still spent over $500 night and that was with a discount. Universal’s crowds are significantly less then Disney world as well which definitely helps with their wait times, but if I remember correctly they also have an upcharge for their fastpass or skip the line pass (whatever they call it). Its not that different then what Disney or any other park does now a days.
For guests like us, from outside the USA, who tag a Universal trip onto their WDW stay, the upcharge for Universal’s Express Passes is far from worth it. We upgraded our park tickets for one day of our last trip, for $300+ for our family of 4, doubling the cost of park entry for the day.
Yes, it was nice to not have to queue, but the inherent financial elitism in this system irked me. It gives the wealthiest guests a vastly different park experience. What I always credited WDW with was giving ALL guests equal access to the attractions. These developments are changing that and it is a significant black mark against them, in my opinion.
If it were feasible for my family to visit Florida for just a few days and stay at a Universal resort, I would book a premium hotel in order to get the express passes included, because the other added benefits of staying at one of these resorts would make it worthwhile. But this isn’t an economical option for guests coming from Europe.
Hear hear! I think this is what I find myself thinking about most with the system… is it egalitarian? And should it be? Before FP, lines were long… but, you knew that your 120 minute commitment was the same for everyone…. you could decide *not* to do Soarin’, and instead use that 2 hours for something else. But now… that 120 minutes isn’t the same for all… your 120 minutes is only 10 for someone else. AND, as it stands, if everyone gets 3 reservations, you make the choice to use them how you like (hopefully getting what you want). And you spend time in “stand by” knowing other people may be using *their* FP reservations on that very ride… still, all sort of equal. But, paying for more obviously really starts to stretch the sense of “fairness”. And, I know there are advantages already, staying on property allows you to make reservations sooner (advantage!). But, staying on property also has other benefits independent of rides or attractions. Paying $50 for more reservations *only* has that benefit. And, it is still a choice. But it’s a choice between equally unpleasant alternatives: pay more $ or have fewer experiences.
My family and I went to WDW the first week of December. Was it crowded? Yes, but no more crowded than I expected. We stayed off property so I couldn’t book fast passes until 30 days out. We got on every ride we wanted to with the exception of Seven Dwarfs Mine Train and Frozen, the latter mostly because I was the only one that wanted to go on it and wasn’t going to make everyone wait an hour. I couldn’t get a FastPass for Flight of Passage but we got right in line upon entering the park and maybe waited for two hours. Not bad for a ride open less than a year. All other rides we maybe waited 30 minutes. With all that said, Disney is insanely expensive and limiting these extra Perks to people who are at the high end of the middle class is just going to turn people away.
I just wouldn’t be able to justify that cost. I did use the MaxPass in California Adventure and it was worth it because I was alone so got the photos and only had the 1 day at the park.
It would be worth weighing up if you should stay at the park longer so you could do those other rides vs buying this new pass. Obviously it would be cheaper to buy this new pass so for people with limited time it would be worth it. If you were already planning a 10 day vacation for example I would think you’d be able to get the FP+ you want and not have to queue for too many of those popular ride.
Interesting. Our first trip with FP+ in December had me wondering if my experience was unique… apparently not. First, I found we really only rode/saw a few attractions. I thought having a 3 1/2 year old in tow was partly to blame (and surely was), but seems that it may have turned out the same regardless. Second, the FP we were able to get had us inefficiently zooming back and forth across the park. In theory, planning out your three FP uses would be a great help — assuming you can get the ones you want *when* you want them. In the end, the FP didn’t help manage our time better.
It seems that the system could benefit from a more balanced approach to how many fast passes are issued per hour, per ride. If that was lowered to a number that would allow that many riders to only have to wait up to 10 minutes in the fast line, then the standby line would be able to keep moving. Of course that would mean that there are fewer fast passes to reserve in advance. And the problem of guests who arrived a few days before would have used up those available passes. It would leave you with passes mostly available towards the end of your vacation. Not so pleasant.
But if you could reserve only 60 days in advance of the actual day of use of the pass, then it would level the playing field for all (assuming you have the 60 day window option). The downside is that you would spend several days at that 60 day window reserving your passes for that day – extra work (or maybe not).
I personally REALLY like the MaxPass at DL because everyone has an equal shot on the day of your visit (assuming you get the MaxPass). I only have had opportunity to use it during a 4 day visit in September, but it was great. Why can’t WDW go to the same system (and either everyone gets MaxPass, or you can go to the kiosks and pull one direct if you choose not to go with MaxPass on your phone). Providing that they limit the number of passes per hour, it should work out fine.
If crowds are at such a level that the standby lines are too long for a particular ride, then you can choose to bypass it. At least the standby lines would move at a consistent and predictable pace.
It seems that someone ad Disney has dropped the ball on all this. I thought their whole business objective with any of this reservation stuff was to keep people OUT of the huge lines and free them up to spend more money eating and shopping. Tying people down to 4 hour standby wait times seems counter-productive for them. Why don’t they get someone who could model all this in a program and determine a better balance for everyone?
Disney World used to have the same system Disneyland does (same-day reservations only), but switched to the plan-ahead FP+ model 4 years ago. There’s no indication they’ll move back to the same-day model.
I’m not smart or knowledgeable enough about systems management to know what the solution is… yours sounds reasonable enough. I was not a fan of the previous FP; while it didn’t have the pitfalls of FP+, it was too easily “gamed” (and that’s probably what many people *liked* about it). So… even if the new system is more egalitarian (is it?), having a paid benefit of more reservations seems counter to that….particularly if the outcome would be *longer* stand-by times (presumably), which is worse for everyone not able to buy more FP reservations.
I guess… my disappointment with it was I found myself having to lower my expectations to enjoy WDW… so, imagine me talking to the family before our next trip: “OK. great news! We’re gong to Disney World! I know, awesome, right? But… just don’t get too excited… because, we probably won’t get all the FP reservations we want and will “waste” a few on rides that don’t really need them. And… we’ll probably wander around a bit hoping that the 90 minute wait times go down, then decide to go ahead and get in line just as the wait jumps up to 120 minutes — more time in line to play on our phones! Um… but I guess it’ll be fine… I mean, fun… it’ll be fun… – ish.”
I hope Disney gets their limits on FastPasses right, because when we were there Dec. 25-29, FastPass lines were taking 45 minutes and over at several rides in multiple parks!! It was unbelievable and truly useless to have one in my opinion! They were creating new queues with add on ropes and signs by the minute. If they are just giving Fast Passes proportional to crowds (which is how it appeared), it’s a terribly mistake instead of truly having a preset number so that those with them can enjoy short lines.
This Christmas did seem to be much heavier than normal crowds and we’ve been there every year for 4 years between Christmas and New Years due to our work schedule and family nearby, but why were so many fast passes given out?
I am also an out of state annual passholder. I wonder if Disney will include it in an annual pass like they have at Disneyland with the Signature Plus Pass. If they include it in an annual pass it would be more expensive, but an added bonus to the annual passholder.
No! No, no, no, no, no! A regular visit to Disney is already outrageously expensive to the point of blue-collar families never being able to save enough money to visit without going into serious debt, or robbing a bank! Which I don’t recommend. This concept may be in its infancy, but it’s just another way of the Disney Co. to transform itself into an elitist experience. Walt Disney’s original idea for Disneyland, and eventually WDW, was an affordable and safe/pristine place for families to spend quality time together…Not stressed out parents trying to do it all, lashing out at innocent, overly-tired children. I can only imagine Mr. Disney rolling over in his grave completely embarrassed and ashamed at what his vision has turned into! Yes, the parks and properties need to expand and evolve as times progress. And yes, that costs money. But, not at the expense of integrity. Money isn’t everything. And you can’t tell me that the Disney Co. isn’t already making enough money that it needs to jack-up prices on EVERYTHING! Shame on you Disney! Shame! On! You!
Disneyland was certainly a place for the whole family to spend time together, but there was never a notion that everyone should get an equal experience. Don’t forget that back in Walt’s day (and for a long while after), you bought tickets and *paid by the ride.* People with more money to spend could buy more tickets and experience more rides/attractions.
I’m not a fan of this new offering (and the greater trend it’s a part of), but I can’t say I’m surprised, and I can’t say Walt would have a problem with it. If customers are willing to spend more money on something, you’d be foolish to try and stop them.
This thread seems to have turned into a screed against fastpass generally, but I don’t think it is fair to blame increased wait times on fastpass. Given that there simply has been a huge increase in demand and attendance at the parks in recent years, you’d still see higher wait times without fastpass. The only other option to deal with crowds is for Disney to cap attendance and turn away guests at the gates like it does sometimes on Christmas or other holidays, but whenever it does that, it draws huge protests from annual passholders and off-site guests. In fact, Disney even gets slammed for Christmas and Halloween parties (which limit attendance to reduce wait times), simply because it results in earlier closing hours. So if Disney uses fastpass to allow guests to enjoy rides on crowded days, it get criticized, and if it controls attendance to reduce the crowds, it gets criticized. Let’s cut the Mouse some slack, people!
This is a horrible idea! As vacation club members, we have gone at least once a year since 2008. Our last trip was late September 2017. To be honest, the trip was not enjoyable. Between the horrendous crowds and the weather being extremely hot, the trip was miserable. Epcot was so crowded with the Food and Wine Festival. Hollywood only had a couple of rides open. And Animal Kingdom was packed with people as well as Magic Kingdom. We couldn’t get Fast Passes for Flight of Passage and the standby line was 4 hours long!! No way were we going to wait! We maybe got to ride 3-4 rides each day. In Epcot you can only reserve one of the big rides each day. I agree that it is just not worth the expense of airline tickets and park tickets anymore! We have gone in September so many times and loved the crowds and the ability to ride so many rides. Now, so sad that they have packed the park and made so many rules with the Fast Passes. I liked the paper Fast Pass system so much better. All the planning and crowds have taken away the fun. We too are taking a break from WDW!!
I agree with you. I’m all about planning but it’s too much!
i’m sure this will affect availability to the rest of us riff faff. Already when we were there in August i was shocked at how many VIP guests there were being escorted to the front of lines and reserved seats. Seemed everywhere we turned there were groups of VIP guests. At some point, all those special places in line have to affect the rest of us. This new club level FP will only add to that.
Impactful or not things like this are making us throw in the towel on WDW. It’s one money grab after another with no stopping on the horizon. As loyal non-FL passholders for almost 15 yrs. the likelihood of renewing our passes next year is close to zero. Annual passholders don’t get much benefit anymore as it is. We fly and stay on site for our 3-4 visits/yr. and can still have trouble getting fast passes for the popular attractions. We love Disney but think it is time to take our money elsewhere.
Love your blog Tom/Sarah, I steer everyone here if they are remotely planning a Disney trip! Thanks for keeping us up-to-date good or bad
After our December trip we decided as a family to abandon Disney for a while. The crowds were horrendous and we where there in early December which is usually a non-peak time. Is it really worth it to pay $110 per person at the Park and you only experience four attractions? I understand Disney’s design with the fast pass + system. They want to guarantee that their hotel guest get an opportunity to experience the rides and attractions they want. This is a result of the massive crowds that Disney has seen the past couple of years. It is my opinion that the answer is more attractions and parks to help dissipate the crowd. Not to cram everyone into a regimented system of “reservations only.”
As a Florida Resident, Annual Passholder, & DVC Member, I am very frustrated with Disney these days. We will not be renewing our annual passes because of the expense & our overall frustration with the crowds; there never seems to be an off season; great for Disney, terrible for us.
The current system is miserable enough with the fast pass running us from one end of the park to the other and the standby line not being allowed on the ride as long as there are FastPass holders. Sounds like Disney needs another Walt Disney visionary, so sad. We’ve been going to Disney since it opened in the 70’s and this new FastPass is terrible. To pay 1300 a person to come to Disney and only ride your 3 FastPass rides isn’t worth the effort. And for the person concerned that they might not get FastPass rides at 30 days out, don’t worry, the ride availability wasn’t there at 60 days either and we were sitting at our computers at 6 am waiting for them to open. The FastPass assumes everyone in a 60 day out group arrives at the same time as everyone in the park and that just doesn’t work because those who arrived the day before got a stab at the rides for the same days we were in the park, and those 60 day out group got the leftovers from the folks whose 60 day opened the day before them and on and on where there is always hefty cross over of people arriving before you and getting FastPass access for the same days you are in the parks. Why can’t we just go back to all people in standby where the lines moved at a steady pace., you didn’t run yourself to pieces trying to run from one end of the park to the other, and, worse, use standby for hours watching FastPass riding while you stand there and hope they will let you on the ride. Sigh. You would think with Disney able to hire the best of the best there would be someone who would know how to manage both lines of their rides.
This could not be more true. The lines are nightmares but people are selfish, it’s us who created this hysteria. I’ve now waited 40 mins for Figment. But why? Because I didn’t get a fast pass. It’s a scam. We’re all waiting the same at some point. With fast pass having to go and their reserved times, we now make it impossible for stand by to move at all. Getting real tired of this money hungry Disney lately.
We just recently used some credit card bonuses to get Southwest companion passes in order to travel more over 2018 and 2019 with our kids (4 & 6). We were hoping to go to WDW during that since we live in AZ and the cost of air is more than we’d spend if we didn’t have the rewards. I’ve read about best times to go in the next few years and crossed with my husband’s work and son’s school schedule we had planned on going sometime from December 8th to the 19th 2018 and staying at least 7 nights but maybe up to 10 if we can swing it. The more I read on WDW though the less excited I get to go – we did DL for halloween and first week of Nov in 2016 and it was great, but it was expensive even for staying off site. My father-in-law has offered us a week at his time-share which there are a lot of marriott’s and sheraton vistana which look great and would save a lot, but then we would likely have to have a rental car since one kid will still be in a booster and we’ll have to pay for parking at the parks. We also wouldn’t get the on-site benefits. This may be our one and only trip to WDW and I want it to be great, I just don’t know if it can be without spending a ton of money. Do you know if we book the first 2 nights at a disney resort but purchase 7 day tickets and then stay off-site if we can still get the EMH and 60 day FP+ window for all 7 days? I’ve read through a lot of your articles, but any input on our dates or ways to make this trip great even during a busier season like xmas would be great. Thanks!
Oh and I’ve also read a lot of people like DL over DW, but we’d really like to see for ourselves at least once … right?? 😀
Hi Jessica, I have stayed at WDW since 1971 well over 60 times. Disneyland perhaps 10 times. I would never recommend Disneyland over Disneyworld. Let me start by saying visiting has become somewhat of a planning nightmare. If you are into planning and have gone several times it is a little easier… Going on a budget? Anymore it is impossible to say what the best time of year to visit. Your dates should be OK if you go with the right attitude. Don’t expect to have NO crowds, always expect crowds. Expect the Magic Kingdom to be packed no matter when you go. If your children can do it, do a rope drop at which ever park you visit (30 to 45 min before open). Then leave at 1:00 or 2:00 for lunch, nap and/or swim. Go back to the park in the evening to look around but don’t expect to ride many if any rides. NEVER MAKE YOUR CHILDREN STAY IN THE PARKS ALL DAY. If you book your first two nights at a Disney Resort, the “system” will only allow you to book those two nights 60 days out the remainder of the days on your pass, 30 days out. This may have changed in the last 4 months but EMH is not always checked at park entrance, kind of hit and miss. Stay on grounds, All Star resort for budget. Eat breakfast and lunch in your room, food courts for dinner.
To answer your question, you will only be able to book 60 day FPs and attend EMHs on the days of your Disney hotel reservation (including check-in and check-out day).
Land and World are different. The World is much bigger with more to do, but on a shorter time scale, you can see and do much more in 2 days at the Land than you can in 2 days at the World.
As this likely progresses, the inability for Annual Pass holders to get a Fast Pass to the biggest attractions is what concerns me. As an out-of-state Platinum AP holder, we generally have to wait until 30 days out to get Fast Passes unless we are staying at a resort, which we generally aren’t doing. Even now trying to get something like Flight of Avatar 30 days out is next to impossible. This will only make things harder. Considering how much money AP holders bring to the park, particularly ones like myself who purchase them year after year, it seems like WDW should be enhancing their Fast Pass abilities if they are going to be doing something like this VIP Fast Pass+. Something simple like offering to have them scheduled 45 or 60 days in advance. If we can’t ever get the Fast Passes for what we want, the temptation to use our money elsewhere increases, and AP holders are likely going to bring more money into the park over time than someone staying in a resort and visiting Disney just once. I’m all for resort guests getting first crack. That’s part of the whole Disney experience, but AP holders can’t be put in the same bag as the guy or gal who just bought a two day park hopper ticket at a mall kiosk. And this new Fast Pass system just moves us further to the bottom.
I agree with your comments. We have visited WDW about two or three times a year for the past two decades. Our last trip in early December (usually a less busy time) was very crowded and just not very enjoyable. It has reached a point at the Disney parks where you have a two hour window at rope drop to enjoy attractions via standby lines, but after that window you probably aren’t going to accomplish much if anything without a fastpass. We waited in line for FofP for four hours. Not going to do something like that again. In years past we could go in non-peak season and have at most a 15-20 minute wait time in standby lines. That just isn’t the case any more. I am a capitalist, and am proud to see Disney be so successful with essentially being peak time year ’round, but we left the parks this past December thinking it might be a while before we venture back.
Agreed. We go up to twice a year and live out of state. We’re actually moving closer to FL to make our yearly trip a bit easier. However the fact that standby is so ridiculous now is just a turn off. I would love to get rid of fast pass all together and just offer it at club level..whatever. It would allow us non club level to wait doable stand by lines again. Remember when Figment was 5 minutes? The good old days.
Agreed, as an annual passholder there should be a compromise window like 45 days out!
Disneyland is our home park. In 2016 we made our first trek out to Disney World. One of my negative reactions from a guest stand point (from a hospitality employee I marveled at it) was the fast-pass reservation system. I’m use to planning but Disney World planning is a thing unto itself and coming from the flexibility of Disneyland I was not a big fan for the need to plan our days so far in advance and feeling so stressed about needing to do things a certain way in order to do all the attractions we wanted to. If this system goes into effect I’m willing to say that I will plan to never visit Disney World again. The coast and lack of spontaneity, the feeling that I need to plan my trips so far in advance are complete turn offs.
Disney World has slowly evolved to a vacation that is almost reservation only. As I stated in another post, it has reached a point where standby lines are good for only a two hour window at ropedrop. Outside of that window, you almost can’t accomplish anything else without having a fastpass. I am fear we are reaching a point where Disney will only allow you to experience an attraction via reservation fast pass only.
It was just a year or two ago you could go to WDW park and ride most attractions as often as you would like. Now with fastpass reservations and crowd sizes you can’t do much without having a fastpass.
I’m going at the end of this month (Jan 27-Feb 4) and staying Contemporary and Polynesian Club level. We did add a Disney After Hours for the 30th but even if the FastPass add-on were offered, not sure what would be left. Also, I haven’t seen anything like a link to check or buy it.