WDW News & Rumors: FastPass+ Loophole, $12,000 VIP Tour, and Dinosaurs?!
We’re back with another Walt Disney World news and rumor round-up. This one is not so much a round-up as it is a discussion of two pieces of (if we’re being honest) pretty insignificant news stories that have garnered a lot of negative reactions which are an excuse to get to the main event: dinosaurs.
Let’s start with what’s actually a pretty big deal if online buzz among Disney fans is our metric: Walt Disney World is now cancelling FastPass+ reservations when a hotel reservation is cancelled. This closes a FastPass+ loophole that was, apparently, pretty popular.
Previously, visitors intending upon staying off-site would book a Walt Disney World hotel reservation, which would provide access to the 60-day FastPass+ booking window. Once they hit their window, they booked FastPass+ reservations, and cancelled their hotel reservation, keeping whatever elusive FastPasses they booked.
I guess I haven’t been trudging through the dark side of Walt Disney World hacks lately, but it never occurred to me that people would do this. Upon learning about it, I tipped my hat to them, as my policy with this sort of thing is always don’t hate the player hate the game.
I’m no longer surprised that others don’t share my same perspective on this, so it was no shock that the general sentiment among Disney fans was disparagement (the words “fraud” and “scam” were tossed around pretty liberally) towards people who did this, and praise towards Walt Disney World for fixing it.
I likewise share the sentiment that it’s good this is fixed. I’m skeptical that such a heinous offense was being perpetrated on as colossal of a scale as others might believe; we’re a bit of an insular niche online, and there’s a tendency to assume things are more widespread than actuality. (Sort of like when people think they can beat crowds by doing the opposite of a Walt Disney World Touring Plan because everyone is following those!)
Nevertheless, it’s already difficult enough to get popular FastPass+ reservations when the booking windows open, and I anticipate that’ll only get worse once Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge starts releasing FastPasses. This also should make room inventory a bit more stable, although the way Disney toys with that is probably a far bigger issue.
I do wonder how (or whether) this will work with the third-party hotels, like the Disney Springs Resort Area properties, that also offer the 60-day booking window. Not to doubt Disney’s very robust and incredibly reliable online systems, but I could see them lacking the ability to apply the same fix there, which would mean that the sophisticated loophole exploiters will just move to those. Hopefully that won’t work, and this is a universal solution.
Next, the new World of Dreams VIP Tour, or “that $12,000 tour for fools with more money than sense.” At nearly double the hourly cost of a regular VIP tour, this is (to our knowledge) the most expensive tour that Walt Disney World has offered. Like other VIP tours, there’s front of the line access to all attractions and preferred viewing for nighttime spectaculars.
Unlike those “normal” VIP tours, there are two guides, backstage areas can be used as shortcuts, and there’s access to the Cinderella Castle Suite. The tour also includes up to three table service meals (even at fully-booked restaurants), snacks, and alcohol. There are probably other tour perks, but Walt Disney World hasn’t released (and likely won’t) an official fact sheet about the tour.
The online community’s reaction has been fierce and strong. It kind of surprises me that Disney fans have expended so much energy criticizing this tour and trying to break it down from a value perspective to demonstrate that it’s a rip-off when it’s clearly not an offering aimed at most (all?) of them. Let’s say I drove a Toyota Yaris (I don’t, because everyone knows only a Kia can handle my need for speed), and was a serious enthusiast about all things Toyota.
One day, I’m reading the latest breaking news from ToyotaDriveristBlog.com, and I learn that a new Lexus LFA has been announced. I’m very excited as I love Toyota, owner of Lexus. That is, until I see the MSRP. $700,000. How dare they?! The last Lexus LFA was only $375,000, so what makes this one nearly twice as good?! It turns out it doesn’t matter, because I was never the target audience for the car and had no legitimate intent upon purchasing one.
VIP tours aren’t something that interests me, but I know others justify the normal ones from a perspective of getting a group together, pooling money, and splurging on something the per person hourly cost of which (according to them) is “not too bad.” I’m guessing those people are trying to apply the same logic here and coming up empty, but the difference is that this tour is aimed at people for whom money is no object.
It should come as no surprise. Development continues at Golden Oak and the even pricier Four Seasons Private Residences, plus resorts like the Ritz Carlton, Waldorf Astoria, and aforementioned Four Seasons Orlando cater to levels of affluence that make services like the World of Dreams VIP tour in-demand.
When it comes to things like this, the questions we’ve long asked are whether the offering furthers in-park class stratification and whether it lessens the experience of regular paying guests. Assuming we’re okay with VIP tours, a practice that dates back decades, as a baseline, it’s hard to take issue with this. Presumably, these guests would otherwise by doing a normal VIP tour, so there’s no appreciable difference to other guests–they’re just paying more for a different type of service.
Seems like Magic Kingdom train berm is being extended flat.
A guess: for a show building containing Universe of Energy dinosaurs. Similar to Disneyland, which has same characters but from 1964-65 World’s Fair. pic.twitter.com/dffvXbXJ2B
– bioreconstruct (@bioreconstruct) February 3, 2019
Finally, we’ll end with a tidbit that is most exciting to me: the above work that’s happening around the Walt Disney World Railroad. I’ve wanted to get over to the Contemporary all week to take my own photos, but I’ve been so sick that I’ve barely gotten out of bed in 5 days. (I even missed Moonlight Magic!)
Please note that this is not a rumor. That tweet’s author is an insightful guy who posts excellent construction photos from around the Orlando parks, but he’s guessing. We’ve likewise guessed in the past that this would make complete sense given Walt Disney World now has the makings of a Primeval World (a la Disneyland) just sitting around.
It also makes sense when you take into account the likelihood of an extended Railroad closure, which would be sufficient time to build the show buildings (which would mirror Disneyland both in general contents and location). With Magic Kingdom likely to see an influx of guests for Walt Disney World’s 50th Anniversary, enhancing the Railroad would also help with ridership numbers. From a practical perspective, it’d be a way to help soak up crowds by filling empty seats.
However, this is Walt Disney World we’re talking about. And these are Audio Animatronics not associated with an IP, which would be used to enhance an existing attraction that’s not a headliner. All of this has a monetary cost, and there would be an ongoing maintenance cost, too.
Basically, this is our way of saying that while we really want this work to be for a Primeval World diorama, we can’t will it into being, and we aren’t going to get excited prematurely. A potential change at Walt Disney World being plausible and logical doesn’t make it true…or even an actual rumor. To the contrary, there are no credible rumors on this–which normally would leak out by now if that’s what this were for. That alone is probably telling.
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What do you think of these stories? Glad the FastPass loophole has been closed, or were you one of the treasonous heathens who exploited it? Thinking of booking the $12,000 VIP tour, or are you waiting for the $20k Platinum version? What about the plausibility of dinosaurs being added to Magic Kingdom? Think it’ll happen or would it be out of character for Walt Disney World? Any questions we can help you answer? Hearing your feedback–even when you disagree with us–is both interesting to us and helpful to other readers, so please share your thoughts below in the comments!
Hope you feel better. I LOVE your posts. The best Disney site!
OK I get the don’t hate the player hate the game. Disney rules seem great to some and unfair to others. When the had the paper fastpasses we had the way our family did it. Hubby would take the kids straight on rides while I ran to get fast passes. When we first took the kids they were little and we took turns on rides with the group. Personally I hear folks use the child swap as a way to get MORE fast passes. Someone will half their adults get 1 ride and half the other and get a child swap for the others. Meaning instead of getting 3 fastpasses per park ahead of time they are getting more . This is a HUGE loophole. Just think you could get ALL the roller coasters at Magic Kingdom while others choose. Sounds wrong to us that the other adult(s) get into the fastpass line without a fastpass but it’s the system Disney has!
Call them as they are, cheaters. Your forgetting about those who play by the rules and not cheating the system, who arent able to make fast passes cause a few cheaters beat them to the punch. But thats behind us now, that loophole is closed. I do blame the player. not the game. The game was created on a positive gesture but a few players turned it into a negative.
I’m assuming this new policy is aimed at those who utilize the 60-day FP perk for on-property WDW guests, but then cancel the reservation and stay off-site. I’m concerned this new system will hurt people, like me, who switch WDW hotels at the last minute (guilty!). Last time I did this, I was told by the cast member on the phone that Disney can’t “change” my WDW on-property resort reservation – I had to cancel and book a new one at my newly chosen WDW resort, which was no big deal until now. Will my FPs disappear? I’m not trying to cheat or get a leg up. While I’m technically cancelling the WDW reservation that I used to get the FPs, I’m booking (and will still have) a valid WDW “on property” reservation for the dates on which I also have FPs . I’m not cancelling entirely and then have NO on-property reservation at all associated with my My Disney Experience account. Will the Disney computer system recognize the existence of my new reservation (which will match the dates of my previously booked FPs) BEFORE cancelling my FPs? Does anyone know if the new policy would cancel my FPs in this specific circumstance ?
This is exactly what I want to know…
Me too. I am staying on site. (We always do). But we sometimes change hotels partially because we are DVC and sometimes have a waitlist. Also as we figure things out with the group sometimes we move 1 day either way. Get that I would loose any FP if we were no longer staying that 1 day but we wouldn’t want them
I’d call up the My Disney Experience Helpdesk before canceling and rebooking. They are very helpful and will probably be able to either rebook your fastpasses or assure you they won’t be canceled. I had a party member pass away before a recent a trip, and when we decided to take the trip in his honor, they were able to transfer his fastpasses to someone else. I imagine they’d be able to help with this.
I’m just wondering if the same people who consider this loophole as cheating are the same people who book duplicate ADR’s for every day of their entire stay only to guarantee a reservation yet take away from anyone else trying to book one ADR. I almost canceled our first Disney trip years ago because I was not able to get a reservation at Cinderella’s castle. I was trying to rearrange our entire trip to get my 4 daughters to dine in the castle. When someone told me that reservations open up, I didn’t quite understand until I realized what people were doing which is in my opinion just as deceitful as the fastpass loophole. We now visit every year and i find it very frustrating when a reservation isn’t available (even at 180) because that means I must spend the next 180 days stalking the system until I find something available for 6 people. They should figure out a way to stop this too because I’m sure it causes many empty seats since you can cancel the night before without being charged the $10 fee.
Hey Elena –
I don’t know if I consider it exactly the same. Maybe Apples and Oranges (as they are both fruit but different). With ADRs you are paying for something when you get there and not everyone is trying to book a breakfast, lunch or dinner. Plus I believe EVERYONE can reserve them 180 days out (I could be wrong, but this is what I think the policy is). Fast Passes are free and since only the people who stay at Disney are supposed to have access 60 days out (because they are paying more) people who have -0- intention of staying on property and just booking to get the fast passes I would consider cheating.
I think most people who book an ADR do plan on going to the ADR, but sometimes things come up. At least if they cancel ahead of time, someone else can book it the day of (which I have booked an ADR the day of). Plus they charge ahead of time for Cinderella’s castle. I doubt many people are paying multiple times for that experience and then cancel, but maybe I’m wrong.
You are correct that everyone can book ADR’s 180 days in advance but if you’re staying on Disney property you can book 180 days in advance and up to 10 days of your trip. Off property guests can only book one day at a time. Although things do come up, booking a hard to get ADR like Be Our Guest for breakfast, lunch and dinner for 12 people for 10 days in a row doesn’t exactly fall in that category. By the time an off property guest goes to book even at 180 days there’s nothing left (you get what I’m saying?) Are they not entitled to eat there because they’re off property? As far as CInderella’s Royal Table goes, one would think that since it is a prepaid most would not book multiple reservations but it is done and quite often. As long as you cancel within 24 hours you are not charged. I have been going every year so I now don’t sweat it when I can’t get an ADR that I want because I know with determination I usually get what I want closer to the day. Unfortunately first timers don’t know this and end up missing out on some great character meals. After all, we’re talking about a little girl meeting her favorite princess. My point to all of this is that I agree with Tom, it’s the game that is the problem and not the players. My original comment was to the people complaining about the loophole, there are many loopholes that I’m sure they also take advantage of but don’t consider it cheating. To me it’s all wrong but until Disney allows it the loopholes will continue. Both on property and off property guests spend a lot of money to take their families to Disney World so I’m pretty sure everyone wants to take advantage of whatever they possibly can to make it the best experience.
I think one of my the dogs issues with the ADR is that 180 days is too far out. I have made reservations then cancelled but it’s because 180 days is too far out to know your exact plans
Saying it is the game that is the problem and not the players is a bit like blaming a cop for giving you a speeding ticket. Just because (you thought) there was no one looking doesn’t excuse your breaking the rules, and it certainly isn’t the laws fault you were speeding. Don’t blame casinos for people having gambling addictions, don’t blame alcohol producers for people being alcoholics , etc.
For the record, I blame both. It is 100% Disney’s responsibility to close the loophole. It is their responsibility it existed in the first place. But it’s the patrons responsibility for abusing it. I do not see why it is so difficult for people to understand the concept of personal responsibility.
I don’t have anything to add I just wanted to sign up for the email updates
Definitely waiting for the $20K platinum version. Why blow only 60% of my savings when I can blow ALL of it??? The 12k version is for chumps. Poor chumps. I pity them.
Would love Disney to keep the Dinosaurs, but wouldnt Animal Kingdom as a new home make more sense ?
Actually Disney allows you to book fastpass+ for as many days as your ticket allows (8 days in my case). I’m staying offsite for the first 5 nights and onsite for the last 4. This wasn’t booked with any malice intent, just that I will have a car and coming from Australia, I couldn’t afford to stay on property for the whole time. I expected that I would only be able to book the last 5 days, 60 days out but found I could book the whole period. On the downside I can’t get my magic band until I check in.
Also of course, I had to wait until 60 days prior to checkin before I could book the prior 3 days of fast passes. It was a nice surprise to be able to do this, as I thought I would need to wait and remember to book those days, 30 days out.
Good call going onsite for the last bit. I did the opposite last time and the bursting of that Disney Bubble made me cry. No joke. Even Harry Potter Land* at the Studios was not enough to get me back to the magic.
(*totally not its name)
I intended to comment about my condemnation to this loophole which is practiced by such inconsiderate cheaters, but then I remembered how I modify/cancel ADR’s to avoid the cancellation fee. â€â™€ï¸ It would bother my conscience to fanagle FPP from another family who’ve worked just as hard to get to WDW as I have, but it doesn’t ding my conscience in the least to jip Disney out of a $10 pp cxl fee!! Oh the problems in a first world country! Cheating is Cheating.
When I first read about the $12k VIP tour, my jaw actually dropped when I read it included a ‘tour’ of the castle suite. WHAT!?!? For that much money, I’m STAYING in the castle suite. If rich people want to throw their money away just to get a looksee, they clearly have more than brains. Value is value whether the scale is big or small.
*More money than brains
I love your posts but please take care of yourself. This virus/flu bug is bad. I love reading your notes but not at your expense.
I am thrilled that Disney is being proactive and closing this loophole. I never knew people did this and even if I did, I wouldn’t. It is dishonest. I put this in the category of people with disability charging people to use the system. In the long run, it hurts innocent people. If people are worried about losing fastpasses, when you modify a resort reservation, try calling the passholder number, if you are a passholder. They maybe able to help.
This is completely unrelated, so I apologize ahead of time. But I was wondering if you know why Early Morning Magic at Magic Kingdom is not open the last 3 Tuesdays in April 2019? I wasn’t aware they deviated from the Sunday & Tuesday schedule. In your experience is there a chance they may open these dates up as it gets closer? Not gonna lie, sorta planned my whole trip around this.
I’m so sorry you have been under the weather. Unfortunately it is that time of year, my youngest hasn’t been well either (day 11 ).
I want to say that I love your posts. I get the emails and read them religiously. While I’ll say I haven’t been to DisneyLand in 20 years, I am not to excited about… dinosaurs.?? I mean it definitely sound cool, and obviously Disney usually doesn’t disappoint. However I’ve seen it done at so many Theme Parks already that aren’t even on the same level as Disney. We have King’s Dominion here in VA. which is a Cedar Point Park. There is also Universal Studios which has all the Jurassic Park/World stuff. It’s neat the first time but after that it’s almost like, been there done that. Not at all anything like how we feel about all the other Disney attractions that have been basically instilled in us since I don’t know, BIRTH!
I’m on the same page as you when it comes to the “frauds” and the $12,000 tours. Haters gonna hate, on both regards. Start feeling better and as always…Stay Magical!
Ahh. Another wonderful post. I come to the site just to read the new posts and reread old Posts because they’re so relaxing and entertaining. Keep writing Tom; you’ve clearly got a gift. You’ve made our Disney trips much smoother thanks to your restaurant and ride recommendations. Your photographs and review are all I need to read. Forget meeting Mickey Mouse at Disney World… I want to meet Tom!
Tom, I’m with you on the idea of don’t hate the player, hate the game. I think this was a loop hole that was ready to be closed. That said, we used this trick for our last trip. We made a reservation for ten days before our actual trip and used the 180 days + 10 days to make ADRs and then later fast passes. We did ultimately stay on property. Any word on whether they will close the ADR loop hole too?
I briefly considered it for a moment because, with free dining, reservations book up. But then I thought about how it wasn’t fair to cheat the system to ensure I could book farther in advance than everyone else. It’s like people who cut in line. Sure, you can try to blame the fact that there are lines and no cast members monitoring the line, or you can blame the person doing the cutting. In my view, that’s where the blame lies! I didn’t get the best times I wanted for my reservations, but I can feel better about myself for not getting the reservation ahead of someone who waited and deserved it.
Thank you for being considerate, Becky!
I wouldn’t do the cheating/loophole/hack, but I have certainly in the past booked a resort reservation, then ended up canceling it because I got a cheaper reservation at the same resort from a third party site, like Undercover Tourist or something. I like to book early to have something locked down, but am always on the lookout for better deals. To my knowledge there’s no way to simply change over a reservation when third parties are involved? I would be very very sad to then lose my FP+ reservations!!! :-\ 🙁
Tom, feel better! Hope you are up to Kia speed soon.
I have used the FastPass + loophole myself many times but with a small difference. We almost always stay on site but what I like to do is book my hotel (usually 3-4 nights) ALONG with a campground booking that starts 7 days earlier than my hotel booking. This way I can start booking my FastPass + reservations 7 days early. Once the reservation I plan to keep is within 60 days I cancel my campground reservation and I keep all of my FastPass + bookings. The key is if you want to switch from one hotel to another you just book the new hotel first and then cancel the old one. This way you don’t lose your FP+. My understanding is they are closing a loophole that passholders would use to get FP+ at 60 days rather than 30 days. If you have a pass and cancel your room you got to keep you FP+. That is now gone.
I don’t think this is correct–you would still lose your FPs in the scenario you describe. There have been reports of people losing fastpasses for example, when they reserved a new room category at 45 days and canceled the old one, rather than modifying the existing hotel rez, even though the new room category was for the same dates and so within the 60 day window for that new rez. So I don’t think in your scenario the FP reservations would transfer to your actual hotel reservation automatically one you are within the actual hotel’s 60-day window; if the hotel reservation that was used to book the fastpasses is cancelled, the fastpasses are cancelled too whether or not you have a later reservation.
Also, just adding to the general sentiment that whether you are an off-site guest booking a fake reservation to get a 30-day head start over off-site guests, or an on-site guest booking a fake earlier reservation to get a 7-day head start over other guests with the same arrival dates, cheating is cheating. What kind of a lesson do we teach kids when we tell them it’s okay to lie to Disney about your intentions and pretend you are going to stay an extra seven days to get an advantage over other kids whose parents actually do adhere to their 60 day window per Disney’s policy?
Lastly – Tom, hope you feel better. There has been a nasty bug going around my city too that has similarly wiped people out for a week or so. We all got it and it was not fun even though we were at home with nothing better to do; it must be miserable to get it at WDW.
Sorry to hear that you’ve been ill recently Tom, hope you’re feeling better now!
Yes, I have heard you say “don’t hate the player hate the game”. Sounds like u are condoning cheaters. As long as u can cheat, cheat. So book a resort, make FP’s then cancel resort and keep FP’s. Then late comer guest books a room and all hot FP’s are NA cause the cheaters still have their FP’s. FP’s are a perk for guests. Doesn’t say much to the cheaters character or anime who condones. This policy is long , long overdue.
I don’t think Tom is saying it’s okay to cheat. I think he’s basically saying that people are going to do it whether we condone it or not. I don’t think anyone who doesn’t cheat the system thinks it’s okay. That is exactly why we don’t do it. He’s not saying “if you can’t beat them join them.” However… we can’t control the cheaters. These people are going to go out of their way and search for those impossible loopholes just to get what they want. Me personally, like Tom (I expect, I do not know) feel like it’s a waste of my time and energy to worry about what all these people are doing. I instead focus my energy on the things I can control. Which is having a wonderful time at WDW with my family despite all the “cheaters” around me. One more thing I wanted to add. I honestly do not think that there are a tremendous amount of people out there that do these things, and if I’m wrong well…Haters Gonna Hate I guess. â€â™€ï¸
Sounds like Tom is condoning with “I tipped my hat to them, as my policy with this sort of thing is always don’t hate the player hate the game”
But anyway, wondering if same can be had with Magical Express. One of many reasons we stay on property.
Are there cheaters who book an Epcot hotel, make plane reservations, book Magical Express, then cancel Epcot hotel, still board Magical Express and walk to their booked room at Swan or Dolphin . Last I knew they do not participate in Magical Express. Just sayin, there can be many other loopholes and cheaters will be cheaters.
My perspective on this is pretty simple: Disney is the party that bears the ultimate responsibility for closing loopholes. Disney is aware of all imaginable loopholes, which exist by virtue of their unnecessarily complicated systems. If you have ire about the loopholes, that is better directed at Disney (e.g. “the game”) than it is the individuals who exploit them (e.g. “the player”).
I don’t take advantage of these loopholes for a few reasons. One of which is that in this case, the loophole creates winners and losers. If the only “loser” were Disney itself, I honestly would not care. I still wouldn’t do it because it seems like a big hassle for little advantage, but in that case, I wouldn’t begrudge those who do.
I also personally wouldn’t play ‘armchair ethics’ with this sort of thing. If anyone were to put their own behavior under a microscope, I’m sure there are plenty of things they do that might be questionable. In the grand scheme of things, taking advantage of a Fortune 50’s booking windows is hardly an egregious offense, and labeling someone a “cheater” for it seems a bit extreme to me.
Thanks for the chuckle over ToyotaDriveristblog.com. That was the best part of the article for sure!