/ Wednesday, April 23rd, 2014

Extraordinary Magic in Everyday Life

 

My Disney ExperieceWith the passage of time comes change. In anything. Trends, music, clothing styles, resources, and, yes, the Disney theme parks. Walt Disney promised that they would never be completed, and as such they continue to evolve, standing as places showcasing the globe’s most advanced technology to present storytelling in unprecedented ways.

One of these most recent ways is FastPass+, the service that allows guests to reserve their FastPasses before the vacation begins. The billion-dollar program eliminates physical FastPass tickets and hones everything in virtually via a new smartphone app, My Disney Experience.

With this new way of vacation planning comes an exciting new step in the countdown process: The date on which your FastPass+ selections become available. This is up to 60 days prior to your visit (or 30 for annual passholders without a resort reservation). It wasn’t until I logged in on my assigned date that I realized what a huge deal this is. This is a monumental new part of every future Disney vacation from this point forward, and Fastpass+ selection day (we’ll call it Draft Day) will now forever be a new step to look forward to, equivalent to the 180-day dining mark or the ever-wonderful, 9-day, single-digits-dance.

I was ready. My computer open, the Disney playlist on Spotify cranked, my fingers hovering over the keyboard, waiting until the clock struck midnight when 61 days would slide into 60 days and my reservation time opened. 12:00 a.m. GO GO GO GO GO.

My Disney Experience App 2I don’t know about you, but I like putting Disney touring skills to the test. When plans don’t go quite right in the parks, I embrace the challenge as a problem-solving game to figure out what’s the best course of action to take in the moment to optimize our time. Likewise, I had a general idea of which FastPasses I wanted to select, but upon seeing the availability and the different time slots, some quick thinking was required, not to mention getting an overall feel for the system itself, having never used it before in this capacity. It was a fun adrenaline rush and two hours later, my family’s trip was all mapped out.

Here are some tips to help make the actual FastPass+ selection-making smooth and quick:

  • You can make FastPass+ choices 60 days in advance, but you can view showtimes before then. Know which shows you’d like to see and when you’d like to see them before your 60-day window arrives. That way you won’t waste time on Draft Day trying to figure out how your FastPasses work into Disney’s existing showtimes for everything else you’d like to see.
  • Reservations can be made on either the My Disney Experience smartphone app or the My Disney Experience section of DisneyWorld.com. Both options are synced, so when you make a ressie on one, it shows up on the other.
  • For now, up to three FastPass+ selections per day can be made, and must be made for the same park. Disney says this will change in the future, but no date has been established.
  • When you choose your three FastPasses, Disney will provide a recommended list of when you should experience them. These can be easily changed to your own preferred time slots.
  • Some FastPasses are more popular than others and may not be blacked out. For me, this was the case for Anna and Elsa’s meet & greet. Two weeks later, though, they were not blocked out anymore, but getting them was tricky. I had to select their FP for one member of my party first (as opposed to all six of us at one time), then use the “Copy” feature in the program to transfer the FP individually to each remaining family member, one at a time.

Something else to consider is that nothing is final. If you want to change things along the way, you can. I spent about 40 minutes today reconfiguring one of our vacation days. As a Disney fan, I think it’s fun to play around with different attraction possibilities and imagine the different ways my family’s day can go.

FastPass+ and in general My Disney Experience is a lot to take in at once. I suggest familiarizing yourself with the app and the website before your Draft Day arrives to ensure your selections cause as less stress as possible. In a mode of frenzy as I contemplated in my dorm lobby which attraction to choose for fear of one filling up, a friend looked at me with a dead straight face and said: “Blake. It’s 2:00 in the morning. I am studying for a Nutrition test and you are making FastPass reservations. Let’s take a step back and contemplate which one of us should be stressed right now.” It sounds funny, but he’s right. Taking a Disney trip should be a 100% fun experience, and FastPass+ offers a completely new way to add anticipation to an already-anxious countdown for any family’s dream vacation.

 

Images copyright Disney.

Blake is a college students studying Electronic Media. He enjoys making his family of six watch the parade in Frontierland and then sprint to Main Street in time to see it again. You can find him on Twitter @olddirtyblake or at BlakeOnline.com.

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