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Wednesday, October 22 2014 @ 06:06 PM CDT

Episode 1259 - Dealing with (lack of) Fastpass+ (Epcot)

PodcastEpisode 1259 is now available for download and Instant Listening.

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Hosts: Matt Hochberg, Len Testa, Mike Scopa & Mike Newell
Topics:

  • Episode 1259 - Dealing with (lack of) Fastpass+ (Epcot)
  • Today, we discuss the seemingly limited amount of FASTPASS' available for headliner attractions in Epcot and what to do when there isn't a lot of availability.

Running Time: 28:00

Episode 1259 - Dealing with (lack of) Fastpass+ (Epcot) | 4 comments | Create New Account
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Episode 1259 - Dealing with (lack of) Fastpass+ (Epcot)
Authored by: Brian on Monday, October 28 2013 @ 07:47 AM CDT
The info on time when FPs run out was interesting. The info on standby wait times being increased in Epcot by 27-40% was even more interesting. But the part that was most interesting to me was the discussion on possible (probable?) tiering for FP+ advance reservation dates and number of FP+s. That is something which gets next to no discussion on the message boards, but could end up having the biggest impact.

Len talked about doing more for FP+ for onsite guests vs. offsite guests and said something like "everybody would be OK with that," and then modified it later to most would be OK with that. I definitely don't think that's true. I know the local guests and Florida guests wouldn't be OK with that, and the people (like me) who stay offsite about half the time wouldn't be OK with that. I don't know the total % of WDW guests who are onsite vs. offsite, but I can't imagine most WDW guests stay onsite.

Len mentioned that Disney Cruise Line guests get time to make advance reservations based on how many previous DCL cruises they've sailed. I don't think that's a good analogy with what's happening at WDW. Yeah, the Platinum Castaway Club member gets to book their Palo reservation earlier, for example. But I know from personal experience the 1st-time guest can still come in the day they embark and get pretty much any day or time they want for Palo, too. That's far from the case with FP+, where same-day FP+s for the high-demand attractions like TSM are going to be scarce, if not non-existent.

In our trips over the years, we've stayed onsite about half the time and and offsite about half. The thing I've always liked about FP was that, once you were in the parks, it was an egalitarian system--whether you were onsite or offsite, about the only thing that affected your ability to get a FP was your motivation. If you were willing to be there and willing to learn the best way to plan your day (through the Unofficial Guide and Touring Plans.com), you could maximize your enjoyment and minimize your wait in line. If that changes enough that we no longer see the value for the money we're spending, we'll take our vacation money elsewhere. I get the idea Disney doesn't care a lot about repeat visitors like us, anyway. They seem to be about the 1st-time visitor and how best to separate that person from their money; hence the data-mining feature of FP+, which seems to be the only benefit this provides over the Legacy FP system.

Anyway, I appreciate Len and the rest keeping us updated on how things are going. Thanks for a great podcast.
Episode 1259 - Dealing with (lack of) Fastpass+ (Epcot)
Authored by: Renmiked on Monday, October 28 2013 @ 12:45 PM CDT
I just received my magic band letter for a Thanksgiving trip, so I'm interested to see how it will work out. I really hate the idea of having to plan what parks and rides I will do each day, weeks before we even go. It takes the fun and flexibility out of what is supposed to be a vacation. I'm sure the Fast Pass+ system will get better over time but, I'm not sure that WDW will still be a place I want to travel to regularly because of it. Having to make dining plans 180 days out has already begun to put a damper on our trips but planning rides is a whole new level of hassle.
Episode 1259 - Dealing with (lack of) Fastpass+ (Epcot)
Authored by: mweier on Monday, October 28 2013 @ 02:40 PM CDT
Super interesting to hear how the rollout is going and a bit horrifying to hear how the short-term impact is boosting wait times so much.

In hearing all the math, I had a bunch of questions that came up for me as I was listening on my way in to work today:

1) On the days where FP runs out early, do the FP+ slots run out too? Or just Fast pass?

2) I'm not following how wait times can go up by 25-40% if the total number of FP/FP+ combined matches the old FP-only system. I pictured this number staying about the same, but divided proportionately between FP and FP+. Have they instead expanded this maximum for FP+ and FP combined beyond what it was for FP-only?

3) IF Disney begins to incentivize staying on-property via FastPass+, is this fundamentally moving towards the system Universal uses where ONLY guests on-property get front-of-the-line access unless you pay an upgrade for your ticket? Has there been any rumor of such an upgrade? I can imagine some tiered price points in the ticket prices to give off-site users access to FP+ if they pony up even more $$ than the already increased park tickets required. I understand the capitalst rationale but really don't sit well with the way that big spenders are afforded a "superior" park experience to standard ticket buyers.

4) IF it goes to a "the more you spend, the more/better FP+ you get" ecosystem, do you foresee this evolving to more of a consumer rewards points system which looks at the total money spent? This seems more fair than the artificial deluxe vs. moderate vs. budget distinctions (as the room rates within each tier vary quite a bit).
Episode 1259 - Dealing with (lack of) Fastpass+ (Epcot)
Authored by: StitchSunshine on Friday, November 01 2013 @ 10:27 PM CDT
Could the increase in wait times be attributed to Disney's cancellation of the GAC (Guest Access Card) program?

The GAC program was discontinued on October 9th due to people engaging in unethical behaviors (i.e. hiring a disabled person to make it so one person waits in a separate area and could essentially skip the line). There are rumors that 15-20% of all park goers were using the GAC. There is a new program, but it is being more strictly enforced than the old one. Simply put, almost everyone is being forced to wait in line now. While this does not explain the entire increase in line wait times, it may explain a large part of it.

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