Paper Fastpasses Returning?
Disney knows the worst part of visiting a theme park is waiting in line for rides. Guests waiting in line for hours for a two to three minute ride are not happy (or spending money on food and souvenirs.) So Disney introduced the Fastpass system in 1999 to get people out of line (and back to spending money?) In 2014 Disney eliminated the paper Fastpasses (seen below) and replaced them with a RFID system. But are the old paper Fastpasses returning?
History of Fastpasses
Fastpasses were introduced in late 1999. They were and continue to be a system to cut down on time spent waiting in line for an attraction. The most optimistic people say this was done so people could experience more rides.
The most pessimistic say it was so people could spend more money. After all people standing in line two hours for Space Mountain are not eating or shopping. The truth is that it was probably some of both.
From 1999 to 2013 if you wanted a Fastpass you went to the Fastpass Distribution Center, located next to select attractions, and inserted your ticket. The Fastpass Distribution center then spit out a Fastpass, a paper ticket with the attraction name and a return time window.
At any time during that window you could return to the attraction and present your Fastpass to the attendant. You could then skip the standby line and join the Fastpass line. Sometimes you could walk right onto the attraction but normally there would be a small wait time. It was almost always much shorter than waiting in the standby line. I normally had to wait five to ten minutes when using a Fastpass.
The MyMagic+ Era
In 2014 Disney Disney removed all the Fastpass Distribution Centers. Now guests must either use the My Disney Experience app or make Fastpass reservations at FastPass Service Kiosks located through out the parks. This created a RFID link between either the guest’s Magic Band or park ticket. Paper Fastpasses were a thing of the past.
To use your Magic Band at Walt Disney World just touch Mickey to the scanner
Or Are Paper Fastpasses Returning?
Then came the Frozen meet and greet with Anna and Elsa. The standby line was reaching six hours long. People were not happy so Disney adapted.
Now guests who want to meet the two popular Frozen characters are given a piece of paper with a return time. Sounds a lot like paper Fastpasses returning to me.
In fact Disney eliminated the queue system altogether. If you didn’t have the not-a-fastpass you could not even stand in line and wait to meet Elsa and Anna the old fashioned way.
To learn more check out this in depth article by Theme Park Insider by clicking here.
According to Disney this was only a temporary fix but then they did the same thing for Soarin at Epcot.
Most recently they expanded the test to Be Our Guest, the Beauty and the Beast themed restaurant in the Magic Kingdom. Be Our Guests features table service at dinner and counter service during lunch but good luck getting a reservation for either. They are gone almost 180 days ahead of time and long lines were forming every day for lunch. So here come the not-fastpasses again. As with the Anna and Elsa meet and greet if you do not get the not-fastpass you cannot even wait in line.
There you have it and you can make your own decision on whether paper Fastpasses are returning to Disney World or not. And you can debate whether the whole My Disney Experience and Fastpass Plus was worth the reported billion dollar price tag Disney paid for it. I will leave that debate for another day!
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