Today Tom Staggs, Chairman of Walt Disney Parks and Resorts, announced the availability of MyMagic+ to all guests of the Walt Disney World property whether they are day guests or staying at the resorts and promised crucial FastPass+ enhancements to address the most pressing of customer feedback. MyMagic+ part of the overall My Disney Experience initiative was expected to be completed by last year before experiencing several setbacks that pushed back its rollout to 2014. The system, especially FastPass+ has had its share of bugs to fix but on the whole it is now capable of handling the full rollout at this time and the average guest should have a smooth experience that enhances their vacation. Guests are welcomed to register online at the My Disney Experience site and begin making their own FastPass+ selections and they can purchase their own MagicBand, now available at the Walt Disney World Resort. But for us the biggest news came when Tom Staggs confirmed changes to FastPass+ that were often hinted to be on their way but heretofore had yet to arrive.
Addressing the concerns and feedback guests have had about the changes to FastPass as it transitioned to FastPass+ at Walt Disney World Resort, Tom Staggs had this say,
We’ve heard from a number of guests that they would like the opportunity to add additional FastPass+ entitlements during their visit, in addition to the three they can plan in advance. So, we’re working on providing them with the ability to add and enjoy additional entitlements on the day of their visit. Once they’ve used the three they’ve booked, we’ll enable them to select another at kiosks in the parks. And once they’ve used the fourth, they can select another, and so on. We also heard that other guests liked the fact that with the FastPass+ service they could use FASTPASS when they park hopped. So we’re working on a service enhancement to add that feature to FastPass+ as well.
We always knew park hopping would come to FastPass+ but its confirmation is no less worthy of a milestone even if an exact date for its rollout and the particulars are yet unknown. But for anyone who has used the new FastPass+ system the limit of three FastPass+ selections always felt like a regression from the system that came before and dimmed the praise other aspects of the FastPass+ system deserved. We applaud the removal of the three selection limit but still feel it doesn’t go quite far enough. By forcing one to use the “three they’ve booked” you are creating artificial dead periods where guests are unable to acquire FastPass+ where they otherwise could have in the now archaic FastPass of yesteryear. And I’ve got the perfect example of this, today, me.
Today I’m going to use my MagicBand for the first time (you should see the epic fail Disney did with that) and I’ve already made selections for Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, Splash Mountain and Peter Pan’s Flight. With my reservations, that I acquired well before noon, spanning from almost 6 pm to 11 pm, that means I will have been able to be at the Magic Kingdom for more than 5 hours without gaining access to the additional FastPass+ system selections when with the old system I would have been enjoying FastPass selections throughout my day and I’d sacrifice the inconvenience of having to roam the Magic Kingdom in order to gain that ability. Obviously the fix is for FastPass+ to become an evermore open platform in regards to the latter but at this point we’ll take the incremental step of progress even as we make sure the Walt Disney Company continues to hear our and your concerns with the new system. Still, FastPass+ is the wave of the future and though its hard to predict the financial success of the project especially if the rumored bill ranging into the couple of billions is to be believed, the success of it with guests at Walt Disney World is almost unquestioned in the long-term and shall stand to reshape the theme park industry once again as Disney continually does in order to compete in ways that often takes their competitors decades to catch up.