Earlier this month Chairman of Walt Disney Parks and Resorts, Tom Staggs addressed FastPass+ feedback and concerns and promised changes beginning with more FastPass+ selections and park hopping. Today he has returned with a date, next Monday April 28, 2014, when these enhancements will take effect at Walt Disney World theme parks. As detailed before, guests will be able to select an additional FastPass+ once their original allotment of three was used throughout their visit to a Disney Park. Guests will need to visit one of the kiosk centers located around Walt Disney World’s theme parks in order to make these selections. The app as currently configured doesn’t seem to be able to handle this at this time and at the moment this feels like an added layer of confusion and mixed messaging that happens to bring back some functionality that the FastPass system of old already had.
Speaking of old functionality returning as new features for FastPass+, park hopping makes its debut on April 28 as well. But this feature comes with yet another restriction. It only allows you to get a FastPass+ using the kiosks as part of your additional selections after you’ve used all three of your original allotment at your first theme park of choice. It doesn’t take long to figure out how the older system had this one beat in this regard as well. And that is the crux of the problems with the new version of FastPass.
As part of the reportedly multi-billion dollar effort known as My Disney Experience, FastPass+ still doesn’t have feature parity with the old FastPass system. Disney is in good company with Microsoft with this mistake as the Xbox One, a far more advanced gaming console than the Xbox 360 it replaced bungled its launch with estranged DRM policies that didn’t make sense for its consumers, a new console that didn’t have many of the platform critical features that made the previous system a success and then packed in features like Kinect that its base fans didn’t care for. Needless to say Microsoft is currently losing the console battle with Sony and has spent months trying to repair the damage that is still being felt in sales numbers to this day. Of course Disney is lucky that it doesn’t face stiff competition from another juggernaut, sorry Universal we applaud your efforts but it’s still apples and oranges. Nonetheless, Disney appears to be on a long road to get FastPass+ to actually provide the system it should be not what it was allowed to become. Plain and simple, Disney needs to remove as many barriers as possible to getting FastPass+ selections beyond the ultimate barrier which is demand. Barring that, there should little else stopping me from mapping out my day away from the queues of yesteryear. To Disney’s credit, Tom Staggs did say,
MyMagic+ will continue to evolve over time with the aim of continuing to improve our guests’ experience with us and in response to feedback from our guests.
So while I have my doubts as to whether this system as currently devised will ever become what it should be, at least we can take solace that Disney isn’t just letting it stand there and rot with imperfections, if only we could say the same for Epcot’s Future World.