TouringPlans.com would like to give a HUGE shout-out to subscriber Chris from Wisconsin and his family for letting us tag along in Magic Kingdom today!
As reported at Jim Hill Media and other Disney fan sites this week, Walt Disney World began a limited test of new enhanced FASTPASS features that will roll out at some point in the future. Alternately called X-Pass or FASTPASS +, the new system will allow guests to pre-select a certain number of attractions per day for FASTPASS windows. We had already heard that some guests with resort reservations between May 1 and May 15 have been contacted by email to participate in the test. In a new twist, we now have seen guests approached at the Disney’s Magical Express check-in and asked if they wish to take a survey. If this happens to you, the answer is YES (and drop us line too)!
In the 3-5 minute survey, guests are asked to choose Magic Kingdom attractions from two lists to get FASTPASSes for on a particular day. We don’t have the exact stack up of attractions, but they are separated so you can only pick so many headliner attractions and the rest are less busy ones. The test seems to be limited to Magic Kingdom attractions, and guests may only try it for one day in their vacation as opposed to the length of stay. It’s not clear how guests are being selected at the airport to participate.
After picking the attractions and giving an email address, guests are presented with a FASTPASS card to be used in the park. They also receive email confirmation of their chosen attractions.
The following attractions are currently being tested:
- Splash Mountain
- Space Mountain
- Jungle Cruise
- The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh
- Peter Pan’s Flight
- Mickey’s PhilharMagic
- Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin
- Haunted Mansion
Using the new system is very easy. There are RF scanners by the FASTPASS return entrances with Cast Members standing by. Guests wave the FASTPASS cards by the scanners, which sends their information to an iPad the Cast Member is carrying. The iPad shows the Cast Member the guest’s name, any special events the party may be celebrating, and if the guest’s return window is valid. If everything is in order, the guest goes through the entrance just like other FASTPASS users. Upon arrival at the point in the line where you would normally hand over the paper FASTPASS to the Cast Member, there is another RF reader that is scanned. The Cast Member verifies that the FASTPASS is valid and the guest continues on to board the ride.
In addition to being used to board attractions, the FASTPASS card can be scanned at other stations close to the FASTPASS kiosks that will let the guest know how many more attractions they have left for the day and what the return times are for them.
I was lucky enough to get to try this out today – a Cast Member told me that only 300 guests a day are currently part of the test. It worked flawlessly and there were several things I really liked about it. For one thing, it’s easier to keep up with one card than multiple small tickets. As someone who (no joke) had to have my Annual Pass replaced this week after leaving it in a FASTPASS kiosk in Animal Kingdom, I appreciated being able to wave my card in front of the reader instead of inserting it and waiting for the FASTPASS to pop out. Moreover, there is no worrying the Cast Member enforcing return times when it is a simple green for current return times or red for invalid times.
If anyone else has a chance to try out the enhanced FASTPASS system this month, drop us line and let us know what you think!