Well, we recently returned from celebrating our fourth wedding anniversary in Disney World! Like I said here, after much debating, we stayed on Disney property and split our stay between Disney’s Boardwalk Resort and the brand new villas at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort. I’ll be reviewing our stay at both these places, as well as talking about our time in Disney World over the next few weeks. Therefore, if you’re not into hearing all about Disney, you may want to steer clear of this blog for a while! First up, my magic band and Fastpass+ review and thoughts!
The Magic Band
I know some of you are probably curious on how things went with our magic bands, as I was pretty much dreading them. Just as I suspected, we HAD to use them. I hardly wore mine. What can I say? I’m a rebel. A few employee’s noticed, and told me not to worry – a lot of people don’t wear them. I got the feeling there isn’t a lot of love for the magic band just yet, and I have to say, after experiencing them first hand, I can’t blame those who are less than thrilled. They’re still new, so I’m hoping it gets better, but I can’t imagine how.
We stayed at two different hotels, and because of this, we got two sets of magic bands. Pointless and a total waste? You bet! We had four magic bands between the two of us, and the were all activated. Disney wants guests to use them. For everything. Even from the moment you arrive at the magical express counter at the Orlando airport. However, we ALSO got a Key To The World card, just in case one of our four magic bands didn’t work. Disney must have done a lot of testing in order to change their entire system this drastically, but I just don’t get it! I really, really don’t.
We never provided a credit card to tie to our bands, and instead paid cash for everything. I just couldn’t do it, especially since we had four bands. I just didn’t want to take it with me all the time and use it. Seriously, there was nothing easier than a hotel room key that sat in your wallet until needed. Regardless, I’ve come to terms with the fact that I’ll personally never understand the Magic Band. They actually gave me another “check” for the offsite debate we always face. In the end, I felt the bands took away from a more personalized customer service experience. The first words anyone ever muttered was “let me see your band,” or “scan your band.” Employees were so worried about the bands working that they didn’t listen to the actual problem.
The New FastPass System
Okay, so onto the new FastPass+. It’s sort of a hot mess and here’s why:
- We only got to pick three FastPasses per day, and only one “main” attraction. For example, you can’t fast pass BOTH Sorin’ AND Test Track. Luckily, Epcot has yet to get rid of their paper fast passes, so we used our FastPass+ for Soarin’, and made sure to get paper FastPasses for Test Track. I’m sure this option will no longer exist VERY soon.
- Forget park hopping and making FastPass selections for multiple parks in the same day. That’s a headache you’re definitely going to want to stay far away from.
- We went ahead and reserved specific times for attractions. This was annoying at best. We hated to plan our day down to that little of detail, as it took away from the whole relaxing/vacation aspect. And let’s face it – Disney isn’t exactly the most relaxing vacation to begin with. We reserved FastPass times ahead of time, and then, come day of, when it didn’t work for us, it was too late to make any changes. Most of the times were already gone, so we had to either stick with what we had, or go without fast passes and wait in an extremely long line. There was zero convenience factor.
- The regular lines themselves were crazy long, even though we went during a “low crowd” time. But, on the plus side, the FastPass lines were extremely short. When we did get to utilize a FastPass, we basically walked on. However, the reason the regular lines were so long is because right now, Disney only lets onsite guests pre-book FastPass+. So, if you aren’t staying on Disney property, you can’t reserve a FastPass+ ahead of time. You have to wait until you get into the park, and for those offsite guests, be prepared to wait in a LONG line just to reserve your FastPass+ at a kiosk. By far the craziest lines I’ve ever seen. By mid-day, all the FastPass times were gone, and again, this lead to very little to no flexibility later in the day, should you want to make changes.
- Lastly, you can’t FastPass the same ride twice. We used to do this all the time for our favorite rides, and the fact that we can’t anymore is upsetting.
So, at the end of the day, I hated the new Fastpass+ and I hope they make changes to it soon! Right now, the limits are frustrating and definitely made our days at the parks more stressful than they needed to be.