Disney invested a rumored two billion dollars in MyMagic+ and the MagicBand, which is your key to the kingdom. This rubber wristband grants you access to the park, your room, your scheduled FastPasses, and Advanced Dining Reservations.
That’s a lot of money! Was it worth the investment?
One way we can measure it’s worth is how this RFID technology has affected Standby Wait Times with FastPass+, a system that allows guests to schedule their visits to attractions two months in advance.
For example, if you’ve scheduled your FP+ for Space Mountain between 1pm and 2pm, all you have to do is show up, scan your MagicBand on the Mickey light, and head toward the FP+ line. However, Disney only books a certain number of FP+ reservations per hour per ride, so some people will have to opt for Standby lines.
That’s what I’m talking about in this article. Some Standby Wait Times have decreased while others have increased. Let’s take a look at how FastPass+ has impacted wait times, as evaluated by the folks at Touring Plans.
FastPass+ is distributing guests more evenly throughout the park. If you compare the two lists, you’ll notice that most of the attractions with shorter wait times are headlining rides. On the other hand, those with longer wait times are secondary attractions for which a FP is still available but stand in the second tier.
Why is this?
Since guests can schedule their FastPasses up to two months in advance, they are choosing their attractions carefully rather than randomly as they walk through the park. In theory, people are scheduling the “headliner” attractions with longer lines before they get to the parks. Since more people are scheduling their rides on these attractions, there are fewer people waiting in the Standby Line.
Conversely, people may believe that the less popular attractions will have a shorter wait time and thus not schedule a FP+. This makes the Standby times longer. It could also be that guests weren’t as aware of these attractions before MyDisneyExperience. Since they’re not listed on the app, people are filling their days with more secondary attractions between their FP+ reservations.
Attendance in Disney World has increased about 8% since the beginning of 2012. Therefore, this increase has been accounted for in the calculations. With attendance increasing incrementally, how will Disney accommodate additional riders?
It’s worth observing that Spaceship Earth, Haunted Mansion, and Pirates of the Caribbean all have increased wait times of five minutes, six minutes, and ten minutes, respectively; but these are high-capacity rides holding between 2,000 and 2,500 riders per hour. Perhaps Disney should consider dedicating more of these seats to FP+ users to decrease the wait times.
What’s more, Soarin’ and Toy Story Mania are receiving renovations that will include a second theater and ride track, respectively. Pandora – The World of Avatar will also be built with two ride theaters. Disney recognizes this need, but they should continue to work on attractions whose Standby Wait Times are increasing with FastPasses.
Moveable holidays were also considered in calculations. Rather than comparing dates to dates, holidays were compared to holidays especially if the holidays didn’t fall on the same date every year. Holidays like Christmas that fall on the same date every year are not relevant here. Instead, holidays like Easter, Memorial Day, President’s Day, and Thanksgiving fall on different dates each year; therefore, it’s important to recognize that crowds will not necessarily be the same on the date but on the day. Other “holidays” that would affect attendance and thus wait times, are runDisney marathon days, which also fall on different dates each year.
You should be aware that on holidays where schools are not in session, businesses are closed, and especially when the federal government is closed, will see the highest crowds and thus longer wait times in both FP+ lines and Standby lines.
Do you think FastPass+ makes you wait more or less?