How FastPass+ is Affecting Wait Times at Disney World Attractions

As you may be aware, this website collects and stores wait times at every Walt Disney World attraction in five minute intervals all day, every day. These wait times are used in a variety of ways. Most importantly, the crowd calendar relies on this “data” to identify crowd patterns and overall crowd levels. From there, the wait times are the basis for the Cheat Sheets, which include wait times based on crowd level and time of day:

This shows the wait times at Pirates of the Caribbean every five minutes between 3:20pm and 5:15pm on March 5th. To get an idea about the amount of data we’re talking about, you can take a look at this 416 page PDF file that lists wait times at just the Magic Kingdom attractions over the last 3.7 days.

In addition, these wait times are available in real time all day, every day via http://www.easywdw.com/waits so you can follow along at home.

Today, we’ll take a look at the data and see if we can get a glimpse into how FastPass+ is affecting standby wait times. To do this, we’re going to compare wait times for the first 65 days of 2013 and the first 65 days of 2014. I’ve taken the median wait time and the median peak wait time at each attraction over those 65 days in 2013 and 2014 and compared them to each other in this chart.

What we’ll see over and over again is that secondary attractions are affected more than the headliners. From there, the attractions that offered legacy paper FASTPASS with return times usually just 40 minutes in the future are most affected. DINOSAUR in particular has seen wait times that basically doubled year over year. Kilimanjaro Safaris is another attraction that has seen a significant bump in wait times.

Remember that FASTPASS/FastPass+ holders receive priority boarding. If there are 100 people waiting in standby and 100 people in FASTPASS, the 100th person in the FASTPASS line will likely board before the 30th person in standby. If there are 300 people in FASTPASS and 100 in standby, the 300th FASTPASS user will likely board before the 100th person in standby because FASTPASS users are so heavily favored. That’s how ratios work.

It’s likely that DINOSAUR is distributing far more FastPass+ daily than it ever did with FASTPASS. DINOSAUR historically has had short to nonexistent waits before 11am and after 4pm. FastPass+ users can visit as early as right after Park open, pushing up wait times as off-site guests booking same-day gobble up the last remaining FP+ upon arriving. With FastPass+ needing to be booked in advance, often at a kiosk far away from the attraction, guests somewhat blindly select attractions with no knowledge of current standby waits. An off-site guest might arrive at 10am and book DINOSAUR FP+ for 10:15am – 11:15am, not knowing that the ride is a walk-on. But since they booked the FP+, they head over at 10:30am and use it. Anyone in standby will have to wait for the FP+ user to board, in turn pushing up standby waits.

Kilimanjaro Safaris has a monster capacity, but it’s also the second most popular FP+ choice at Animal Kingdom and they routinely run out of available times by lunch. The number of people using FastPass+ is overwhelming the attraction, causing long FP+ lines and in turn, pushing up standby waits.

Other attractions are impacted much less with virtually no difference at Kali River Rapids and Expedition Everest. Primeval Whirl has seen a modest bump in peak waits.

Looking over Epcot, the biggest jumps are at Journey into Imagination, Maelstrom, and Spaceship Earth. Journey into Imagination and Spaceship Earth are two attractions that historically did not offer FASTPASS. The addition of FastPass+ is pushing up wait times as users arrive with priority boarding in hand (or on phone as the case may be). The impact at Maelstrom is among the largest we’ll see, with peak waits more than doubling. You may be thinking: “Who on earth would pick their one Tier 1 FastPass+ as Maelstrom?” The reality is that Soarin’ and Test Track are running out of FP+ times by 1pm most days, leaving only Character Spot, IllumiNations, and Maelstrom as Tier 1 choices. The majority of people don’t care about meeting characters and others aren’t staying for IllumiNations or prefer to find their own spots, leaving only one choice. With Maelstrom lending much more of its capacity to FP+, we see longer waits in standby.

The two headlining attractions actually see similar median waits and peak posted waits have dropped by ten minutes at Soarin’ and Test Track.

The trend continues at Hollywood Studios, where Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster and Toy Story Mania have similar waits year over year. Great Movie Ride waits have basically doubled now that FastPass+ users arrive with priority. Star Tours and Tower of Terror see the biggest jumps. Star Tours and Tower of Terror are by far the two most popular Tier 2 attractions, distributing the maximum number of FP+ most days. Star Tours standby waits were so short with legacy FASTPASS that few people bothered. And with Toy Story Mania and Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster legacy FASTPASS return times so far in the future, few people were eligible to pull an additional FASTPASS for Star Tours anyway. With guests scheduling their Star Tours FP+ far away from the attraction with no knowledge of posted waits, users arrive and enter the FP+ line, pushing up standby waits in the process.

Magic Kingdom is perhaps the most interesting, where median and peak waits have actually gone down significantly at the headliners and up considerably at several of the secondary attractions, most notably it’s a small world, Haunted Mansion, Jungle Cruise, and Pirates of the Caribbean. It’s hard to say how much of an effect FP+ has had at Haunted Mansion and Jungle Cruise in particular. It might seem obvious that FP+ is directly responsible for the uptick, but those two attractions had oddly increasing wait times over the months leading up to the initial implementation of FP+. Nonetheless, expect to wait a lot longer at both in the afternoon.

It’s also difficult to say what changes in guest behavior are causing the lower wait times at the Mountain attractions. The number of FP+ distributed for each is likely similar to the number of legacy FASTPASSes distributed last year. Guests may be going the “one and done” route where they’re satisfied experiencing a ride like Space Mountain just one time, whether it be very early or very late when wait times are short or via FP+. Casual vacationers more aware of FP+ and its benefits could be relying on FP+ instead of clogging up standby lines. And because guests can currently only schedule three FP+, commando-type return visitors may prefer to ride standby during a recommended time and use FP+ elsewhere, thus reducing the number of educated guests in the FASTPASS line riding for a third or fourth time.

The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh is another ride with lower wait times post FP+. With the three FP+ limit and the wide number of attractions available, it seems like fewer guests would select an aging dark ride like Winnie the Pooh. With fewer guests arriving with priority, standby waits are pushed lower.

Pirates of the Caribbean has seen a significant uptick in wait times. Historically, Pirates has been a walk-on most of the day on all but the busiest days of the year. In 2013, it was a big deal when the extended queue was used. In 2014, the extended queue is required virtually every day. This may also be due to a lower capacity with a reduced number of boats in operation.

Under the Sea – Journey of the Little Mermaid is fading fast with considerably lower wait times than when it was “new” early last year. It’s also unlikely most guests will use FP+ here and it has a monster capacity, resulting in shorter waits.

Overall, FP+ is causing wait times to increase at most secondary attractions, while having a less substantial impact at the most popular attractions with the longest wait times.

The website will continue to monitor the situation.

Comments

  1. Dani says

    So that’s why the CM laughed at me when I tried to change my fp+ to Spaceship Earth today at 2pm. He offered me 8pm, I laughed, and he laughed back. I shake my fist at you fp+.

  2. Barbara-Jean says

    Thank you for this analysis!!! I had thought, maybe incorrectly, that I could skip getting a FP+ for KS by planning on riding it at rope drop. Your analysis has me second guessing that decision! Will I see long standby wait times first thing in morning? I’m thinking I should now have the FP+? Going the week of 3/15 and will be at AK on a day you recommended :)

  3. Jill Marie says

    I really hope there’s something better than FP+ by the time I return to WDW (in 2022-ish.) But I won’t hold my breath.

  4. josh says

    No, standby waits remain very short in the morning and late evening. At Kilimanjaro Safaris on March 9th the waits were:

    8am: 5
    8:15am: 20
    8:30 to 10:20am: 10
    10:25am: 15
    11am: 25
    12pm: 20
    1pm: 20
    2pm: 30
    3pm : 40
    4pm: 30
    5pm: 30
    6pm: 10

  5. Christine says

    On our trip last May, the standby lines at MK were so short that no one was pulling fastpasses. We were able to almost walk on to every ride outside of Peter Pan. I’m afraid that with FP+ that experience won’t be possible.

  6. HonestJohn says

    @ Christine:

    FP+ shouldn’t make more people show up at the gates. If you were there during a low-crowd period and many attractions were walk-ons, that shouldn’t change.significantly assuming all other variables are the same .

  7. Lisa says

    Wow, I thought this was just DIS hysteria, I didn’t realize it was real! Thanks for putting this all together, super informative post.

  8. John says

    How much is the refurbs like Splash mtn affecting these times? And when SDMT opens won’t it make some of these times go down further? Just curious for your thoughts. As always love your insight and your articles.

  9. James P says

    I can’t wait to see how FP+ is going to affect peak times;spring break, holidays, summer etc. It’s going to be crazy. I still think that the old FP system was much better. I am going to miss it when we get to go to WDW again.

    Christine said “On our trip last May, the standby lines at MK were so short that no one was pulling fastpasses. We were able to almost walk on to every ride outside of Peter Pan. I’m afraid that with FP+ that experience won’t be possible.”

    I cannot agree more. We go in early May or September and experience the same for the most part. We could ride things multiple times and would only pull FPs to have one for later type of thing. If we near the attraction, we’ll use it. Y’know just in case the afternoon crowds get a little big.

    I also wonder if this will have a negative affect on WDW. Universal’s express pass looks better and better compared to FP+. Never been to Universal yet, but someday.

  10. projectx says

    I went through your chart and checked my morning tour plan for MK. From what I see, I’m looking at the following based on the data:

    Peter Pan 9:00 – 9:15
    PP Meet 9:15 – 9:25 (my own estimate)
    Haunted Mansion 9:30 – 9:50
    BTMRR: 10:00 – 10:25
    Splash Mtn: 10:30 – 10:55 (estimate)
    Jungle Cruise: 11:00 – 11:40
    Magic Carpets: 11:40 – 12:10
    Pirates: 12:15 – 12:35

    Are my estimates correct? That puts us almost a full hour behind where I thought we’d be. On top of that, we’ll be at MK on a crowd level 9 day, not a 5. Yikes.

  11. Stacey says

    I have been reading your posts for a few years now, and this is by far my favorite of your posts. You knocked it out of the park! Love the use of data and analysis. Thanks!!!

  12. Andrew says

    The significant increase in standby times for rides that previously had no Fast Pass options strongly support my theory that everyone’s wait times would significantly decrease and their experiences would significantly improve by eliminating FastPass altogether.

  13. shannon f says

    Josh,

    what database are you running that query against? Is it something internal to EasyWDW? I have used the waits page religously since you put it out a year or so ago. It is so much better than Disney’s or TP’s. The simplicity of the interface and the accuracy are second to none in my opinion. I always figured you were getting passed some kind of XML document or something from Disney’s site since those are identical to yours. Being a Web guy myself I found it interesting when you started offering this information, and was always a little curious where you got it. If this is EasyWDW proprietary or just plain old none of your business type stuff I’ll understand. I’m not planning on making a competing site or anything like that…just a geek trying to get his geek on. I like the analysis that you are doing with it bro…keep up the good work. Also, if you would ever like some help with SEO or ever need any extra help with development just let me know.

  14. Frank D says

    At $59, give or take, for a Express Pass at Universal for a non-resort guest, I think Universal just hopes to keep the status quo. If Disney did that, people would lose their minds.

  15. Lotus14 says

    I recently got back from WDW and have been getting surveys from them, one about FP+ and some of the ideas they’ve had for tweaking it. All of the ideas offered for my opinion involved off site guests being able to make FP+ selections before arriving at the park if they had purchased their tickets from Disney in advance. I’m betting this will only keep those times going up and up as they are likely to schedule those passes earlier in the day.

  16. Frank D says

    I’ll still do my rope-drop run until 1PM for lunch and then FP+ a few things in the early afternoon. We will then leave until after dinner for the pool, and then return for a FP+ in the evening, closing with shorter evening lines.

    Nothing has changed for the way we plan our day.

  17. shannon f says

    I personally wish they would keep the FP+ reservation option open to only WDW Resort guests. I know they would have to close some of the loopholes though. Like you have to have at least the number of nights as you do on your tickets or something. This would keep folks from buying 10 days worth of tix and getting one night at the campsites, and then booking 10 days worth of FP+ They could do it similar to Dining even. Let resort guests have it at 60 or 90 days and offsite can start at like 30 or something like that.

  18. Sean says

    So it sounds like rope drop is the way to go. We have a trip planned April 29-May 5 and am interested to see what the standby lines are like in the afternoon. Doesn’t surprise me that the secondary rides are seeing increased times – FP+ pushes people to those rides. And perhaps the complaints on DIS of posted standby wait times being wildly inaccurate are correct.

  19. Anonymous says

    Does this mean more people are now ‘in line’ than they were previously, and that the rest of the park should feel less crowded? Assuming gate attendance was the same (which may not be the case…. last year’s specials were better, which leads me to believe Disney was expecting more demand this year), the people have to be somewhere!

  20. Carrie says

    Thanks for an amazing post. I am a data lover and it’s great to see the numbers for the new FP+ situation. I (and many others) really appreciate your hard work. I had no idea you collected that much data on a daily basis. We will still stick with our RD and out of there by 1pm plan but if we encounter longer than expected waits at the minor attractions, now I’ll know why.

    Also, is this new info reflected on the cheat sheet wait times or are those still based off of data from when legacy FP+ was in place? Just wondering…

  21. Damon says

    Kudos to you Josh for collecting and analyzing the data. The hope I had for FP+ was that standby times would decrease, thereby allowing shorter waits throughout the parks, but that doesn’t appear to be the case. Our strategy has typically been arrive at RD, grab a FP for the most popular ride of that park, then hit up some of the smaller attractions with low wait times while waiting for either our FP time or our window to pull another FP to open. Rinse, lather and repeat. With that strategy we would typically be able to see most everything at least once while we were there and a handful of things twice. I’m curious to see if these trends continue and how the larger crowd levels are impacted come spring break and summer.

  22. shannon f says

    @Dani…

    What would be the perks of being a WDW resort guest then, other than being able to book Dining reservations for 10 days past my check in date? I would think this could be a huge perk to get more people to book onsite…

    Nobody is saying you couldnt get up that morning and book before you leave with the My Disney Experience App.

  23. bruisedcrew says

    Josh

    Thanks for the data. This by itself should trigger a firestorm on the DIS. Once the FP+ haters see the word “longer” they won’t bother to read or reason any deeper.

    Are the wait times you report and use for this analysis the same as those posted by Disney on its MDE app?

    If so, it does beg the question of how close the posted wait times are to actual wait times. In our experience Disney can be notorious for posting times that are longer than the actual waits, and with uncertainty over how FP+ will affect standby they might be giving themselves more cushion.

  24. marianna says

    Last week I visited AK on a level 4 (3rd recommended) day. My FP for Safari was after noon. The line reached to the entrance of FP with about a dozen beyond, but it moved very quickly. So much so that we could not have walked the queue’s length much quicker had it been empty. Meanwhile, the equally long SB line barely inched forward. Or so it seemed as we zoomed by. I felt kind of bad for them.

  25. JS says

    So yea, ok Bruisedcrew somehow thinks there is something to look fondly upon in this report … ???

    Josh, very good information. I don’t really see how any of this could be seen as a good thing, BUT …

    I want to reiterate a point of clarification, is the source the posted Disney wait times ?
    People have been reporting how inaccurately LOW they have been. Because as people are waiting in SB lines and more people enter FP+ return, they SB line slows down considerably.

    So yes, are these the posted returns or actual experienced ? I am thinking they are the posted times correct ?

    Many thanks,

  26. Steph G. says

    I don’t know if I’ve missed this, but I’d like to know how attendance plays into these numbers. Given the severity of this winter, my guess is that more people have traveled to Orlando this year than last (it certainly holds true among the small sample of people in our area). That also could be affecting wait times.

  27. Jessica says

    My question is similar to Steph G.’s… wondering how far back you have data and if you’ve looked at the 2012 numbers in comparison? Without factoring out increased overall attendance it’s hard to pinpoint the cause to FP+. It certainly could be the case and the data so far is impressive, it just isn’t enough on it’s own.

  28. Anonymous says

    This is confusing, because FP+ did nothing to change total ride capacity. You’d think that if wait times at one attraction increased, wait times at another attraction would neccessarily have to decrease…. unless FP+ has taken everybody off the Disney Streets and into the queues.

    Any thoughts on this?

  29. snarkymama says

    I still don’t even get Disney’s own logic of FastPass+. With the astronomical initial cost–I can’t figure out any way they spent all that money to develop system this buggy–and seemingly, at least at first, even INCREASED labor costs needed to support and implement this (cast members in the park explaining, signing up, directing, etc.), how is this possibly a financial win for them?

    Forget what Disney diehards and experts think, they seem to be saying to average guests that we’re expecting you to stay in one park (a money loss for them) and ride only three things per day, cause that’s all we’re going to set up and, in essence, “guarantee” for you. Three rides a day for $100/day ticket cost? Who does that math and thinks it sounds appealing?

    And for those who say that Disney wants you to ride more standby … Maybe so, but the number one thing people complain about at DisneyWorld–all people–are standing in the lines. If you take your average go-once-every-10-years Joe, give them 3 rides with little wait, and then put them in long lines for the rest of the day OR they choose to ride nothing else because they walk around seeing 30-minute-plus waits everywhere, chances are you’re not having someone leave the park, even if they do chose to wait, happy and ready to return. They’re leaving thinking Disney is a rip-off.

    Same goes for the idea of walking off a ride jazzed and thinking, ‘That was awesome!’ Only to know that you can’t repeat that experience without, say, a 60-minute wait in line because FastPass+ is one and done. There’s no way, even if you do decide to wait to ride again, to hold on to that magical moment after spending 60 minutes in a long, hot, crowded queue, watching FP+ holders stream by you as you barely move.

    Dumb. Dumb. Dumb. … Which is weird, because I’d normally say that Disney really doesn’t do dumb (John Carter excepted). This all just seems so poorly plotted out.

  30. bnoble says

    “This is confusing, because FP+ did nothing to change total ride capacity. You’d think that if wait times at one attraction increased, wait times at another attraction would neccessarily have to decrease…. unless FP+ has taken everybody off the Disney Streets and into the queues.”

    That’s exactly what happened. With FP/FP+, you can effectively be in two different lines at the same time—the line you are physically in, and the line you are skipping with your FP/FP+.

    We know that Disney has publicly stated that many more guests are using FP+ than used FP. (Source: http://www.morningstar.com/earnings/earnings-call-transcript.aspx?t=DIS&pindex=5&qindex=3) More guests using virtual queuing means more guests in two “lines” at once, and that (artificially) increases the effective attendance of the park.

    It’s also likely the case that some of this is just from attendance growth without corresponding capacity additions, and/or a more careful capacity matching of attractions to in-park crowds.

  31. snarkymama says

    Unless the endgame really is selling additional FastPasses–Which I honestly don’t see working at the test numbers thrown around; dropping even $20/ride for a family of 4 ($4.99/FastPass+, which is lower than numbers I saw) on top of all other Disney expenses would make all but the 1%, which are not really the target Disney demographic, blanch … A flat $200-$300/person per trip for unlimited Front of the Line access? That I could see being a viable revenue stream. Pay per FastPass? No way. Even if the amounts are the same, it’s the nickel/dime mentality of pulling out your card to pay EVERY TIME you want to ride that will turn people off, big time.

    Anyway, unless this really is about paying for FastPasses I don’t even see how Disney EVER expects to get its money back on this billion (with a B) dollar initiative. Per guest spending is the buzzword but, honestly, I’m not buying that a bracelet makes it any easier for guests to spend than a keycard did. It’s the same type of “funny money” in the end. (They want you to forget you’re spending really dollars and not just swiping.) And FP+ isn’t gonna keep people out of line more to shop; regular FastPass probably definitely did that better, at least for power users, who are also probably the power shoppers.

  32. bnoble says

    “I still don’t even get Disney’s own logic of FastPass+”

    There are many dimensions to it. But the most straightforward one stems from the same observation I made above: many more guests are using FP+ than ever used FP. Those guests are (presumably) happier than they would have been without FP+, while the “power users” are now less happy. If the happier guests outnumber the power users, Disney wins.

    As for the increase in wait times: there is no chance—none—that Park Operations did not anticipate this effect. An intended goal was to get more guests to use FP+, and that’s going to increase demand on the attractions. This is queuing theory 101, the sort of thing that we ask our second year IOE students to do. And, Park Ops also know just how many “power users” there were in the old system, because you had to swipe a ticket to get a FP—the data was there for the taking.

    So, either the people who run the most profitable theme parks in the world are truly incompetent at what they do, or they have a pretty good idea of what is going to happen. Time will tell which one ends up being the truth, but I’m going to play the odds and bet on “Probably a good thing for the Mouse.”

  33. snarkymama says

    Argh, hit “return” to soon …

    Anyway, with a billion dollars they could have built a 5th gate or doubled size of Hollywood Studios and, if California Adventure revamp is any indication, attendance and guest satisfaction would have SKYROCKETED, with increased spending to follow. Happy customers + happy corporate = win, win.

    A billion dollars to slightly modify a system that wasn’t really broken in the first place that creates only minor changes to guest behaviors and does nothing to boost attendance by making the parks more marketable, plus angers or at least confuses a big junk of your most loyal base? WTF?!?

  34. josh says

    I’ve tried not to draw too many conclusions from the “data” because there are potentially other variables at play. Even measuring attendance is difficult as Disney officially only counts the first park a guest enters into the attendance numbers. So if a guest starts at Magic Kingdom and hops to Hollywood Studios, they only count at Magic Kingdom. Attendance is up about 1.5% compared to last year with lower attendance in the first two weeks of January and much higher attendance toward the end of February and into March. Much of the time in between that is nearly identical to last year.

    I omitted Splash Mountain because it was down for refurbishment last year and has been down this year too. That shouldn’t affect the numbers much. The Mine Train should help pull people away in the morning and pull 1,500 – 2,000 people away from the other attractions for the rest of the day. That should have a minor impact on posted waits elsewhere, but we’re usually talking about 50,000 people in MK spread out among a lot of different things.

    Wait times will certainly be higher here over the next six weeks as some of the heaviest crowds of the year converge through the week after Easter. Unfortunately, I don’t have nearly the amount of data from 2012.

    projectx, you won’t be waiting that long early in the morning. A lot of attractions post a minimum 10-minute wait even when the actual wait is much less. You should be on and off Peter Pan’s Flight in around seven minutes and Haunted Mansion total wait/ride time should be closer to 15 minutes. Morning touring is not particularly affected by FP+ and waits remain short everywhere other than Toy Story Mania.

    The cheat sheet times take into account FP+ but the next update should be more accurate now that there’s a lot more data to look at.

    The times are all posted waits. I’m not sure how you would collect enough actual wait times to put anything like this together. Even if I had 1,000 people in the parks collecting actual waits. I don’t think posted waits are any less inaccurate now than they ever were. Using the median wait instead of an average also helps eliminate the outliers.

  35. Vohdre says

    I guess the real question (and something we don’t have data for) is with more people using FP+ than had used FP previously – Are guests, on average, seeing more attractions than they had previously?

    If someone who had never used FP in the past is now using FP+ they’re getting on 3 rides MUCH faster than if they had used Standby. So does that offset them having to wait 10 minutes longer to ride It’s A Small World? And for those that had been using (and abusing) regular FP – are they seeing less attractions now with the 3 FP+ limit and everything else on Standby?

  36. Kim says

    I’ve seen quite a few people reporting LONGER than posted wait times in addition. They enter a SB line posted at 15 minutes and end up spending 30+ minutes because there are so many people entering through the FP+ queue. The SB line may have been 15 minutes when they entered but almost slowed to a standstill as FP+ guests are pushed through. This seems to especially common near RD, as early morning hours weren’t typical times to use legacy FP, but since guests are being offered those early times, they are taking them. Whether it’s because they didn’t know that historically you could just walk on that ride before FP+, or because they are feeling that they shouldn’t “waste” a FP+ and take whatever is offered, etc.

  37. Jennifer says

    I love these kinds of posts. I find the whole system fascinating. And I don’t mean FP+. I’m talking about everything at Disney. Since the first time I visited in 2008, it has amazed me how Disney has worked to move people around, where they move them to and how they get them to spend as much as possible without thinking to hard about it.

    What I need now is a post on how weather affects the crowds. How it affects them that day, subsequent days and even how weather elsewhere is affecting visitation. Like, if it rains on a Thursday, how does that affect park recommendations for Friday?

    Also, something that I found out. If you have a FP+ for a ride that closes, they honor that at any other ride. They send out emails. And make announcements. (But not before I tried to change it and wound up with a late afternoon pass that was unusable for me. It looked like it was giving me an even swap, but by the time it processed, it was for 3 hours later.) It drove up wait times at every other ride in the park. Except for Kali because it was freakin’ cold that day.

  38. Leah says

    Like Lotus14, I also completed a Disney survey this weekend regarding FP+. It said to assume that anyone with a ticket they purchased in advance, whether passholder, Disney resort guest, or just someone who bought a day ticket ahead of time, would be able to make FP+ reservations in advance of their visit. It wanted my opinion on three different scenarios, all three involved offering more than 3 Fastpasses per day. Three would be able to be reserved in advance, and any additional could be booked from the available pool of attractions/times in the park, with varying limitations on when the additional FPs could be booked. Interesting. Like many others, I am still not seeing where this investment is going to pay off for Disney. I, too, think the money would have been better spent on a fifth gate, or expansion of the Studios. The parks are also in desperate need of refurb. Sigh.

  39. says

    We just returned yesterday from our first trip to Disney since FP+ was implemented. We hated everything about the new system! I used the word “sucky” multiple times per day. You can only have 3 FP per day. Even if you park hop! It was our worst trip to WDW so far. I admit that part of it was our fault for not doing extensive research on the FP+ system before we left home, but it just doesn’t work for us. We had the old system worked out. We noticed higher crowd levels (esp. Friday at MK despite the super cold temps) than Josh had predicted & inflated wait times. We finally started timing ourselves when we got in line. Toy Story had 70 min. waits both times we got in stand-by on Sunday. The first time we were on in 40 min. The second time we were on in 50 minutes. Plus, there were several CM’s with attitudes & that was something we had NEVER experienced before. When we got off Pirates the CM said in general to keep hands inside the boat, then turned to my daughter as we walked past & said, “Did you hear that?” My child looked confused & said “I didn’t.” Then the CM yelled back at her, “Yes you did!” ??? :(

  40. projectx says

    Strangely enough, on a crowd level 9 non-recommended AK day, at 2:45 Dinosaur and Kilimanjaro Safaris both only have a 20 minute wait. MK seems to be par for the course, except for Astro Orbiter (only 20 min), and Buzz Lightyear at 35 minutes which also isn’t too shabby all things considered. Pirates however is up to 70 minutes, and Monsters Laugh Floor at 30 minutes.

    All these times are from Josh’s waits webpage.

  41. Alissa says

    The ride that was unexpectedly high and got me off my touring plan last week 3/1 was Dumbo. We got to Dumbo at about 10:20 (should have been 10:10 but Barnstormer was a 20 minute posted wait). The posted wait was about 20 minutes but it was 11:00 before we were off the ride. it seemed as if FP+ users were all being sent to one dumbo while everyone else was sent to the other side. On 3/2 we used FP for Dumbo between 10-11 and it was much more as expected (and we were sent to the other Dumbo. I think the posted wait was about 20 minutes on this day too. I did see much higher waits posted later in the day, but they were both red days so I guess maybe this is to be expected.

  42. says

    we were at Disney last week and were very surprised at some of the rides that suddenly had waits. We waited 35 minutes for the Great Movie Ride – longer than the posted wait, at 6:30. whaaa?
    I think in Maelstrom’s case though, the long lines are coming more from the sudden popularity of Norway due to Anna and Elsa than fp+.

  43. Noelle says

    I was at MK on the Friday of Super Bowl weekend, and it seemed to me that the wait times were inflated. Posted time at Under the Sea was 20 minutes, and it was literally a walk-on. Also that same day, the posted time for Pirates was either 20 or 30 minutes, with the use of the extended queue for the standby line. Almost no one was entering the FP+ line. When we got further inside the queue, they split our line and sent some parties to the FP+ side, so they were using all of the boats. We ended up waiting only 10 minutes to ride. Granted, this was a recommended day for the MK and it was raining all day long, which definitely lowered the crowd level. Also in response to Jenny Beasley above, we noticed a definite change in attitude from the CMs at all of the parks and at our resort (Pop Century). I didn’t feel the “magic” from anyone. The nicest CMs that we encountered were at the FP+ kiosks. Everyone else seemed to be in a generally bad mood. I chalked it up to the crummy weather, but it’s interesting to see someone else mention it.

  44. snarkymama says

    @bnoble wrote: “As for the increase in wait times: there is no chance—none—that Park Operations did not anticipate this effect.”

    I don’t doubt the above is true, but it also means that there is no chance, not one, that longer waits won’t lead to less happy guests. Again, long waits is THE number one customer complaint across the board at all theme parks, followed by high prices and large crowds. To knowingly increase your customer’s No. 1 annoyance is not a great business strategy, especially when doing so costs you $1-2 billion to implement.

    In the long, long run, after significant tweaks and analysis, this may turn out to be a far better system. But the ROI (return on investment) is not going to break even in the 24, 48 or even 60-month time frame that a similar California Adventure investment is expected to, making it a less wise capital improvement investment.

  45. projectx says

    Interesting that a couple people mentioned an attitude change in employees. Sometime in the past few weeks I read an article that the current Union contract is up March 29th and the two sides planned on negotiating. Would this have anything to do with it? Or is it just a few isolated incidents? Curious to hear the viewpoints of other recent visitors.

  46. Brian says

    We were down Valentines weekend this year. What we found was the FP+ waits were always very short and considerably shorter than legacy FP retun lines. We also noticed the standby lines were longer than past trips across the board.
    We are very experienced and planned our day around our FP+ selections and still managed to get every attraction in. The things of note were people returning for FP+ return times when there was no Stanby wait and not immediately changing. I watched this happen a few times over two days. Even the Castmembers were surprised. My biggest complaint about the new system is not being able to make FP+ reservations at more than one park per day. We like to hop and can’t use FP+ effectively while hopping anymore.

  47. says

    I was there the first week of February and the standby line for POTC was 45 minutes. I’ve NEVER seen the queue for POTC full!! The problem with everybody choosing their FPs ahead of time: People don’t disperse into the park like they used to. If someone wanted to ride Space Mountain THAT badly, they made their way to the ride and got a FP. That puts them in Tomorrowland. Someone else may want Splash Mountain FP. I personally hate FP+ and encountered very long lines for rides I’ve never waited more than 15-20 minutes for prior to FP+. Oh and the lines for the FP+ kiosks were even longer!! They should either have FP+ for resort guests ONLY (oh and let us choose more than 3), or scrap the whole thing. HATE!

  48. Chris says

    So it’s clear disney want to give additional value to resort guests, but that comes at a cost for those staying off-site, like myself in May. We’re by no means professional Disney visitors, but this will be our 5th trip over from UK. FP worked for us and it gave both kinds of visitors; on and off site guests the same opportunity. It’s a shame, as instead of getting there at rope drop, rushing to your favourite attraction, time will now be wasted having to queue for something that will prevent you queuing later in the day, and at the same time, resort guests can get there at same time, having already selected their FP+ and can get a couple of early rides in with little or no SB queue.

  49. says

    It’s not just that Fastpass is available for rides that previously didn’t have it; Disney has stated that FP usage is way up since the new system was implemented. That means that first-time visitors or casuals are more aware that it’s an option now, so it’s getting used more. That could also be contributing to the increases standby waits. There’s also the fact that veterans who might have been able to pull 5, 6, or more FP in a day are now limited to only three, so those people now have to wait when they previously didn’t have to. If there’s a wait at a headliner, they may opt to not ride and find something with a shorter wait. That would increase the waits at those rides.

  50. Samantha says

    While there the third week in January, staying offsite, we had no problems getting FPs to the rides we wanted the same day, and lines otherwise were short. However that’s a fairly low crowd time of year, 3s mostly on Josh’s calendar. I am quite interested to see what happens when we return the first week of April, with crowds in the 7 and 8 range. We have APs and I STILL cannot get on and book our FPs ahead of time. I don’t see why AP holders shouldn’t be able to do this by now. And no, I don’t want to cram myself into a 350 square foot hotel room for a week just to get a stupid Magic Band when for the same price I can have a house with a private pool. Unfortunately, my wising up to the world of offsite choices available coincided with FP+. Sophie’s Choice, I guess.

  51. Patricia says

    I was there in Sept 2013 and I used FP+ I’m not saying anything unique in that I hated it and felt very controlled. And only 3 per day??!!! I had to book them weeks in advance?!! That is not a relaxing vacation to me and I LOOOOVVVE Disneyworld. Also, those stupid magic bands enable them to monitor your whereabouts at all times. My DH was chased away from the lake at AoA, how did anyone even know he was there looking at the fish and turtles?? I guess WDW has so many more visitors than they used to and somehow they have to try and manage crowds, ride capacity, staffing, etc. I guess knowing who’s coming in and going where at any given time is a necessary evil Thank you, Josh, that was great update

  52. texhanddoc says

    @snarkymama:

    Wait times may be the #1in theme parks across the board, but you are making an assumption. You are assuming that because the wait times for things like HM and Dinosaur are longer on average that that means that the average Disney guest is spending more time in those lines.

    I dont believe that is the case. Remember, the people that read websites like EasyWDW are not the normal Disney guest, not in the least. I remember reading a couple years ago (I forget the source) that the average Disney guest rides SEVEN (7) rides in one day. More often than I would care to admit, a couple years ago, I would try to give my unused fastpasses away and people wouldnt take them because they were outside the time window! FP+ usage is greater than legacy FP usage, so there are less people waiting in the 70 minute Space Mountain line and more people waiting in the 15 to 20 minute Haunted Mansion line.

    My guess would be that if there is a metric that could be measured called “average guest waiting time per total ride number” which could include time saved using FP+ that wait times would be less overall. Or maybe as importantly, the “perceived” wait time is less since more people are using FP+.

    Kudos to Josh for putting this data up with REAL numbers and not some cockamamie blog post on the TP blog with a computer “simulating” June 2014 wait times.

  53. Jason says

    Ultimately, ride capacity is unchanged so any increase in wait times is simply because more people are riding the attractions than before, which is generally a good thing. Now, that comes at the expense of some people riding fewer attractions, but that’s how these things go.

  54. Cris says

    Annual passholders are really getting screwed on this by allowing the people who spend more money (the resort guests) the option to select off-site. We went to AK on a Sunday and the Safari FP were gone by 10. It seems residents now need to be in the park by opening. Gone are the days when you could stroll in at leisure.

    Thanks, Disney.

  55. Mick says

    We were there last month for a 10 day trip and one of the things we noticed was the number of people that the CMs were just letting through with “blue” Mickey flashing because they were obviously sick and tired of dealing with why or why not the Mickeys weren’t turning “green.” Many park guests were figuring this out and line jumping like crazy, especially at TSM. At Soarin, they were diligent about the FP+ when one out of six in our party didn’t turn glorious “green” they would not let our father in law through. I switched magic bands and sat Soarin out…making my feelings known to the CM who simply stood there and said to go to guest relations at 7:00 at night a half hour before our ADR. We encountered problem after problem after problem with those bands. At one point, our server at Liberty Tree “covered” our lunch meal when our magic band wouldn’t work go pay for lunch. I stopped back later in the day and gave her my father in laws credit card to pay. We are park hoppers and rope droppers. Hopping is a waste and dropping is a must. Have fun planning your meals 180 days in advance, your rides 60 days in advance, and getting out of bed at 6:00 AM all to enjoy your “vacation.” My job is 100% less stressful than a Disney vacation.

  56. says

    Well, at least I’m not the only one unsatisfied with the new FP+ system! :p Oh, and another problem with them is that we weren’t able to FP+ things like R&R for only the 4 people in our group that can ride & the other two to do something else. At least no one seemed to be able to work that for us.
    We are also AP holders, so we do feel like we should be able to book online ahead of time too, instead of spending 20 minutes waiting to CHOOSE FP+’s! But perhaps that’s asking too much. I did just get to order our new MagicBands, but I think the only advantage for us so far is the ability to not have to pull out our cards every time we use the FP+??
    I know I mentioned the inflated wait times for Toy Story, but some SB lines were definitely longer than normal, such as Pirates & the Haunted Mansion.
    It’s definitely interesting to see others talking about the CM attitudes. Our episode at Pirates was not the only one, just the worst. I didn’t see my daughter stick her hand out of the boat, but she could have done it. Either way, the CM could have handled it more tactfully, IMO. The first CM I complained to about the new FP+ system was monitoring the line at the kiosk & he just stared at me. Didn’t even say one word or acknowledge the fact that I was talking to him. The second time we rode Pirates a girl in the boat behind us stood up as we were disembarking & the CM “literally” screamed at her to sit down. I think there was another one either at AK or HS, but I can’t remember right now.
    The whole trip was kind of a bummer and I’m really hoping that things improve since we have 7 more trips planned for the year!

  57. Andrew says

    Some other things you can do with your yearly $5,000 Disney vacation fund (or what I did with mine this year).

    For one week of Disney you can:

    – Buy a new dining room table, and 6 chairs ($1,000)
    – Refresh your entire home theater (Dolby 7.2, 7 Polk Audio Speakers, 2 Polk Audio Subs, 3d Projector) ($2,100)
    – Buy one of your children a car ($3,000)

    So, you can spend a week fighting a broken system, crowds, and maybe ride 7-8 major rides; or you can actually do something of value with that money.

    I wanted to give some of it to Disney, but there simply wasn’t enough value for us to return. Since 2006, we’ve given Disney $40,000. That by the way pays the salaries of two cast members for a year.

    Disney’s loss really, next year instead of giving my vacation budget to them we might give it to Universal or maybe I’ll buy a car for one of my other kids.

    A week of pain, or something of value. That’s really not difficult math IMHO.

  58. Jason says

    re: Andrew,

    Disney’s loss isn’t real…. as Josh noted, their attendance is up vs last year, prices are up, merchandise sales are up, discounts offered are down, and the stock price has never been higher.

    Your loss of value may be real, and that’s fine… we all find value in different things (I’d personally rather spend money on a family vacation than just about anything else…), but for every person who leaves due to the changes 2 more line up to take his place.

  59. Jess O says

    We used fp+ back in October and I didn’t really care for it. They were still in the process of installing the kiosks in the park where you could change your choices and missed a lot of our picks. There was 1 day of our whole trip where we used all 3, 2 of which were for character greets. It seemed like every time we wanted to change to different time on the same day all the fp were already gone. I think its going to be a fail for Disney.

  60. pfalcioni says

    Awesome stats Josh, thank you for doing what you do!

    I could, however, do without all the FP+ gnashing of teeth and rending of garments in the comments section every time you put up a post about the system.

  61. Greg says

    @pfalcioni

    Find a site that doesn’t gnash teeth and renders garments over FP+. Other than the Disney Parks Blog, that is.

  62. Renee says

    Thanks! I saw the “average” of wait time changes article over at touringplans and was thoroughly disappointed that they didn’t break it down into individual rides. I don’t care if average waits overall are the similar when you take into account every ride. I care that standby at DINOSAUR is significantly up, so I should take that into consideration when creating my touring plan. Thanks so much! I REALLY appreciate this article!

  63. Mike says

    Just got back last month and we thought FASTPASS+ was fantastic. With two kids, we loved the fact that we didn’t race back and forth across the parks. We were glad that we didn’t have to rush to anything. It gave us the ability to pre-plan nap time because we knew before the trip even started when we would have to be back at a ride instead of finding out after pulling a paper fastpass. I really do appreciate that Disney is activley trying to manage record crowds. Thanks for the stats.

  64. James P says

    People with young kids (Mike above), the uber planners, the majority of WDW vacationers who go to WDW 1-2 times in a lifetime, or those that had no clue about FP may find FP+ a great thing. Remember, the bulk of WDW vacationers are those that maybe go 1-2 times in a lifetime at most.

    Those that are really annoyed by FP+ are those that go multiple times a year or go every 1-2 years. Know the ins and outs and know how to use the old FP system to it’s fullest. Like me! I will miss the old FP system. Seeing the increased waits at attractions that never had waits before is really frustrating.

    I’ll go again, but I don’t know when. But it’s not a priority. May visit Universal/Seaworld next time to Florida. So glad I was able to enjoy going to WDW 8-9 times since 2004 before all the FP+ MM+ spend all your money+ stuff went into affect. Just can’t fathom having to book ride times 60 days out. Ugh. What’s next? Bathroom usage?

  65. snarkymama says

    Anyone who thinks this is all going as Disney planned is really drinking the Mickey-branded Kool-Aid™. This venture was a semi-disaster before the first in-park test was even scheduled, with massive budget over-runs and technical glitches galore. (I’m talking corporate-level screw-ups, nothing to do with what’s going on with guests.) And that’s just the stuff they are forced to admit.

    Disney’s own visibly tepid spin and their flat-out pronouncement that “as of now” they have “no plans” to roll FastPass+ out in their other parks is a tacit admission that this has not only NOT been a win for their bottom line, but also that it isn’t gonna be anytime in the projected future. As of now, they’re just desperately trying to salvage something from their billion dollar boondoggle.

    Do I think they’re gonna go back? Not a chance in hell. They’re in way too deep now; swimming is the only option. But to think Disney is thrilled with the results and this is exactly, or even reasonably close to, what the pre-project projections predicted–regardless of guest thoughts about how the system works–is simply silly.

  66. JD says

    Attraction capacity, for the most part, has not changed. Therefore, with a given level of attendance, the average number of rides/attractions per day per guest, for the most part, has not changed.

    What has changed is the standard deviation of the number of attractions per day per guest for each given level of attendance.

    This is PRECISELY what Disney intended when designing the system. They are still managing the wait times; the system is not in its final state yet and guests behavior has not settled into its final state yet either.

    Casual guest are doing a little more and super-users are doing a lot less (attraction-wise). There are A LOT more casual guests than there are super-users.

  67. says

    I’m nervous about going at the end of August as it will be the first time using FP+. I’m so used to going early, knocking out a bunch of rides before 11 a.m., getting a few FASTPASSes along the way, going back to the hotel for the afternoon and going back in the evening to ride/do whatever we want.

    Not sure how FP+ will effect this…I feel like it would be more advantageous to use most of our FP+ reservations for the late morning/early afternoon and evening.

    And did I see somebody say that you have to go all or nothing with FP+? As in, we will have seven people in our party so we will be getting seven FP+ reservations for a specific ride at a specific time and there’s no other way? We can’t get five for Test Track and two for Spaceship Earth in the same time frame?

  68. andrew says

    Thanks for the info josh. Wife and I are APs and probably end up at the World once a month if not more. We have had MBs since a stay back in Nov. FP+ works great for us cause the day before we make our selections with ease and have our stress free day at which ever park we choose. I will make this clear, we don’t care how many rides we go on so that skews our perception of the program. I don’t like the concept that I still have to show a card for parking, that’s kind of annoying and should really be linked to the band. The biggest thing to remember and I can’t stress this enough, this is an evolving system. We are still at the beginning and have a long way to go. Will it ever be perfect? Never, haha, but I think in a years time we will have a more accurate view of how it all will really work.

  69. andrew says

    @ Jimmy N

    I know with the my Disney experience app you can customize your day however you’d like. If you have to schedule them in the park the day of then I don’t really know. I would strongly recommend that you keep your strategy, just schedule all of your fastpasses for the evening after you take your mid day break.

  70. James P says

    @ Jimmy N.

    Not even sure how the rope drop strategy will work out anymore. From the reports I’ve seen, the FP+ is even causing huge waits at 9-930am for the headliners.

  71. Merrilyn says

    I am so suprised someone on these forums hasn’t figured out how to “work the system” (or perhaps I’ve missed the posts). I know of one way that is very beneficial to cast members, their friends that use their main gate passes and also it would probably work for annual passholders. My biggest fear is that sharing the info would cause the method to somehow get “fixed” so it wouldn’t work any more.

    Think double dip: 1 set of 3 fp+ in advance once you have working magic bands from a previous or current onsite hotel stay and another set of 3 same day fp+. The key here is you don’t have to use the ticket that your magic band is linked to to get into the park that you are using your advance magic band fp+ for. That leaves the ticket that got you into the park available for same day fp+. Unless something major has changed since December 22, 2013 I know from experience that this method works. You do need valid park tickets attached to the magic bands, but after that investment, as long as those tickets have days on them, you are good to go.

  72. says

    We are last minute WDW goers (we usually decide to go around 6 or 8 weeks out). Our schedules don’t really allow for anything else and we take advantage of some of the great “last minute” deals. We were going to go in May but after seeing all this we totally changed our minds. We are waiting and seeing how this all shakes out, because we used FastPass like crazy. Grab passes, go eat, get on a ride, rider switch (my youngest doesn’t like all of them), repeat! Because we are toting around 2 young ones we don’t get on THAT many rides, but when we ride them, we do not like to wait in line. I sure would rather be snacking or shopping instead. And this is what is so crazy! It’s in Disney’s best interest to minimize my wait time because I can’t do those things if I’m spending 5 hours in line a day!

  73. Rachel says

    This 100% reflects what we found in February. I couldn’t get over the crowds at It’s a Small World and Pirates ALL DAY? Yet, despite waiting in longer standby lines than any other Feb we’ve visited, CM’s kept preaching to me “it’s making standby faster!” Like it was a Jedi mind trick…these are not the lines you’re looking for…Not a fan.

  74. Nikki says

    I also don’t know how accurate math can be if you don’t take into account that there were new additions to the park. How did volume change? What was attendance like? How do you know people aren’t using the FP+ and walking on? There are too many ifs.

  75. Bltman says

    Refined entry to the parks, easy onsite payment, allowing people to book rides in advance all with the goal of trying to use the rides to their capacity and lower average wait times. These are all admirable goals of Disney but don’t appear to have been achieved through FP+ (yet). But, the problem for many people is the perception (accurate or not) that FP+ has diverted money that could otherwise be used for premium attractions. i.e. FP+ cost $1 billion; Expedition Everest cost $100 million (don’t know how much mine train cost); even if the cost of building premium rides has increased by 10-20% since Everest that would still mean a significant number of new rides at the parks if not for FP+.

  76. Nikki says

    Bitman- I agree. There were three revamps going on while FP+ was being rolled out. Plus Avatarland is in the works as well as add-ons for Animal Kingdom. Now, I would love to have seen something more than shopping and dining added to the Pleasure Island area. Give me a new dining show SOMETHING! I don’t necessarily need a new ride but i want something to do at night that is not in the parks.

  77. Annie415 says

    Wow Josh impressive data! I did not know you had a math side in you. Beer we know but math is a surprise.

    Dont worry I have both sides too!

  78. Merrilyn says

    @Janelliz
    Correct. You use the tickets that got you into the park for the fp+ kiosk (not the magic bands). Only reason for the magic band is to touch to Mickey for the rides you made fp+ in advance for. Want another tip? Think about this: Family of 6 currently has 6 magic bands with valid tickets attached. For their current trip, only 3 people are visiting the parks. However…..they can make fp+ in advance for all 6 magic bands. Been there…done that :)
    In conclusion, you can have as many sets of advance fp+ as you have magic bands with valid tickets attached (whether or not that person is currently in the parks or even on an active resort stay) plus a set of sameday for the “unattached” ticket that got you into the park.

  79. Doug S says

    Josh, I love your site a ton, but I wonder about the actual data we’re looking at here.

    Your 2014 data only includes 2.5 months of operation. Are you looking at 2013 entirely or just January thru mid March?

    If we’re looking at 2013 in its entirety, the data is not comparable and the wait times will be skewed.

  80. Mary Ann says

    Very interesting analysis Josh. I’d love to see an update on this in say June and then again in the fall.

  81. David says

    We were there the last weekend in February.

    Hollywood Studios (Feb27): At rope drop. Didn’t use FP+ because we were there to ride two rides (ToyStory and StarTours) and then catch as many shows as we could. Left at 4 and came back at 6. Probably should have tried for Fantasmic FP+ though.

    Magic Kingdom (Feb28): At rope drop. Rode PeterPan, Haunted Mansion, Small World by 10; Dumbo and Barnstormer by 11:30. My FP+ signup attempt at 11 was a miserable experience. The kiosk at the back of Storybook Circus was at a twenty minute wait, and the rides we wanted in the early afternoon were mostly gone. We eventually got Thunder Mountain at 7 and Tomorrowland Speedway at 8:30. After Wishes, we walked on Jungle Cruise and had a twenty minute wait for Pirates. Overall, not bad. We left before lunch since Be Our Guest was at an hour and a half wait, and got back to the park at 6 after dinner.

    Epcot (Mar1): Soarin’ at rope drop (actually delayed by ill-timed bathroom break) with a twenty minute wait, Figment, Nemo, Turtle Talk by 11. FP+ gone for everything but Maelstrom and Character Spot by 11:15. We’d done every second tier ride we wanted by that point as well, but at least we skipped a fairly long Maelstrom line.

  82. Brian B says

    The users here reflect a tiny portion of wdw visitors. I’ll be using + for the first time in August. We are super users but are going to keep our eyes open. Looking forward to having a rock and roller fp on the evening of the day we stayed at typhoon lagoon till 3pm. Previously the fp would be long gone for us.

  83. andrew says

    @ Andrew

    Haha i didnt mean it that way bro, just 90+ comments on a josh post was high…more of a joke comment, which is typical from the easyWDW crowd

  84. TriSeb says

    Josh, your data presentation would benefit from decimal points (the more the better :)
    Nice bonus from the wait times processing is having the database to slice and dice, great work.

  85. says

    We were there on Thursday, January 23rd which was a 4 on the crowd calendar. I see Josh shows the peak wait at TOT was 70 mins, but it was posted at 90 when we went to use our fastpass+ and the line was past the entry. We entered the standby queue for Star Tours and got in 43 mins later. Have never seen wait times approach these levels before. I had written Josh months ago bemoaning the death of legacy fastpass and I was advised to be patient and see what happens. Well, I have seen what is happening and now I shall began again to bemoan the death of legacy fastpass.

  86. James says

    My experience, first week in Feb…
    For the first time in my entire life, having gone to WDW 6 other times, I waited OUTSIDE for Pirates and Haunted. And waited longer than expected for Small World.
    I never imagined ever waiting for these rides in the slowest time of the year when I never waited that long in the peak times.
    Not sure why this is happening.

  87. Aaron says

    Josh, do you have any data to compare the change between 2012 and 2013 posted wait times? I’m curious as to how much of the increase in wait times on some rides is due to FP+ and not other factors, such as increased crowds.

  88. Michelle says

    Josh, thank you so much for this post. What a great and timely piece! As Aaron asked, I am also curious if you have any data regarding year to year attendance. I would like to compare to my previous visits and see if I can tell a difference based on how many people were actually there. Do you have any basic data such as 2007 was more crowded than 2008 but much less than 2010? Or anything like that? Do you have/know predictions of what this year holds compared to previous years attendance?
    I know last October had a lot of surprises with very long, unexpected waits. I wonder if there was an upsurge in attendance then?

  89. Mr. Fredricksen says

    I thought FP+ was supposed to make the waits lower and give you the opportunity to ride more often?
    Also, do you ever think they will post FP+ wait times? Like you said at the beginning 100 FP+ would be about the same as 30 standby. But how long is the wait for those 100? It there any way to know?

  90. Aaron says

    I think everyone is ignoring the fact that the legacy Fastpass system was exploitable and only enjoyed by a tiny minority who visit far more often than the average guest. I don’t think it was ever intended for a small group of savvy users to accumulate a wildly disproportionate number of fastpasses when compared to the average guest, but that’s what happened. The new system is designed to make it work they way it was supposed to work in the first place.

    The new system is fair for everybody. Everybody gets three. Informed users will opt for more desirable fastpasses, and less informed users will pick attractions and times in strange, unpredictable ways for a while.

    It’s embarrassing to watch histrionic adults pitch a fit over not being able to game the system anymore. Get over it. Or don’t, Brazil is lined up behind you with fistfuls of cash and no idea what to expect.

  91. says

    The only real problem I have with FP+ is only being able to fast pass one park a day. This basically makes the park hopper option a waste of money. We still get it because we love to eat dinner at Epcot. Let people with the park hopper option fast pass 3 attractions at two parks a day.

  92. Debbie Sellers says

    Wait times at the headliners have gone down in some instances but not by that much. Wait times at some of the secondary rides – those eligible for FP+ – have gone up by quite a bit. So where were all those people last year? They weren’t in standby lines for the secondary rides – that’s why wait times have gone up. They weren’t in line for the headliners because wait times have not changed that much. So where were they? Are they just the result of increased attendance?

  93. says

    Having been a few times since they started to really roll with FP+ I am positive that the overall impact is more time in lines. Even if some lines are unchanged or have a small increase, the fact that other attractions that used to have no or very short waits now have lines. So I may wait the same 45 minutes for BTMRR but I’m also waiting 40 minutes for flying carpets, my total wait time is higher.

    MK is hard on families with one little kid and one slightly bigger one. It always has been, it is just worse now. You used to be able to get maybe 5 or 6 FP sets if you were willing to arrive early, so you could ride Peter Pan with you kids, ride dumbo, teacups and then ride buzz as a family, and Dad and older kid could still ride Space and BTMRR. You can split up and do one parent with younger one and one with older, but it sucks that you miss out on the family experience.

    I’m also positive the ride times on the app are often way off. Soarin’ had people standing in the standby queue all the way up to the entrance with a posted wait of 50 minutes. It took us 30 minutes to go through the FP queue, stand by was at least twice what was posted.

  94. Cheryl says

    I’m thinking that part of Disney’s mission is eventually to spread the crowd out more: to actually increase lines at the second-tier rides, while decreasing waits at the headliners in return, by controlling the number and times of fastpasses more closely. But I think that may be a mistake on their part, as it would make the guest experience perception worse. For example, if you wait 80 minutes for the 2 top-line rides, but got on 8 other rides in 10-13 minutes, waiting a total of 260 minutes, you would feel it was a good day and you hardly had to wait (as you feel you could expect a super long wait on the top ride, but would remember that all the others were walk-on). If you had instead to wait 25-30 minutes on every single ride all day, that perception is that it is really annoying and upsetting that you wasted all that time in all those long lines, even though the total amount of time in line is about the same. You would go home complaining to everyone about how crowded the park is nowadays. It doesn’t surprise me that some rides like Haunted Mansion and Jungle Cruise are experiencing longer waits- I think that is the plan. But it takes a longer wait on several other rides to create a perceptibly shorter wait on one or two headliners.

  95. Will says

    Debbie,

    To answer your question, I don’t think there are necessarily more people than last year, just more people using FASTPASSes. Remember what we are comparing here are Stand-by wait times. If 1000 people when on It’s a Small World when it didn’t have FASTPASS then maybe the average wait time was 20 minutes for everyone. Now if 500 use a FASTPASS and 500 get in the stand-by line, then for 500 that use FP+ the wait time is 5 minutes, but the wait time for the Stand-by shoots up to 35 minutes. The average wait is still 20 minutes per person and the same 1000 people move through the ride, but Stand-by wait time is significantly worse.

    That being said, this shouldn’t be that much of an issue unless you are attempting to do all of MK in one day. If each attraction has a priority, then the new strategy should be to make your FP+ reservations for later in the afternoon and everything moves up in priority. In other words, instead of doing It’s A Small World after lunch when you have already experienced Peter Pan, BTMRR, and Buzz, you do it before lunch and schedule the others for afterwards. The only thing that scares me is that is that FP+ causes totally irrational behavior. “We have to get to Magic Carpets by 10am because we have a reservation!”

    What I am more interested in, and Mr. Fredricksen already asked this questions, is what is happening to FP wait times. If average wait times are about the same overall, but some people are waiting less and some are waiting more (if you are reading this site then you will definitely be in the “waiting more” category), then Disney is going to lose some customers about which, to someone’s point earlier, they may or may not care.

    Last comment. Doing research, planning your FASTPASSes for the day, getting up early, knowing FASTPASS rules, and executing your plan is far from exploitation, it’s just smart. If you aren’t that smart or don’t have the willingness/discipline to do it then don’t cry exploitation. What is unfair is that Disney, in a move that reeks of Socialism, has taken time from those willing to put forth the time and effort to create a park strategy and given it to those who have done nothing more than shown up. If anything is unfair, that is. I have don’t ride headliners more than once and I am out of the parks by 1pm every day so I rarely used more than a few FP’s myself, but I respected others’ right and commitment to do so. It stings when things become “fairer” for everyone by negating one’s ability to plan.

  96. Marta says

    I wonder what is happening to character meet and greet lines. Are the (awesome) articles about character prioritization that Josh wrote last December still current? I assume the order of priority is the same, but the wait times are higher. Does anyone know?

  97. Sue says

    Will, I couldn’t agree more. I think the FP+ system is totally unfair. What’s worse is the tiers at Epcot and DHS are horrible. Limiting us to a choice of Sorin or TT? Then 2 useless FPs you don’t need anyway. I liked the old system way better!!! Just because we understood the system, how is that exploiting it? Nothing wrong with willing to do the leg work to get FPs. Or pulling another FP for your fav attraction to be able to ride more then once without having to stand in a 60 min queue!!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *