Magic Bands, Bus Structures, Uncharacteristically Brief Magic Kingdom Update, Pecos Bill Adds Karubi Short Ribs (y u do dis)

by josh on July 13, 2013

Larger: http://www.easywdw.com/reports9/bandits.jpg. The last significant MyMagic+ test concluded late last month and management considers it an overwhelming success, with over 95% of testers rating their overall experience, “Excellent.”  After several tests where the new system basically collapsed on itself within a couple of hours, the June test went off almost without a hitch.  Testers reportedly loved the ability to schedule their favorite attractions in advance and overwhelmingly preferred using their MagicBands to enter the Parks and their rooms.  And perhaps most importantly to Disney, guests using MagicBands spent significantly more money than the control group, which were guests in a similar demographic (similar number of stays, same room type, etc) that were not given access to MyMagic+.

Of course, these testers had access to the old FASTPASS system at the same time, a luxury that the rest of us won’t be able to take advantage of once the system finally goes online.  In addition, testers could freely choose any three FASTPASS+ enabled attractions.  They also had the ability to change their selections as they saw fit without any concern that FASTPASS+ wouldn’t be available at their selected attraction.  When the system goes online, there won’t be an unlimited supply of FASTPASS+ opportunities at the most popular attractions, like Toy Story Mania and Soarin’.  And because the test was limited, there were virtually no lines at the new FASTPASS+ attractions like Haunted Mansion and Disney Jr.  A family of four that scheduled it’s a small world at 11am would likely be the only family entering the FASTPASS+ queue during that entire one hour time period.  But these concerns are of no consequence to the number crunchers that only report the exemplary satisfaction ratings and higher guest spending to the higher ups.


If you subscribe to the nonsense that is the “Disney fan community on Twitter,” you have no doubt seen and heard all you want about these MagicBand accessories and t-shirts.  I guess the shirts are kind of dumb, but so are 100,000+ of the other ones Disney sells these days.

Construction continues on the new bus loop at Magic Kingdom.

I’ve ridden the monorail over several times in the last couple weeks as construction has picked up.  Seeing a large, cleared plot of land and construction crews inevitably gets people excited, particularly when they see some bro who obviously spends a lot of time in front of the computer taking pictures of it.

The news that it’s really a glorified bus turnaround is usually met with “a few choice words.”

Wait times remain short at Main Street Bakery.  There are at least two cast members for every guest here at 2:25pm on July 7th.  More efficient than unpopular.

What’s roasting at the Bakery these days. Kati Kati Blend sounds interesting: Swahili for “between,” Kati Kati strikes an invigorating balance between the citrus and spice notes from Kenya and the subtle floral aromas and crisip acidity from Ethiopia. Bright, medium-bodied and delightful hot or iced.

A Venti New Valencia Orange Refresher. I guess because I forgot they come in a Trenta size. I am not real sure what goes into making one of these, but they don’t seem like they’re much of a value at nearly five bucks. That isn’t a “Disney” markup either – it’s what you can expect to pay at any Starbucks. Actually, looking over the nutrition facts, a Trenta Refresher has 170 calories and 100 grams of caffeine.  You might as well drink one of those $4.29 Monster Energy Drinks, though the Refresher is….refreshing.  I did also learn that there is a word that rhymes with orange – sporange.

Somewhat unexpectedly, crowds over Independence Day were lower than the last two weeks in June with extremely low occupancy rates at the Deluxe resorts.

This short Magic Kingdom update is preceded by a much more robust Epcot update, where you might be surprised it’s July considering the number of people around.

Crowds continue being driven by South America.  During the next earnings report conference call, it wouldn’t surprise me to hear that South American attendance is nearing 25% of overall attendance this year, should an analyst ask.

Work continues on the Mine Train.

The almost-entirely-outdoors queue for Enchanted Tales remains a place you don’t want to find yourself any time outside of first thing in the morning or in the late evening.  If you have other morning priorities, you can put Belle off until sometime around the first Electrical Parade or Wishes.  There is some dissent over whether you should go to Enchanted Tales first because of the amount of time it takes in the morning and also how short waits are during the evening entertainment.  The reality is that short waits at Enchanted Tales during the evening entertainment are not unique to the attraction – you could visit almost any attraction and experience short waits during the Electrical Parade or Wishes, perhaps with the exception of Peter Pan’s Flight.  While it’s true that Enchanted Tales takes 25 minutes in the morning, Space Mountain is going to take you at least 20.  A character like Tinker Bell or Merida would also take at least 20 minutes as you have to wait until the characters first appear at 9:15am.  Splash Mountain is another attraction that will take at least 20 minutes in the morning.  But do keep in mind that waits do decrease at Enchanted Tales after 9pm here in the summer and it’s a perfectly viable time to visit.  It’s just that you could visit virtually any other attraction and experience similarly short waits.

The Chicken Provencal takes the place of the Cornish Hen.

This picture doesn’t capture the size of the thing, which is one of the largest breasts of chicken I’ve seen in my life.  As far as chicken goes, it was quite good.  For $21.99, it’s a pretty safe bet.

Good news on the Casey Jr. front as water pressure is back to full blast.  I’m not sure I want to know what that garbage can is for.

The Orange Slush is now advertised at Cosmic Ray’s registers.  I enjoyed the first enough that I ordered a second and it was topped with a lot more cream than the original, which may be an indication they’re trying to sweeten it up a bit.  While still not overly sweet, I would no longer characterize it as a tart beverage.  I think it’s one of the most refreshing drinks available.

The website was meeting up with one of its arch nemeses, “The Brickers,” whom you may recognize from Facebook, Flickr, Pinterest, Instagram, Twitter, and I really have no idea what else.  The original plan was to rent an ECV and “accidentally” run them over, but some old person rented the last one right before I approached the desk.  Maybe next time.  Actually, they returned to wherever it is they come from with a great look at the Disney water parks.  Check out Tom’s look at Blizzard Beach here with links to the various other posts covering food, snacks, and touring strategies.  People occasionally ask whether this website will cover the water parks.  A few things – I am already literally the creepiest person in the world and I’m not sure pointing my camera at little kids in bathing suits is a situation I should find myself in.  Second, I do not exactly have a beach body and in an attempt to blend in and not attract attention, would most likely show up in an extremely cheap suit and tie.  And third, I don’t even have tickets.  Anyway, we find ourselves at Journey of the Little Mermaid because Tom wanted a picture of the back side of water.  I’m not kidding.  The 70 minute wait was uncharacteristically long considering shorter waits at the headlining attractions.  FASTPASS return remained 40 minutes out.

As I’ve mentioned in the past, I am not a big fan of Journey of the Little Mermaid, maybe because I think the source material is bad.  First of all, like most human beings, I want to be a mermaid.  So I have difficulty sympathizing with a character that seems unhappy with the fact that she’s rich, beautiful, thin, and lives underwater with a full orchestra and talking fish.

And Ursula gets a pretty bad rap.  I don’t think there’s a Disney character I’d be happier to run into grabbing a drink at La Cava.

And let’s not forget the movie would be seven minutes long if Ariel had just brought a chalkboard with her.  Worst case scenario: I’m sure Prince No Personality would have been more than happy to snuggle up with Ariel on the couch with a bag of popcorn and Rosetta Stone for Sign Language streaming on Netflix.

Probably should have moved those Rapunzel bathrooms over to New Fantasyland and themed this ride to Rapunzel with some funny jokes and an original soundtrack.

Tour groups.  Larger if you want to count: http://www.easywdw.com/reports9/tourgroups.jpg.  Don’t miss the tour group crossing the bridge on the left.

This word. I don’t think it means what you think it means.

You may remember from a recent update that Sleepy Hollow Refreshments emerged from behind scrims without a shingled roof or signage of any kind.  A few days later (here on the 7th), the roof is about half done.  One wonders why they didn’t simply wait an extra week to unmask a perfectly refurbished building.  Someone somewhere probably needed to meet a deadline.

When I saw the 200+ tour group girls headed to Frontierland, I “literally” got on my hands and knees and prayed to Tom Hanks that they weren’t going to Pecos Bill.

Luckily they weren’t.  Pecos Bill added a new menu item for dinner (only available after 4pm) last week – The Karubi Style Short Ribs with Coleslaw and choice of Corn on the Cob, Apple Slices, Sweet Potato Fries, or French Fries.

They were excited enough to feature the item in the center section.  Note what the ribs look like in the picture.  They’re accompanied by the Root Beer Slush.  You may remember that I strongly disliked the Root Beer Slush, which is basically root beer syrup poured over ice cubes.  I’m not sure if others have had better experiences.

Don’t worry – the Pork Glop Platter is still available alongside the new-ish Deluxe Chicken Sandwich and Southwest Chicken Salad.

This is how your Karubi Ribs appear on the plate alongside the radioactive-looking Sweet Potato Fries. I’m not sure the small picture emphasizes the texture or the amount of fat covering the ribs. Larger: http://www.easywdw.com/reports9/karubi2.jpg.

I’m still not sure the amount of fat on these suckers is obvious.  The good news is that the meat was quite good – moist, tender, and bathed in a tangy barbecue sauce.  I had some problems differentiating what was meat and what was fat because the textures were similar and you’re fighting the battle with a plastic fork and knife on the battlefield that is a slippery paper plate.  The Sweet Potato Fries, which you could argue are nutritionally worse-for-you than the regular fries, seemed to be the same that they used to serve at Restaurantosaurus.  They were crispy with a distinct sweet potato flavor – a nice change of pace from the prototypical Disney fry.

There’s one short rib on the left – everything on the right of the plate is either fat or bone.  My caution here is to expect a lot of fat covering the ribs, potentially making them not-kid-friendly as well as taking some time to separate meat and fat.  It’s not a particularly attractive process.  The good news is that it’s a ton of food and quite filling.  And the meat that you do uncover should be moist and flavorful.  The side of coleslaw is kind of a joke, but I’m not complaining since I don’t like coleslaw.  It’s about two bites in a tiny cup.  At $14.19, the meal is one of the more expensive on the Disney Dining Plan.  With how disgusting the food looks on the plate and how arduous the ribs are to eat, I can’t give the Karubi Style Short Ribs two thumbs up.  But please comment if you’ve tried them.  We all have different tastes.

I lied about Magic Kingdom being scrim-less. There is still this one next to Aloha Isle.

New sunglasses:



Okay I might rock the Minnie.

Next up, we’ll take a look at food, drinks, and merch around Epcot.

{ 48 comments… read them below or add one }

bnoble July 13, 2013 at 10:25 am

“I don’t think there’s a Disney character I’d be happier to run into grabbing a drink at La Cava.”

Hades.

RebeccaMcK July 13, 2013 at 10:37 am

They’re out of those Lone Ranger boot mugs at Golden Horseshoe in DLand (Anaheim) – I didn’t think to ask if I could still get a root beer slush without the “fancy” souvenir mug when I was there over a week ago. I might have liked it – I normally like slushy soda drinks. Magic+ Bands getting souvenir t-shirt recognition? Ugh. I’ll settle for just the band on my wrist when the time comes. Thanks for the link to Tom’s water park posts (I see in the article he has a link to his Typhoon Lagoon post, too, so I’ve bookmarked them to read later for in case we EVER do the water parks. The kiddo doesn’t do water slides). A friend who just went to WDW for the first time came back and told me they did all four parks and the water parks in four days, plus DTD (didn’t stop to meet any characters, stayed off site, and used FP as much as they could. Well done, considering they didn’t have any “training,” lol. I don’t think they had ADRs either. The only park they spent more than one day in was MK, and they just did partial days in the other three parks – late June with low waits, they said). Apparently there’s some kind of “snorkel with the fish” thing at Typhoon Lagoon (probably for an extra fee) – the friend told me about it.

Loved your “Princess Bride” reference with the “treats” sign with spoonrests, btw. And the ribs kind of look good. I hate coleslaw; I’d probably ask them to leave it off my plate entirely. I’m always saving places their unwanted ingredients.

RebeccaMcK July 13, 2013 at 10:42 am

Oh, forgot to mention Little Mermaid – I love your take on it, Josh. Ariel is still my kiddo’s favorite princess, and as long as she’s with me in the parks we’ll always have to ride the ride (just did it at DCA, and the exterior isn’t as good as MK’s version – but we did MK’s version with FP once in March), but when I’m there without her I tend not to ride it. But yeah, a Rapunzel ride would have been cool. I like the Little Mermaid and its ride but I think I’ve had my fill of it now. Next time we’re in Orlando might be October 2014, so the kiddo MIGHT be okay skipping it by then (she’ll be almost 9-1/2 by then, but she tends to “feel/act” younger). And we’ll only do Enchanted Tales with Belle again if we have grandparents with us – the kiddo already got to play the Beast the first and only time we did it (great roar audition), so we can’t top that unless she gets to do it again and the grandparents get to watch, lol.

Cindi July 13, 2013 at 11:04 am

Could you do a video and post about Mickey’s America Street Beat? Puh-leeze, you’ll be my new best friend!

krikiter July 13, 2013 at 11:22 am

“I don’t think there’s a Disney character I’d be happier to run into grabbing a drink at La Cava.”

“Hades.”

You’re both wrong, the correct answer is Yzma. Kitten or human form, doesn’t matter. And geographically and thematically speaking, the most likely.

Thanks for the update, as always, Josh.

CrazyProf July 13, 2013 at 11:31 am

Speaking of the Brickers…I’ve always wondered how bloggers coordinate–do you just run into each other randomly in the parks, taking pictures of menus and merchandise, and strike up a conversation? Or is there some Knights Templar-like secret organization that we citizens are unaware of? Maybe a professional association that has conventions where no one actually speaks to each other because they are too busy posting? Probably just email, but that sounds too normal.

snarkymama July 13, 2013 at 11:33 am

Love the new sever. Woo-hoo!

Any idea when the Magic Band thing will go into real, full effect? Is it weird they’re selling covers for things that, as far as I know, aren’t even currently available? I know Disney will sell anything, but it seems like the questions this will inevitably provoke will cost more Cast Member time to explain than is worthwhile.

Oh and, by the way, I think the whole thing is a suck-tacular idea. Planning, to the hour, when I want to ride Toy Story Mania, or Soarin’, 180, or even 60, days out or otherwise risk not getting to do them at all (without a two-hour wait). Gooby, please!

Steve July 13, 2013 at 11:35 am

Your second paragraph: two thumbs up. You’d think Disney would be well aware of the situation you’ve just pointed out, surely?

Also – Ariel, long red hair, clamshell bikini, ’nuff said. ;)

cupcake July 13, 2013 at 11:55 am

I just can’t with those band t-shirts. I’m surprised they didn’t make t-shirts celebrating the fact that APs are now plastic.

Kerri July 13, 2013 at 12:59 pm

I have to agree about the root beer slush. I’m still having nightmares!

tanya July 13, 2013 at 1:12 pm

thanks for taking one for the team and “eating” those short ribs. The big question is, how did you feel later?

ceb104 July 13, 2013 at 1:17 pm

What are the Bandits for? Are they like Jibbitz for the bands? Interesting.

Ellie July 13, 2013 at 1:27 pm

Thanks for the report on the short ribs! The fat. Hmm. Wasn’t expecting them to be so fatty. But still might need to try them in Oct if they make it that long.

Michele July 13, 2013 at 2:01 pm

Am I the only one missing a hole update?

KB July 13, 2013 at 2:44 pm

I think immediately after calling yourself the “creepiest person in the world” you should have posted the pic of the Birthday sunglasses. It’s the Guy Selling the Teapot on eBay!

Your points on FP+ are the ones I’ve been thinking of a while. People are going to be happy if they can pre-plan all the Mountains before they leave, but the fact is, they AREN’T going to be allowed to do that when everybody is let in the door. So one of two things happen: 1) First come first serve on the biggies, meaning a handful of people get to reserve the Mountains and everybody else is SOL and the regular FPs have windows way in the future, meaning a small percentage of guests is happy and a large percentage is unhappier than when FP+ didn’t exist. Or 2) They let you have just ONE E-Ticket FP+ and the others are all crap you didn’t use to need them for, which then means EVERYBODY except for the dumbest visitors will be unhappier. Until they find a system where your entire day is planned, with a planned time for EVERY SINGLE RIDE in the park, this isn’t going to be a big people pleaser. I truly believe that was the original plan, but that will never happen in a park unless everybody wants to ride everything equally. You can’t force people to visit the Tiki Room if they don’t want to visit the Tiki Room, and that’s what makes this all fall apart.

Adam July 13, 2013 at 2:50 pm

I literally laughed out loud when I read this line:

“When I saw the 200+ tour group girls headed to Frontierland, I “literally” got on my hands and knees and prayed to Tom Hanks that they weren’t going to Pecos Bill.”

Keep up the great work! I really enjoy reading your posts!

KellyG July 13, 2013 at 2:55 pm

We were disappointed in the Little Mermaid ride, but came away with several laughs about it. There is the weird animated part (when she is being changed into a mortal I think, thrashing around in the water), where her top seems to be animated separately and moves around independently from the rest of her. The look on her face at the end of the ride (wedding scene) has caused us to rename the attraction “Drunk Mermaid”. For some reason, my husband was most offended by the plastic water and cardboard in the “Kiss the Girl” part and complained about it numerous times since returning home.

KB July 13, 2013 at 4:44 pm

By the way, I think the Magic Band t-shirts are pure genius. Don’t get me wrong, the idea of actually owning one is ridiculous, but putting the thing on a t-shirt will give it a “coolness” factor to people who buy into advertising. “OMG, look, there are t-shirts with that bracelet thing on it! They must be just as cool as Mickey Mouse!” (which is probably true since Mickey Mouse certainly isn’t cool). This then lends a little excitement to the new thing. And, as you state, there are hundreds of thousands of horrible items that people ARE buying. So SOME people WILL buy these shirts, and wear them around WDW, and those same easily fooled people will go, “OMG! I can’t wait until I can get one of those cheap bracelets that apparently cost over a billion dollars and then ride The Little Mermaid while everyone else is over at super un-fun Harry Potter World!!!” Checkmate, Universal! Okay, that got really sarcastic, but I do think the idea behind creating excitement for the band is solid, even if little about the band itself is solid.

JenniferS July 13, 2013 at 5:55 pm

Totally unrelated to anything you’ve posted today, but I have to offer you my deepest gratitude.
I have been impatiently waiting for a Free Dining announcement for November, as I cannot go during the current September offering. Well, long story short, my boss phoned me yesterday and it turns out I CAN go in September, but NOT in November. I looked at Hubby – he nodded his head that I can go (he can’t); called my sister-in-law; and we high-tailed it over to CAA immediately.
We booked our trip for September 23-October 2. I loaded up your park calendars for those two months, whipped up a quicky calendar, and had all of our ADR’s done in less than two hours.
YOU ROCK, JOSH. It would have taken me weeks (literally) without your valuable insight.
I spent a couple of hours today revisiting all my plans, and except for adding some DTD time, I stuck with the plan.
Can’t wait. And can’t thank you enough. SIL and I will again have our eyes peeled looking for our favourite polo shirt/cargo pants-wearing blogger while in the parks.
Gotta ask, though, what the heck is up with the shirt in your twitter pic with the Tonto hat?

RebeccaMcK July 13, 2013 at 6:14 pm

Mickey Mouse IS COOL! lol
Had to say it.

Shannon July 13, 2013 at 6:19 pm

One of the funniest ones in awhile. I’d love to run into any of the above mentioned at La Cava. Great nite!

To the water parks point – look at it this way – there’s NO way you can be the WORST looking guy there! That’s what I tell myself at the beach/pool. But if you don’t have tickets, you don’t have tickets!

Congrats on the new server!

Peter H July 13, 2013 at 6:48 pm

I wonder what the tipping point for tour groups will be. Can Disney keep accommodating more and more of them? When will they start battling each other rather than trying to walk all over us normal people.

In the two weeks that we have been here so far, we have seen them nearly everywhere. Universal, Bubba Gumps, downtown Disney, Florida mall, Disney quest, Aquatica, seaworld, blizzard beach…. In fact I think the only place we haven’t seen them is Gatorland but for how long?

Jessica Durfee July 13, 2013 at 6:49 pm

Oh dear I want those Minnie sunglasses.

Jen July 13, 2013 at 7:05 pm

We were there in the MK on the 7th as well. We got stuck with the “orange” tour group on Pirates of the Caribbean. We thought we were safe from them since they got in line about 50 people behind us, but they ended up pushing us to the other loading side so everyone on our side got stuck between the boats of Tour Group. They stood on the ride, screamed at the tops of their lungs the whole time, and relentlessly took flash pictures of every single moment of the ride. It was the single worst experience I’ve ever had at Disney and I’m shocked they let them behave that way on the ride. I feel especially bad for those who were stuck on the ride who don’t get to go to Disney all the time like DH & I do with our APs.

That aside, it was nowhere near as crowded this weekend as I thought it would be. It was actually a lot quieter than when we were there for MLK weekend. FP were still available at Toy Story after 2pm on the Saturday of Holiday weekend- didn’t see that coming.

Peter H July 13, 2013 at 7:35 pm

The woman loading one of the sides of Dragon Challenge just threw her hands up in the air and gave up the other day when the Argentina football strip gang decided to randomly change the row she had told them to stand in. Genuinely quite funny

Anonymous July 13, 2013 at 10:16 pm

I’d like to have drinks with the Lady Tremaine. She looks like she was a party girl in her day.

Patty July 14, 2013 at 1:52 am

I really wonder when they are going to get fastpass+ really running. The website has been slowly updated with fastpass+ and now even has an FAQ about it. In the FAQ they state you can get up to 4 fastpass+ reservations a day. I wonder if that’s something they plan on changing once it rolls out. All these changes are making me uneasy with my mid October vacation. I just want to know i we will be on the old system or new!

Oh, and thanks for the great update Josh! I’m sure your beach body is fine ^_^

Jenifer July 14, 2013 at 10:10 am

“Prayed to Tom Hanks” For some reason that cracked me uppppppp. Love this site for the info and entertainment!

Kevin July 14, 2013 at 10:47 am

I always enjoyed the tour group threads on the DIS. Inevitably, some DIS tightass claims anyone who complains about these obnoxious groups is a racist. Good times, good times.

Tom Bricker July 14, 2013 at 11:54 am

@CrazyProf – there is a Disney blogger secret society, but both of us were blackballed by TGM. Such is life, I suppose? Instead, we use courier pigeons to coordinate this stuff.

ocalla July 14, 2013 at 4:32 pm

Just wanted to thank you for posting the link for the Waterpark review!!! this really helped us make our final choice of Typhoon Lagoon :)

ocalla July 14, 2013 at 4:33 pm

@Tom Bricker
Your waterpark review was great. So glad Josh recommended it!!!

You guys are great :)

PA Fan July 14, 2013 at 10:54 pm

Am I the only one who is reminded of “das boot” from Beerfest when I see that glass at Pecos?

Levon July 15, 2013 at 7:45 am

I’m confussed are the regular FastPasses going away with FastPass+? I hadn’t heard that, I guess I was assuming both systems would be running concurrently.

Rhiannon July 15, 2013 at 7:57 am

From now on, when recommending your web site to others, I shall do so with the lead-in that it’s written by the self-professed “creepiest person in the world.” If that doesn’t pull them in in droves, I don’t know what will.

can124 July 15, 2013 at 8:20 am

Okay, there were two times in this blog where I literally laughed out loud: the comment about the tour groups and Pecos Bill’s and praying to Tom Hanks. “Talladega Nights…” was on last night and the praying to Tom Hanks made me think of Ricky Bobby praying to Tom Cruise to use his witchcraft to save him from being on fire. So fantastic. Thank you for always making me laugh Josh!

KristenF July 15, 2013 at 9:29 am

The funniest blog in recent memory. Glad that you and Bricker are secretly buddies.

Nicole July 16, 2013 at 6:21 pm

Where can you buy those sunglasses? Taking my boys in September and they will be celebrating their exact birthdays at the Magic Kingdom (three days apart). Thanks!

Lisa July 17, 2013 at 3:46 pm

Very very clever “praying to Tom Hanks” Can’t wait to see the movie

Christine July 17, 2013 at 8:30 pm

This is the funniest post you’ve ever written. Thanks for the laughs!

MM July 19, 2013 at 11:09 am

Just got notified that I have been selected to participate in the Fastpass+ test when I come to visit in early August. Haven’t downloaded the app yet onto my phone, but this has been my experience thus far with trying to set things up on the computer.

First, the website to set this all up (under the MyDisney Experience tab on the main website) is just as slow and glitchy as the rest of the Disney website. I have already been on the phone twice with Disney to set up my stuff and will probably have a few more calls before it’s all said and done. MyMagic+ and Fastpass+ is supposedly going to allow you to reserve meet and greets with characters and viewing positions for parades/fireworks. I haven’t seen anything about reserving viewing positions for fireworks, but the characters are available on the Fastpass+ system. MyDisney Experience, if you haven’t used it, is essentially an itinerary building tool.

The Fastpass+ seems like both a good thing and a bad thing. You can arrange three reservations at a single park per day. These must be for three DIFFERENT rides/attractions. You will NOT have the option to grab additional regular Fastpasses in addition to the three reservations you set up. Everything else will be standby only. However, if you have Parkhopper, you CAN go to a different park and use the regular fastpasses. I think a moment’s reflection would show that the smartest way to go about things would be to use your ordinary morning touring plan, using regular fastpass tickets. Then, after taking the midday off away from the crowds, parkhop and use Fastpass+ in the later part of the day. This will ensure that in the afternoon, you will have a Fastpasses available for the rides you want to do, and that the return windows aren’t crazy late or interfering with dining reservations. I think the way the system is setup is both helpful and limiting. It doesn’t let you preplan your entire vacation down to the minute – which is a good thing. On the other hand, it doesn’t really let you ride the big rides multiple times with multiple fastpasses if that’s your thing – you have to use standby after your one reservation. And you can only make 3 fastpass+ reservations, so the system isn’t saturated. It does seem like a stealth way to drive traffic away from the big name rides. I think the magic bands will be a big hit, but Fastpass+ as currently conceived probably won’t be.

You are not obligated to setup Fastpass+ for every day of your visit, so if you want to use it one day, you can do regular touring on other days.

I had already set up my ADR’s with my travel agent, and these were already preloaded into the system when I logged in. Reservations can be set up for Be Our Guest and The Diamond Horseshoe in addition to the table service restaurants.

Leah July 19, 2013 at 7:14 pm

I’m so baffled by the 70 minute wait at Little Mermaid. Did you fastpass it or test this out. The capacity on that thing is so huge and continually moving, I just don’t get how the wait could be that long.
And those band t-shirts are about the cheesiest thing I’ve seen in a while.. Fingers crossed I run across one in a thrift store in a couple years…… I would pay $1 for one. :)

LesliePR July 22, 2013 at 9:44 am

@MM
could you post your thoughts after your trip in early August???? pleaseeeeeeee??????

RebeccaMcK July 25, 2013 at 8:26 am

@MM
But is all that just how it’s being done during testing only? I was assuming that once the Magic+ and FP+ are up and running for everyone, that would be the ONLY way to get FPs and might even keep people from park hopping. And that would be lame because not everyone in the world has a computer or smart phone, and there are still casual visitors who just pop into a theme park for the day and think they can pull FPs for what they want to do (if they even ever use FPs). Anyway, I’ll second what LesliePR asked….please post your thoughts after your trip. I don’t go to the forums any more (I just stick to the home page blog entries), so maybe post the thread (if you’re doing a trip report or just a post or two in the forums about it) here in the comments some time so we can find it. Thanks in advance.

MM July 26, 2013 at 7:57 am

I wanted to add some clarification to my previous post. I have since contacted the customer service folks to get further information. What I have gleaned is the following:
1) The person I originally spoke to on the phone gave erroneous information. I will not be able to use the regular Fastpass system, only Fastpass+. Therefore, if I am at a park that is not my Fastpass+ park of the day, I am on standby only for all rides – which really sucks.
2) I could theoretically show up at a park in the morning and have my Fastpass+ designations switched over to the park I happen to be visiting, but this would defeat the purpose of using Fastpass+ in the first place as the idea is that you are trying to plan ahead.
3) It does make parkhopping less desirable – maybe for the Disney, this is a feature, not a bug.
4) I think this puts an even greater premium on showing up early for the parks. First, because if you want to ride the big rides more than once, you want to get in the standby line before wait times get really bad, then you can use your Fastpass+ for later in the day when crowds have gotten bigger. Second, if you plan to parkhop, you probably want to save your Fastpasses for the park you are going to hit second, unless you are going to show up late in the day at that second park when the crowds have started to thin.
5) I think this also ends up encouraging people to plan their trips on less crowded times of the year. What’s the point of planning a “trip of a lifetime” if you can only ride Space Mountain once without enduring a 90+ minute wait for a second ride?
6) Once this system becomes obligatory, the touring plans dreamed up by Josh and others will be obsolete and need to be completely reconfigured.

I’m not sure how wait times will be affected once everybody is forced to use the system (after all, how many Fastpasses do you actually use per day at each of the actual theme parks?), but it does seem designed to keep people from being Fastpass hoarders.

Finally, I think that if you are the type of person who wants to come to the parks to maximize the number of rides you hit (aka follow a touring plan), you are going to hate this system. On the other hand, if you are more of a casual visitor, Fastpass+ may appeal to you. I already know that I will be able to go right on Toy Story Mania on Tuesday August 6th at 9:00, because I already have Fastpasses set up for that ride. I don’t have to worry about showing up at the park 30 minutes before rope drop to make sure I hit TSMM first thing.

Anonymous August 2, 2013 at 3:45 am

Im woirries about how the “testing” of Fp+ will affect our trip from the UK in two weeks time. Im sad not to be part of the trial where you can double dip.
People on other sites saying they have reserved Be our Guest lunches, all the mountains etc etc. What scraps are left for us ???? ;-(

Linda August 2, 2013 at 3:48 am

I hope Disney STOPS the trial people in August getting DOUBLE Fps.
That will be unfair to our family, who has paid alot to stay in a deluxe hotel and now looks likely to have less “magical” experience than those staying in a moderate, or value. Its not about the money, I just want a level playing field.

Either do FP+ and reserve 3 rides… OR do the original way with FP.

PLEASE DISNEY … of course the trial people are happy… who wouldnt be??? if you can do both !!!!!!
Think about the rest of your guests. !!!!!!!!!!!

Christie W August 5, 2013 at 4:44 pm

Okay, we have been DVC club members since 04/07. Usually stay at Boardwalk /Yacht Club/Beach Club Villas. This works well with a responsible teen and gps on the iphone.

We normally come in Nov. for the weekend preceding Vet. Day. It’s a nice long weekend, and my children miss a small amount of school. Well worth it.

It searching your site today, and (others) I have run across two things since we were there in Jan. for my son’s 14′th b’day. 1) the wrist bands?????? didn’t see those, or know about them. Help me out here? New form of FPass? 2) Free Dining Plan for month of Nov.??, (as that is our usual month, I’m very interested.)

Thanks so much. I appreciate it.

Looking forward to coming home in November. ;)

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