We have a lot to cover today with the first day of “FASTPASS enforcement” and the Flower and Garden Festival over at Epcot. I took pictures of all the Flower and Garden Festival merchandise along with pictures of the topiaries, booths, kiosks, exhibits, etc. I also have updates about arriving at the International Gateway for rope drop and the current state of the Magic Kingdom Resort and Express Monorail lines. There’s a Sunshine Seasons breakfast review in there somewhere. And some other nonsense I’m sure.
We’ll start with FASTPASS return time enforcement.
So today it is. You may have noticed that this week’s Times Guides only went through Tuesday the 6th, which is odd because they usually go from Sunday through the following Saturday. Disney printed new Times Guides today with the blurb you see underneath the operating hours – “To ensure you have the best experience possible, please remember to return to FASTPASS attractions within your return time window (printed on FASTPASS tickets).” This was printed on the Times Guides for each of the four major theme parks.
Before today, FASTPASSes looked like this:
Where I say “Date Ticket Printed,” I mean it’s the date that my Annual Pass was reprinted. It’s really not important to this discussion.
Today, FASTPASSes looked like this:
There are two key differences. The first is that the FASTPASS specifically states that people arriving after the FASTPASS return window will not be permitted to enter the FASTPASS line. Note that “accommodate” is spelled wrong on the FASTPASS.
The second is the “GP” in the lower right hand corner. This indicates the “grace period” or the amount of time after the FASTPASS return window that you’ll actually be granted access to the FASTPASS line. In this instance, the GP works out to 15 minutes after the FASTPASS return time. You may remember that this is exactly what WDWMAGIC reported last month. The actual FASTPASS return window is five minutes before the printed window opens through 15 minutes after. In this instance, the printed window is 12:05pm to 1:05pm and the actual window is 12:00pm to 1:20pm.
You’ll also see signs like this one on top of each FASTPASS machine.
The back of the new FASTPASS:
Interestingly, it’s exactly the same as before. Spacing and everything.
Soarin’ was a mess this morning. You can see that the FASTPASS I collected at 9:44am already had a return time after noon. Soarin’ issued its last FASTPASS at 1:23pm. I know because I was “literally” the person behind the person that got the last two.
At about 1pm, I decided to buy a souvenir bucket of popcorn, head over to Soarin’, and listen to people’s sob stories as they begged the FASTPASS cast member to let them in after their FASTPASS window had closed forever. After all, little Tommy is ill with rotavirus, and the family had to wait while he bathed in the fountain. Or Rose & Crown Pub decided to play the England Card and sat you 35 minutes after your reservation time. Or you didn’t realize the Magic Kingdom Monorail system was down from 11:30am through 6pm and had to find and take the bus over to the Ticket/Transportation Center from the Grand Floridian and then had to transfer to Epcot via a Monorail that had to restart itself twice before finally leaving the station. You are paying $1,285 a night for a One Bedroom Club Level room after all (the actual current cost for said room). And some high school dropout is going to say you can’t ride because you’re 20 minutes late? Or a meteor struck your minivan. Or Donald Duck groped you and you’ve been in counseling for six months straight. Or…
Mmmmmmmmmmm popcorn. But I stood there for ten minutes and no one was turned away. Not a single person was turned away for arriving after their FASTPASS return window had closed. Because it was a little early for me to arrive late personally, I decided to head to my favorite film attraction starring three characters from The Lion King and also featuring real life scenes from the environment. It’s a tough category.
With Habit Heroes closed, the opportunities to feel like a despicable human being are fewer and farther in between. Circle of Life will have to do.
Not a bad place to live. Is this Mars? Oh, it represents the domestic ticket sales for John Carter (From Mars Needs Moms). That makes more sense.
Here we are waiting to enter the FASTPASS return line at 1:24pm or 19 minutes after the FASTPASS return window should have closed. Four minutes after the grace period had passed. The idea being that I’m arriving just barely after the grace period. Would I really be shuttled into the 60 minute standby line over four minutes?
I showed the FASTPASS to the cast member and asked, “So I’m out of luck with this?” He gave me the, “Today…..you can enter, but in the future please return during the one hour window.” I said thanks and didn’t actually get in line because I wanted to try again. I came back 20 minutes later. I received a similar spiel from a different cast member, but was still let through. So both times I returned after the return window closed and after the grace period had passed and was still let through.
Grabbed a Test Track FASTPASS, where we see the same layout as the Soarin’ FASTPASSes. They got “accommodate” right on this one though. Note that the GP is 7:40pm here with the window closing at 7:25pm. A 15 minute grace period again. Also note that I collected this FASTPASS at 1:33pm and can collect another FASTPASS at 3:30pm. So the “rules” about when a new FASTPASS can be collected are still true. It’s either when your current FASTPASS window opens or after two hours, whichever is sooner.
I didn’t stick around to use this FASTPASS late, but I did use a Mission: Space Orange Team FASTPASS 45 minutes after the grace period ended and received a similar spiel as Soarin’. I would be allowed to enter today, but need to return within the window in the future.
How soon is that future? Soon, it looks like. But not today.