Tag Archives: Fastpass
This is the age-old Disney question – how much and what to bring with you to the Disney parks. As you have read often at Chip and Co, the answer is… it depends. There are three main factors to consider – who you are traveling with, your budget, and how prepared you like to be for every eventuality.
In my book, it is only necessary to bring four things to the park for a successful day of touring. Must-haves are your “documents,” sunscreen, water or other beverages, and a touring plan.
Documents will vary for each guest but include your Key to the World, park pass, DVC membership card (for discounts), Tables in Wonderland card (for a dining discount), Photopass card, and ADR numbers. I learned the hard way that you should also bring your driver’s license if having an adult beverage is on your agenda. Although I am closer than forty than thirty, I was carded on my last trip and didn’t have appropriate identification so don’t assume you’re too old to be asked for ID! Note: Magic Kingdom is a dry park.
Convenience is at the top of my list when choosing a way to keep my documents secure. Because I use my park pass often to get a FASTPASS, I don’t want to fumble around trying to find it when there are attractions to ride and characters to meet! A lanyard with a cardholder is a great solution to keep everything together and handy. As Brenda points out, be sure the cardholder closes at the top.
No matter what time of the year you travel to Disney, sunscreen is not optional. The dilemma of how to reapply sunscreen often without carrying a bulky bottle of sunscreen to the parks emerges. Luckily, almost everything today is available in a smaller, travel version and sunscreen is no exception. Travel sizes of sunscreen or sunscreen wipes that come in a sealed pouch can be slipped into a pocket.
Water is a must during a day of touring the Walt Disney World theme parks. However, whether you bring it with you to the parks or not really depends on budget; you can purchase beverages in the park or use a snack credit from your Disney Dining Plan. Because most families prefer to use their snack credit on an actual snack and purchasing enough bottled water in the parks for a family can be very expensive, I’m adding water to a list of must-brings to the parks.
Having a touring plan isn’t just a convenience; it gives you more value for your vacation dollar. View your Disney World vacation in terms of Return on Investment (ROI). Spending less time waiting in line means your family will make more memories and experience more magic. That’s where a touring plan comes in. A good touring plan will maximize the attractions your family wants to experience based on crowd levels. Touring Plans and its app, Lines, are well-respected sources of Disney World touring plans and wait time information.
Your Travel Party
In most cases, an adult couple will need to bring far less to the parks than a family traveling with little ones or someone with special needs.
- Items for Little Ones
- Healthy, non-perishable snacks
- Diapers / Wipes / Pull-Ups
- Small Toys
- Autograph Book and Pen
- Toddler Utensils / Bibs / Sippy Cups / Bottles
- Wet Wipes
- Portable High Chair Cover
Almost anything you would need during a day of touring can be purchased in the parks – for a price and sometimes it is a steep one. My approach is to bring items that I’m most likely to use in the parks and that are fairly expensive to purchase at Walt Disney World.
- Items to Bring to Save Money
- Common over-the-counter medications and Band-Aids
- Spare memory card for camera
- Sweatshirt during cooler months
If I have room in our theme park bag, I’ll add items that are not a necessity for my family but a convenience.
- Convenience Items
- Camera (with Disney’s PhotoPass service, a camera is not a necessity for my family but it is for some families)
- Battery-powered fan or fan / spray bottle combo
- Favorite guidebook
What do you bring with you to the theme parks?
- D23′s Great Scavenger Hunt Details at Walt Disney World (chipandco.com)
- The Magic Behind the ‘Company’ getting to know Lisa Battista (chipandco.com)
You may have a heard a little about a big announcement last week. At an Investors Conference Tom Staggs hinted at big changes in the Disney parks. One that has set the Disney community abuzz is the following:
“… we are currently developing an innovative system that will, in essence, create a version of FASTPASS for their entire Disney vacations. Guests will be able to reserve times for their favorite attractions and character interactions… secure seats at our shows and spectaculars…make dining reservations… and pre-book many other favorite guest experiences – all before even leaving their house.”
“…a version of FASTPASS for their entire Disney vacations.” WOW. Unfortunately, this piece of news* seems to be as well-received as the initial plans for a Fantasyland expansion that was heavy on the Character Meet N Greets.
*It’s important to note that little detail was provided so there is much speculation on what this means with little concrete detail. I’ve see every opinion ranging from this being a VIP option which requires an additional cost to hypotheses that guests would be limited to reserving only a couple of attractions per day on their trip.
I’m lukewarm at best and opposed at worst. I’m a planner, exactly the type of person this new option seems ideal for, and I’m not on board which doesn’t seem to bode well.
Let’s talk about why I’m not lying awake at night so excited about this new option that I cannot sleep.
I don’t want to lie awake at night. Anyone who has been at the computer or dialing Disney Dining at the 180 day mark to get a coveted reservation knows how stressful the process can be. First, there’s the advance planning to figure out which park you’ll be in on which day. Selecting a restaurant that fits in with that plan follows soon after. Then there is the “backup” plan which means a second and third choice of restaurant or times if you cannot get your prized ADR. Will I need to be at my computer at 6am 180 days before my vacation to get an early FastPass time for Toy Story Mania? Will I need to have two, three, four versions of my touring plan to account for all the combinations that can occur if I don’t get the planned time for one of my attractions? Does the success of my trip hinge on the stars aligning to be able to get FastPasses that match my preferred touring plan?
Flexibility. I have small children so even though a touring plan is critical to a successful Walt Disney World vacation, flexibility is even more critical. If one of my kids has a mini-meltdown and needs some extra time to relax in the shade with a snack, will I miss my opportunity to ride Big Thunder Mountain without having to brave the standby line? And if I do miss my FastPass reservation and have to wait 45 minutes in the standby line because Big Thunder Mountain is a must-do for my son, will there be a domino effect and I will I miss my FastPass windows for my other attractions and shows?
Forget that I have small children and need flexibility, a vacation should be flexible and unhurried to some degree. I don’t want it to feel like my everyday life when I’m rushing from meeting to meeting at work or from preschool pickup to dentist appointment to play date without a chance to take a breath.
What if my stepson decides to join us at the last minute? Not a big deal because we have room in our DVC unit but now I may not be able to get him a FastPass for the same timeframes the rest of the family has. Does this mean either he cannot join us on the rides or do we have to “throw away” our reserved FastPasses that I secured six months ago so we can be together as a family?
Longer Standby Lines and Less FastPasses for the non-Planners? Not everyone is a planner and not everyone is aware of all that is involved in a Walt Disney World trip until they arrive and then it is too late. If FastPasses can be issued before you even set foot in the park, I can only assume this means longer standby lines and less FastPasses being distributed in the parks since the overall capacity of the rides is not being increased. This does not seem like a magical experience for non-planners or guests whose plans simply change. If it rains on the day I plan to visit Magic Kingdom and we regroup and decide to visit the following day, I don’t relish the idea of having to wait in longer lines because I don’t have FastPasses in hand when I pass through the turnstiles. I like my odds now where I the same chance of getting a FastPass as any other guest in the parks at the same time.
The bottom line for me is everything in moderation. Planning is good but extreme planning for what is supposed to be relaxed family time is too much of a good thing. Disney is the leader in creating an outstanding customer experience so I trust my concerns will be alleviated and a couple of years from now I’ll look back at this article and wonder what I was ever worried about. At least, I hope so.
- Disney World Quick Tips – Get The Most Out Of Fast Pass (chipandco.com)
- Affordable Disney Vacations: The Kim Possible Adventure at Epcot (chipandco.com)
You know you’re a Disney nut when your ideal retirement plan involves moving to Orlando and working at the Walt Disney World Resort. On days when my job is particularly stressful, I retreat to my “happy place” and weigh my options. If I could choose any Disney dream job, what would it be? And the best part is the list of contenders can change on any given day. Here’s today’s list of my top five Disney dream jobs.
- Server at La Hacienda de San Angel. Epcot’s IllumiNations is hands down the best nighttime fireworks show at Walt Disney World and there’s no convincing me otherwise. Being able to experience it night after night from inside La Hacienda de San Angel sounds just about perfect. My enthusiasm and my stint as a server at a local soda fountain during high school should qualify me, right?
- Help at Special Diets. I am fortunate to be able to experience food without giving a second thought to the ingredient list; I just prefer that I can pronounce it all. My godson is not so lucky and suffers from food allergies which make dining out a bit more stressful and complicated for his family. Some families don’t even dare to dream about a vacation because they fear they won’t be able to safely dine away from home and that is sad to me. Disney World, with its Special Diets (Special.Diets@disneyworld.com; (407) 824-5967) group, goes all out to provide a safe and tasty dining experience for all guests. Being able to help families plan wonderful dining experiences without the worry would be a very fulfilling Disney dream job.
- Greeter on Main Street USA. I dare you. No, I double dog dare you to find someone who doesn’t crack a smile after seeing the enthusiastic greeters on Main Street U.S.A. welcoming guests to the Magic Kingdom with their white Mickey gloves right after rope drop. Being able to spread that kind of joy and happiness qualifies as a Disney dream job.
- Go Incognito. My husband and I cannot help but dream both big and small when we visit Walt Disney World. There’s a lot of fun to be had in thinking up pie-in-the-sky ideas on how to make an unsurpassed vacation destination even more extraordinary (Wish we could take credit for the Magical Express with our concept of a monorail from Orlando International Airport to Disney but…we can’t.) On the other hand, as ordinary guests we also think about small changes that could make the guest experience even better. So Ms. Crofton, if you’re ever looking for a couple to spend their days experiencing the Walt Disney World resort and making suggestions, we’d like to apply for the job. We’ll even work for cheap. A couple of annual passes and free dining should do it.
- Data Analysis. I’ve made no secret that I love crunching numbers and analyzing data. Yeah, I know what you’re thinking. But really, what is normal? from a dream job perspective, it seems to me that Walt Disney World has a treasure trove of data from length of customer stays, to touring patterns, and everything in between. Think about all the data that becomes available every time you use your admission ticket, print a FASTPASS, use a Disney Dining Plan credit, or make an ADR. The list goes on and on. I can hardly contain myself just thinking about the incredible experiences and tweaks to the customer experience that could be made by mining this data. Improving customer experiences by analyzing how people vacation at the Walt Disney World Resort would be a Disney dream come true.
There you have it – my ideal Disney jobs. What’s your dream Disney job?
Lisa M. Battista is the author of Beyond the Attractions: A Guide to Walt Disney World with Preschoolers When she’s not chasing after her little ones, you can most likely find her at the beach or in the kitchen trying her hand at a new recipe. You can follow her on Twitter @DisneyExplorer or become a fan of Beyond the Attractions on Facebook.
Photo Credit: Big Cash Maker
This article was featured on this months edition of the Dismarks Blog Carnival. For more great Disney content from other Disney Bloggers check out the link here.
Today’s quick tip is kind of a hybrid tip/tour plan in one. Hollywood Studios has some great rides like Rock ‘n‘ Roller Coaster Starring Aerosmith and Tower of Terror. I think both of those rides handle lines and people beautifully. While they are targeted at an older they probably don’t see quite the numbers as Toy Story Mania does.
Every time I have been at Hollywood Studios Toy Story Mania fast passes have run out before lunch time. I am not sure if its the length or popularity of the ride. Whatever the reason today’s Quick Tip is:
Get to Toy Story Mania as soon as you get to the park!
Ride it as soon as you get there, then after you ride it Fastpass it for later.Then go ride Tower of Terror and Rock n Roller Coaster. Come lunch time and you see the sign below you will be thanking me.
Photo credit mousebeat.com
Want to know current and future wait times for every attraction in Walt Disney World? We’ve got you covered!
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View the current FASTPASS return time and our forecast of when FASTPASSes will be gone for the day. See the attractions with single rider lines and their current wait times.
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