FastPass at Walt Disney World is changing, and savvy users of the program need to be prepared for this.
As you may be aware, FastPass is a great way to avoid lines at some of the most popular WDW attractions - you simply put your park ticket into the FastPass machine, and it gives you a special paper ticket that allows you to return later and skip most (sometimes all) of a line. FastPass has always been free - fortunately, that is not changing.
Veteran FastPass users knew that, under the old system, you had to wait until your FastPass window time opened for the day - but that you could then use that FastPass at any point until park closing. Some guests disliked this policy, wondering why there was an ending window printed at all if people could simply come back any time that they wished. Others understood that FastPass was, essentially, a virtual queue - coming early meant that you were cutting line, so it was not allowed. Coming late simply meant that you had let others go in line ahead of you.
Effective March 7th, 2012, this has all changed - Disney is no longer allowing FastPasses to be used late. The front of the FastPass now bears the language "Not able to accomodate (sp?) late arrivals."
Some passes do include a new timestamp underneath the initials "G.P." - the theory is that this represents a grace period (which appears to be fifteen minutes). How long this will last remains to be seen.
Personally, I feel that this is a very un-Disney way for WDW to behave. Almost anyone who has visited Disney World has experienced a ride breakdown, a monorail delay, a meal that took far longer than you had planned, or a host of other potential, valid reasons that could prevent you from reaching a FastPass return window on time. Since late returns are a zero sum event (everyone who rode before you actually got to ride one person sooner than they would have had you ridden already, those who ride after you had the exact same number of people "in line" in front of them), Disney always took the world class customer service approach and allowed late FastPass returns without batting an eye.
Now, there will almost certainly be complaints and protests any time one of these (or countless other) events happen. Cue the snags in the FastPass return line, cue the dissatisfied guests that get turned away. Cue the lost sales on merchandise from the families that hurry back across a park to make their return window instead of stopping to buy that Buzz Lightyear tee shirt.
Will this new FastPass policy last? Time will tell.
By Author. All Rights Reserved. Date
March 07, 2012
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