Could booking Disney ride reservations from home work for all?

Last Thursday during an investor conference, Walt Disney Parks and Resorts Chairman Tom Staggs talked about long-term plans for the theme parks. Among the good news presented about interactive queues and expansion plans was some future technology news that has some theme park fans worried.

Here are some excerpts from Staggs’ speech,

“We know that our guests love creating great Disney memories with their friends and their families. We also know that they don’t exactly relish waiting in line, checking at the resort, worrying about missing their favorite attractions or feeling uncertain how to best navigate and access our properties.

“In the coming years, we’ll introduce a broad, integrated set of systems and tools that will help us create a more seamless, personalized experience, and help guests to get more out of their visit with us. … 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. We also plan to simplify the check-in process so that guests will arrive at the resort with room key in hand.

“Now, it will be some time before we roll out the bulk of these initiatives, but we are well into development, and in fact, have a number of patents pending on our approach. So it’s too early for me to say much more than that.”

On the surface this may all sound great, but it’s the part about reserving times for the attractions from home that have many worried. Many comments online are similar to these: “Will Space Mountain be all booked-up before the park even opens on any given day?”, “Will the stand-by lines get even longer?”, “Will guests feel like they have to pre-plan each day in the park?”

As Staggs said, it will be quite a while until they roll out these plans. Part of that delay is probably because they want to make sure they take all sorts of guests in mind – from the locals and annual passholders to the yearly and first-time guests. It’s doubtful Disney would allow attractions to be completely booked.

What do you think? Can ride reservations work and also not upset those who don’t use them?


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  1. Quite possibly the worst idea ever – we´d end up pre-planning every single step, because that would be the only way to get into a seat or ride vehicle. I want to have a vacation, i don´t want to plan a military operation!

  2. I think this idea is horrible. I hate having to keep looking at the time just to get to my ADR and FP as it is. Now I have to have my eyes on the clock the entire time at WDW just to make it to the ride on the scheduled time. What if I get on 1 ride late b/c they overbooked and then I get to the next time late b/c of that. there are so many variables it’s crazy!!! and i can’t imagine they can make it work to everyone’s success with all those variables. if you don’t make your reservations b/f you go, can’t you get on that ride or standby line goes from an hr wait to 3/4hrs. it’s a vacation which is supposed to be FUN and STRESS FREE, how can this be fun and stress free? horrible, horrible, horrible idea!!!!

  3. I think it is good idea. They will allow a limited amount of reservations each day each ride and only for the many attractions. It will work along with FP. The rides can only do so many rides a hour. It wont be a free for all. They are crazy. Come on its Disney. Now they have made mistakes in the past but having the option to do this is cool for those that wisjh to plan there day and time. If you like to play it by ear then be my guest if you want to plan it i=out now you can even more so. it just like dinner reservations for the meal plan you have to call ahead and if its booked up then you wait or find something else to do or place to eat. it might be a pain but that is what it is in Disnay or the rest of the entertiament world. I think with the kinks worked out it could be a useful tool

  4. ‎”I’m sorry but we are not taking walk-in’s today for Space Mountain, and no you can not get a reservation because we are booked solid for the next 6 months. You can ride Figment at Epcot, they have openings and are accepting walk-in’s. Have a Magical Day!” The idea is nice, but as often as we go I would hate it. We stroll through the parks with out a plan and ride what we want. Not having a reservation to ride Soarin and not being able to get into a stand by line might just push some folks away from the whole Disney Experience all together. I also read something about the Shows and Spectaculars…so you mean I just might have to book my normal seat on the back of Main St Station for the 3pm parade?

  5. Jones nailed it. Vacation…not planning a militry operation. I do WDW every year or every other year and do the dining reservations. But ride reservations is going too far.

  6. It sound to me like there will be 2 options: Standby and Fastpass. Just like there are now. The only difference is you can get your fastpass online prior to going. But this does mean that they will sell out. For rides like Splash Mountain which typically sells out of Fastpasses early in the day, what does that mean? Are they going to increase the amount of Fastpasses available daily? If so, that will make the Fastpass line almost as long as the Standby line. What will that solve? The level of planning doesn’t concern me — I love to plan ahead — but my concern is that this will eliminate what advantage Fastpass does give us now. I am very curious to see where Disney takes this plan.

  7. I think this could work, but only if they’re limited as far as how many advance Fastpasses they issue throughout the day. Allowing 20% of the allocated Fastpasses each hour to be booked in advance seems feasible, but allowing the entire Fastpass capacity to be booked in advance, resulting in a 9pm return time for Space Mountain at park opening … not so much.

  8. This idea could be a big mistake. Part of my enjoyment is strolling through the parks and deciding on a whim what to do. On a hot day I may want to cool off and relax to Beauty & the Beast or standby for Tower of Terror. ADR and Fastpass are great time savers but I don’t want to have to be on such a tight schedule for everything — “Sorry, bathroom break isn’t scheduled for 18 more minutes, you’ll have to hold it.”

  9. Ick!! I already resent having to try to make dining reservations since they enacted the Meal Plans; now I have to plan my Park days–months ahead? I’ll feel like I’m in school on a schedule instead of winging it on vacation! I also like to plan ahead, but who knows what you’re going to be doing on a given day? To have to plan every movement out is NOT a vacation!

  10. What a horrible idea. I hate lines, maybe more than most, but this is worse than waiting in line. Go here, get on a ride, go there for the next ride, eat now, and flash your wrist band, no need to worry, Disney will take care of everything. Time for rest, you can see Mickey now. I hope this idea is not well accepted, and canned. I love Disney, but I feel more and more that they only think of me only as income and how to best get the most out of me. Stay at the park, don’t leave, only spend your money here….Then go home, and we’ll see you next year on-line when we plan your next vacation.
    If they really want to make my stay more enjoyable, stop adding hotel rooms, expand the park so the people can be more spread out. The new FantasyLand doesn’t do a thing for me or my aging family, and it only adds 1 more attraction. Have a Magical Day…

  11. Bad, bad, bad. I stopped taking the dining plan because I had to be at this park at that time. Now having to book the attractions before? AWFUL! Come on Disney, there are a lot of things to do already to enjoy the World. Don’t make it more complicated. Never mind I can’t get the app from Verizon because I live in Canada. What will be next? Need to reserve a spot for the 3 PM parade? ‘Sorry Sir, you can’t be on the sidewalk, you don’t have a ticket, please enjoy the shops’.

  12. I think this would work better if it was something where you got to reserve rides from your hotel room for the coming day to prevent it from becoming like ADRs where you have to reserve your favorite restaurant 180 days in advanced or you cannot eat there.

  13. My family and I have been going to “the World” at least once a year for the past 15 years and I think this is a horrible idea. It’s the returning customers that Disney management should be trying to accommodate and most of us already have the systems and touring down to a science.

    The purposed reservation system, and even the enforcing of the return times on FASTPasses will negatively effect only the most loyal of Disney guests. But as usual, the Disney brass will try to fix what is not broken while charging us some fee for doing so and making the Disney experience we’ve been so passionate about so much worse.

    Now that’s gratitude.

  14. Bad idea.I like the way it work with fastpast.I am from Québec and I dont know exactly which day I Will go to the park so réservation is useless in this case.

  15. Take a minute and think about the possibilities a ride reservation system could bring about. By creating this system, Disney will be able to offer more guests the opportunity to ride the attractions they want to experience. By “pre-scheduling,” Disney will be getting a number of inputs that they can run through a model and optimize the reservations, versus the chance that occurs today with guests deciding on a whim where they would like to go next. I think this system will reduce wait times and allow guests to go on more rides. This is a fantastic innovation.