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Walt Disney World theme parks to start enforcing Fastpass return times

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Disney’s Fastpass attraction return time tickets have always had a time window for guests to come back to ride the attraction. While cast members have always kept guests from entering the attractions before their Fastpass return time, it was a great tip for those in the know that they could return to the attraction anytime they wanted the rest of the day after their return time began. Starting March 7, that leeway will no longer be allowed.

For example, if a guest received a Fastpass that told them they could return to the attraction between 4:25 and 5:05 to have little or no wait to get in, the guest wouldn’t be allowed to return before 4:25, but they could ignore the 5:05 time because cast members didn’t enforce the end of the return window. Guests could return as late as the park was open that day and be let into the Fastpass line.

In a message to cast members, Disney stated “to provide the best experience possible” the Fastpass return window will be enforced starting March 7, 2012. Disney went on to remind cast members that this is not a change, but a reminder of the existing policy. Disney says most guests already return within their Fastpass time window.

Cast members will be allowed to make exceptions for things such as personal emergencies, a delay in meal service or when an attraction stops running during the return window.

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25 comments

Arms February 8, 2012 - 10:16 pm

More rules

It is supposed to be a positive experience, they should not find ways to constantly restrict people.

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Krp February 8, 2012 - 11:56 pm

Good rule to enforce to make the idea of the fast pass actually work!

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Hyon Pak February 9, 2012 - 9:23 am

@Arms…they’re enforcing their policy so it WOULD be a positive experience! If you don’t like it, then go to the regular line!!!

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OT February 9, 2012 - 9:43 am

I´m somewhat angry that people would be able to enter the attraction after the return time window closed. The system won´t work if guests come whenever they want.
If you don´t want to be bothered, don´t grab a fastpass!
I´n glad Disney is enforcing this.

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tim February 9, 2012 - 12:59 pm

For some odd reason the fastpass system has been working fine ever since it started – with allowing guess to return anytime after their fastpass time begins. So this new policy of enforcing a old policy that was never enforced – is for more money not to enhance the guest experience. Disney will now begin their class warfare system of all in value resorts get limited fastpass options, while those in the deluxe will be given extra fastpasses for paying the big bucks.

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Katherine February 9, 2012 - 2:15 pm

Fastpasses are free so it’s not to make money. I wish I’d used fastpass last time I was there and will definitely be making use of it next year rather than wait two hours for rides.

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Paula Iglesias February 9, 2012 - 3:13 pm

It should be a good thing with the goal to make the visit less stressfull. Not to forget that it’s a free service and Universal Studios charge an stupidly expensive fee for the same thing.

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David February 9, 2012 - 3:16 pm

Katherine; I think tim’s response refers to the fact that Disney is gearing up for XPass, which will likely replace FastPass. And XPass may not be free…at the very least, those passes will be much more available to the higher spending tourists, while others will be left with fewer (if no) free options. Can’t blame Disney; it’s a business, and they should be seeking profits. We had a good ride on FastPass while it lasted!

I haven’t heard anything about whether the FP return time enforcement will be implemented at the Disneyland Resort as well; seems like XPass won’t work as well there, since there are so few Disney lodging options.

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Allen February 10, 2012 - 4:41 am

Hate to break it to you folks who think this is either good or bad, but they’re doing fastpass NOT for guest benefit, it’s finances! Nextgen fast pass coming which will reward those staying ON PROPERTY and those who SPEND MORE IN STORES on their key to the world card. REMEMBER: fast pass invented to keep some out of line, and spending $$ in stores and restaurants while waiting to ride an attraction. Never meant to be a perk. With Disney, there are no perks, only opportunities to make more money!

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anthony February 10, 2012 - 9:41 am

TO ALLEN:

Thats not true. At least disney has FREE fast pass, universal makes you pay more money for it, not to mention that if its a special day (halloween horror night) the price for just the fast pass is HIGHER than actual ticket

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Alex February 10, 2012 - 11:58 am

I think this is a great rule to enforce. As of late, the fastpass lines have been getting way out of control.

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Tanya February 10, 2012 - 12:25 pm

I can’t see this new “enforcement” working if they are already allowing exceptions for meals and “personal emergencies”. I can see that being a major headache for the cast members trying to determine who has a legitimate excuse and who doesn’t.

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Brian February 10, 2012 - 12:50 pm

Very stupid to change it now. Allen is correct. It’s all about NextGen fastpass and the ability to charge.

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Scott February 10, 2012 - 1:44 pm

I, for one, am not thrilled about this change. I would have preferred that they decided to just print the FP without any end time to the window. Just a “return after” time. The enforcement of this rule will potentially cause a lot of back-tracking for those of us who know how to optimize the system. Now you’ll either need to “hang out” in the general area of your upcoming FP or you’ll have to trek from wherever you find yourself all the way back to the ride in order to meet the window.

I can understand why Disney is wanting to do this… it will keep the occasional mass grouping of FP users from hitting the ride and it will help the FP line to continue to move quickly but it does take away from some of the benefits that came from utilizing the FP system to it’s maximum.

I’ll give it a chance but I’m not excited about it.

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Geri February 10, 2012 - 5:27 pm

If you use the Fastpass the way it was intended you neither have to kill time waiting for your alloted time slot or come back after your hour time frame. Getting around the park and stragically using FP you get to do it all plus some. Those of you that say you are “in the Know” just think you are better than others and deserve the special treatment that comes with not following the rules.

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Michael February 10, 2012 - 7:07 pm

Thank you, ALLEN for being honest. IT IS and ALWAYS will be about the DOLLAR and PROFITS and CEO BONUSES FIRST with DISNEY., CUSTOMER is just a necessary Bi-product in the equation.

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Timothy Richardson February 10, 2012 - 11:13 pm

I’ve always been disappointed that I couldn’t spend some of my hard earned cash to have me and my family members receive preferential treatment while visiting the Disney parks the way we do at Universal. I’ve been told the new next generation Fastpass system will finally allow us to take our rightful place at the front of the line while the rest of you peons spend your vacation standing in line. God Bless the USA!!!

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Devlin February 11, 2012 - 6:33 pm

Good Lord, what a bunch of know it all crybabies. Fastpass will continue to be a FREE experience at Disney although sone changes will be made. It’s hilarious to me that Universal desperately tried to copy Disneys FP, realized they werent smart enough or dedicated enough to make it work and then decided to just gouge visitors for their passes. Yet Disney is the biggest villain for enforcing and existing policy.

Get a grip people.

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Jonny February 11, 2012 - 6:38 pm

Yeah, most users stick to the return times they’re given. This is just squeezing the minority who don’t stick to the rules as written. That being said, Tanya has a great point – it’s up to the Cast Member under the umbrella who has the final say. So depending on the time of day and attraction, this may not really change anything. One compromise might be to widen the time windows or allow more passes in hand at one time.

And just to give full credit, I read this story on http://beastlykingdomme.blogspot.com/

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Allen February 11, 2012 - 8:45 pm

Allen,
Get a grip. NOTHING that Disney does is a ‘freebie’ Yes, fast pass is free. Yes Universal charges, but also hands out unlimited numbers of them as long as people pay. Disney restricts and soon will be issuing based on their calculation to make more money from those on property (especially Deluxe resorts), and those with history of frequent park purchases on key to world card. When you stay there, you’ll notice the encouragement to use the key to world card, as provides INVALUABLE research. The entire idea of fast pass came about to KEEP people out of long cue lines and SPENDING MONEY while RETAINING them in the park until their attraction time. There is NOTHING that Disney has done, in the history of time, in interest of a guest or customer at ANY cost to increased profit to stockholders….not that one should see that as bad, they’re a business & publicly traded company. As a former cast member and frequent guest, their ‘cutbacks’ have become so egregious I can assume the rely on ‘sheep mentality’ to keep it going. Guests in line spend no money during that time. Going to next-gen makes complete sense…for share holders…not guests.

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The Kidd February 11, 2012 - 11:48 pm

I’ve been a regular Disney visitor for a number of years – a former annual passholder, a former seasonal pass holder, etc. The main reason for FastPass to even be created at Disney was all in the name of money. If you’re stuck waiting in a 60-minute line for Peter Pan, you can’t spend your money on souvenirs. If you’re waiting 90 minutes for Space Mountain, the last thing on your mind is dinner reservations or concessions. You’ve already paid for your pass inside the park, so The Mouse wanted to figure out a way to get you in and out of the attractions and in the position to spend more money at the park.
The open-ended return for FastPass has really been a blessing, if you were aware of it, and knew how to use it. At the Magic Kingdom, for example, I’ve been able to wipe out the entire park on numerous occasions by 4 p.m., after arriving at park opening. It’s a matter of maximizing your time and planning out a strategy to get around the park, land by land. That has allowed my family and I the flexibility to enjoy table-service meals, to enjoy time shopping on Main Street and in the exiting gift shops, to then move through Disney at a leisurely pace, unstressed and having a good time where buying more Mickey ears seems like a great idea.
By this proposed shift back to the original rules, you are taking away those options. If I’m stuck in a long line for one attraction and can’t make it back in time to take advantage of my strict FP window, I am now faced with a choice in what I want to do. That leads to far more unpleasantness than anything else.
This is an unwise decision by Disney, but one that is prompted by further limitations that will be placed on FP as we go. This isn’t really something that hurts just those who have been in the know on FP before. This will come to hurt everyone. I just managed to make the most of it while I could. I’m sorry others didn’t know to do the same.

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Devlin February 12, 2012 - 12:31 am

Allen-You MAY be one of the stupidest people I have read on this site….You think it’s great that Universal sells an UNLIMITED number of passes? SO, those of us who don’t shell out the extra cash get to stand by and wait even LONGER than normal because Universal keeps selling passes??? Let me break it down for you…Universal and Disney charge the SAME price for tickets….Universal Parking is MORE money than Disney…..DISNEY doesn’t charge for Fastpass while Universal GOUGES passed on how busy the Park is….and you are ranting about Disney???? And as a side note, who the Hell cares of the MOTIVE of DIsney’s Fastpass was to get you back out in the park to spend more money??? Nobody is putting a gun to your head to spend that money….so, if you have an ounce of willpower you can save your hard earned money and guess what??? YOU AREN’T STANDING IN LINE FOR 2 HOURS IN JULY TO RIDE SPLASH MOUNTAIN! WHy do you CARE what the motive is….

You are BITTER for the sake of being BITTER….

Seriously man, if you look hard enough the conspiracies will make you even more crazy than you already are.

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Marcus February 12, 2012 - 8:37 pm

Devlin get a clue. Allen is 100 percent right. If you think differently then you are clueless. It’s all about money. Always has been and always will be. It’s a shame you don’t see it. Pretty lame that you are even claiming this is a conspiracy.

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Villasandhomes February 14, 2012 - 5:03 am

Disney’s Fastpass attraction is interesting since it is free !

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claire February 17, 2012 - 10:22 am

Last time we went (2008), we had no problems with the FPs, other than Toy Story Mania and Rock n’ Rollercoaster and all the popular ones sold out. I think this will keep it more organized. They still would have a few minutes to do stuff. They don’t have to come back until the return time, right?

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