A Trip Report from Rob, and a “WDWNT NOW!” Update

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As you might have seen (or not), I was visiting Disney World last Wednesday and Thursday. My mom turned 60 (happy birthday, Mom!) and I surprised her at the Magic Kingdom. It was awesome.

Actually, there were lots of things that were awesome, and I wanted to take a minute to share them with you.

Let’s get a few things straight first:
1 – I’m not a “Disney expert” but I know lots of stuff and care deeply about the World
2 – this visit was my first encounter with MyMagic+, FastPass+, MagicBand+, Paperless+, etc.
3 – This is all my opinion. Your opinion may differ, and you probably know and understand more than I do – please share!

Alright, where to begin…

I flew from Indianapolis to Atlanta to Orlando, got off the plane, got a rental car, and drove right to Epcot. From plane to rental car to the Epcot parking lot took less than an hour. How you ask? It was just me and my backpack.

Rental Car
My family has never gotten a rental car before, but I’m almost positive I’ll never go down there again and not have one. It was simple to pick up and drop off, and being able to come and go wherever and whenever I wanted was amazing. I love the Magical Express and the transportation Disney provides, but this was a glorious thing.

MyMagic+
As I mentioned earlier this was my first encounter using a MagicBand and FastPass+. I got to the Epcot main gates and placed my MagicBand against it, pressed my pointer finger on the fingerprint scanner, and away I went.

Let me just say, as an IT/dev guy who loves technology, the simplest thing like the ring around the Mickey head glowing white, spinning faster, and then glowing green when it read my band was magical. A very nice touch if I do say so myself.

I had FastPasses for Soarin’, Spaceship Earth, and the Seas with Nemo. I met some friends when I got there and we ate at Sunshine Seasons. My FastPass time for Soarin’ came, so I rode that (again, magical green spinning circles) and then I went over to Spaceship Earth. There was no wait so I rode that. I decided to skip the Seas with Nemo and went to Test Track for the single-rider line. I did a few more things before Illuminations and then headed out for the day.

Overall, I loved not having paper to worry about. Nothing for the hotel, old school FastPass tickets, receipts, whatever.

I did however have two qualms:
1 – Since I didn’t use all of my FastPasses, I could’ve gone to a kiosk and re-booked or canceled them. I tried using the My Disney Experience app and website to no avail, and ended up just giving up. This lead to me thinking “Perhaps having 2 FastPasses would’ve been better?” More on that later…
2 – Using the WDWNT Now! site (which I made) proved to be great about 10% of the time. I was bummed. Trying to find menus, wait times, meet and greets – all of it took too long. The reason I wanted to make the Now! site was to help people, not frustrate them. More on that later too…

MyMagic+ with matching watch
MyMagic+ with matching watch

The Polynesian
Quick side note – go visit the Polynesian Village Resort. You won’t be disappointed. I had breakfast there on Thursday morning (Tonga Toast FTW!) and the new lobby is beautiful.

Isn't he so cute?
Isn’t he so cute?

The Magic Kingdom
Much like Epcot the day before, I was in love with using my MagicBand. We had a FastPass for meeting Mickey at 9:20am, then Seven Dwarfs Mine Train at 11:20am, and then Peter Pan at 2pm. The Magic Kingdom closed at 1am that day so I was prepared to use my 3 FastPasses and book more.

(By the way, I’m now joined by my mom, sister, brother-in-law, and their 2 kids who are both 3).

We had a magical day. It was sunny, hot, and beautiful. I couldn’t have asked for a better birthday for my mom.

It was around the 2 or 3 o’clock mark that my family started feeling the effects of the heat. All being from Indianapolis and just coming off of winter it seems that we didn’t adjust well to the climate and temperature changes. We ended up splitting our group and I took my sister to First Aid to cool off while everyone else went and rode some rides. (I tell you all of this because I didn’t use my Peter Pan FastPass)

We had dinner at Tony’s Town Square Restaurant, and my sister’s family went back to their room. My mom and I hung out at the Magic Kingdom until about 10:30pm, and then we left.

Alright, to sum up and add my thoughts:
1 – Just like at Epcot, I would’ve loved to have canceled my Peter Pan FastPass and booked Space Mountain (which I did get to ride later) or something else easily (ie – no kiosk visit).
2 – My niece really wanted to meet Jasmine. As a dad myself I wanted to help and take care of her, so I pulled out my phone and went to the Now! site – the “character appearances” page was difficult to navigate to and usually wouldn’t load. My own site! My own creation! How dare you!?
3 – The new Hub is beautiful. Take some time to wander.
4 – The Magic Kingdom is beautiful. Take some time to wander.
5 – Having “planned” our vacation months in advance and “locking” ourselves into what we’re doing when (as people claim you’re doing) proved to be the complete opposite. We were able to see, watch, and do so much in one day.

Here’s what I did in 48 hours at Walt Disney World
Rode

  • The monorail
  • Soarin’
  • Test Track
  • Spaceship Earth (twice)
  • Gran Fiesta Tour
  • Jungle Cruise
  • Seven Dwarfs Mine Train
  • “it’s a small world”
  • Tomorrowland Transit Authority
  • Space Mountain
  • Carousel of Progress
  • Under the Sea (Little Mermaid)
  • Pirates
  • Haunted Mansion

Saw

  • Festival of Fantasy parade
  • Main Street Electrical Parade
  • Wishes
  • New Fantasyland (new to me)
  • New Hub

Ate

  • Sunshine Seasons
  • Refreshment Port (croissant donut!)
  • Kona Cafe
  • Columbia Harbor House
  • Tony’s
  • Gaston’s Tavern (to try Lefou’s Brew)

Still with me? Thanks!

I would like to conclude with this:
1 – Booking FastPasses in advance proved both awesome and not so awesome. I loved knowing I would get to ride the Seven Dwarfs Mine train. Never once did I feel like my whole day was “ruined” because I had “everything” planned out. See that list above? We got to do FastPass+ attractions during spring break. Think about that…
2 – However, as I mentioned, canceling FastPasses to be able to book more proved to be a tad more difficult than I thought it would be. Again – is 3 too much?
3 – Having a car is magical.
4 – My own creation, the Now! site, left me more frustrated than I’d hoped. Sure, it was cool seeing the “What’s Near Me?” actually work (instead of mocking me with “Far, far away”…who wrote that code?!). I’ve made some changes since I’ve been back that would’ve been nice to have during my trip (like sending a text message that says “#meet jasmine” and getting a reply with her meet and greet times and locations or simply navigating here).

So, dear reader, what do you think? Do you think 3 FastPasses is too much? Do you think I’m crazy? Do you love Tonga Toast as much as I did?

It works! It's not mocking me!
It works! It’s not mocking me!

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About the author

Rob Page

Rob is a software developer from Indianapolis, IN. He's the creator of WDWNT Now!. He also creates apps for the WDWNT network. He's a husband and father of 4 kids and loves all things Disney.

17 Comments

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  • 3 fast passes are definitely not too many for MK! I would like it to be easier to book that 4th and maybe even 5th fast pass after using the original 3. Unfortunately, the lines at the kiosks to book additional fast passes are so long and the choices are usually limited by the early afternoon. Thanks for sharing about your trip. I too am curious about your magic band or is it a watch?

  • MyDisneyExperience has a funtion where you can modify your existing Fastpass+ options to either different attractions or times, very easy to change rides in the middle of the day if it turns out there isn’t a long line, or like you your plans just change. If it doesn’t give you the option to change for a specific ride or time it’s because those fastpasses are already booked up for the day. After you either use the first set of three or the time expires on them you are able to book 1 additional fastpass at a time, but unfortunately only at the kiosks. Hope that’s helpful for future visits :) Sounds like you had a wonderful visit though!

    • Thanks Kelly – perfect explanation! I was just hoping to avoid the “spring-break-traffic-at-the-kiosks” business.

      We had a blast!

  • I think the number of FastPasses depends on what park you are in. I could have an endless amount for MK – IF it was easier to get the fourth, fifth, sixth, etc. (hopefully someday it will be). The tiered system at EP and HS makes it more challenging and I’ve found that, aside from the Tier I and one or two Tier II rides, you really don’t need a FP+ for many rides. Three FP+ could be too many at AK if you get there early but I’m assuming that will change with the addition of Avatar Land. Overall I think it is possible to do and see a lot no matter how crowded the parks may be as long as you know what you are doing ahead of time. Gone are the days of visiting WDW without an itinerary of some sort. Still not sure if I like that but it won’t stop my family from going! :)

  • I think we should have the option to book more FP+ I live near Disney World and go quite often with my kids, sometimes even a last minute trip to the MK. At first I was skeptical of the new FP, (I used to be able to get up to 9 FP a day at MK.) but I found the FP+ actually made my day feel not so rushed. So, the 3 FP are nice, but I think a few more at MK could be worked in better, especially for those of us who go quite often.

    • I booked the hotel and car through Expedia. I think the car, from Alamo, was $75 for two days including the E-Pass thing?

  • Were you using the in-park “Disney Guest” wi-fi? 3G and 4G are not always reliable in parks, especially for using the MDE app (to change/re-book first 3 FP), wi-fi for me has been much more reliable. When you get a good signal – Don’t walk, don’t get in a queue, don’t board a ride/train/monorail/boat, don’t breathe too much… just use the app, change up your FP.
    When you lose that wi-fi signal often the MDE app makes you start over from first screen… it is very frustrating.

  • I think they should make the FP+ reservations for “up to three” instead of “three required.” At parks like Epcot where you really don’t need a FP except for the tier 1 rides, this just causes a lot of FP+ reservations taken by people that may or may not use them.

  • Rob, I agree changing and adding fast pass is kinda quirky but using up the current and then adding is easier on the My Disney app. Also just found you and your site is great, have to give the podcast a listen. Lastly my friend lives in FL and kept telling me about this Tonga Toast, after years of hearing this tried it and FTW!!!! is right on target. Here is a hint Captain Cooks has the TT for breakfast too and only $5.20. Have a magical day.

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