Disney testing FP+ only at Toy Story

During my first trip to WDW, we only did the Magic Kingdom and Hollywood Studios. (Called Disney MGM Studios then.)  And to be honest, I fell in love with this park.  Maybe it’s because I’m a rather big movie buff.  I’ll go with that.

My favorite family ride is Toy Story Midway Mania.  Hands down – it is the one to see.  To hear Mr. Potato Head chant out phrases like “It’s a ride – it’s a game…. It’s a game – it’s a ride” makes me smile and dare I say I start chanting it myself.  Its a very popular ride to say the least with nearly a constant line all day long.  When Disney still used paper FastPasses, you can see the return time tick upwards every few minutes.  Heck, one time I waited 20 minutes in line just to get FP’s that were for later in the afternoon – and I got there at rope drop!

These days, with the advent of FP+ and picking your attractions before you arrive some things change.  However, we still do standby lines every once in a while, especially if it is with a purpose.  The last day may be a bit more free-for-all.  It may be raining so we hit an attraction instead of getting drenched.  Maybe its the last ride of the night and the line is short.  There are countless reasons why waiting in line can actually be a good thing.

Today, the social media universe blew up with the headline that TSMM is going to go through a type of testing where there would be NO standby line available today, through end of day Thursday.  Thats right – one of the biggest attractions in DHS, let alone all the parks, is only going to be available via FP+.  Sure, they were going to allow additional people to get FP+ for the attraction, but there were even unconfirmed reports that they ran out before 1PM this afternoon.

This disrupted people who planned on waiting in line as well as those who who were using a DAS card as well.

Before I state an opinion, this is similar, but not identical to what Disney was doing with the Anna and Elsa meet and greet at the Magic Kingdom.  In essence, if you didnt already have a FP+ to see them, you were given a card at the standby line entrance with a 30 minute return window.  Once all the cards were gone – they were gone.  I’ll get into that in a moment…

What gets me is that there was no warning.  Granted, things can and do change without notice at Disney, and it should be expected.  (Really – expect it.)  However, in the day and age where you plan meals 6 months in advance and plan attractions either 30 or 60 days in advance, making this sort of move on such a popular attraction seemed a bit unprecedented.  I am sure this made a lot of people unhappy if not for the idea that people could not enjoy the attraction when they wanted to but just for the level of unexpectedness this applied to the situation and that chance favored those prepared with smart phones and those who understood what it meant to go to a FP+ kiosk and the like.

Now, again, this was a test. A four day test.  Tuesday should go a bit better, but it makes me wonder if this is just another way to test what they tried at the MK.  The problem is that not every guest is going to be tied to a smart phone to make this happen easier.  To some, the technology is confusing, since people are expecting to wait in line and now they wonder why they can’t continue to do so.  It makes me wonder what is going to come of this.  The biggest speculation I’ve read is that this might be a precursor to how queuing will work in the future.  That could be a big plus for Disney, even though some still long for the days of regular queues and paper FP’s.  The plus is that when guests are not waiting in lines, they are shopping, dining, and enjoying other areas of the park.  It is good for crowd control, and guests can get to see more, but it is also good for the bottom line.

Again, all of that is my own speculation.

As a tech-savvy person in a tech-savvy family, I can see where this might create more pros than cons.  However, I can’t help but think about those guests still asking questions about what to do if they cant get FP+ reservations at the 60 day mark and the general confusion and tension they feel while planning their big trip.  These changes might very well might result in good things to come but some might say that the system has changed quite a bit in the past 12 months and it might be a bit faster than the typical guest can adapt.

We shall see what comes of this.

Till then, I will continue to plan my next trip and hope I can help others do the same as well.

Take care, my friends.

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