This year I received in the mail about two weeks before my scheduled departure an invitation to participate in a test of the new Fastpass + system.
The first instructions were to visit a website https://fastpassplus.disney.go.com with the reservation number provided. I could select 4 experiences in the Magic Kingdom on one day and 3 experiences in Disney's Hollywood Studios for another day. If necessary I could modify the choices "at any time."
When I went to the website I was asked to sign in. If you have signed in to any Disney website it is the same account. If you have never signed in to any Disney website you will need to create an account before going any further.
Then we were given the list of available attractions and shows. For Disney's Hollywood Studios it was divided into choose 1 from the top list and choose 2 from the bottom list.
Once we made our choices the next screen gave us four different itinerary options for using Fastpass + that day.
Once we completed our selections for one park we were given the opportunity to make the selections for the other park.
Once we completed everything we received an email confirmation with a link to view and/or modify our selections. The email reminded us to bring the Fastpass + cards during the one hour window for each experience and to use it with the special Fastpass + RFID reader at the entrance.
For the initial sign up everyone in your party is signed up for the same Fastpass+ experiences. This can seem frustrating if you have someone who loves the roller coasters and other person who would rather see a show or reserve a spot for the fireworks and parades. This is where being able to modify the experiences to fit your actual needs comes in handy.
Once we finished making our selections for each park we were ready to go. You should receive an email from Disney with your Fastpass+ experiences about 24 hours before the day you are using it. I say should because I did not receive an email for Disney's Hollywood Studios. Actually I did receive an email, six of them, the day after I used my Fastpass+ in that park. I did receive a correct email for the Magic Kingdom.
The reason that I received multiple emails for Disney's Hollywood Studios was probably triggered by the fact that I had to make a change in the itinerary once I arrived in the park. You may do so using one of two methods. The first utilizing the in the park WiFi and using the link in the email.
Second, if you do not have a smartphone or the wifi is not working well for you, you can also go to certain locations in each park and make changes to your Fastpass+ there.
My son was finishing his exams the morning that we were going to Disney's Hollywood Studios. Our first Fastpass+ was Star Tours from 12:05 to 1:05. He wasn't going to make it so I attempted to change the Fastpass+ to a later time. If I had received the email for my Disney's Hollywood Studios itinerary on time I could have gone to the location and changed it. What I discovered doing it through the email link was that it was it took multiple steps to keep Star Tours near the original time frame. Selecting to stay with Star Tours gave me options that were for very late in the afternoon. We could not do that as we had dining reservations in EPCOT. However, I could change the attraction and get a time period that was 5 to 15 minutes later. I chose to do that with Muppetvision 3D. Then I tried switching back to Star Tours and lo and behold I could get the time frame that I initially wanted. I had to change it three more times using that method as my son was delayed on his drive from his college. By the time he got there and tapped the Fastpass+ it recognized that he was scheduled for Star Tours, but that I was scheduled for Muppetvision 3D. The cast member kindly let me ride Star Tours.
What I suggest if you find yourself in a similar situation is to either make the changes the day before using your computer or smartphone. If you have to make a change in the park, say you discover that the attraction has a 10 minute stand-by line and you'd like to use your Fastpass+ for something else, go to the locations that can change it with the assistance of a cast member.
Using Fastpass+ is very easy. You simply touch the Fastpass+ to the glowing Mickey Head. It will light up green if it is good to go. When I had my problem at Star Tours it lit up blue. The cast member will know your name and if you have noted a celebration, so do not be surprised if you greeted by name and a "Happy Birthday" or "Congratulations."
I nice design feature is that the RFID Fastpass+ readers are themed to fit each attraction. The above is located at Toy Story Midway Mania.
Since I completed this test Disney has announced Magic+ and MagicBands which will use this RFID technology not only for Fastpass+ but as room keys, park admission and to pay for purchases if you link it to a credit card. It will use a wristband which should make it less likely to be lost while out in the parks. There are numerous websites that have the information on the MyMagic+ program. I recommend visiting insidethemagic.net, attractionsmagazine.com/blog or allears.net to learn more about the program. There are many, many more websites, but these are a few of the Disney and theme park related ones that I find particularly reliable.
Overall, I was pleased with the Fastpass+ test. There were a few glitches. I did not receive an itinerary email for Disney's Hollywood Studios until the day after I used Fastpass+ in that park. Trying to make a change in the itinerary while in the park can be difficult and I do recommend going to the location in the park with a cast member to assist you rather than trying to make a change using the email link. The biggest advantage was being able to book an extremely popular attraction like Toy Story Midway Mania without having to be at Disney's Hollywood Studios and grabbing a Fastpass as soon as the park opens. Limiting the number of Fastpass+ is a good idea. You can select a few things that you consider a must-do such as a popular attraction or reserving a spot for fireworks or a parade. Yet its still flexible enough that it doesn't force you to completely micromanage every aspect of your day in the theme park.