We aren't padawans when it comes to this particular event weekend. We first visited in May 2006 and again in May 2010. There's a pattern developing, right? It looks like every 4 years is going to be our Star Wars Weekend. But this time we are going with the aid of Fast Pass Plus. Will the Force Be With Us?
A side note: let me tell you what convinced me to put money into this completely last minute and un-budgeted trip. They almost had me when Disney announced Mark Hamill would attend one of the weekends. My kid's name isn't Luke by accident, y'all. But the truth is I wasn't breaking out the credit card until we had the option of Star Wars Character Meals. Eating with Darth Vader and Jedi Mickey actually trumped meeting Luke Skywalker. Yes, I planned an entire cross country trip during the school year because I get to eat at the Sci-Fi Diner watching Star Wars movie clips as Storm Troopers patrol my sector.
I'm not sure what that says about me, but I know I'm not alone.
Dear Disney, Please make this a permanent dining option. Oh, and add that Star Wars (Half?) Marathon at Disneyland too, will ya? Smooches!
Back to the Magic Bands. Today I finally sat down, linked our passes, and set to work choosing my FP (Fast Pass) selections. I had a small, ok, HUGE fear that there wouldn't be anything worth pre-selecting. I'm a planner and would typically be making these choices at my earliest window to ensure my best choices. Not this time. This trip was planned on the fly. It was getting late- surely I'd be stuck with FP for the Carousel of Progress and the People Mover, right? (I love these rides, but they are not worth spending one of only THREE stingy and precious FP that Walt Disney World allots!)
What I discovered was a pleasant surprise. I found Fast Pass options for every E-Ticket I desired. Shut the front door! A small caveat: I didn't try for Elsa and Anna and I'm not a lover of the parades or fireworks, so I did not hope for or look for those experiences. I did see the three mountains in Magic Kingdom, Haunted Mansion, Peter Pan, and It's a Small World to name a few. Not only that, I was able to book them at decent times. Huzzah!
The time options My Disney Experience gave me were spaced out a lot farther than I preferred. This is where I got frustrated last fall. I spent a lot of time trying to change times and line my experiences up in a way that works for me. Not today! Today was so simple I couldn't believe it. Here's a few screen shots to show you how easy it is to make changes to your Fast Pass.
|First I changed the time of the experience.|
|Then I decided to change the experience altogether.|
My biggest problem was user error. Hey- no one's perfect! I had Friends listed in my Family section and Family listed in the Friends section. I also had multiple accounts for some of my friends from way back when I eagerly dove into the My Disney Experience and they had not quite set up their accounts. When they did set up their own accounts and we were linked properly with each other, I couldn't figure out how to safely remove the "fake" accounts that had been set up. So I left them there.
With so many Friends in the wrong places, I accidentally added my pal Sarah to one day of rides rather than my youngest son, Seth. Oops! Sorry little dude. I thought it would be simple to drop Sarah and add Seth, but it wasn't. Ah, FP, we were doing so well together, too! No fear- Sarah actually lives near Walt Disney World and mentioned that she had Magic Bands to spare and would just bring him one if I couldn't get the system to add Seth. She was joking, Disney. I promise.
In Animal Kingdom I decided to book the 3 thrill seekers on their rides, and then separately go in and book the rest of us on tamer experiences. It was easy enough to book Rob, Luke and Claire on their high adrenalin rides. And then issue number two happened: I couldn't figure out how to book Seth and I at all. My goal was to have all 6 of us ride the Safari first thing together, then I'd take the younger kids and head to watch Nemo or ride Triceratops Spin. But FP wasn't having any of it. I was stuck.
At this point I broke down and admitted defeat. I settled in for a long call to Disney IT to help me figure out where I had gone wrong.
Be sure to come back tomorrow for the second part of this post. A sequel if you will. Our hero, Mayling, from the IT Helpline solves all my problems. And by extension, yours. Not only did she fix the hotmess of My Disney Experience, but she talked me through how she was fixing it.
Have you noticed the changes to the Fast Pass Plus booking processes? What are your thoughts? Are you slowly growing to like all the planning? Or are you still unimpressed?
ps- don't forget I have a giveaway going on until next week! Be sure to check this post for all the details on my Marathon/Goofy announcement, the DietBet going on, and the Amazon Gift Card I'm giving away! You have to enter to win- and we know you want to win!