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Magic Kingdom

Magic Kingdom

After spending a considerable amount of time on identifying and tackling these top 5 Disney complaints, I have decided to split this into 5 parts, a 5 post series.

What are the biggies? I’ve selected five major points that come up repeatedly: FastPass+, Disney Food Expectations, Advanced Dining Reservations, Understanding Ticket Options & Admission, and Theft.

Chances are you have heard or read negative feedback about Disney at one time or another. Possibly you have left a negative review about Disney at some point in your life. Sometimes the complaints can be totally justified, and I get that; unfortunately, those situations are not in your control, believe me, I’ve been there too and it sucks (cough…Magic Bands).

Simply put, there seems to be two types of complaints a) situations that are out of your control b) situations that are within your control. I’ve read so many complaints and they usually fall into these two categories. After reading so many “b” type complaints, you can’t help but wonder how some people ended up having such a bad time or what planet are they living on? Especially when the things they are complaining about are aspects that are practically 100% in their control! With a little research, forethought, and planning, some of the problems, confusion, unrealistic expectations can be avoided.

Have you ever heard the phrase “Know before you go”? I’m sure you have. You need to remember that and you will end up having a much better time if you live by that motto. Some people refuse to take any responsibility for their crappy time, and blame Disney for not magically whisking them away on a non-stop fantastic vacation. They see the commercials on TV and think that magic just happens, and that it’s included in the price of their vacation. It’s not. You have to do it yourself. You have to do the planning and legwork.

1) FastPass+ (aka Fast Passes, FP, FP+)

I have read countless complaints ranging from how people think the FastPass system is unfair – to –  even those who think you have to pay extra for fast passes and saying that rich people have all the benefits?! I think most of the complaints about FastPass+ are a result of guests not understanding how this system works and then not taking advantage of it and getting the benefits out of this system. How can you avoid this on your vacation? You guessed it…know before you go. I’m just going to run down the basics, if you want to be a FastPass+ pro, you should check out the Disney website.

Firstly, the FastPass+ system is available to all guests, even if you are just there for one day, you also have access to the FastPass+ system. FastPass+ is complimentary with your park admission. Let me spell that out for anyone who is not getting it – IT IS FREE TO USE.  You don’t need to have a Magic Band per se (the wristband that holds all your reservations, tickets, and other info). Your plastic card with your daily admission can be used to access FastPass+ Kiosks and FP+ check-ins at the attractions.

Of course, it will be somewhat less effective to wait and buy tickets from the main gate and then access FP+ on the same day due to limited availability of certain attractions, but this system is still better than the old paper passes. You don’t have to run all over the place on foot, like before, just to end up finding out all the Fast Passes are gone by mid-afternoon! The new system is much better in my opinion even if you have waited until that day to make selections.

Ideally, you would want to buy your tickets in advance so you can access FP+ ahead of time. Once you are able to access FP+ either by kiosk in person, online, or by mobile app, you can select 3 attractions per day at your selected theme park. Once those 3 are used, you can add additional selections one at a time as long as time permits. These selections can be made in advance if you have your ticket linked via the Disney Mobile App that can be downloaded to your phone as well as online at the Disney website. If you are staying at a Disney resort hotel, you have 60 days in advance to make selections.

Keep in mind that there are going to be attractions that are not available from time to time. Most likely, the Fast Passes for meeting Anna & Elsa or the Seven Dwarf’s Mine Train are going to be unavailable on most days, why? because there are many people out there booking 60 days in advance and just about every family has someone who wants to meet Anna & Elsa and/or ride on the Seven Dwarf’s Mine Train. So, if you are waiting to make your FastPass+ selections, the selection is going to be subject to availability. If you plan ahead of time you can at least have a better chance of getting to do what you want without having to wait in standby lines. Less wait, more fun, better vacation.

Try not to waste your FastPass+ selections on less crowded rides that you can usually walk on. I realize that on busy days during peak hours and in peak seasons even It’s A Small World, Carousel of Progress, Swiss Family Robinson, etc. can even be busy with ridiculous wait times, just try to keep it in mind. Usually the best time to walk-on rides is before the park closes.

Inside Spaceship Earth

Inside Spaceship Earth

As a Disney annual passholder, I don’t wait for rides, I’d rather skip it than stand in line, I can always hit those rides another day when there isn’t a wait. My expectations are much lower, I don’t go into the park expecting to ride on the rides, so I’m not angry when I see the wait for Soarin’ is 2 hours, but I totally get the frustration for guests who are trying to do everything and see everything in their short vacation time.

Some rides always have a wait, like Toy Story Mania, that is a good one to get a FP for. (Other popular ones: Soarin’, Test Track, Seven Dwarf’s Mine Train, Meet Anna & Elsa, Peter Pan’s Flight) Most of the people waiting in lines are tourists (not annual passholders) trying to cram in as much as possible, and perhaps are totally clueless about Fast Passes. The wait times can vary greatly based on the time of day. For instance, Spaceship Earth can have enormous lines sometimes, I don’t really understand why, but it does, it’s better to wait until later and walk on with little to no wait, same goes for The Land ride or The Nemo ride.

Pirate's of the Caribbean

Pirates of the Caribbean

Use FP+, it will make your life easier. Take some time to understand it and get familiar with what attractions are available and worth using your Fast Passes on, it’s going to make your vacation a lot better.

Always keep your Magic Band or plastic card handy so you don’t slow down the lines, each person will need it every time you use the FP system.

Stay tuned for Parts 2 – 5.

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