Over the last couple of days a number of little blue posts boasting the Mickey symbol have appeared outside the major attractions in the Magic Kingdom. The long rumoured RFID FASTPASS is now in test for the next 2 weeks, there is no way to sign up but guests are selected and provided with a plastic FASTPASS card and an itinerary for their selected attraction.
Twitter user @TOCPE82 posted this up yesterday:
Thursday, May 3, 2012
12:25pm to 1:25pm, Splash Mountain, Frontierland
1:55pm to 2:55pm, Jungle Cruise, Adventureland
3:30pm to 4:30pm, Peter Pan’s Flight, Fantasyland
5:15pm to 6:15pm, Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin, Tomorrowland
Other attractions included in the testing are Haunted Mansion, Space Mountain & Mickey’s Philharmagic. Cast members at each of the attraction RFID post have been equipped with iPads to monitor the technology and the data.
Guests are asked to select their entire FASTPASS itinerary before they arrive at the park, which points to the long rumoured ability for Walt Disney Hotel guests to select their next day’s itinerary from the comfort of their hotel room. This is only going to last 2 weeks and much like the EPCOT entrance testing using RFID it will magically disappear overnight whilst the system is analyised for future roll out.
Phase one of the move to this new technology was implemented some time ago where the rules became stricter on return times of the ticket because unlike a cast member the RFID will refuse entry if the times don’t match.
This is a really interesting idea if implemented in the right way as it will reduce the tussles and racing for FASTPASSES in the mornings for attractions like Everest and Soarin and allow guests to better plan their days. There are still a number of unknowns for example whether you will be able to select a time for each ride not just the ride; lots of tickets are wasted when they clash with dining reservations etc though maybe if it was linked to your key to the world card then it could read your reservation data and avoid clashes. It is also not known who this will be made available to all Hotel guest, just Deluxe and DVC or whether it will be available (maybe at a cost) to other visitors who could select their choices when they buy their tickets. One of the downsides I could see though depending on how far out your are allows to ‘book’ your attractions people may book FASTPASSES for all attractions that offer it as a safety in case they might want to ride and then not use that slot, which is not so much of a problem with the current system where you can only have 1 at a time as people are obviously selective. A similar thing was happening with dining where people were making several reservations which then saw an increase in the number of restaurants holding you credit card details as insurance, which is not a viable option for the FASTPASS scheme.
Here are some images posted up by jmccrae of the system in action: