All this week Disney has been testing FASTPASS at Fantasmic! by distributing tickets during the day at the Tip Board area and giving some guests the opportunity to see Fantasmic! with less of a wait time than usual. It's just a one week test but how does it work and is this good for guests in the future?
The way FASTPASS works for Fantasmic! is pretty similiar to how FASTPASS works for almost any attraction. You get the ticket and that gets you to wait a lot less in the standby line. There's still a wait involved but the FASTPASS tickets have asked guests to return about 20-30 minutes or so before show time, which for the first Fantasmic! show of the evening is a great proposition considering I recommend showing up an hour before show time for the first Fantasmic! show of the evening.
In addition, the FASTPASS tickets simply get you in the theater, so unlike the Fantasmic! Dinner Package, there is no reserved area and this allows you to choose wherever you would like to sit. This is definitely a big advantage.
This is just a test and come Sunday, things will return back to normal with no FASTPASS. And Disney is not gearing up to add FASTPASS ticket machines to the front of the Hollywood Hills Ampitheater. Rather, all of this is a test to see how guest flow works for the real plan of action: integrating Fantasmic! into FASTPASS+.
Just like any other attraction, sometime in the not-to-distant future, guests will be able to reserve a Fantasmic! show just like booking a ride on the Tower of Terror. How many of the roughly 11,000 seats in the Hollywood Hills Ampitheater will be reserved for guests on FASTPASS+ is unknown at this time but I think it is safe to say we will see this change come to Fantasmic!.
There are two problems off the bat that I can foresee with FASTPASS+ at Fantasmic!. First is difficiulty in getting FASTPASS' to Fantasmic! with the new system. Just like booking restaurant reservations now at Walt Disney World, the most popular ones will go first and getting a reserved spot for Fantasmic! will easily be one of them. Probably the biggest complaint I ever hear about Fantasmic! is most people are not willing to wait close to an hour to see it, so they end up skipping it.
The other obvious problem with adding FASTPASS to Fantasmic! is it will make it even more difficult than ever to see the show if you just want to show up and see it. Although we do not know how many guests will be able to see Fantasmic! with a FASTPASS, it will not be much of a stretch to assume that a few thousand tickets will be reserved for FASTPASS meaning there will be less space for standby guests and that means longer waits. This is the same phenomenon we see with FASTPASS attractions now, with FASTPASS guests taking up space standby guests would ordinarilly have access to and thus, longer standby waits.
Disney fans will note we have already seen a reservation system for spots to see night time shows in Disney Parks at Disneyland with the World of Color shows and even die-hard Disneyland fans will note that seeing that show is a pain considering the difficulty in getting a spot. Moreover, at World of Color, tickets are split up based on how good the seats are, so it becomes even more difficult to see the show from "a good seat".
If it is starting to sound like I am not in favor of FASTPASS coming to Fantasmic!, well, you would be correct. Unfortunately I recognize the fact FASTPASS is coming to the show regardless of my opinion and now it is simply a matter of time. As Disney World fans that keep track of the daily changes happening in the parks, it is important to be prepared for what is coming and plan as far ahead as possible.