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FASTPASS Plus at Disney's Hollywood Studios

The biggest change that is coming (and has come in some cases) to Walt Disney World is FASTPASS Plus, which will greatly change how guests tour the theme parks.  As bits and pieces of information flow to the public, we can begin envisioning how the in-park experience will change and already we have a solid list of attractions at Disney's Hollywood Studios that will be "upgraded" to FASTPASS Plus.

  • Rock n Roller Coaster
  • Star Tours
  • Twilight Zone Tower of Terror
  • Toy Story Mania
  • The American Idol Experience
  • Disney Junior - Live on Stage
  • The Great Movie Ride
  • Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular
  • Lights, Motors, Action! Extreme Stunt Show
  • Muppet Vision 3D
  • Voyage of the Little Mermaid

At Disney's Hollywood Studios, the park will go from seven official attractions offering FASTPASS to 11 attractions offering FASTPASS Plus.  The interesting consideration about adding these FASTPASS Plus to these attractions is the question of "Do these attractions really need it?".

I see three categories of attractions that will be getting FASTPASS Plus, needs it, would be nice to have it, and does not need it.

Needs It

This (short) list of attractions should be fairly obvious.  Toy Story Midway Mania, Tower of Terror and Rock 'n Roller Coaster are all busy enough to warrant needing FASTPASS Plus, especially since they all have been offering traditional FASTPASS for years.  They're headliner attractions that consistantly have the longest wait times of the day.

Of course, FASTPASS's for these attractions will be the first to be reserved under FASTPASS Plus.  Think of them like the Le Cellier or Cinderella's Royal Table of FASTPASS Plus attractions; very popular choices that get booked up first.

Nice to Have It

This category of attractions are rides and shows that could benefit from having but it isn't essential.  During the very busiest times of the year, I can envision when FASTPASS Plus would be a benefit (assuming you did not use them for the attractions in the category above).  These are American Idol Experience (mostly the finale show), Disney Junior - Live on Stage, and Voyage of the Little Mermaid.

You will notice these are all shows and these shows do not have huge capacities to them, so when crowds are the heaviest, FASTPASS Plus would make my life easier.  To be honest I was tempted to include Disney Junior in the "Needs It" category above but I think it is not quite there.

Does Not Need It

With attractions in this category, now we have attractions that are so efficient and/or have immense capacity that adding FASTPASS Plus to these attractions isn't just unncessary, it is downright useless.  Attractions here are Star Tours, The Great Movie Ride, Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular, Lights, Motors, Action! Extreme Stunt Show and Muppet Vision 3D.

Proof comes in the fact that Lights, Motors, Action and Indiana Jones are technically FASTPASS attractions currently but never used or needed.  Indiana Jones' FASTPASS machines have not been available for guest use in literally years.  At Lights, Motors, Action!, Cast Members routinely give away FASTPASS's to guests in an effort to bring guests in.  

Muppet Vision 3D used to offer FASTPASS when FASTPASS first came to the Studios, but the show's capacity made it largely useless and it was since removed.  

Star Tours currently offers FASTPASS but I believe it is so efficient at loading that I think the ride's standby wait times would actually be lower without FASTPASS than with it.  The Great Movie Ride has never had FASTPASS and with good reason.  Like Star Tours, it's too efficient and with too large a capacity to need FASTPASS Plus.  


I added a fourth category for what Disney should be using FASTPASS Plus for, especially when you look at how FASTPASS Plus is being slated for attractions in other parks.  

  • Fantasmic!
  • Sorcerer's Hat character meet-n-greets
  • Star Wars Weekend character meet-n-greets
  • Jedi Training Academy

Fantasmic! should be a no brainer.  Wishes and Illuminations will receive FASTPASS Plus, so it makes sense for Fantasmic! too as well.  I suspect the fact that offering FASTPASS Plus at Fantasmic! will cut into revenue generated by the Fantasmic! Dining Package, which would be a problem.

I'm surprised Jedi Training Academy is not part of the FASTPASS Plus list.  Long ago Disney gave up on getting volunteers before each show and started letting kids sign up once the park opened.  With FASTPASS Plus, guests could sign their kids up for a specific show well in advance and it seems like the perfect application for FASTPASS Plus.  Perhaps the age verification aspect is to blame, but I know Cast Members would have no problem at all finding suitable replacements if they needed to fill a few extra spots.

What I really love about FASTPASS Plus is when it's used for character meets and right now there are none slated for the Studios.  Once again, the other parks have at least one character meet available with FASTPASS Plus and this is where FASTPASS Plus should absolutely be utilized.  While I can handle waiting in a long standby line at Toy Story Midway Mania or Tower of Terror, character lines are the absolute worst because their lines are not themed at all.  

By adding FASTPASS Plus to character meets, as a guest, I would find that immensely useful for planning my trip and accomplishing what FASTPASS Plus is all about: reducing the time I am waiting in line and making me happier.  Any parent with children that want to meet characters know how boring those character lines can be.  Disney should add FASTPASS Plus to as many character spots as possible because there is where it is absolutely needed.

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A regular look into Disney's Hollywood Studios, both past and present, with commentary and analysis from Matt Hochberg.


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Posted: Thursday, June 27, 2013 by