Mark Hickson writes:
Thanks Jim for the great article. I have shared it with my
readers via facebook. Please stay on top of the NextGen story for all of us!
Will do. In fact, let me share something that a certain
Godfather fan pass was nice enough to pass along to me. Which is the definitive
list of the 70 experiences which will be available to WDW Guests are part of
the xPASS program.
Copyright Disney Enterprises, Inc. All rights reserved
Now note that word "experience." For while there
are 28 attractions that are currently wired into Disney World's FastPASS system
... When xPASS finally comes fully online (and -- from what I've now been
hearing -- we could be well in 2013 before that actually happens), the number
of rides, shows and attractions that Guests will now be able to make advance
ride reservations for will have basically doubled.
Not only that, but these same people will be able to book
times for exclusive meet & greets
with the Disney characters as well as claiming primo viewing spots for parades
in the Parks & nighttime spectaculars like Illuminations and Wishes.
But in order to fold those meet & greets as well as
those parade viewing spots into this ride reservation system ... Well, Disney
had to come up a new way to describe what these Guests will be booking. So when
xPASS does finally & fully roll out in 2013, look for the Mouse's merry
marketeers to start talking up experiences(As in: "Look at all of the magical
adventures and experiences you can book ahead of time as part of your Walt
Disney World Vacation") rather than rides, shows and attractions.
Anyway ... You wanna know which parts of WDW's entertainment
inventory we're specifically talking about here? The list goes as follows:
The Magic Kingdom currently has the following rides, shows
and attractions available for advance booking through that theme park's
Once xPASS is up & running, WDW visitors will also have
the chance to book in advance:
Not to mention exclusive meet & greets with the Disney
characters as well as primo viewing spots for such Magic Kingdom favorites as:
Meanwhile, over at EPCOT, Guests can currently use that
theme park's FastPASS system to enter the virtual queue for:
Once xPASS comes online, WDW visitors will be able to book
advance reservations for:
These Guests will also have the opportunity to experience
exclusive meet & greets with the Disney characters as well as claim a spot
for the nightly presentation of:
Meanwhile, over at Disney's Hollywood Studios ... Nowadays,
Guests can use FastPASS to book advance ride times on:
But in the not-so-distant future ... Thanks to xPASS,
visitors to this studio theme park will also be able to take advantage of
Disney's virtual queuing system to cut the line / their wait time for:
Plus those exclusive meet & greets with the Disney characters.
Not to mention special reserved-in-advance viewing areas for:
Meanwhile over at Disney's Animal Kingdom ... Where once WDW Guests were only
able to use their FastPASSes for:
Once xPASS officially comes online next year, these same
Disney World visitors will be able to use this virtual queuing system to book
Not to mention those exclusive meet & greet
opportunities with the Disney characters as well as primo viewing spot for:
Now, I know that there are those Disneyana fans who are
going to squawk about Disney World bumping out the number of rides, shows and
attractions in its FastPASS / xPASS inventory from 28 to 50. They're going to
insist that -- by doing this -- the typical day visitor to these theme parks
who doesn't have access to this new book-in-advance virtual queue is now doomed
to spend their days waiting in the stand-by line.
But according to the Mouse's own research, basically
doubling the number of FastPASS / xPASS-based attractions actually has a hidden
benefit in that it will spread people out around the Parks. Which means that
the crowds will no longer be clustered around a handful of super-popular
attractions like Splash Mountain and Twilight Zone Tower of Terror.
More to the point, software safety guards are reportedly
being put in place which will then prevent those Guests who are actually using
the xPASS system from booking up in advance all of the available ride times for
the theme park's most popular attractions (EX: While booked their day at the
Magic Kingdom, these WDW visitors will only be able to reserved in advance
their ride times on two of that theme park's "Mountains" [i.e. Space
Mountain, Splash Mountain and/or Big Thunder Mountain Railroad] rather than all
Also -- to mitigate that teeny bit of extra time in line
which Guests who have not taken advantage of WDW's new xPASS to book their ride
times in advance will be experiencing (The way I hear it, the full roll-out of
this NextGen virtual queuing system will add 1 - 3 minutes of wait time for WDW
visitors standing in the stand-by line for most attractions, while people
standing in line to experience the top three attractions at each park will then
see their wait time increase by just 6 - 8 minutes) ... Well, that's why you've
seen the Imagineers adding Scene Ones (EX: That interactive graveyard which
Guests now have the option of exploring when they visit The Haunted Mansion at
the Magic Kingdom), play areas (EX: The front-most part of the queue for The
Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh, which features all sorts of hands-on
activities for preschoolers & their families) as well as interactive group
games (EX: Those Wii-like games that Guests can play as a group on overhead
screens while waiting in line to experience Soarin'). To make that extra little
bit of time that people will soon be spending in line seem that much more
There are lots of other intriguing aspects about the xPASS
system that I'll soon be getting to in future JHM stories. But here's one that
will be sure to make West Coast-based Disneyana fans smile: There are already
plans in place to roll out xPASS at the Disneyland Resort in 2015, just in time
for Disneyland Park's 60th anniversary. And there are also discussions underway
as to how to properly implement this NextGen virtual queuing system onboard the Disney Cruise Line.
Anyway ... That's an early, early look at which rides, shows
and attractions will be included as part of WDW's xPASS experience. Do you
think the Mouse made the right choices? If not, which rides, shows and
attractions would you have preferred to see as part of Disney World's NextGen
virtual queuing system?
I am going to hold judgement until I see it and all the bugs and changes have been worked out.
So... damn near every attraction. I used to work at Mansion, and was so relieved we didn't have FastPass. Now, with this... well, I feel bad for my fellow CMs who will have to deal with this. It just seems like such a hassle, to have to hold lines for people who have reservations, etc. Or, will there be a separate line like the current FastPass ones for this? I'm really out of the loop on this one.
I agree with the previous couple of posters. Whenever stuff like this happens, people say it will be the end of the world. And then when it gets fully implemented, and they find out it makes their lives easier, they will settle in and enjoy it.
I for one and looking forward to not having to sprint through the parks to the first fastpass attraction and then try to catch up with my family. There is always a big group of dads running to EE at the rope drop of Animal Kingdom....Soarin' at Epcot...Midway Mania at the Studios. The last couple of years I have gotten a big kick out of it. I will enjoy just relaxing with my family, and if I have to spend a few extra bucks on it and an extra hour or two of my time, so be it. I just get to have that much more fun planning for the experience.
I have a couple of concerns but will hold off final judgement until the system rolls out and we can actually see what the impact is. I've been an Annual Passholder for maybe 20 years and a DVC member since 1994 so I've stayed in deluxe acomodations often. Since 2003, I've also been a "local" living 20 miles from the Mouse so I visit frequently. If the large tour groups take advantage of xPASS, it may well significantly increase (at least in spurts) standby lines. The large tour groups already dominate Main Street on nights when MSEP is scheduled. Also, as a local, I'm not sure if this may limit my ability to pop over to WDW for a couple of hours to catch a few rides. Even when I'm staying at a DVC resort, I'm not sure I want to plan to that level of detail. Jury is out....
Who is willing to vote with their dollars on this? How many who don't like this idea are willing to stop going to the parks, rather than say they aren't? How many who have complained here, on a fan's blog, are willing to write to the company, and express their concerns in a rational way to the execs, major stockholders, and/or board of directors?
If they open this up to Florida Residents/AP holders, I'm all for it!
There are MANY times we go to the parks for an evening and it's virtually impossible to ride any of the major rides unless that's all we want to do for an evening is ride one ride. If they open this up, it would allow people like us a chance to experience those major rides when FPs are already gone for the day or out to a time that's too late for us.
Jim again only gives a snippet of information and tells us to come back to read an article that he will never write.
@Mandy - I think the area you are referring as being blocked off at Fantasmic is the new reservered seating for the dining package. Those seats used to be off to the far right of the theater but they are now closer to the center.
I am not a fan of this xpass idea at all.
I am currently a cast member and am unsure of how I completely feel about this idea. I've been coming to Disney since I was 4 years old and have seen many changes throughout the parks! But this sounds like just another way for Disney to make more money just like everything else. I think a vacation is about relaxing, enjoying time with family and friends and also being spontaneous. I'm sorry but you people who actually want to bok when you go on a certain ride is pretty ridiculous. So you're gona book a resort, dining, and now attractios. Like said before, are you gona book potty breaks, water breaks and a spot on the banch in front of the castle to just relax for five minutes. I'm just saying the people that are super gunhoe about this better think about twice. Guess we'll see what happens...
I wish folks would stop freaking out about this... The new system is just a way to reward those who plan in advance, but it is not a requirement to plan in advance. With ADR, sometimes we make them, sometimes we don't - but we still get to eat EACH AND EVERY TIME WE GO TO DISNEY. I'm sick and tired of people freaking out every time Disney makes a change... It's not like people won't be able to enjoy attractions without having an xPass....
I am not a fan of the fastpass, as I believe it has led to longer lines. Thus, I most likely won't be a fan of the "X-Pass" either. However, we have to hand it to the folks at Disney. We pay addmission to a park to ride the rides, and see the shows. Disney has now figured out how to give us the option to pay more (over and above addmission) to... ride the rides and see the shows. What's scary is that many guests will gladly pay for this premium.
I'm just curious what the penalty will be for missing a reservation - or will X-Pass be in the same boat as ADR before the recent policy change? "Let's reserve Space Mtn but if we don't feel like it, who cares?"
What ever happened to a relaxing vacation!? How soon before this "free" enhancement comes with an extra charge. I'm with Ian. I don't go on vacation to watch my watch. And guess what happens when you have to tell your 2 year-old (in 93 degree heat in June) that we missed our XPass experience because the Disney shuttle bus that took us to the park was over 30 minutes late? (This actually happened to my family...luckily we had a car and drove to the park. But if you "Magical Expressed" from the airport you'ld be outta' luck!) I'll tell you how the 2 year-old will react...to paraphrase "The Lion King"..."be prepared for the meltdown of a lifetime".
And what about those families who save up for years and can afford only 1 Disney trip of a lifetime and can't afford access to a computer to secure XPasses? Think about their experience of waiting in long lines all day or being placed behind a tree-line or other obstructed view for the fireworks. Wow...I'd be interested in what their response would be to the marketing department when asked..."How was your experience...on a scale of 1 to 10...with 1 being thelowest and 10 being the highest?" It doesn't take a Ph in marketing to guess.
They really need to re-think this
I think that offering this as a perk for a Deluxe resort would be a mistake. I dont think a reward for spending more should be put into play. When you say "I spend a ton" the guy staying at a value is also "spending a ton" Staying at a value doesn't make him/her cheap and not worthy of "perks". It is quite possibly the ONLY way they are able to go to Disney. If this system is based on who can afford it then my days at Disney may be finished as well. It is pretty indicative of america as a whole these days. The haves and have nots.
I love this! Can't wait!