In Which Jenn Has A Counterintuitive FastPass Theory

I’ve got a theory.

Wrong!

Wrong again!

It’s about FastPass+. It may make you uncomfortable. But if you hear me out, you may have an effective new strategy on your hands. Or I’ll ruin your whole vacation. Either/or.

So on my last trip to WDW with my mom, I left plans for the final day completely blank, the idea being that I would let my mom decide how she wanted to spend our remaining hours based on what she liked best the previous days. As such, I reserved precisely zero FastPass+ slots. How could I, if I couldn’t be sure where we’d be?

Well, unsurprisingly, we wound up in beautiful, majestic, Disney’s Animal Kingdom. Inevitably we started our day in grudgingly accepted Pandora, in the early-bird line for Flight of Passage.

To pass the time, I pulled up the My Disney Experience app on my phone and began fiddling around with the FastPass+ screen. Because I had made no previous selections, all rides were open to me – regardless of tier

That is important. It is important because through some dedicated refreshing of the available FP+ screen, I was able to snag two slots for Na’vi River Journey. By the time we finished with Flight of Passage, River Journey was showing something like an hour posted wait, but thanks to my last minute grab we were able to waltz right on.

And it got me thinking. Through heated, determined refreshing of the FP+ portion of MDE, I have made some miraculous eleventh hour reservations, up to and including Frozen Ever After and, yes, even Flight of Passage. Mind you, this has always been for parties of one or two, so my theory may only apply to smaller groups.

Still, I wonder: if you go to make your FP+ selections in advance and can’t get the popular ride you want, might it be more advantageous to simply forego making FP+ decisions in advance and instead winging it on the day?

I know this sounds crazy, but listen. If you want Seven Dwarfs Mine Train but can’t get it, and instead make three selections for other rides, you’re now blocked from attempting to grab new FP+s until you use up those three – and depending on what times you accepted, that might not be for hours. In the meantime, someone could drop their SDMT FP+ slot and you’ll be powerless to pick it up.

If you don’t have any FP+s at all, you can start madly refreshing from the moment you wake up in the morning in the hopes of getting what you want. It occurs to me that you can start trying earlier, too – a week out, say – but then I also understand that Disney will sometimes release FP+ slots the day of. Your odds increase!

So what do you think? I admit it’s the classic case of forgetting about the bird in hand while going after one in the bush, but the risk has paid off for me before. For those who are willing to be flexible, I think it could work nicely.

One a scale of 1 to 10 where 1 is I WILL HAVE A PANIC ATTACK and 10 is chill, baby, how comfortable are you with winging your FastPass+ plan?

Don’t forget, you can follow FRoA on Twitter @fairestrunofall. If you have any questions, leave a comment or email fairestrunofall@gmail.comSee ya real soon!

In Which Jenn Uncovers A Surprise (FastPass)

I’m sure I’m not the only one who keeps a small shrine to Disney parks in their cubicle. Some of the more enterprising of you may have beautifully framed photographs and artfully fanned park maps. Me, I more or less slapped some schmatta on the wall with push pins and called it done.

Okay, so it’s not the most impressive display, but it definitely cheers me up to glance over once in awhile and see my old Annual Pass or the pin I got for helping train a porcupine at DAK

Recently while casting an eye over my collection, I spied an ancient relic. Do you see it?


That’s a paper WDW FastPass, all right. But so what? I’m sure there are tons of those floating around. They’re even still issued for some special occasions. But this particular kind may never be seen again. Check out the text: it’s a Surprise FastPass from 2011!


This particular type of FP was spit out in conjunction with the FP you had actually come to the machine for. I only ever remember getting one for Philharmagic, as this one is, but maybe someone in the audience remembers getting a different kind?

Obviously its presence on my work wall means I never used it. That is because a Philharmagic FP is basically useless. I like the show, but since I can basically wander into it at any time I don’t generally worry about it. Unless it’s a peak period, I can’t imagine this FP being useful to anyone – and I betcha these FPs weren’t sliding out of the machines as a bonus when the crowds were Thanksgiving-heavy.

The only thing I can think of is that Disney was trying to a) shuffle crowds around and b) hoping that n00bs would just be excited for an extra FP and not actually realize how pointless it was. 

But the real question is this: think My Disney Experience will ever randomly assign surprise FastPasses? 

Because I don’t. >D

Don’t forget, you can follow FRoA on Twitter @fairestrunofall. If you have any questions, leave a comment or email fairestrunofall@gmail.comSee ya real soon!

The Fairest Week In Review: 10/04

Ah, yes. Back to normal. More or less. (I wish it was less. Beach, I miss you!)

Pictured: the beach I miss.

Sunday | rest
Gearing up for…
Monday | ran 20.16 miles on the treadmill in 3:25
No, it wasn’t that bad, I swear. But it wasn’t, like, good. What is it that makes a 20 mile training run so much more painful than the actual marathon?
Tuesday | 70 minute ballet class
I had planned to walk, too, but wound up stuck at Mount Vernon for a business meeting. Because that’s how your life goes sometimes when in you’re in the arts industry in the DC area.
Wednesday | ran 5.51 miles outside in 60 minutes
This was not as bad as I feared it might be but I was definitely still a bit sore from Monday.
Thursday | walked 3.12 miles outside in 50 minutes
No ballet this day because I instead drove up to Ocean City to meet Pat and his family for an extra beach day! Hooray!
Friday | ran 5.08 miles outside in 50 minutes
As always, the boardwalk is a magical place.
Now for a little WDW vacation planning chat. Namely, let’s talk about how I am dumb.
I got the email that my FastPass+ window had opened on Sunday, but I was busy so I didn’t jump on it right away. This is generally fine – my mom’s not a thrill ride person – BUT it meant that OF COURSE by the time I got around to it (like, less than 48 hours later) all the Flight of Passage FPs were gone. Blast. Forgot about that one.
Oh well. It’ll be fine; we’ll just kick it in standby early in the morning or late at night. I hear the queue’s pretty impressive anyway.
And now for some people who know what they’re doing. Roundup!
Don’t forget, you can follow FRoA on Twitter @fairestrunofall. If you have any questions or thoughts, leave a comment or email fairestrunofall@gmail.comSee ya real soon!

Kill/Refurb/Marry: My Magic+

Yes, I’m back from Walt Disney World. 🙁 Trip/race reports forthcoming, of course, but first I’m knocking out this month’s Kill/Refurb/Marry – for the last time. :/ The infrastructure on the blog hop has changed so much that I can completely understand why it’s ending, but I’m bummed; it was nice to have it in the monthly post rotation. Ah well. Onward!

The final topic is My Magic+. Hmmmmmm. Tough one.

Kill: Magic Band Batteries

I have wracked my brains and decided to kill the battery inside Magic Bands. They only last a year, which means piles of Magic Bands will become useless, creating more and more waste as the years go on. Plus it makes otherwise nifty customized bands borderline useless. Let’s get some rechargeable batteries in there!

Refurb: FastPass+

The obvious one, but I mean it so hard I can’t not go with it: REVAMP THE FASTPASS+ SYSTEM, PLEASE. I like the non-paper element and I don’t even mind the reserving in advance. But I miss the old, spontaneous system, which allowed me to play a bit more fast and loose with my plans if I so desired. I also don’t appreciate being locked into one park for said FastPasses. But most of all – WHY do we have to go to kiosks to get new FastPasses? Why can’t we just do it through the app? Huh???

Marry: The App WITH CAVEATS

If you had asked me even a year ago what to kill, I would’ve unhesitatingly said THE APP. Getting it to work anywhere inside the parks was well nigh impossible for me and many others. However, the system has improved markedly since then, and I was able to use the app very effectively last week with excellent results. FP+ changes, show schedules, wait times – all good.

HOWEVER. Disney, so help me, if you do not continue to strengthen and expand your wifi system, THERE WILL BE HELL TO PAY. Keep that app in good shape and your wifi robust and we will all be happy campers.

There you have it: my last K/R/M. Thanks to the organizers for all their hard work on the series – maybe it’ll come back some day!

Don’t forget, you can follow us on Twitter @fairestrunofall. To see how our training is going, check out Jenn’s dailymile here and Moon’s dailymile here. If you have any questions for us, leave a comment or email us at fairestrunofall@gmail.comSee ya real soon!

In Which Jenn Solidifies Her Disney Park Planning Cred

My now sadly former boss is planning a Walt Disney World vacation for her extended family, and I have, as is my wont, been offering advice every step of the way. I assisted in her resort selection, her dining reservations, and lately she’s been sending me emails asking about My Disney Experience.

I have now gone through two rounds of helping her pick which attractions to FastPass+, and my last email garnered this TOTALLY AMAZING response:

This weekend as we were doing these plans, I said to my parents, “Are you SURE you don’t want me to make dining reservations for you two?” My parents: “We’ll want to go out, but we’ll figure it out there.”  My husband: “Oh man, what would Jenn German say about that!”

WWJGS

YOU GUYS. I HAVE MY OWN ACRONYM.

Next time you’re planning a Disney trip, remember: WWJGS. We all need this on t-shirts immediately.

BOW BEFORE ME


Don’t forget, you can follow us on Twitter @fairestrunofall. To see how our training is going, check out
Jenn’s dailymile here and Moon’s dailymile here. If you have any questions for us, leave a comment or email us at fairestrunofall@gmail.com. See ya real soon!

In Which Jenn Uses Space Mountain to Triumph Over Moon’s Ex-Boyfriend

JENN: This is another story from our 2004 high school orchestra trip to Orlando.

It was the very last night of the trip, and we spent the afternoon/evening in the Magic Kingdom. I had been to Disney’s California Adventure a couple years earlier where I learned about the recently instituted FastPass program, so the moment we stepped into the park I herded everyone toward the Space Mountain FP kiosks.

This was before Moon’s Roller Coaster Renaissance, so she made friends with the Tomorrowland Transit Authority Peoplemover. How many times would you say you rode?

MOON: Umm… I think enough where I didn’t actually have to get off and re-enter anymore!

JENN: Did you ever get off and do anything else, or was it just TTA on loop until we got off the ride?

MOON: TTA all the way, baby.

JENN: Nice! So when our FP return window opened up, we dropped Moon off at the TTA entrance and whooshed merrily through the FP line.

Just setting the scene.

The regular standby line was about two hours, if I recall correctly (that’s what spring and a school music festival will do to you).

MOON: Never go to WDW during a school music festival. Well, unless you’re participating. 😉

JENN: As we walked past the line, we happened to see Moon’s ex-boyfriend perched on the line divider. He took one look at us whizzing past and said this: “Oh, you bastards.” And that is why FastPass wins.

And so we rode Space Mountain AND had time to fit in a jaunt on the Jungle Cruise. TADA!

MOON: Dang. I should have gotten on that ride! I’m actually surprised he noticed you guys.

JENN: The line was LONG and this was before the installed the video games in the standby queue. There wasn’t anything to do BUT notice things.

MOON: Even still. You know what I’m talking about.

JENN: Haha, I DO.

And that is how we used Walt Disney World to triumph over Moon’s ex. Truly it is a place of wonder.

Don’t forget, you can follow us on Twitter @fairestrunofall. To see how our training is going, check out Jenn’s dailymile here and Moon’s dailymile here. If you have any questions for us, leave a comment or email us at fairestrunofall@gmail.com. See ya real soon!