Fastpass Fails To Impress!


Screamscape always seems to have a little edge on everyone when it comes to rumors, and this week the site not only reported that the Magic Kingdom’s Anna and Elsa, Frozen character greet was to be rescued by a good old fashioned ‘Return Time’ ticket, but a hint that Soarin was also possibly heading that way!

Update Aug 2014 – The Magic Kingdom has also introduced a similar style ticket for stand-by access to the Be Our Guest Restaurant!

Wow!  That really made me stop and wonder about Fastpass+ as a useful tool. 

For me, I love it MyMagic+ and I’m of an age that loves all things tech.
Also, much like yourself reading this blog post, I have a passion for the internet, and all that it offers.
I’m hardly cutting edge, but I follow along with something new when I feel that it’s of benefit.

So now I ask you to do something fun!
Just picture yourself boarding the tram in the Magic Kingdom parking lot.
Now that isn’t too bad is it!  (Told you it was fun!)
Yes, but now, try and picture a cross section of 20 typical Disney park guests boarding that tram.  Some of us boarding that tram, stand no chance of making any use of Fastpass+ and here’s why;

Kids are first on the hit list!
Most don’t have a cell phone and those that do, probably don’t have pockets big enough to keep them safe and secure.
Under the old Fastpass ticket system, our kids could wander about with their own Fastpass ticket.  It had a time printed on it.  The new Fastpass+ system has buried data in mom and dad’s cell phone.  Not good when you want to know when you are able to ride Big Thunder Mountain and you are about to join an attraction line wait area.
At least 4 out of every 20 guests boarding my imaginary tram are kids without cell phones!

Non tech fans next!
So out of that group boarding the tram, how many will struggle with anything high tech that requires a login on a cell phone?  Let’s be kind and say 2 in 20.

Data conscious hard liners!
Some people just don’t trust the security that businesses offer.
Super stores and huge banking organizations have bungled our data into the wrong hands!.
To be fair, Disney’s system appears to be performing well, but a number of guests will stay well clear.  1 in 20 perhaps?

Flat batteries!
Some guests will show up at the parks with good intentions, only to discover they run out of juice part way through the day.  2 out of 20 seems a fair estimate!

Dysfunctional Guests
This sounds harsh, but to be fair, no matter what, some people just can’t manage the basics.  They can’t seem to get much right at all and despite having the technology in their hands, they just can’t seem to get by without lots of help.  2 out of 20 also seems a fair estimate!

We are left with less than 50% of WDW guests being able to make reasonable use of MyMagic+

Using our little imaginary team boardign the tram to visit the Magic Kingdom, we are left with 9 out of 20 guests being able to enjoy the benefits of MyMagic and Fastpass+ attractions.
No wonder paper return time tickets are making a return, but we bet Disney doesn’t like it one bit!


If you aren’t sure how to make the most of Fastpass+, check out these useful articles!


Will Frozen Damage Epcot’s World Showcase?


UPDATE: Disney have confirmed that a Frozen attraction will replace Norway’s Maelstrom.  The ride will close from oct 5th 2014.  No opening date has been provided.

I never did set out to be a grumpy troll of a blogger.
After all, what could possibly be bad about writing about the theme parks in Orlando?

Well for one, I kind of get a little over protective about our most precious vacation retreat.
Just like every other theme park fan out there, I’m all for change you see, so long as I don’t lose anything that I decide is special to me.

Of course, I rarely take the time to Disney, especially to to let them know about what I may, or may not, allow them to meddle with.

The reason being of course, is that I change my mind daily!

One day I might think that Epcot needs a bit of a family friendly ride,
The next;
I’m quite happy to leave it exactly how it is, so long as I can wander through France with my plastic glass of Champagne in the glorious mid morning sunshine!
Epcot is a chameleon and it does a great job of adapting just to suit your frame of mind!

Over the winter months of 2014 though, huge line waits to ‘meet and greet’ Anna & Elsa snaked right back from the Norway Pavilion to the front of the Mexico Pavilion.
Epcot was going to change forever and this caused many emotions for me;

My first thoughts were; Wow!
Second were; Great to see so many kids at Epcot actually looking engaged!
Third were; Can I bustle my way through those moms and their daughters to get my frozen Margarita fix at that Mexico stall?
But finally; Oh no, Disney are going to do something big with Frozen some time real soon.

To be truthful, Epcot needs a kick up the A**.
Disney’s Tom Fitzgerald is in the process of moving his desk from Disneyland Paris to Epcot to do just that it seems.
Sadly though, the kick up the A** might be the sort that Epcot fans are dreading the most; ‘a fundamental change’.
If rumours about Epcot’s Maelstrom being turned into a Frozen attraction are true, the World Showcase’s ‘essential fabric’ could potentially collapse in a puff of pixie dust as soon as 2015.
But the good news is;

The most likely scenario for a Norway Frozen project won’t be as bad as you think!
As I recently read through news articles and watched how Disney masterfully developed the fabulous Frozen movie (yes I’m a fan!), one thing really did strike me.
Disney had adopted an unprecedented level of research into the Walt Disney Frozen animation.  They spent months in Norway gathering sights sounds and facts to provide an incredibly detailed and authentic feature film.
As a result, lead animator Mike Giaimo probably discovered much more for Disney than anyone could have imagined.

Not only did his team trap the very essence of the classic Disney ‘troubles of life; good over evil, ability and challenge‘, they more interestingly revealed to the world an insight into one of the most magical and deeply mysterious places on earth.
Norway has long been recognised for exploration and conquest, but very few of the Earth’s 7 billion people have ever considered setting foot on this stunning and culturally rich nation’s soil.  Until very recently!
Norwegian hotel bookings are are up 37% this year!

If Frozen does eventually take over Maelstrom over the next 12 months, I predict we will see an even better,  picturesque, yet informative version of Maelstrom.
Still think tasteful, but this time we will be joined by some familiar characters from the movie, for a lighter exploration of beautiful Norway!

Perhaps we could imagine Ellen’s Energy Adventure (without the boredom), hosted by Olaf, Sven, Anna, Elsa and what’s his name.
This is going to be a fabulous adaption of Maelstrom, narrated by Disney’s most successful siblings ever!

Disney aren’t going to mess up Epcot, and Frozen will make it even better!

Frozen at Disney’s Hollywood Studios Leaves Me Cold!

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In fact; Double Wow!

Disney’s massive Box office hit has grossed an incredible $400m at the time of writing (or June 27th Data).

Now take a look at these two images on the right from the Disney parks Blog.

No, it’s not a set from a high school play, this is actually what Walt Disney World have dreamed up for Hollywood Studios this summer.
Starting from July 5th, guests can put on a set of ice skates after handing over ten bucks to skate around and listen to some Frozen music in the background.

Rarely have I ever seen anything quite so embarrassing from Disney Parks and I challenge you to think long and hard to try and recall anything as tacky as this in any theme park?

As Comic Book Guy might say “Worst. Attraction. Ever!”

Sure, I’ve got to add a note of sympathy to the Imagineers at Walt Disney World.
With suspicions that budgets have been slashed due to MyMagic+ and all of the remaining funds diverted into bickering with James Cameron, or building a huge shopping mall at Downtown Disney, there seems little scope to roll out the money hose for attractions based on what is certain to be one of the most successful contemporary feature animations in the Disney catalogue.

Disney possibly appear to have been overwhelmed by the response to Frozen.
I admit that I love it, the family loves it, and we never tire of hearing it playing everywhere we go.  Dance schools and amateur stage performances all over the world are putting kids forward with fabulous enthusiasm to sing ‘Let it Go’ or ‘Do You Want To Build A Snowman?’.  Frozen is that popular, it has inspired kids to sing, every bit as much as American Idol or X Factor.

Shame that DIsney, just didn’t manage to do something with that popularity at all inside WDW.

Yes, the character greet has been fabulous.  Critics say the line waits are too long, but the kids seemed to appreciate the opportunity from what I see on social media.
The Festival of Fantasy Parade was even slightly adjusted to include more Frozen content.

I didn’t expect an E-ticket ride to spring up out of the hallowed Disney turf in just a few months, but Disney’s spectacularly weak effort at Hollywood Studios this summer shows that the cynics and critics may have a point; that Disney appears to have lost the ability to put guests before their profit line.

Having failed on Frozen, under-delivered on Star Wars, delayed on Avatar and possibly outrun by Diagon Alley, we can probably expect to see some very big changes following the 2015 Annual Meeting of Shareholders next spring.