Attendance at Disneyworld has grown by 14% since 2008, which has given rise to an entire ecosystem of official and third party ways to combat the crowds and plan the most efficient visit. Last year, when I started planning our trip, I knew we had to get “FastPass” reservations for rides like the brand-new Avatar Flight of Passage at the earliest possible opportunity, which in our case was 60 days before we arrived, otherwise we’d face waits of two to four(!) hours in line.
I was prepared for that. I wasn’t prepared to have to reserve tables for sit-down restaurants over a month in advance, or discovering that we needed to order our fast food choices and snacks in advance if we didn’t want to endure long queues. But I did it, and in the end – on our first visit – we were able to hit up practically every single ride and show in Disneyworld in just a few days, waiting no longer than 30 minutes in line, with most waits being just 5-10 minutes.
Achieving this required the relentless, single-minded use of the My Disney Experience app, which handles all FastPass reservations, booking and ordering at sit-down and ‘quick service’ restaurants in advance, and displays live wait times for almost all attractions. It also required flexibility and opportunism – if a desirable ride’s wait time was unexpectedly short, we’d change our plans and rebook FastPasses. It got to the point where I was looking up the length of shows and attractions to figure out if we could fit them in and make it to the next ride in time, in a more complex version of the Travelling Salesman problem.
You don’t need to do any of this, of course. But you’d be literally wasting your time and money if you didn’t – and when tickets to Disneyland cost well over $200 per day for a couple, avoiding spending a quarter or third of your time in lines isn’t just for obsessives.
And so you’ll see plenty of people fiddling with the My Disney Experience app at the park. Yet as far as I could tell, most people weren’t – and very few were using the app to the degree that we were. That helped us, but I felt bad for those who, for whatever reason, endured gruelling waits while we zoomed by in the FastPass line.
I believe there’s a better way. Not just to get more people enrolled in the app and booking rides and food in advance; not just to save obsessives like myself from checking the app all the time; but to make Disneyworld more money.
Call it My Disney Navigator, an entirely new way of making your stay as fun and smooth as possible. Continue reading “My Disney Navigator”