The Walt Disney Company announced its earnings for the first quarter of the year, which was up both in revenues and profits compared to one year ago. Understandably, CEO Bob Iger was excited with the performance of the company’s divisions, including the film, games, and parks units, and spoke in-depth about it in an earnings call that was also held today. In addition to record attendance across many Disney Parks, he also had surprising remarks about the popularity of FastPass+!
Iger mentioned that Walt Disney World drew record crowds in the last quarter, a great milestone for the property which is easily one of the most popular destination in the United States. Rolling out to many of those visitors was the MyMagic+ program, including MagicBands and FastPass+ (read about my experience with both here), both of which are currently in a testing phase. Even though the testing is ongoing and it will theoretically get easier to use FastPass+ as time passes, it is already significantly more popular than the legacy FastPass system. Iger stated that FastPass+ is being used more than the original FastPass, “by a wide margin.”
That is a remarkable finding, but one that is also logical. Individuals who were masters of FastPass 1.0 included locals and park enthusiasts who had developed their own methods for maximizing their time in the parks through practice. Tourists who had less frequent visits were generally less familiar with the legacy FastPass system. Now, though, the FastPass+ system has proven to be more of an equalizer, with everyone who has been testing the system being allowed the same number of advance bookings. Further, guests are being given access to the reservation system weeks before their trip, which makes greater use logical. Seeing FastPass+ succeed to this level, even prior to its finalization, bodes well for MyMagic+.
The success of FastPass+ also means that Disney Parks staff has a better handle of where and when to increase their staff numbers, as the reservations provides a preview of which guests go where. Obviously, the limit of three FastPass+ reservations means that most will stand in the longer regular queue for at least one more ride, and Disney will not necessarily know which rides those will be. Still, Disney having a grasp of up to three reservations per guest is three more than they used to.
MyMagic+ continues its testing and roll-out, and changes will likely still be made to the FastPass+ program. Stay tuned for updates on where the exciting changes take us!