It’s natural to want to take every precaution possible to ensure that you get the perfect selection of FastPasses and dining reservations, whether that be messaging your agent for weeks about your choices, meticulously planning out your routes around the park or waking up obscenely early to make sure you get into the website to book everything the second it opens. There should unequivocally be a limit to that, though, when it starts to take advantage of loopholes that other guests are unknowing of.
This is specifically regarding the practice by which some guests book a Walt Disney World® Resort hotel earlier than they intend to go, and then use the 60-day booking window to secure the FastPasses they want before cancelling the reservation. Guests who then waited to cancel their resort reservation wouldn’t lose their FastPasses, locking them off early before guests who booked regularly, as well as annual passholders who get a 30-day window, could book them.
If reports are to be believed, then Disney has implemented a plan to close that loophole permanently. While as of the time of this writing it has yet to be officially confirmed by Disney, a report by news site WDW News Today said as of Feb. 3, 2019, any FastPass reservations linked to a cancelled resort reservation will be deleted. It’s a necessary, albeit perfect move by Disney that will ensure that needed rooms can be booked and that sought-after FastPasses are available to guests who fairly book them.
Guests exploiting the loophole is just a smaller symptom of a larger issue, however, as there’s sometimes a disrespectful culture surrounding the guests of American theme parks that, whether it’s being done consciously or not, should be made known in order to curtail. There are subsets of guests who will cut in front of those on motorized scooters or those with strollers, those in motorized scooters who ram into those in front of them, those who push their way in front of guests who have stood in line for a show or parade at the last minute just to block their view, those who blind guests during nighttime shows with flashes on their cameras, those who hold younger ones on their shoulder to block the view of those behind them and those who are rude and aggressive toward cast members who have little control or causation of a sour situation. It’s not all bad, though, and it’s not exclusive to theme parks. It’s an attitude so directly ingrained in American culture that it follows people around on vacations, and to try to avoid it would mean avoiding travel altogether.
Fortunately, as demonstrated by its action against FastPass-abusers, Disney does do a pretty good job in dealing with the forceful behavior that the occasional guest presents. While not the judge, jury and executioner on all civil matters that can occur in public, cast members are trained under Disney’s high standards for customer service and thus are equipped to deal with such situations. There’s outstanding customer service in the front of every park, and Disney also has one of the best social media teams in the business, where a simple tweet can patch a problem with ease.
It’s also essential, whether on a Disney vacation or elsewhere, to be sympathetic and considerate to other guests. Look around before stepping up to watch something, maybe someone was there before. Go to the back if you want to prop a shorter guest up on your shoulders. The view of most shows are designed to be great from everywhere, so they’ll be able to see it just as well and you won’t have to irritate anyone by standing in their way. Consider putting the phone down during shows and living in the moment, there are better videos of it elsewhere already. Give the scooter room to pass, and don’t fret if they’re taking their time. They paid to enjoy to vacation too, so let them enjoy it and maybe take the time to stroll about and take in some detail you haven’t noticed before. FastPasses are good for 20 minutes after they expire, and Be Our Guest isn’t going to cut your reservation because you were being considerate to a guest who can’t walk the same as you. Be extra friendly to cast members. You’d be surprised how tough working in any theme park or customer-facing job can be, and a little conversation can go a long way. It’s a good philosophy to have in any business, but especially that in restaurant and retail. If the shirt you wanted is out of stock or your ice cream is melted, order the shirt online later or enjoy the same-tasting ice cream all the same, as it probably isn’t really anybody’s fault that it didn’t turn out the way social media made it look.
In my personal experience, guests, by and large, are at Disney because they love it. And if you think they love it, strike up a conversation with any cast member, and you’ll get a true slice of passion and understanding in moments. Enjoy the company of the people around you instead of getting angry at the crowds, give a cast complement instead of yelling at a cast member who is working their hardest and wake up obscenely early to book your FastPasses like everyone else. If it seems easy, that’s because it is.
It’s certainly no coincidence that the Disney parks are some of the most popular vacation destinations on the planet. The service is great, and the experience might be even better, but in order for it to reach its true peak of excellence, it requires just the slightest amount of consideration.