What we know:
- FP+ will allow for reservations ahead of time (weeks/months) before a vacation
- If it follows the tests, FP+ will only let users choose four reservations per day (and only in one park)
- If it follows the tests, FP+ will only let you choose ONE E-ticket, one or two D/C ticket rides, and then an A/B ticket ride (or a show/parade reservation?).You can't get all four roller-coasters as your four reservations, for instance.
- Once it's fully enabled, FP+ will replace regular FP, and there will be no "day of" FP options
- The exception to #4 above is that in-park kiosks will let you replace / remake reservations for the same day if you miss your reservation. Since this is essentially very late in the game, you shouldn't count on "big" rides being available. If you miss your Space Mtn. reservation, you are likely to have to choose something like PeopleMover or Philharmagic to replace it. Everything else will likely be "sold out" that day.
What we don't know:
- It's unclear if annual passholders get to make reservations too. Early rumors point to 20 reservations per quarter (or 80 per year), but exactly HOW that will be divided hasn't been revealed yet, if the number is true at all.
- No one knows if the TOTAL number of reservations in the park per day are going up, going down, or staying the same. Let's pretend that in 2010, the Magic Kingdom issued 200,000 paper ticket FASTPASSES per summer day, spread across the ten or so attractions that used regular FP (most of them E-tickets). In 2013, will the reservations system issue 300,000 reservations, now that smaller rides are included in the list of possible reservations? Or will it still be 200,000 - but not spread out among MORE attractions? If the latter, that will mean shorter standby wait times at the "big" attractions.
- We don't know WHEN in 2013 the system will fully take over and replace regular FP.
Spontaneity. There is little arguing that a major downside of the new system will be a loss of spontaneity. You have to plan the four reservations you get MONTHS in advance, so now the rides will be a bit like restaurants - your day is being planned out long before you arrive. This is far from relaxing, and changed the tenor of a "vacation" in general. A few folks may feel the opposite is true; that locking up reservations represents a relief, and they can now relax confident that they have what they need.
Optimism. I've been cautiously optimistic about FP+ since February of 2012, when I speculated that it's possible that the new system might be BETTER than the current system, especially if they result in shorter, faster-moving standby lines at the "big" rides like Space Mountain.
I still think that if they tweak the system *just right* they can end up with a reality where people who want to make 1-2 really important reservations can do so, but otherwise, the day is spent waiting in lines. The inequality of the 2009-FP-World won't exist, where clueless tourists skipped the FP system (thinking erroneously that it was just optional and their wait would be the same either way) while locals and experienced users realized shorter wait times as a result. The revised system is unlikely to let first timers make such a mistake, and the net result is more fairness distributed, which can only be good.
Kevin Yee is the author of numerous independent Disney books, including the popular Walt Disney World Earbook series and Walt Disney World Hidden History.