I took a quick trip to Walt Disney World last week and had the opportunity to experience several new technological initiatives related to Dining at Disney World.
I’ve written these up in several posts for DFB, and today we’ll cover my review of the new FastPass+ system being rolled out at Magic Kingdom’s Be Our Guest Restaurant!
Stay tuned over the next week to see more new technology innovations that are affecting Disney dining in Disney World!
Be Our Guest FastPass+
First up, I was invited to test a FastPass+ reservation to the Magic Kingdom’s Be Our Guest restaurant at lunch. The invite came via email with a link to the WDW website.
The email told me to log into my My Disney Experience account and enter my resort reservation number. Once logged on, I was allowed to choose which day I wanted to take advantage of this opportunity.
Then we were allowed to choose whether we wanted “FastPass+ Expedited Arrival” or “FastPass+ Direct to Table.”
Expedited Arrival allows you to skip the line into the restaurant. “Direct to Table” allows you to completely order your meal in advance so that it is ready for you when you walk in the door. I chose “Direct to Table” — more on that in a sec.
Then we selected which of the available dining times we wanted. The only times presented to us during the test were early (before 11:50 a.m.) or late (after 1:45 p.m.) My guess is that Disney is trying to offload guests to less popular times.
Because I had selected “Direct to Table,” I was brought to a new set of screens where I could choose to order meals for my husband (my traveling companion for this trip) and me individually or as a group.
We then saw the restaurant’s menu, just as if we had been ordering from one of the touch screen kiosks in the standby line.
I ordered the Tuna Niçoise Salad and a helpful screen popped up asking me if I wanted my dressing on the side or tossed into my salad in the kitchen.
There was even a link to nutritional information for every item on the menu. Truly, this is a great step forward with Disney making it easier than ever to make mindful dining choices.
Our food selections were totaled up, but we could have made modifications to them later if we had chosen to do so.
We could also make changes to our dining day or time, pending availability.
On the day of our reservation, we checked in at the appointed spot, currently a cart located near the exit to Mickey’s PhilharMagic.
At check-in, a cast member looked up our reservation on an iPad and we were presented with a yellow “rose.” The yellow rose is similar to the red “rose” that a walk-up guest receives when placing his order at the terminals inside the restaurant. It basically functions as a GPS tracker, identifying you to the system and telling it where you are.
A cast member at the check-in station links your rose to your reservation via a device attached to the iPad.
When we checked in, the WiFi system in the park was having a bit of a hiccup, so the cast member had to reboot the iPad. But even with the glitch, we were all set with our rose in about four minutes and were told to proceed straightaway to Be Our Guest.
At the restaurant, we had ZERO wait to get in. A cast member scanned our rose and confirmed our party name.
At this point, just to push the envelope a little, I asked if I could change my meal order. (After all, I had ordered my food several days earlier and now found that I was hungrier than the salad I had initially thought I would want.) I learned that while not every pre-ordered meal can be changed, most average meals can.
The cast member changed my salad into a roast beef sandwich on her iPad. We tapped a few confirmation buttons and then were told to take our yellow rose and put it on any table in the restaurant. This entire transaction took about a minute.
My husband went to get our sodas and silverware, and by the time he got back, our food appeared on a cart next to our table. The total time from when we got to the check-in stand to when we had food in front of us was about ten minutes, including the iPad reboot glitch and my entree change.
I wish I had something critical to tell you about the Be Our Guest FastPass reservations, but I got nothin’. Truly, everything about it was fantastic. I’d be thrilled if reservations like this became available at other quick service venues.
I certainly wouldn’t use QS reservations all the time, or even most of the time, but it would be a terrific tool to have in my trip planning arsenal.