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Review: Be Our Guest Restaurant FastPass+ System

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.

Choosing which day to dine at BOG.

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 Ni├žoise 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.

Lunch!

Overall

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.

Erin Foster is the Disney Food for Families columnist and a behind-the-scenes guru here at Disney Food Blog! Check out more of her posts here.

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52 Comments

  1. Sue says:

    Wow! Great review, Erin! I had a vague idea how this would work, but you made it very clear.

    I agree that, for the most part, I don’t want to plan my meals this far in advance, much less do it for my kids. That said, I would love to use this and really hope it’s available on my next trip. We really enjoyed our lunch at Be Our Guest during its soft opening last November and would love to go back, but I cannot justify making my kids stand on a long line for a nicer lunch.

    One question: on my next trip we will be on the DDP — is there a screen to use that? Do I just make the purchase and trust that they will take credits instead of charging it to my room? Thanks!

  2. Stefanie Vandiver says:

    Great review. I have a question: I have an allergy to horseradish, but would love the roast beef sandwich. Is there a screen to ask for changes to the meal itself?

  3. Katie says:

    Where do you get the option to do this? I have been dying to eat there but I can’t event get close to the door. I got to try it during the soft opening as well and it was fabulous! I can’t wait to try this new technology!!

  4. Kelly M says:

    Great, very clear review!
    I just don’t know how I feel about this. They want you to know when you want to ride Splash Mountain 6 months is advance, and now they want you to know if you will want Sprite or coffee at lunch…….
    Not that it will ever affect me, I never stay on site & won’t buy a 10 day pass and so am forgotten about for all of this tech. I wonder what will happen next time I decide on a whim to go to Magic Kingdom for a day of my holiday and I can’t get on any rides or in any counter service restaurants for lunch.

    Its fabulous for the planners (And I have been a person with 5 ADR’s exactly 180 days before) but….I just….don’t know…..
    Sorry – whining over!

  5. Sandy says:

    I was able to snag a fastpass+ reservation for BOG and I’m really looking forward to it! :)

  6. Cheryl D says:

    How do you get them to invite you? We go next week, and I couldn’t get an ADR for dinner because I “waited” until 172 days out! I want to eat lunch there, but not if we have to line up at 9 o’clock AM.

  7. Disney Hipster Andrew says:

    Wow. This is actually kind of amazing! :)

  8. Lindsey says:

    That’s so cool! So happy everything worked out great!

    Do you remember how many days prior to your trip you received the email?

  9. Meghan says:

    We have a 12:15 BOG fp+ in September. Can’t wait! I hope we have as good of an experience! Thanks for this.

  10. Lynne says:

    I would never want to plan a trip down to that much detail. Maybe its just me, but I go on vacation, to WDW, or where ever, to GET AWAY from the computer and schedules. Disney World is turning into Electronic World. I am beginning to think that after regular trips for 22 years, my October jaunt may be my last.

  11. Alan says:

    I love modernism. I’ve always loved Disney for their embrace of the future. Many of their innovations have made my repeated visits feel new and fresh every time I spend my time there. But this concept seems a little too much to my way of enjoying my dining experience. Some of the ideas are great. But ordering in advance seems to be more to the benefit of Disney than of the guests. And I know that my wife wants to look into the eyes of the waiter and say to him ” I want my burger well done and with no condiments.” As a little side comment the GPS roses look more like hockey pucks or small cheeses than roses.

  12. Wendy Snelgrove says:

    I agree that ordering food ahead of time is for the convenience of Disney more than guests. I could get behind it though, since they are offering both options (direct seating and pre-ordering) and are therefore leaving it to the guest to determine which works better for them. I have a hard time imagining that I could order ahead and know what I want, but on the other hand, with a 2 year old, I can imagine that getting food quickly would be preferable.

    Having said all that, I will never use this system if there isn’t a way to note special requests (no horseradish or no condiments, as examples given above).

  13. Amanda says:

    How will this work with allergies? Even though it’s counter service, are they able to send a chef out to make sure your pre selected meal is safe for you?

  14. Manon says:

    Hi,
    Since I’m leaving outside USA, I usually make my Disney’s vacation reservation through a travel agent, here at home.
    By not dealing directly with Disney direct reservation system, do you know if I’ll be admissible to “My Disney Experience” and “FastPass+”?
    Thank you for your help!

    Manon

  15. Leslie says:

    This looks neat! However, I don’t think I would ever use one of my precious fastpasses (now that we will be limited to a specific number) on what amounts to high end fast food. We were lucky enough to get a dinner reservation there in September, and I’m very excited though! Lunch will be somewhere without a 2 hour wait. I’m sorry the non-planners aren’t loving the upcoming system but it really is planner’s heaven for me.

  16. Kim O says:

    Thanks for the great review, Erin! Question – did this dining FP+ take the place of one of your other 3 (or 4) FP+ for attractions? I would hate to lose a FP+ ride for a meal.

  17. Mike says:

    As a parent with small kids, having no wait at a restaurant and food already waiting at the table could really cut out a lot of stress.

    Its impressive technology. It will be a success based on 2 things:

    1) Not excluding people who don’t want to plan at this level from going through the normal process.

    2) Executing this consistently. It does no good if orders are wrong or there are 1/2 hour waits. I have confidence Disney can pull off this level of organization.

  18. Vicki says:

    Thanks for explaining how I will never be able to eat there now, since the system doesn’t recognize DVC reservation numbers.

  19. Nicole says:

    I think I like it, but even as a huge planner I’m still skeptical of how this whole system will work so far out in advance.

  20. Essie says:

    Erin, does a guest have to have a smart phone or IPad to work with the Fastpass+? Thank you.

  21. will says:

    i agree with some of the comments above: Disney is hoping the fastpass plus earns them more money by seeing what amount of staff they need in the park. Planning a FP is annoying to start- really do i know I want to ride splash as 1230pm on march the 8th- or will the park hours and most crowded park might change my plan (either to another park or to another time). I also dislike that the FP plus does not park-hop with you- e.g. if you park-hop you do not get any FP plus at the new park. I think its all a gimic, but the biggest BS is deciding 6months ahead of time what I am going to eat- and wasting a FP plus on that. And then not being able to change it- sorry you ordered a sprite- can’t have a coke or you need to wait on line. Really?

  22. Sherree' says:

    We received the same email offer during our visit the first week of Aug. We also only received early or late lunch time options. We had a few more hiccups than you did but overall were satisfied with the process. The check in counter is near the restaurant, not by PhilharMagic now. The ipads were not working at all so they walked us up to the entrance. We were ushered into the existing waiting line and had about a 15-20 minute wait to get to the counter where we were asked if we had pre-ordered. We were given a red rose not a gold one. Because we pre-ordered we were escorted to the register area instead of the standby ordering terminals. We confirmed our order and were asked if we wanted to make any changes. I asked that my roast beef not have horseradish sauce. No problem. We then were seated. By the time we got our drinks and silverware our lunch was at our table. When they get the kinks with the ipads worked out this will be a great option for guests who are on a time schedule. We were in and out in time to make our fastpass + time for Big Thunder Mountain Railroad.

  23. Lisa Lin says:

    On our recent trip, I received an email to make a Fast pass + reservation for lunch at Be Our Guest. After several attempts, I was unsuccessful at making a reservation online and had to go into Guest Services @ the Magic Kingdom. The castmember was able to assist me, and I was able to select what time I wanted to have lunch. He gave me a piece of paper and said to check-in at the designated time.

    We showed up at the bottom of the bridge, checked-in, were told to walk up to the castle and went straight to the lines to order. We had not pre-selected out meals, so we still had to do that as well as pay. I would say it took maybe 10 minutes max. to do all of that. We had a lovely lunch and were able to celebrate my daughter’s birthday there. (I was unsuccessful in making an ADR for dinner.) She was very happy!!!

  24. FormerFan says:

    Seems they are getting quite good at searching for magic and replacing it with process. I guess it’s a good idea, but what’s magical about logging onto a website and ordering lunch? Shouldn’t they have just planned the restaurants to handle more capacity instead?

    Maybe they could make it more attractive to visit less busy parks on days MK is near capacity.. Lets not look for solutions that make everyone’s day more magical, lets crowd more people into the parks and give them a website so they can order lunch instead..

  25. Galloping Gourmand says:

    We noticed a weird problem with the lines and Fast Pass at Be Our Guest this past Sunday. There was a line of about 40 groups outside, but throughout our meal there were many, many empty tables. Maybe just under 1/4 empty. A cast member said that the backup was at the touch screens. People were taking more time there than they had planned for. To help speed the process along they were giving out printed menus to those in line (as well as golf umbrellas to shade you from the sun and ice water with lemon – a very nice touch) This “problem” may be good, in a way, as that means there will be more tables readily available for FP+ bookings.

    I was a walk up guest there this weekend but got a chance to chat with someone who used the system. They loved it. Their child was able to change their meal right up to the last minute, and the food came out very quickly and efficiently.

    Oh, the food was good. Best atmosphere in the MK. We sat in the Rose room and it was a fantastic experience! There were a lot of little surprises that I don’t want to spoil. That said, I still prefer the lunch menu at Columbia Harbor House. The food was good, though. I especially enjoyed the green beans as a side. Perfectly prepared and good enough to be a side at a sit-down establishment. Most of the time quick service beans are soggy and greasy, but not here!

  26. notchris says:

    To me, this isn’t a big jump in technology – it’s a lot of window dressing for something they’re already doing. FP+ just lets you skip the line (expedited arrival) and fill out the order form in advance (direct to table). If they do/have been doing things right, the food shouldn’t come out any quicker – even if you order on Tuesday, the kitchen can’t get that until you check in on Friday, and the walk from checkin->table should be similar to kiosk->table. If the ordering process is slowing down the regular line, they should send the Ipad CMs up the line like other fast food places. I’m curious to know which items could not be changed at checkin – nothing on the standard menu should take more than 5 min to plate.

  27. Tracey says:

    We ate at BOG today with a lunch reservation. We had preordered our meals. We are also on the dining plan. The only problem was that we had ordered the soup and we wanted to use the soup as a snack on the dining plan. We were able to do so, but we had to wait in line and see a cashier about taking the soup off our bill, and she had to give us a separate bill for this.

  28. Ed Keuning says:

    Sounds like a great idea. I have a number of questions. Do they do this with all Disney resort guests? If not, how do I get the invite to do this? How far in advance do they do the fast pass? We are arriving mid September. I booked my vacation through AAA/CAA does this matter? I am on the DDP will this be taken deducted from our account?

  29. Scott says:

    We were at Magic Kingdom last week and were lucky enough to be selected for Magic Bands testing. We also received (at the last minute) a notice for FastPass+ testing at Be Our Guest. Our experience was very similar to yours (without the iPad rebooting). The only difference is Magic Bands substitute for the rose tracking device. It was great – and we had the choice of just about any time during lunch for our Direct to Table ordering. We ended up choosing 1:00.

    It was our first time to Be Our Guest. With FastPass+, it was enjoyable. But I don’t think I would be waiting in line for 30-40 minutes to get in without it. The food wasn’t *that* good…

  30. Susan says:

    Does anyone know that if you are selected for the Fastpass+ for BOG, can you include friends who are not in the test to your reservation?

  31. Lynnilou says:

    I appreciate your detailed write-up. I hope we get to try out all this new technology.

  32. Roz Vining says:

    We haven’t heard very many good revue’s about the food at Be Our Guest restaurant, but we will have to try it out for ourselves. I sure hope it’s worth our time.

  33. Katie says:

    We leave for WDW in 6 hours and just got an email about testing FP @ BOG. My husband clicked through everything on his phone (food, day, time, etc), but its not showing in our My Disney Experience yet. I’m guessing we will have to call to confirm?? I dont want to wait around thinking we have lunch plans and then it backfire. We are going there on our last day and I don’t want to miss the opportunity to try BOG.

  34. Alisa says:

    We went to our BOG fastpass lunch today and had an excellent experience. Got the email invitation from Disney (opted to receive emails at some point in Disney communication process with mydisneyexperience.com) on the day we arrived and opened/tried to book immediately. There were no availabilities until four days later. Had only early or late timing choices and went with early and ordering at restaurant as I anticipated my parents might be joining us last minute. They were not invited in the initial email – just my husband, daughter, and me. We checked in mid-morning and asked about adding them to our reservation. Guest relations said that should to be a problem and that was true – we just asked at our arrival to make our party of 3 a party of 5. Went right by the line and were given the next available ordering station to make our food choices. Food was wonderful and the ballroom was gorgeous. So glad we were given the opportunity as we would not have waited in a line like that for a restaurant.

  35. Joe says:

    We ate at ‘Be Our Guest’ yesterday and loved it. There’s one thing that’s bugging me to no end. We utilized the fast pass and preordered our meal. We were NOT given a rose or anything else to be taken to our table with us with the exception of a receipt. We wandered through the ballroom and finally sat in the rose garden room. Less than 5 minutes later our server rolls up with our food. How did they know where we sat??? Again, we did not have a rose.

  36. Beth says:

    Walt Disney was a futurist and our family loves that that part of his legacy is honored with the technological innovations they imagineer for us. Personally, we save all year to go to Disney World — and God-willing next year! — and if it means pre-ordering a meal so we can be sure to get reservations for Be Our Guest, then sign me up! Love it! Still would love for a monorail to whisk me to work in the morning…

  37. BrianC says:

    Joe – did you have your FastPass+ wristband on?

  38. Joebat says:

    Do all members of your party need to use a Fastpass+ to make a dining reservation at BOG or can one person with one Fastpass+ make a reservation for the whole party?

  39. Katy says:

    Do you absolutely need a fastpass to eat there for lunch? We are going to MK for the first time next month and want to eat at Be Our Guest for lunch. Any tips about that, or in general about the park would be amazing. I have 5&6 year old daughters. Thank you!

  40. steph says:

    @ katy…I might be too late..but you don’t need fast pass to go there..you can do lunch stand by.. you’ll want to get in line really early (think 10:30 a.m.) if you want to eat lunch there. Lunch ends at 2. Dinner reservations are extremely booked and tough to get but call 407 WDW-DINE to check availability.

  41. Glory says:

    For some reason, this strikes me as kind of ‘wall-E’-ish. Pretty soon they are going to have us in chairs going from one pre-scheduled activity to the next with no spontaneity involved. Vacation should be relaxing and spontaneous…..not sure how much I like this.

  42. GR says:

    Great Review! I do wonder if it takes away from the ‘old fashioned’ experience of going out to a restaurant and taking your time. Although I can see all the great features/benefits too of having such a system.
    Thank U

  43. Charity says:

    Is Fast Pass for this still in the trial stage or will it be an option for my Nov 2014 trip? How hard is it to book as a fast pass? Does it sell out?

  44. Christi Quinn says:

    We were very excited to get an invitation for the test lunch but unfortunately it is only for two of our five family traveling together. It is odd because we have two linked reservations and the invitation was for only one person from each reservation. I called the Disney concierge and they tried everything but could not fix it. They said this was controlled by the Be Our Guest Restaurant and they couldn’t help. Very counter Disney culture.

  45. Jaime says:

    Does anyone know how far in advance you can make your reservation? I’m still 120+ days out and the system keeps telling me there is no availability. I think I’m just too early. Thoughts?

  46. AJ says:

    Jaime — Be Our Guest is very popular, and it may be filled up for your dates at 120 days out. Many folks have to call at 7am on their 180 days out mark to get a reservation.

  47. Jaime says:

    Thanks AJ! But I was referring to the Fastpass+ lunch. Does it follow the 60 day window like other Fastpass+ reservations or the 180 day regular ADR window? I’m either really early or really late…..

  48. Erin F says:

    Jaime -

    The FP+ availability for lunch at BoG has been a bit of a moving target. Most of the reports I’ve heard from folks is that they become available at around the 30 day mark. (They’re in a category all their own.) I’d start trying at day 60 and check back every few days after that until you find your dates open up. In my experience, the lunch FP+ is a much easier get than a dinner reservation. Good luck!

  49. AJ says:

    Jaime — AH! I see! I got my FastPass+ invitation the week I was actually in Disney World, so it could come any time.

  50. Alan S. says:

    I have been able to access the wibsite, login, and enter my DVC reservation ID. Our stay is in September, but the site shows no fastpasses are available during our stay (the last day or our stay is not appearing as a reservable option). Based on what I am reading above, it may be that we are not yet in the window to be able to reserve (around 75 days out). Either that or they are already full.

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