MyMagic+ App Enhancements in Action, Rivers of Light Construction Progress

My Disney Experience Enhancements - Magic Kingdom Walt Disney World

One big hassle with FastPass+ at Walt Disney World is that until this month, guests were only allowed to make three FP+ reservations on their own — you had to visit an in-park kiosk once you used those first three if you wanted to schedule additional FP+ experiences.

Well, Disney has just enhanced their iPhone and Android apps to allow guests to make their own fourth (and more) FastPass+ selections using a mobile device, rather than visiting an in-park kiosk. You have to make the additional reservations one at a time — and only after using your first three — but for those who end up using this feature, it holds some hope of cutting down on the hassle we saw in my previous post with insane lines at the FastPass+ kiosks during spring break.

I downloaded the new version of the app to my iPhone and gave the feature a whirl last Monday, April 11th. Before I begin, I will note that the week of April 11th saw much lower crowds than the week before, as the “Easter rush” had sort of died down a bit by then.

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Fan Mail from Australia, February Crowds, Rivers of Light Construction Update, Flame Tree Barbeque Dinner and Dessert Review

World of Color - Disney California Adventure

First up today, I hope you’ll indulge me as I share some RideMax “fan mail” sent in by Leon from Australia, who visited Disneyland this past holiday season. He writes the following:

I spent 5 days at Disneyland (2 days) and California Adventure (3 days) with my wife and 2 children (ages 6 and 9) which included New Year’s Eve which I understand is the busiest day of the year.

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Animal Kingdom – Rivers of Light Construction Close-ups, Lunch at Harambe, Zootopia Exhibit

As promised in my last post, Liesle and I stopped in for an afternoon visit to Animal Kingdom last Friday, January 29th. We followed the RideMax plan outlined there, so feel free to refer to that post if you want more background.

Disney's Animal Kingdom - Tree of Life

After all of the rain we’ve seen the last couple of days, these beautiful clear skies were a welcome relief.

Our goal with this visit was sort of a personal one, and our RideMax plan reflected that. I seems that our lives have been increasingly busy lately, so we decided it was time for an afternoon/evening date in the park. As a result of this more laid-back goal, we just did the few attractions we were interested in, and which would comfortably fit into our afternoon. We skipped Dinoland completely, for example — neither of us felt like losing our lunch on Primeval Whirl.

Before I give the details of our day, I wanted to post an update on the Rivers of Light construction progress.

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Quick Postmortem for Animal Kingdom RideMax Roulette


This is just a quick follow-up to my previous post from Tuesday’s round of RideMax Roulette at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. (And yes, I did meet DiVine, shown above, shortly after entering the park!)

For those who were wondering, Tuesday went really well in terms of low wait times and a decent touring plan. About the only downside was that I lost my prescription eyeglasses on Expedition Everest while trying to ride and simultaneously video stream the experience on Periscope. (I have to admit I thought it was fun to “scope” the ride, though, and I’ll have a longer follow-up post on Periscope later today or tomorrow.) All’s well that ends well, as Disney has found my specs and promised to put them in the mail today.

Anyway, as a recap, here’s the RideMax plan I followed Tuesday during this round of RideMax Roulette:


After seeing this plan, some of you may have been wondering about that second green line, the FP+ at Primeval Whirl. This was my second ride on that particular attraction, where I also began my day.

I’m guessing some of you were wondering if it wouldn’t have been faster and involve less walking to just do that second ride on Primeval Whirl right after the first one, rather than coming back to it later in the day?

And if you were thinking this, you’d be right.

This is a case where using FP+ actually *hurts* the overall efficiency of the plan. In fact, RideMax estimates that I’d save about eight minutes of walking (with a similar amount of waiting) if I just hit Primeval Whirl again the second time right at the top of the day, rather than using FP+ and coming back later.

One big reason that using FP+ for the second ride on Primeval Whirl is less efficient is that when you make your FP+ reservations, you’re forced to “space out” the reservations so that they don’t overlap, and RideMax knows about this restriction when it creates your plan. So, because I already had a FP+ for Dinosaur that ran from 9:05 to 10:05, the earliest time slot available for that second ride on Primeval Whirl was sometime *after* that.

There are a couple of lessons I draw from this.

First, it pays to play with your options in RideMax before settling on a final plan for the day (and this especially applies to your FP+ options).

Second, maybe you really *do* want to use the plan the way it’s outlined and use FP+ for that second ride on Primeval Whirl. Why would you do that? If you really do plan to leave the park as soon as the plan is finished, then you probably shouldn’t. If, however, you’re trying to get a fourth FastPass for the day and want to visit attractions after the formal plan is finished, it might make sense to follow the plan and “burn” that FP+ anyway. Remember, you can’t get those fourth (or fifth…) FP+ reservations until you’ve actually used your first three.

I hope this helps reinforce the idea that experimenting with options in RideMax is a good thing. And thanks again for following along on this latest round of RideMax Roulette!


RideMax Roulette Tuesday at Disney’s Animal Kingdom

RideMax Roulette at Disney's Animal Kingdom

I’m heading out tomorrow (Tuesday, January 12th) for another round of RideMax Roulette, this time at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. Feel free to follow along as I send out live tweets and Facebook updates throughout the day. Who knows, I may even try out that Periscope thing for a ride on Expedition Everest or something. You can find me at the Periscope username @RideMax4Disney.

For those who’ve followed the blog for a while, you know that RideMax Roulette is a sort of game where I choose a set of attractions at random, and plug them into the RideMax optimizing software. I then take the resulting plan to the park to see how well it works out. Playing this game gives me a good chance to test the plans RideMax comes up with, as well as — quite frankly — forces me to visit attractions I might not otherwise be all that inclined to see.

One additional goal with tomorrow’s plan is to check out the new Pizzafari restaurant, something I haven’t done since it came out of refurbishment a little over a month or so ago. Josh over at easyWDW did a write-up on this recently, which has me intrigued.

My random number generator came up with the following list of attractions for tomorrow’s visit. I’ve listed these in alphabetical order:

  • Dinosaur
  • Dinosaur again (yes, we’re doing this one twice)
  • Discovery Island Trails
  • Expedition Everest
  • Finding Nemo, the Musical
  • Flights of Wonder
  • It’s Tough to Be a Bug
  • Maharajah Jungle Trek
  • Primeval Whirl
  • Primeval Whirl (yes, also twice — hopefully no barf-bag required)
  • TriceraTop Spin

This may seem like sort of a “softball” list of attractions, as I’m expecting tomorrow at Animal Kingdom to be fairly uncrowded. Tomorrow is a RideMax “recommended day” for Animal Kingdom, coming off an Extra Magic Hours morning day today. To make things even easier, Kilimanjaro Safaris didn’t even come up in the list of attractions I’ll be visiting. I decided to push ahead anyway.  🙂

For FastPass+ selections, I decided to tell RideMax I wanted to use FP+ at Dinosaur, Expedition Everest, and Primeval Whirl. I also plugged in a lunch break at Pizzafari, and RideMax came up with the following game plan for the day.


We’ll see how this actually works out in practice, but on paper, it looks pretty decent, with just an estimated 64-minute wait to visit 11 attractions, or just six minutes per attraction. Even if you take out the two zero-wait “walking” attractions — Discovery Island Trails and Maharajah Jungle Trek — the average wait is still just a hair above seven minutes each, and that assumes we arrive 20 minutes early to wait for Finding Nemo. Overall, this looks like a great day with very little wait.

Continuing on with the planning, as a further confirmation of my expectation of low crowds tomorrow, I didn’t have any trouble securing FP+ reservations at the times recommended by RideMax on this plan, even though I made the reservations this afternoon, just one day before my visit. Here’s a really big picture taken from my phone, just to emphasize the point (and because I’m too lazy to size it down lol):


Note that if I hadn’t been able to secure the FP+ reservation times shown in this RideMax plan, I would have used the new feature added recently to RideMax which allows me to specify the times at which I want to use my FP+ reservations, and had RideMax recalculate accordingly.

So, wish me luck on my quest tomorrow. Again, feel free to follow along on Twitter, Facebook, or (possibly) Periscope @RideMax4Disney. I also welcome any guests for lunch at Pizzafari if you’re free at the lunchtime shown on the RideMax plan.

Here’s looking forward to tomorrow!