Before going to WDW, based on reading, I believed that modifying FPs worked because sometimes people will cancel/modify theirs FPs, or Disney will release more into the system and by refreshing at just the right time I would be able to snag those, basically a lottery with not that much hope of winning. So I thought it could work, but it would be hard to see results and the selection wouldn’t change much from one refresh to the next, except for drop times. I was completely wrong.
My experience (and of my entire group) was seeing completely different FP selections every time we clicked refresh. A very common case during our MK day was:
only one time for WtP available
several times available for all ‘B’ rides
no FPs available for the day
several times (including now) available for several rides
By clicking the button 5 to 10 times in a row I was able to get the ride I wanted (except for 7DMT, that I only got once).
Since everyone on my group was a Software engineer, we started wondering about how their retrieval system worked and spent some time playing with it just to gather more information.
I don’t have any proof, but based on the behaviour I saw, know I believe that their FP system doesn’t try to retrieve all available times every time, so you don’t need someone to cancel a FP for one to appear for you. One theory is that if there is only 1 FP available at a particular time for a ride only one user will be able to see it on the list of available FPs, and while that user sees the FP as an option no one else can see it - this is consistent with the fact that you are pretty much guaranteed to get a FP that shows up for you, unless you take a long time to click on it (another experiment).
Is this your experience as well? In the end modifying felt much less pointless (because I saw changes all the time) and it was much much easier then what I assumed. Just clicking about 10 times in a row and checking if anything good appeared was almost always enough. Caveat: although we were trying for interesecting times, each person in my group was searching for a party of one or two.
MDE, by default, has access to your location data. You may be able to turn it off in your App permissions. (I’m not certain) I like to leave it on because there are times when I get turned around and use the in App Google Map.
We didn’t intentionally experiment with location, but now that you mentioned I remembered a funny detail: we were unable to get 7DMT from inside the park, but had success when trying from outside the park (I was trying from inside while a friend was trying from the hotel, she got 3 while I got 0, it also appeared for me while I was at Poly having lunch. 5 SDFP in total obtained for 7DMT, all outside the park). Of course that is not enough to establish anything, just a fun little fact.
I wish I knew location was a possible factor while there, so many experiments I could have tried!
Something I’ve been wondering is if they are actually using phone’s location, or if they are using which WIFI router you are connected to in the park to presume connection (or maybe both).
I’ve read some reports from people who had trouble getting certain functionality that would be location-based to work unless they connected to the park WIFI. Using the phone’s location information wasn’t good enough.
Now, I can’t guarantee this is the case, but it kind of makes sense. When you enter Adventureland, for example, the WIFI equipment you are connected to would indicate where you are closest to in the park without needing location information.
Relying solely on phone’s location might not prove useful for MDE if the user has disabled location services, etc.
Depending on the feature Wifi is the most precise way of determining users location, especially when you control the wifi routers. Bluetooth can also be used in a similar way, but wifi is more likely to be turned on.
Are you talking about the order in which they appear for you on the list of available FPs or about their availability? They always show up in alphabetical order for me, but it makes sense there is a feature to sort by distance.
We do pay Disney for the privilege of wearing a tracking device on us at all times, that they use to know our precise location, together with our fingerprints and a lot of images And we find it magical!
Thinking more about it, SDD also only appreared for us from outside the park. It might be because we refreshed more during our lunch breaks, but I don’t think so, I was refreshing less.
If I were a project manager creating the product I would make better FPs available for people who are currently outside the park, to make them more likely to come back/visit. Is there any evidence that this is the case? Do people have a general feeling of having better luck outside the park?
When I go to get my 4th+ FPP or modify an existing one my first 3 choices MDE shows me, when I am in park, the closest to where I am standing. However, if I don’t pick anything from that first list of options and refresh again it does tend to go alphabetically.
Exactly! While staying at BWV over the summer, we received two special certificates in our room–one for visiting four parks in one day and one for riding all the MK mountains in one day. It was magical (despite it only happening because Disney tracked us).