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9/13: Pay More, Wait Less


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  • 9/13: Pay More, Wait Less

    Kevin on how a patent filing offers a look at how the current FastPass ride reservation system may evolve. Discuss his article here!
    "Politics is the profession whereby the inevitable is made to seem a great human achievement" - Quentin Crisp

  • #2
    Re: 9/13: Pay More, Wait Less

    Scenario Alpha: Disney removes FP rights to everyone except those staying at their hotels. They mimic the Universal-Orlando resort entirely (who only have line-skipping for those who pay extra or stay at their hotels). Result: at Universal, this means few people are skipping the lines, and the 'standby' lines move quickly as a result. No one loses at Universal. At Disney, however, with the much larger roster of hotels and impossibly larger number of visitors, this would buckle the system, and those without FP rights would complain loudly.
    Have you been to Universal lately? You'd think that it would be done better there due to the fact that only a limited number of people can use it, but that's not the case. I don't know how many times I've stood still in a standby line for 20-30 minutes without moving an inch while they let express pass after express pass group in, sometimes 2-3 times in a row before I've ridden the ride once. In some ways, their system may be even more broken than Disneys.


    • #3
      Re: 9/13: Pay More, Wait Less

      I disagree with the idea that it is unfair to high paying guests that low-paying guests can take more advantage of fastpass. Knowledge is free, you can go to your local library and pick up a Disney guide book to see how the Fastpass system works. Or, better yet, just look on the park maps to find out how it works. It isn't a secret any more.

      Now, the rich, on top of having a better room, better transportation options, better location...will have better fastpass too. The theme parks should remain strictly democratic. It should not matter how much you make or how you buy your ticket, once you are in the gate you should have the same rights and privileges as everyone else. Now, if Disney wanted to offer Fastpass at a price or to hotel guests, then to be fair, that offering would have to be equal for both. Anyone can stay in a Disney resort if they do their research and pick the right time and hotel. But to say that someone who stays in an All Star deserves less than a person who stays at the Poly is ethically wrong. Basically, you are not treating your high paying guests well, you are paying your lower paying guests poorly.
      In view, a humble vaudevillian veteran, cast vicariously as both victim and villain by the vicissitudes of fate.



      • #4
        Re: 9/13: Pay More, Wait Less

        Originally posted by kcnole View Post
        Have you been to Universal lately? You'd think that it would be done better there due to the fact that only a limited number of people can use it, but that's not the case. I don't know how many times I've stood still in a standby line for 20-30 minutes without moving an inch while they let express pass after express pass group in, sometimes 2-3 times in a row before I've ridden the ride once. In some ways, their system may be even more broken than Disneys.
        I haven't been in the past month or two, but I still have a Uni pass and visit several times a year. I don't notice major problems like you describe, but I'll have to pay closer attention next time. Maybe I've allowed my own experiences to cloud the truth. I tend to use single rider lines (the curse of having two kids who can't ride Mummy or MIB means one of us adults has to stay with them). Hm.
        Kevin Yee
        MiceAge Columnist

        I am the author of several Disney books:
        Jason's Disneyland Almanac - a daily history of Disneyland
        Walt Disney World Hidden History - tributes, homages, and ride remnants at WDW
        Your Day at the Magic Kingdom
        Mouse Trap
        Tokyo Disney Made Easy
        101 Things You Never Knew About Disneyland
        Magic Quizdom (The Disneyland Trivia Book)

        “The press [should be] a watchdog. Not an attack dog. Not a lapdog. A watchdog. Now, a watchdog can't be right all the time. He doesn't bark only when he sees or smells something that's dangerous. A good watchdog barks at things that are suspicious.” – Dan Rather


        • #5
          Re: 9/13: Pay More, Wait Less

          Here Here DoppleIV. I agree completely.

          What bugs me about the potential of tiered fastpasses is not the aspect of paying more to get more, it's the idea of someone elses time being more valuable because they paid more. Everyone who purchased an e-ticket got the same experience for that e-ticket. I expect the same from my park admission.


          • #6
            Re: 9/13: Pay More, Wait Less

            There are a couple of issues that I haven't seen addressed yet in this discussion. With whatever scenario Disney decides to adopt, are these FastPasses still going to have times on them? In other words, if I get 8 FP's for a day, can I just go up at any time and use them on any FP ride, or are they for specific attractions, or even worse at specific times like the regular FP's are? Seems like you could have a scenario where your entire day is dictated by the times on your set of FP's, which would suck.

            I'm also not wild about the potential of the cell phone in this. I don't take my cell phone into the parks, and am very happy not doing so. Can you imagine getting a dozen calls a day from a Disney computer, telling you to revise your plans again? Not at all ideal.

            But I've been saying all along, we all need to wait and see how this will be implemented. There are a lot of variables - it could be cool, it could stink.


            • #7
              Re: 9/13: Pay More, Wait Less

              This isn't too different from what Walt put into place at Disneyland. In 1955, you paid (in coins) for your individual rides. Walt quickly glommed onto the ticket book system. But note that those E-ticket rides required you to buy an actual E-Ticket. It's no surprise that E-Tickets cost more than A-Tickets. Put another way, the person willing to spend more money at Walt's Disneyland was going to have a better time than the person who wanted to see it on a budget. How is this any different?
              Extorting more money from people by imposing the costs of longer and longer waits is entirely different from charging people for attraction admission, which has real value.


              • #8
                Re: 9/13: Pay More, Wait Less

                Seems to me like this new system poses more problems for the East Coast than it does out here in the West. Kevin is right, as a DL AP holder when I go, I grab a FP for Space first thing, and then maybe an Indy FP after that but I generally don't do FP on more than 3 attractions unless it is the middle of peak season, and even then more than 3 isn't really a necessity. I never won a dream FP but to me it is more of a novelty anyway. And it is never a big deal to miss out on a ride if it is closed or the line is too long.

                I wouldn't have a problem out here if they increased these perks to the hotel residents just so long as I am guaranteed maybe a maximum of 3 FP's.


                • #9
                  Re: 9/13: Pay More, Wait Less

                  Personally I'd much rather see them just dump fastpass. The fact that its use may increase and be dictated by cost may make me hate it even further.


                  • #10
                    Re: 9/13: Pay More, Wait Less

                    Guests should never be able to cut in front of other guests in line by bribing Disney.

                    Most Disney attractions have relatively-fixed capacity, so every guest that is able to buy what are effectively front-of-the-line privileges is forcing his or her fellow guests to wait in line longer.
                    Last edited by PragmaticIdealist; 09-15-2007, 03:44 PM.


                    • #11
                      Re: 9/13: Pay More, Wait Less

                      It only offers benefit (i.e., extra rides per day) because some people aren't using it fully, and thus isn't fair to uninformed tourists, some of whom paid the most for their Disney vacation. WE WANT THESE PEOPLE HAPPY, OR ELSE WE WON'T GET NEW RIDES IN THE FUTURE TO LURE THEM BACK.

                      Catering to the uninformed is absurd. If a person doesn't understand it, it's 100% their own fault and I have no sympathy to them whatsoever. None! Even if they never read the map, the fact that there are 2 lines and entrances to FP rides should motivate them to ask the person there wearing a nametag "what's the deal?".

                      It clogs walkways

                      I disagree, although it can clog entrances to rides when people hang around waiting for the time. Crowded walkways at DL are due to lack of space. The worst crowding I've see was on the west side of DL in Nov. 2003 because of HMH, no BTM and no Space; FP didn't figure into it. Nothing crowds walkways more than parades and fireworks, but I have yet to see anyone advocate getting rid of them.

                      Standby lines move slower than a world with no ride-reservation system

                      They move slower, but the posted wait time is the same as pre FP in my experience. Peter Pan has similar waits in DL and WDW despite no FP at DL. The standby times for Space and Splash are similar to what I waited pre-FP. It's easy enough to design ways to keep these people amused while they wait.

                      It makes the day scheduled, not spontaneous.

                      As long as they keep accepting "late" FPs, this statement is totally false. I never have to schedule my day beyond the first couple of hours, which I do regardless of FP. Or is that unfair to the people that don't realize lines are shorter at park opening?

                      It creates different classes of guests based on how well informed they are about the park and how much 'homework' they've done.

                      So What? Tough for them. The ticket system created different classes of guests. Club 33 creates different classes of guests. I see no reason to reward or cater to stupidity. How many have ever talked to someone that visited a Disney park and missed certain rides, attractions, parades, fireworks, etc. because they were uninformed? Wow, that's a lot of hands in the air. If you don't prepare for travel, any travel, you will likely encounter problems have have a less than fulfilling trip. For further information on this subject, I suggest you read Kevin Yee's report of his first Disney Cruise (the one where he didn't do his homework). I guess that's the end of fireworks cruises because only those that are informed can ever use them.

                      When I talked about our European summer trip to a couple of people locally, both had stories of the rude French in Paris (the city, not DLP). It was clear that both of them were unprepared and expected people to speak English. Quite frankly, they deserved to be treated rudely. I have NO stories of any rude French people.

                      Uni gives away ride-skipping-privileges to all hotel guests and no one else. If you want to skip lines, you have to pay an extra $20 or $30

                      Two years ago staying in one of their hotels would have been $100 more than we paid for a suite at the Holiday Inn across the street. Buying an Express pass was $35 each.

                      Disney could end up finally fixing the worst parts of the FastPass mess!

                      There is no mess fix. FP is absolutely one of the greatest innovations in theme parks to come from Disney, and the fact that it doesn't require extra fees like 6 Flags and Uni is a plus for the mouse. Every argument I've ever seen against FP is totally refuted by one thing-my experience.

                      I visited WDW for 2 days in 1983. I was in the area and had spur of the moment 1 day trips in 1988 and 1993. Went for a week in 2005. We've been to DL 5 times since my son's birth in 1995 (I'd been before that, too). I've never had a AP, so I think I qualify as the tourist Kevin keeps claiming to care about most. Please stop claiming to speak on my behalf.
                      What the dormouse said
                      Feed your head!


                      You've read it; you can't unread it!


                      • #12
                        Re: 9/13: Pay More, Wait Less

                        I love fast pass. It has problems, I admit, but I do not like standing in lines upward to 70 minutes when i could be enjoying the park with friends and family. In particular, when I have friends from out of town, and we go to the park, Fastpass is a life saver. I admit than running back and forth around the park and planning accordingly is a bit of a hassle, it's still better than being stuck in long lines and not being able to experience the park when you only have one day.


                        • #13
                          Re: 9/13: Pay More, Wait Less

                          I use Fast Pass at Disneyland to its fullest extent. I like the current system. Disney already gives perks to Resort Hotel guests at Disney, they get to go in 1 hour early each day they stay at the resort on the days they offer early entry. Those of us who stay off site or visit daily do not get that perk. I have suggested that if someone buys an Annual Pass they should also get one or two early entry days per year. Maybe starting with the Deluxe Annual Passport. Without this perk, I let my AP expire then when I go again, I always buy at least a 3 Day Park Hopper then upgrade to AP at the end of the trip. At least then I get one early entry to the Park.

                          I do believe Fastpass could be improved to accommodate other guests who come in a bit later. Instead of continuing to give fast passses out until they are all booked on a first come first serve basis for a given day, they could spread the issuing of them out on a given number in the morning before noon say, then re-enable them after 12 Noon to for the remainder amount. At least then they would be some available for late arrivers for rides like Space Mountain.

                          As far as the standy by lines versus FP lines it is up to the cast member to administer them fairly. They should at least allow the same number of standby Line folks go through as FP holders and sometimes make the FP holder wait a couple of minutes before entering. As a FP holder I would gladly wait a few minutes to allow Non-FP to get a chance to ride.


                          • #14
                            Re: 9/13: Pay More, Wait Less

                            danyoung and ralfrick make good points about timing. DIsney never enforces the times on the fastpasses (although Kevin might say THAT's unfair as well because of the uninformed tourist syndrome). Since that's the case - days are not scheduled per se and many guests can move randomly - at least the park they are in.

                            If this implies someone will have to schedule their entire vacation - that's their choice. I beg to differ with Kevin on the uniformed tourist. Disney world and Disneyland have been around for a LONG time. Families go together over the generations. Returning families and guests once a year (or more ) to WDW. If you don't "get it" by your third visit then why am I, a knowledgable guest, having to suffer for that? People come no matter what - it's Disney.

                            And for the argument of more out of towners to get new rides.. The 50th in california was a huge hit because they spruced it up and put in a couple of new rides BEFORE the masses came - and that was mostly locals. I still am of the strong opinion that DLR in california can not be mapped exactly in terms of marketing and planning to florida. It just won't work because there is such a huge installed fan base here in SO Cal (and in fact on the west coast). Do you know how many people who live 8 hours away by car come at least once a month? quite a few.

                            FInally - i am not 100% sold on their thinking for this technology on the patent. YOu are assuming that ALL receiving devices (cell phones, pdas, etc.) are compatible AND can support a specific kind of communication or messaging format. For a global, unpredictable audience that is hard - and costly - to do. They would do better to create a handheld that you get to use during your stay (with deposit, of course) that can be used as a receiver. This way they ensure the single format, ensure that only their devices get the messages, AND ensure that it's folks who are on property (hotel guests, day visitors, etc.) that take advantage, not someone who is at work in the morning and then comes later in the day with 6 fastpasses in tow....


                            • #15
                              Re: 9/13: Pay More, Wait Less

                              How about if they just offer unlimited FP to hotel guests, while the other guests can get the regular FP. I'd be ok with that.


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