Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Requiring passes for rides with long waits could ease frustration, said John Gerner, founder of Leisure Business Advisors in Richmond, Va. "If visitors have to wait more than an hour, It almost doesn't matter how good the ride is – they're upset," Gerner said. 
On the other hand, Disney risks angering guests who don't snatch up FastPasses reservations before they run out. "You're essentially making people reserve in advance and are taking away this really long line at the scene," Gerner said. "The trade-off is that people willing to wait six hours don't get to do so."
[When we did the ride at California Adventure in late June, I'd say the wait was 45m-1h both times in the late morning, and the kids were a bit antsy the second time but believed that it was worth it.]


  1. The problem with this is that it basically makes it impossible for anyone to ride the ride more than once in a day, and a big part of the fun is beating old high scores. Especially when you consider that Hollywood Studios is now down to 5 rides (though there are a bunch of shows), it's a risky proposal. (Rumor is that they're doing a bunch of smallish Pixar themed rides, and maybe bringing Radiator Springs Racers over.)

  2. Adam B.3:15 PM

    Midway Mania
    Movie Ride
    Star Tours
    Rock and Roller Coaster
    Tower of Terror

    Yeesh. You're right.

  3. Marsha5:49 PM

    Every time I read one of these things (or someone's plan for attacking a Disney visit) it makes me think that the parks have doubled down on people who go there over and over, and stopped trying to make themselves accessible to the casual fan or first time visitor. I don't particularly want to make my vacation into some sort of military assault exercise in planning. And how are you going to get someone to become a regular visitor if the first time is unmanageable? (Given that my kids aren't into anything Disney, they're right not to cater to me, but I can't be the only one who feels this way, can I?)

  4. Adam B.6:33 PM

    Only light planning is really needed -- know what the really, really crowded rides are, and get a pass in advance for those which matter to you. That's much more manageable, and humane, than spending hours in line that you could be spending doing other stuff.

  5. Adam C.6:48 PM

    We were those first-timers (at least first time in the FastPass era) last winter, and it wasn't as onerous as it can sound. We did wind up making two bad decisions: (1) not to FastPass Peter Pan early on, which caused us to spend much more time in lines later in the afternoon, and (2) doing Dumbo at all - NOT worth the inexplicably and excruciatingly long wait. But we knew going in we had one day and would just get in as much in as we could. And we did, we hit all the rides each of us really wanted to (Haunted Mansion twice), and it was fun, and we went home happy.

  6. Eric J.7:52 PM

    Let's face it - in terms of immersive experience and using new technology, Disney is getting their asses kicked by Universal's Harry Potter attractions. I think they need to swing for the fences with something in the next 5-10 years, and Star Wars looks like the best bet.

    (But how much must the Disney Theme Park division hate Stan Lee for selling the Marvel East Coast theme park rights with no time limit?)

  7. Adam B.9:48 PM

    You mean, not Avatarland at WDW Animal Kingdom?

  8. So the Disney FastPass is free, but on a first come, first serve, limited quantity basis?

    My only experience with Fast Pass has been at Six Flags, where they not only are not free, but cost different amounts based on how much power they give you.

  9. Adam B.1:21 PM

    Yes -- there is a certain number of passes available for each time window, and when they're gone they're gone.

  10. Adam C.2:31 PM

    The Universal version is much like what you describe at Six Flags - you pay more for the line skipping power.

  11. Yes--under the current system (at WDW), you can book 3 FastPasses per day in advance (60 days out for people who are staying at an on-site Disney resort, 30 days for other guests). Once you've used those 3, you can book a 4th, 5th, 6th--subject to availability. One thing Disney has allegedly considered is giving guests at more expensive resorts either more FastPasses, an earlier window for booking, or other priority, in an effort to fill the expensive rooms.

  12. christy in nyc5:53 PM

    This whole thing brings up feelings, probably because my family kind of winging it at WDW when I was a kid (probably in 1988, 1993, and 1998) led to quite a mix of stressful awkward moments and serendipitous discoveries of awesome things we never would have planned ahead to do. A very easy way to bring down my mood is imagining some 2014 version of my young mom, bringing her kids to WDW (after saving up a lot of money, to her) without really realizing that you have to plan ahead a lot more than you used to, and the consequences of that. I know it's not THAT bad, and that as long as they really clearly inform parents ahead of time that they should do these Fastpass things, and really MUST make their meal ressies if they want sit-down meals or to eat at certain places, then it probably means that most visitors get much more out of their trip. But...something is definitely lost. I hope that doesn't make me a curmudgeonly old.

    Also, [MGM] Studios was my fave as a kid. It's also lost some undefinable something, partially because there are so few rides, partially maybe because the entertainment business has become so demystified since the 80s?

    And I wish they had more minor characters just wandering around.

  13. The big thing is that Studios used to be a working studio, with films, television series, and animation all in production (both on the Disney side and at Universal Orlando). There was an element of excitement to that. Now, the only thing that regularly films there is TNA Wrestling at Universal.