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Fastpass + : The Real Purpose?

Sundown

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
Over the years I've read bits & pieces here on the board that Disney's real purpose for Fastpass+ isn't so guests can get on a ride faster than other guests.

I've searched the forum and can't find a good explanation of the real purpose of Fastpass+ from Disney's perspective. I seem to remember two big points having to do with minimizing staffing and crow control?

Would there be somewhere that discusses or summarizes the intent of the system? (either here on the board or elsewhere)?
 

Tom Morrow

Well-Known Member
Well first, it has nothing to do with minimizing staffing. Having Fastpass at an attraction adds at least one position and usually more, not to mention the entire team behind it and adjusting it behind the scenes.

Basically, Fastpass, and Fastpass+, are free because they are not a "skip the line" pass. They are a form of virtual queuing. By virtual queuing this enables guests to, in theory, spend less time in lines and more time in parks and restaurants, thereby spending more money. Fastpass+ took this a step further by enabling to control the supply and demand of the Fastpasses to a much deeper level, to the point where they can adjust how they are distributed, when more passes are dropped, etc. to move crowds where they want them.

Another thing Fastpass, and even moreso with Fastpass+ does, is artificially inflate the standby lines. Some posters on here will argue tooth and nail that this isn't true, but anyone who has ever worked directly with the Fastpass system or on a popular attraction that uses Fastpass will confirm that it is true. Disney likes to tout that "people who use Fastpass ride more than those who don't." Well, this is absolutely true, however, what it really means is you HAVE to use Fastpass to ride the same number of attractions as you would if the system did not exist at all. It forces you to do more work to get the same experience, though of course with some benefits such as waiting in shorter queues. Fastpass+ has made this concept even more frustrating because you typically have to plan your Fastpasses in advance or you will be left with slim pickings. This brings me to my next point - with the old legacy Fastpass system, the "playing field" was the same for everyone. Want good Fastpasses? Get there early. However, Disney resort guests have a massive advantage by being able to reserve 60 days out. Others who purchase their tickets in advance and plan ahead can reserve Fastpasses 30 days out. Anyone who purchases their tickets day of will probably be screwed and at a massive disadvantage and will likely experience less than everyone else.

Finally, I will leave you with the numbers. Disney distributes enough Fastpasses to account for 80% of any ride's hourly capacity. On any popular attraction, 80% of anyone riding entered using a Fastpass. The "illusion" they want you to believe is that you are "skipping the longer line". In reality, you are in the vast majority of riders when you use a Fastpass.
 

bUU

Well-Known Member
The original FastPass was indeed, as Marni indicated, sold internally as a way of giving guests the opportunity to visit less popular attractions and to purchase food and merchandise during the time that they would otherwise be standing in queue. I don't believe Disney ever said anything about "skipping" the line. That was, perhaps, some wishful thinking by some guests that those guests repeated so often that some people hearing them say that actually thought that Disney had said it. From Disney's "mouth" it was always a matter of reserving a time to visit the attraction and being able to do other things rather than standing in queue.

Regardless, FastPass never worked out that way, and to a great extent because of how online communities started growing in significance at the time that FastPass was introduced. Exploits were quickly devised and even more quickly promulgated through these online communities, effectively nullifying the anticipated value of FastPass to the business. Guests employed these exploits to stack up FastPasses more rapidly than would be possible without using the exploits.

Credit to Disney for not scuttling FastPass as soon as it became obvious that it wouldn't have the desired impact. Disney turned around and started billing FastPass as an enhancement for guests, instead.

I think FastPass was perhaps the first really significant scenario where Disney was faced with how the growing importance of the Internet would undercut their ability to deliberately craft their service offerings without interference. Since then, they (just like their competitors) have increasingly had to design-in defense against exploits into every service they offer. That's where PIN codes for discounts came from, where "fingerprint" scanners came from, and where every "defensive" change to FastPass (such as cancelling FastPasses booked more than 30 days in advance, when the hotel reservation that allowed the early booking was canceled).
 

marni1971

WDW History nut
Premium Member
Over the years I've read bits & pieces here on the board that Disney's real purpose for Fastpass+ isn't so guests can get on a ride faster than other guests.

I've searched the forum and can't find a good explanation of the real purpose of Fastpass+ from Disney's perspective. I seem to remember two big points having to do with minimizing staffing and crow control?

Would there be somewhere that discusses or summarizes the intent of the system? (either here on the board or elsewhere)?
Sorry I didn’t reply earlier; here’s a quote from a recent post I wrote. The question was did FP+ fail to deliver its premise.

Personally? Overall yes. It failed to spread crowds evenly. It created artificially inflated wait times. New attractions still need to be built. Guests still leave property. It reduces attraction efficiency. It requires more cast. Without my personal feelings those are factual points.

And it cost a fortune
 

JIMINYCR

Well-Known Member
So even though I'm getting to use my 3 FP picks and then add 1 more and then 1 more on and on in a day, I'm thinking Im saving myself time in line, when in reality I'm then being forced to spend much more time in line for those I dont have a FP+ for. So in the end I'm not getting more attractions done and I'm still left standing in lines quite a bit longer. Theres just the illusion that FP+ is getting me more.
 

LAKid53

Official Member of the Mean Girls Cult
Premium Member
Unlike some recent articles, it's not so Disney can spy on you and your kids..... 🙄
 

Tom Morrow

Well-Known Member
So even though I'm getting to use my 3 FP picks and then add 1 more and then 1 more on and on in a day, I'm thinking Im saving myself time in line, when in reality I'm then being forced to spend much more time in line for those I dont have a FP+ for. So in the end I'm not getting more attractions done and I'm still left standing in lines quite a bit longer. Theres just the illusion that FP+ is getting me more.
Pretty much. If you use Fastpass effectively, you're experiencing the same number of attractions as you would if it didn't exist. If you don't use it at all, you're at a big disadvantage. It adds several steps of pre-planning plus constantly checking the app while you're in the park.

If you've ever paid attention to how fast the Fastpass lines move compared to the standby, that is because they're filling 80% of the seats from the Fastpass line. If there was only one line, it would move even faster than that.
 
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ppet

Well-Known Member
Now for the big question:
Does anyone see Disney moving away from this system in the future? Since it wasn't effective enough to spread to other parks I would think it would eventually be removed. Every IT based system I know of has definite maintenance costs and limited lifespan.
 

LAKid53

Official Member of the Mean Girls Cult
Premium Member
Now for the big question:
Does anyone see Disney moving away from this system in the future? Since it wasn't effective enough to spread to other parks I would think it would eventually be removed. Every IT based system I know of has definite maintenance costs and limited lifespan.
Marketing: "But what will we do with all these special magicbands? :arghh: "
 

LAKid53

Official Member of the Mean Girls Cult
Premium Member
Let's be real. "Free" Wi-Fi is a much better form of spying on you. Provided much more information. ;)
Unsecured free Wi-Fi, for sure. Daughter's best friend's boyfriend loves to sit in his hotel room and snoop on other guests. Nothing nefarious, though.
 

BoarderPhreak

Well-Known Member
The Magicband was easy, fun - and dangerous - when staying at a Disney resort. A quick tap here and there without thinking and you quickly ended up with a nice bill at the end. Kind of like when you cruise... You just give them your card every time you saddle up to a bar without a second thought. Yeah, well... That bar tab can easily be as much as your cruise cost. Ask me how I know. 🍻

Then we stayed at the Swan, where Magicbands are not tied to your credit card. Kind of a PITA... But it does make you stop and think a bit first. Our next stay is at the Dolphin, so... Here we go again. What it does illustrate is the limited appeal, really, of the Magicband. It's basically a glorified park ticket for us and we still have to carry a credit card - even more so if you plan to use a Visa Disney card, as we do. For this trip, our Magicbands will be two years old (plus) so we'll see if they even still work right. If not - we won't be replacing them, let alone for $25 each.
 

Voxel

President of Progress City
Unsecured free Wi-Fi, for sure. Daughter's best friend's boyfriend loves to sit in his hotel room and snoop on other guests. Nothing nefarious, though.
I would be contradictory if I said anything negative about this. I use to mess with the Schools Wi-Fi network during finals weeks to find the ppl blaring music during Quiet Hours in the Dorm.
 

Tom Morrow

Well-Known Member
Now for the big question:
Does anyone see Disney moving away from this system in the future? Since it wasn't effective enough to spread to other parks I would think it would eventually be removed. Every IT based system I know of has definite maintenance costs and limited lifespan.
Hard to say. I think we might see a change in the rules for advance registrations, at least.

I also think Magic Bands being complimentary issues for all resort guests and annual passholders will soon be phased out. Compared to a plastic RFID ticket, the bands aren't cheap, and people are quickly catching on that the bands are somewhat superfluous and don't do much more that the RFID tickets can't do.
 

LAKid53

Official Member of the Mean Girls Cult
Premium Member
I would be contradictory if I said anything negative about this. I use to mess with the Schools Wi-Fi network during finals weeks to find the ppl blaring music during Quiet Hours in the Dorm.
You were performing a public service.
 

Janir

Well-Known Member
Now for the big question:
Does anyone see Disney moving away from this system in the future? Since it wasn't effective enough to spread to other parks I would think it would eventually be removed. Every IT based system I know of has definite maintenance costs and limited lifespan.
I don't see them moving away as they have made themselves very dependent on the data and functionality of the entire MB/FP system. Most of which once past the in park sensors is pretty much on existing IT infrastructure. They can change up how FP are implemented and used in the parks but overall I see the FP system as something of a success for DPR in data gathering. They arn't using the data very well from the guest experience POV, but from a operations management standpoint they have Touring Plans data on steroids and can allocate extra staffing and resources and even still tweak attraction usage by throttling available FPs.
 

Janir

Well-Known Member
Hard to say. I think we might see a change in the rules for advance registrations, at least.

I also think Magic Bands being complimentary issues for all resort guests and annual passholders will soon be phased out. Compared to a plastic RFID ticket, the bands aren't cheap, and people are quickly catching on that the bands are somewhat superfluous and don't do much more that the RFID tickets can't do.
The bands have the 2nd radio in them that does position tracking. They know where you are with in a park nearly all times. They can look at the crowds and the crow flows on a computer and model how is moving where and make adjustments. The MK walkway improvements and probably even the EPCOT entrance improvements may have easily been designed around what the crowd flow was telling them.
 

JohnD

Well-Known Member
Now for the big question:
Does anyone see Disney moving away from this system in the future? Since it wasn't effective enough to spread to other parks I would think it would eventually be removed. Every IT based system I know of has definite maintenance costs and limited lifespan.
Millennium Falcon: Smuggler's Run won't have FP+ when SW:GE goes live, so there's that.
 

KaliSplash

Well-Known Member
As has been pointed out, WDW at the time, offered FastPass to generate downtown while you waited for your FastPass time so you could get a Coke and popcorn, or ice cream, or even better. browse the nearby shops. This is per The Wall Street journal at the time FastPass was introduced. I cannot speak to the other factors reflected above.
 
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