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"The FastPass Question"

Marc Davis Fan

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
Since FastPass is presently unavailable, this might be a good time to consider its pros and cons, and whether it should be further changed or fully discontinued.

Here are what I believe to be the main reasons for and against FastPass. Note that I’m referring to FastPass in general, not FastPass+, MaxPass, or any other specific iteration of the concept (unless otherwise stated).


Pros for Guests:
  • If you know how to use it efficiently, FastPass can allow you to experience favorite attractions during crowded times without long waits

Pros for Disney:
  • People will supposedly buy more things while waiting for FastPass return times (I don’t know the data on this, but I understand that it was at least one of the goals)
  • Specific to FastPass+: People are supposedly more likely to dedicate more days to staying on WDW property (rather than venturing to competing parks) if they have pre-scheduled FastPass+ reservations (though again, I don’t know the actual data)
  • Specific to FastPass+: People are more likely to stay on property to make advance bookings (once again, data unknown)

Cons for Guests:
  • Fewer people are waiting in standby queues, and thus more people are in walkways, supposedly making the parks feel significantly more crowded
  • It encourages guests to go from one part of a park to another part in order to enter FastPass queues at their return times, rather than allowing the park's experiences to unfold organically as they move through it, as the parks were originally designed for (e.g., visiting Adventureland and really spending time immersing oneself in it, doing the different attractions, etc., before moving to the next land)
  • Some level of immersion-reduction as a result of FastPass kiosks, signs, etc.
  • Standby queues that move more slowly than what Imagineers designed for (in the case of pre-FastPass attractions that were converted) or simply more slowly through the queues’ show scenes than they otherwise would (in the case of FastPass-era attractions), making the queue experiences less engaging and more “just waiting to move forward”
  • Does FastPass increase wait times for E-ticket attractions?
    • Theoretical argument for “no”: People are only willing to wait a certain time for a given E-ticket attraction, so when the posted standby wait time exceeds that (regardless of whether the attraction has a FastPass queue), people stop entering the standby queue; thus the slowing-down of the standby queue does not increase the wait time
    • Theoretical argument for “yes”: People may have a maximum time that they’re willing to wait for a given attraction, but if the standby line moves more slowly, it will reach that “maximum acceptable wait time” sooner and more regularly
    • Empirical evidence for “yes”:
      • When FastPass was added to Matterhorn Bobsleds at Disneyland, wait times on the average day increased substantially
      • When FastPass was added to Pirates of the Caribbean at Disneyland, wait times apparently increased so much that they removed FastPass from the attraction
      • When an attraction at Disneyland returns a day early from refurbishment, it does not offer FastPass, and wait times are substantially lower than on a similar crowd-level day when it offers FastPass
  • In order to fully utilize the service (which guests may often feel like they should in order to get their admissions’ worth), guests have to schedule more aspects of their day way in advance (in the case of FastPass+) or conversely deal with unknowns when planning their day such as the return times for attractions (in the case of “legacy FastPass”)

Cons for Disney:
  • Guest satisfaction problems due to the issues listed in “Cons for Guests”

I’m sure this is incomplete and imperfect, but I hope it overviews the main pros and cons adequately.

After pondering the issue a good bit, I am leaning against believing that FastPass is a net positive for the guest experience. The main reasons I’m thinking this are (a) FastPass supposedly increasing the crowding of walkways, (b) FastPass reducing the immersion that comes from exploring the park more organically, (c) FastPass slowing the queue speeds and thus making the queue experiences less engaging (an issue that I think gets way too little consideration), and (d) perhaps FastPass increasing standby wait times, if that turns out to be the case.

I look forward to hearing peoples’ thoughts and opinions.
 
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JIMINYCR

Well-Known Member
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I've read others who are more knowledgable than I am of statistically assessing why FP is a failure and I get their reasoning. I can only say that when it first rolled out in paper ticket form, it gave me a better chance of getting on the more popular attractions than before. In that form, using it wisely, I know it helped in planning my park day and I could get more repeated popular rides in in a day. But once the parks really started to get slammed in the past few years, having to get it in advance through tech devices and MDE, I found it less appealing from how the availability of getting them later in the day ran dry, and how it slowed up the lines of attractions that I had to wait in as a standby rider. I agree with you on your points that this form ofFP is a fail. But not so sure its the prime factor in walkways being more crowded. With more guests coming in the parks, those walkways jam up quickly despite FP or not.
 

Rosanne

Active Member
My big complaint about FP is that people make reservations for a ride and then when they dont use it for any reason, they dont cancel it so someone else can use it. The old fast pass kiosks located at each ride had you coming back at another time of the day. At least those people were in the park. With all the Hi Tech now - I would think the computer whiz kids could create something better. As far as long wait lines - no way am I going to wait 90 min for a 3 min ride especially in the heat and humidity of FL. I dont have any small kids, but I sure feel sorry for the people that bring 3 yrs olds and stand in line for so long. Poor kids. The park was built to entertain people, especially kids. Not torture them. I see that some events - like the show & fireworks on castle at MK have been stopped along with other attractions. Is Disney still charging same gate fee? I used to have a resident pass which I cancelled at the start of Covid.
 

MickeyLuv'r

Well-Known Member
IMO, you maybe left a few important points off your list.
1. FP+ allows WDW to redistribute guests within the park. Without FP, many guests start their day at the first ride they encounter, late at night they head towards the front of the park. Spaceship Earth and it's Tough to Be a Bug both suffered from this problem. Early in the day, both used to have long lines, but later in the day ITtBaB was empty. After the fireworks ended, a huge throng of people headed to Buzz. Granted, I've always assumed that is a big reason why the parks have late night fireworks/parades is to get everyone near the front of the park/signal the end of the day.

P. T. Barnum supposedly came up with the concept. To get people to leave, he put up a sign that said this way to the "Egress." It looked just like every other sign that connected rooms, like "This way to the Clown Show," with a pointing finger. People who didn't know Egress = Exit and/or couldn't/didn't read/weren't paying attention exited faster. It worked!

2. There's an addictive aspect to FP. Getting a great FP is a bit like winning the lottery. Getting to use a FP is also a thrill.

3. People don't like change. I daresay, WDW fans especially don't like change.
 

Pepper's Ghost

Well-Known Member
I've said this many times on these forums. I know not all agree, but FP+ is a disaster. Paper FP was fine because they give you a time to return, usually within an hour or so, so it incentivizes you to return. You skip that ride, wait in another line, or go get lunch and return during your window. @Rosanne is 100% right with her complaint. When you book a month in advance or whatever, you may or may not even be in the park that day. I'm sure locals book everything up "in case" they have time to go that day. FP+ in general at least doubles the standby wait times at all popular rides, but most likely much more than double. Eliminate it, and just have second queue for people with disabilities, etc.

One of them major problems that diminishes guest experience is that many people who can't get a FP for a popular ride, won't wait 2 hrs to go on it, so they skip it. That means it's a good chance that many people never get to ride one or more of their favorite rides during a trip because TWDC makes it harder than it needs to be. Without FP, almost 100% of people go into the attraction from the standby line rather than just 2 out of every 10.
 

PostScott

Well-Known Member
I've kinda seen fastpass as an addictive drug. My main park is DL so I don't have too much experience with WDW's system but whenever I saw a fastpass come up on my phone, I'd get a wave of adrenaline, both at DL and WDW. Being able to walk past a huge line of people just makes me feel... well this is the human side of me speaking. In terms of guest experience, fastpasses are a drug because the high can be so good but once it's over and you have to wait in a long line it sucks so much, esp when you see all the fastpass people pass 😂. I love the fastpass system because if you know how to use and take advantage of it, you're trip will be so much better. However, I know the majority probably don't know the tips so overall the guest experience is lower. I'd say that the cons outweigh the pros, both for the average guest and for Disney.
 

MickeyLuv'r

Well-Known Member
  • Standby queues that move more slowly than what Imagineers designed for (in the case of pre-FastPass attractions that were converted) or simply more slowly through the queues’ show scenes than they otherwise would (in the case of FastPass-era attractions), making the queue experiences less engaging and more “just waiting to move forward”
  • Does FastPass increase wait times for E-ticket attractions?
    • Theoretical argument for “no”: People are only willing to wait a certain time for a given E-ticket attraction, so when the posted standby wait time exceeds that (regardless of whether the attraction has a FastPass queue), people stop entering the standby queue; thus the slowing-down of the standby queue does not increase the wait time
    • Theoretical argument for “yes”: People may have a maximum time that they’re willing to wait for a given attraction, but if the standby line moves more slowly, it will reach that “maximum acceptable wait time” sooner and more regularly
    • Empirical evidence for “yes”:
      • When FastPass was added to Matterhorn Bobsleds at Disneyland, wait times on the average day increased substantially
      • When FastPass was added to Pirates of the Caribbean at Disneyland, wait times apparently increased so much that they removed FastPass from the attraction
      • When an attraction at Disneyland returns a day early from refurbishment, it does not offer FastPass, and wait times are substantially lower than on a similar crowd-level day when it offers FastPass.
IMO, some of this is flawed.
1. Standby waits are only a portion of the total riders. While some people wait the full standby amount, many others only wait the FP amount. So it is flawed to say the wait for X attraction = the standby wait. The average wait is an average of the two.

2. FP rewards WDW's return customers. People who learn the system get many extra FP (or at least that was true in 2019). Mind, I'm sure it turns many people off as well. the 60 and 30 pre-booking penalizes anyone wanting to go to WDW on short notice. That's where old FP- has an advantage. With paper/old FP-, it doesn't matter when you bought your ticket it only matter when you enter the gate.
 

cjack300zx

Well-Known Member
Here is my question which is better for a ride like Rise Of The Resistance, Fastpass or the current reservation system in place now? I have not been on this ride yet so I can’t say
 

Pepper's Ghost

Well-Known Member
2. FP rewards WDW's return customers. People who learn the system get many extra FP (or at least that was true in 2019).
This is most definitely true, but I see this as a large negative. I could be wrong, but I believe WDW makes more money from visiting families, than locals who purchase annual passes, but don't buy souvenirs, purchase meals, or stay on property. So while locals might understand the FP+ system better giving them a distinct advantage, if it makes the experience worse for visiting families who stay on property and eat all/most of their meals on property, and spending most of their vacation dollars on property, then TWDC is losing in the end.

Granted, I've made a ton of assumptions in that short paragraph, but I think my assumptions are reasonable. If that's true, then if visiting families are making return visits and aren't having as good a time, not riding all the rides they wanted to ride, not getting as much bang for their buck than they were 10 or 15 years ago... then some of those families won't return.

When someone says that FP+ could be causing the loss of paying customers, most reasonable people think that's ridiculous, but it could literally be true. While on the other hand getting rid of it, most people aren't going to stop coming to Disney because they don't have FP+. If you're going to WDW, it's for the entertainment and rides, not specifically because of the FP+ system. So if they scrap it, it could only result in more revenue from people who felt they weren't as entertained as they were pre-FP+. With it, there's a good chance that visiting families won't get to ride the most popular rides due to ridiculous wait times.
 

KaliSplash

Well-Known Member
I would love for them to ditch it entirely. It's original purpose was to get you to wait around for your window to open , so you would go to the shops or buy ice cream or something while you waited, as opposed to just moving commando style through the park (my preferred method). The getting the fast pass 60 days in advance if you are staying on-site does give Mickey an idea of where you will be when on any given day, but that, coupled with the need to made dining reservations long before you get there and now couple with park reservations virtually eliminates Any spontaneity from your vacation. Which some people actually like. But these are not normal times and I don't think normal times will be back anytime soon. So it is what it is. Jump through all the hoops, or go somewhere else on vacation. (of course, at the moment, I am going Nowhere on vacation)
 

MickeyLuv'r

Well-Known Member
This is most definitely true, but I see this as a large negative. I could be wrong, but I believe WDW makes more money from visiting families, than locals who purchase annual passes, but don't buy souvenirs, purchase meals, or stay on property.
I used the term 'return customers,' not 'locals. Many people on this forum return to WDW once a year (or so). I'm guessing most DVC owners are not locals, but know how to obtain a 4th and 5th FP in MK. (or did as of 2019).

That said, I've personally booked some last minute trips to Universal over WDW, because I knew I'd be locked out of good dining and FP. Actually, in most cases, they were more modified trips than new booking. So instead of adding a WDW day, I added a Universal day, or a Tampa, St.Augustine, or other FL beach city day. FL has LOTS of fabulous beaches! It doesn't take an advance planning to visit a beach.

(Sigh. Right now, I'm suddenly missing my favorite Tampa area restaurant! If you ever visit a beach called Indian Rocks, let me know. Especially if you happen to like conch chowder!}

When FP+ was introduced...all of this was discussed ad nauseum, though much of that was before you could get FP #4. Though in that era, as soon as everyone used up their 3 FP, they cleared out of the parks. So there was about a year when many rides were walk-on at like 8pm. the it took some time before people realized they could get a 4th FP. Then suddenly there was an explosion of people posting about it.

Still, people paid to stay Club Level just so they could also buy an extra 3 FP.
 
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Chi84

Premium Member
I used the term 'return customers,' not 'locals. Many people on this forum return to WDW once a year (or so). I'm guessing most DVC owners are not locals, but know how to obtain a 4th and 5th FP in MK. (or did as of 2019).

That said, I've personally booked some last minute trips to Universal over WDW, because I knew I'd be locked out of good dining and FP. Actually, in most cases, they were more modified trips than new booking. So instead of adding a WDW day, I added a Universal day, or a Tampa, St.Augustine, or other FL beach city day. FL has LOTS of fabulous beaches! It doesn't take an advance planning to visit a beach.

(Sigh. Right now, I'm suddenly missing my favorite Tampa area restaurant! If you ever visit a beach called Indian Rocks, let me know. Especially if you happen to like conch chowder!}
It probably would depend on the time of year. We did a last minute trip (only 3 weeks to plan) in October a few years ago. We were able to get FP+ for everything we wanted, including FOP, SDD (but at an inconvenient time), and all the popular rides in MK. It seemed that a ton of FOP fastpasses became available one day, so I wonder if Disney doesn't hold some back. We also were able to reserve Cali Grill Brunch (using Touringplans) - that's probably the only really popular place we like to dine. The rest of our dinners were in Disney Springs or in the hotels (loved Boma and Sanaa). It would probably be different if you wanted to eat at 'Ohana or Chef Mickey's though. Although I do plan in advance, I never had the feeling that I would be missing out on things if I didn't.
 

Pepper's Ghost

Well-Known Member
I used the term 'return customers,' not 'locals. Many people on this forum return to WDW once a year (or so). I'm guessing most DVC owners are not locals, but know how to obtain a 4th and 5th FP in MK. (or did as of 2019).

That said, I've personally booked some last minute trips to Universal over WDW, because I knew I'd be locked out of good dining and FP. Actually, in most cases, they were more modified trips than new booking. So instead of adding a WDW day, I added a Universal day, or a Tampa, St.Augustine, or other FL beach city day. FL has LOTS of fabulous beaches! It doesn't take an advance planning to visit a beach.

(Sigh. Right now, I'm suddenly missing my favorite Tampa area restaurant! If you ever visit a beach called Indian Rocks, let me know. Especially if you happen to like conch chowder!}

When FP+ was introduced...all of this was discussed ad nauseum, though much of that was before you could get FP #4. Though in that era, as soon as everyone used up their 3 FP, they cleared out of the parks. So there was about a year when many rides were walk-on at like 8pm. the it took some time before people realized they could get a 4th FP. Then suddenly there was an explosion of people posting about it.

Still, people paid to stay Club Level just so they could also buy an extra 3 FP.
Understood about 'return customers'. Sorry, I wasn't clear. I was thinking more about locals vs visiting families who don't go as often as you mentioned. I wasn't trying to interpret your meaning.

Your point about skipping a day at WDW is exactly my point though. With little chance to get a FP, and standby lines being ridiculously long as a result of FP, they're missing out on your business. Even folks who leave early because they can't get a FP, and don't understand the process as much... lost business. That's soft drinks, Mickey ice cream bars, soft pretzels with cheese, popcorn, etc. that goes unsold because people are leaving hours before close because they can't get on certain rides, or think that they can't. It's just bad business IMO.
 

Goofyernmost

Well-Known Member
IMO, some of this is flawed.
1. Standby waits are only a portion of the total riders. While some people wait the full standby amount, many others only wait the FP amount. So it is flawed to say the wait for X attraction = the standby wait. The average wait is an average of the two.
That is correct it is the average of the two. Which means that as far as the time standing in line it is absolutely no different then if it was just one continuous moving line. The same number of people will ride in an hour. There is a point where a FP will save time waiting for a ride for anyone that happens to hold a FP. If you don't and you want to see the attraction you have to use standby. Since FP and that was even with the original paper pass, the standby line is a LOT longer. So those of us with a FP would smugly rush up the FP line and internally, and sometimes externally, laugh at those stuck in Standby. The part that they don't seem to remember is that there will be that they will find themselves in that same line with a much longer wait while others smugly passed by them. The amount of time will average out to be the same as if every attraction just had one steady line. On top of that since the times don't always work out FP's create a situation where you don't have the time to go on another attraction so lets add up a few more hours waiting for your window to open therefore causing you to not see as many things overall than you would have if all were that same.

But that isn't the worse thing. I went many years before FP and yes the lines "seemed" long, but it turns out if you keep moving the time is faster and all of us had a good time in the switchback laughing about our plight, BUT, it was part of the overall experience. We would talk with people, laugh and joke and when we got to the ride WE GOT ON NEXT. There was no group of people all of a sudden coming up and "legally" cutting line while you cooled your heals waiting. I can honestly say that when FP was introduced it was the first time in all my years of going there that anger was part of the line. It never was there before that, some bi tching, but no anger. The argument was always "well, everyone can get a FP". That was a crock of crap then and it still is. Everyone is eligible, but not everyone CAN get one. If they could the FP line would become the single, like the old days, attraction line. Disney lost a lot of magic when what seemed like a good idea just made things worse for everyone.

Back in the 80's, just after EPCOT opened that was it. Two parks, EPCOT and MK. The parking lots were full and the crowds were as heavy with only two parks to go to, as they are now. I would start by turning left at the end of Main Street and start experiencing the attractions one after the other. No running across the park a dozen times to get the freaking FP time. If the line seemed longer then we wanted to go, we just went to the next one and came back later if we wanted to see it that bad. That bottleneck is where it is now, in the area of Peter Pan and Small World. It took the same amount of time to see it all as it does now, but was a lot less stressful. In my mind FP was one of the most over glorified and under performing idea that the big buck guys ever came up with.
 
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"El Scorpion"

Premium Member
In the Parks
No
The most important thing to Disney is the data. And now that I think we'll start seeing a gradual shift from bands to devices, I don't think Disney is going to miss the opportunity to track us everywhere. So I don't think FP will ever be "axed". They may start charging for it though.
 

Goofyernmost

Well-Known Member
The most important thing to Disney is the data. And now that I think we'll start seeing a gradual shift from bands to devices, I don't think Disney is going to miss the opportunity to track us everywhere. So I don't think FP will ever be "axed". They may start charging for it though.
Charging for it might cut down the frustration. Uni charges for it and you can pay it or decide not to, but then it is your choice. If money was more important then time you didn't, if you where willing to pay, you did and those of us that didn't could at least say... Oh, well, they paid extra and I didn't.
 

"El Scorpion"

Premium Member
In the Parks
No
Charging for it might cut down the frustration. Uni charges for it and you can pay it or decide not to, but then it is your choice. If money was more important then time you didn't, if you where willing to pay, you did and those of us that didn't could at least say... Oh, well, they paid extra and I didn't.

Mine is a part of my AP. So I get the after 4 deal. I will say that my Uni schedule is different than my WDW schedule. With Uni, I lounge around in the morning and hit the park about 2pm vs. Disney, where I hit as close to rope drop as I can - then lounge around the resort at night.

I think the UNI model allows for some staggering in the planning dept. I think it's totally worth the $90/per person for unlimited rides. Provided you plan it right. I've got friends who aren't APs and when they go to UNI for 3 or so nights, they do the Express Pass on one day and designate that - "Ride Day". The other two days, they pick and choose which lines to wait in, shop, and eat TS.
 

Michael T

Member
From a business standpoint it makes much more sense to keep it. Disney doesn't want people waiting in queues. Instead they want people shopping, dining, and however the hell people spend money. People can't spend money when they are in the queues.
 

Michael T

Member
Also, I don't see them getting rid of it because they have Disney Genie on the way. It is a brand new app that they are throwing money at. Personally, I see them trying to enhance the experience through Disney Genie for the average guest so it is easier for them to understand. I don't think we should talk about if fastpass is goung away because I don't think it will. Instead, we should speculate how it will be enhanced in the future.
 

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