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Saturday, August 27 2016 @ 10:05 AM CDT

Episode 786 - Fast Pass Theories

PodcastEpisode 786 is now available for download.

Presented by:

Questions can be emailed to questions@wdwtoday.com or use this form

Show Notes

Hosts: Matt Hochberg, Mike Scopa, Mike Newell, Fred Hazelton, & Annette Owens

  • Fast Pass Theories

  • Today, the panel discusses Disney's Fast Pass system and is it working, and what the parks would be like without it.

Running Time: 26:00
Episode 786 - Fast Pass Theories | 18 comments | Create New Account
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Episode 786 - Fast Pass Theories
Authored by: frandog on Thursday, October 14 2010 @ 10:46 PM CDT
In my opinion, fastpass, universal express, etc are GREAT if you are using it and AWFUL if you are waiting in the standby line watching the attendant letting 20 people in the fastpass line enter the loading zone before you. The best fastpass type perk is Universal giving unlimited express acess to its hotel guests. Sure it would be tough for Disney to do this as it has more guests, but there is nothing better than going to the front of the line AND NOT HAVING TO BACKTRACK!
Episode 786 - Fast Pass Theories
Authored by: Brian on Friday, October 15 2010 @ 07:46 AM CDT
I think whomever came up with the idea of FastPass should get the Nobel Peace Prize. It's done a lot to save families from fighting with one another!

Besides unfairly shutting out local guests, Mike Newell's idea of paying for a premium FP or FP being available only to resort guests misses the point of why Disney instituted FP in the first place. If you're not waiting in line, you can be doing something else, like spending money in Disney! :) You can be visiting another attraction, but you can also be grabbing some food or a drink, buying a souvenir, etc. Limiting FP only to a segment of guests would work against what Disney wants guests freed up to do.

Episode 786 - Fast Pass Theories
Authored by: Kfischler on Friday, October 15 2010 @ 10:22 AM CDT
I like the current FP system. We have used it in both WDW and DLR and rarely wait more than 20 minutes for an attraction during the summer. I like that you can use the pass anytime after your posted time so we can hold onto our FPs all day and use them when it best suits our touring plan. When we lived in Georgia, we had APs to Six Flags where we would have to buy a Q-bot if we wanted to ride many of the big rides. Disney's system is much better and guest friendly.
Episode 786 - Fast Pass Theories
Authored by: doc on Friday, October 15 2010 @ 11:16 AM CDT
One thing to keep in mind about life without Fastpass - the standby line would indeed move faster (less starts/stops, etc.), but it would also be LONGER. So from the same point in line, you'd certainly get through faster without Fastpass, but if you got into line at the same time of day, the standby line would likely be a lot longer, so you don't necessarily get on the ride sooner.

Like was said, the total capacity of the ride is unchanged.

I think one of the problems with TSM was the FP/capacity ratio. TSM is not a fast loading attraction, and by giving out too many FPs, which everyone clamors for early, it caused the standby line to take too long. Perhaps if they are giving out less FPs (thus reducing the ratio), it will balance things out.
Episode 786 - Fast Pass Theories
Authored by: Thorpeedo on Friday, October 15 2010 @ 06:10 PM CDT
I tried to post an whole essay from work, covering all the bits where I might be misinterpreted in detail, but had issues posting it, so here goes in short form.
Capacity is king. There are a fixed number of rides available in a day. If demand is greater than this number, you have disappointed people. If they choose to blame fastpass for making it slower, then that's up to them, but I think it makes no difference to as it only rearranges the way people wait to ride. Standby queues might move faster without fastpass, but provided Disney are accurate with their wait times, and you get the wait in line that you see on the sign as you enter, then theres no problem with people "appearing" to join the line in front of you, the reality with Fastpass is that they were already in the line, just virtually. Fastpasses are distributed first come first served, so it's fair. You choose to join a posted standby wait, so if you've not got the tolerance for the posted wait, or can't get out of your bed early enough, then that's your problem.
I don't think the lack of a fastpass explains different wait times before the ride was officially open, I put that down to people not finding it, the sort that expect to see Shamu in World Showcase Lagoon, they're not likely to find an attraction that's not even open, thus demand would be down. In DCA I put the difference down to the local nature of the park. A local is not going to endure a long wait, they will simply come back next week for another go. In Walt Disney World, the "once in a lifetime" brigade, are faced with a long wait or never ride, so I think they'd be prepared to join a longer line. More people with this higher tolerance attitude makes for a longer line.
Episode 786 - Fast Pass Theories
Authored by: marybeth on Saturday, October 16 2010 @ 07:19 AM CDT
I like Fast Passes. Even if the wait time ends up being the same (but I'm using it shoppping, eating or riding another ride) it makes me feel more in control of my time. The perception of having some control counts for a lot.

Also, regarding the suggestion that they stop issuing Fast Passes at noon, this would take away a lot of my incentive to add on Park Hopper to my tickets.
Episode 786 - Fast Pass Theories
Authored by: hydrotony on Saturday, October 16 2010 @ 05:46 PM CDT
Fast Passes are a great assist to visitors. I want to ride the attractions and not stand in line. With FPs, it is like standing in 2 lines at once. As for TSMM, there is a big problem with this ride, there are too many rope drop ride hogs that ruin the chances of others from enjoying this fun attraction. If Disney would only delay the start of FP distribution at TSMM until 45 minutes after rope drop, I believe the overall disappointment and aggravation level will reduce since the ride hogs would need to choose either the ride or the FP rather than getting both.

As for the noon stopping idea, most places run out of FPs by then anyway, so what? I'd rather they start distribution at noon but I am a 11am to closing time type of visitor.

I was at Soarin' recently soon after park opening and sat by the FP distribution area waiting for friends and saw that 95% of the people just came in, got the FP, and left. Soarin' is not a multiple a day ride (opposite to TSMM) but a family ride for 5 to 80 years old. The dynamics on this FP crunch is unique.
Episode 786 - Fast Pass Theories
Authored by: richard on Saturday, October 16 2010 @ 08:19 PM CDT
FWIW Star Tours was using fastpass this summer before closing. (Matt suggested Star Tours among others had not used it for years.) More than a few of those in the fastpass line for TSMM <i>think</i> they're in the attraction queue...
Episode 786 - Fast Pass Theories
Authored by: newkrew on Sunday, October 17 2010 @ 03:44 PM CDT
Annette is so right. With a (Universal Studios type fast pass) the second class citizen feeling is not Disney. I would hate to see Disney go in that direction. I love the fast pass. You just need to know how to use them to your advantage.
Episode 786 - Fast Pass Theories
Authored by: wajah2 on Sunday, October 17 2010 @ 08:43 PM CDT
Part of the problem with fast pass is that if you pick one up you can't get another one until you have redeemed the current one. I have found that passes I pick up usually has a return time 5 or 6 hours from the time I am getting it! So, that being said, I can only use one fast pass in a full day, because the passes are usually out by noon. And nothing is more irritating than getting in line with a twenty minute wait, that slows down to 120 minutes because two hundred people show up with fast passes (yes, I have had it happen on numerous occasions!)
I feel one of the things that could be improved on regarding fast pass is to distribute them throughout the day and not just in the mornings until the passes run out. For instance, distribute them for appox. one hour disdributing only a certain number, then stop distribution. Once the return time for the passes has passed, then the distribution would be available again. If the passes were distributed and redeemed at alternating times throughout the day, and a limit on how many were distributed in a given time, then it would allow standby visitors to have a shorter wait time inbetween redeem times. The distributions could be alternated with other fast pass rides throughout the park as well. Then you could move on to the next area and pick up another pass, this of course is always the trick to making the passes work to your advantage.

Could this possibly releive some of the exasparatingly long waits on certain days and rides? I think it would allow only a small number of people with fast passes redeeming them at a given time and it would possbily level out the standby wait times, at least it would be worth a try.

BTW, I won't even discuss here the frustration of seeing people getting in the fast pass line with NO fast pass then allowed to go on thru the ride!!!!! GRRRR!!!!!!!!
Episode 786 - Fast Pass Theories
Authored by: hydrotony on Sunday, October 17 2010 @ 10:45 PM CDT
Sorry but you never read the bottom of the fast pass. No matter how many hours into the future the return is, you can get another fast pass 2 hours after the one you just got. Always been this way. I know this doesn't help you on your last visit, but I hope you enjoy your next visit better.
Episode 786 - Fast Pass Theories
Authored by: doc on Monday, October 18 2010 @ 03:12 PM CDT
OK, just to clarify something about when you can get another Fastpass...here are the rules on when you get get another one, at least at WDW:

Rule #1: You can get a new Fastpass when it says you can get a new Fastpass on the Fastpass you most recently obtained. Look towards the bottom of the pass for where it says, "Another FASTPASS ticket..."

Rule #2: How long it will be varies, but the general rule of thumb is either the return time of the previous Fastpass or two hours after you obtained the previous Fastpass, whichever is sooner.

Rule #3: There are always exceptions, so always refer to Rule #1.
Episode 786 - Fast Pass Theories
Authored by: newkrew on Monday, October 18 2010 @ 03:26 PM CDT
Like I said, if you know how to use Fast Pass, it can save you time and frustration. Read the fine print on the ticket and remember, once you have a Fast Pass in hand, you can use it anytime after the first return time printed. By that I mean if the return time is set for 10:00am to 11:00am, you can use it anytime before the park closes.

It's always fun to see how many Fast Passes you can collect in a day, then use them in the early eve or towards the end of the night. Makes for a fun night of attractions. Start collecting those Fast Passes as soon as you get in!