FastPass Fairness in the Magic Kingdom
FastPass Fairness in the Magic Kingdom
Posted Wednesday, September 5, 2007 at 10:03p Pacific Time
Jim Hill writes in his latest post about a patent application for a process by which FastPasses could be purchased by Disney resort guests from their hotel rooms, a benefit that presumably wouldn't be extended to day visitors or guests staying off-property. Though some of the details in the post are new, the idea isn't; this sort of thing has been rumored for years. I hope it doesn't happen.
I don't begrudge the fact that Disney resort guests stay in hotels that differ wildly in quality and status. Vacationers--whether they're of significant means or not--like to spend money in different ways, and some enjoy splurging on a luxurious hotel stay while others would just as soon not. That's okay.
Inside the gates, however, the parks should remain egalitarian places. Nobody should be able to buy their way onto an attraction. Disneyland and its counterparts are one of the few places where everyone can feel the same, where everyone can feel a part of the same shared experience. I don't think it's being naive to want or hope that that won't change.
It's worth noting that a patent application is hardly a statement of intent. Let's hope it isn't. There are lots of creative ways that Disney can raise revenues; this doesn't have to be one of them.
I suspect you're right. But they might for super-fast passes that are all-fastpass-ride-inclusive and good all day, but that wouldn't take anything away from me being able to get a one-timer for free.
Posted By trekkeruss Friday, September 7, 2007 at 1:53p Pacific Time
I don't believe Disney would outright charge for FP. It's too valuable of a marketing piece to do so (IMO).
Posted By DLTheo Friday, September 7, 2007 at 1:35p Pacific Time
It wouldn't be completely unprecedented for Disney to treat some visitors more "specially" than others. During the 70s when the A-E tickets were being phased out only Magic Kingdom Club members could buy unlimited passports at first, while everyone else had to continue to purchase the additional "coupons" to ride the attractions.
Posted By berol Friday, September 7, 2007 at 11:26a Pacific Time
oh man, i forgot about free meals. In my hotel consumer's eye, I'd be thinking I'd be getting something I wouldn't have spent money on anyway with fastpasses, but a free meal *saves* me $ cuz I gotta eat one way or the other. (Never mind that the meal is really included in the room price. Let me have my fantasy!) :)
Posted By berol Friday, September 7, 2007 at 11:23a Pacific Time
"that makes them useful" = unlimited fastpasses
Posted By berol Friday, September 7, 2007 at 11:21a Pacific Time
I'd say maybe 180 days per year, fastpasses aren't needed at all. For another 100-ish days, the general fastpass comes in handy. Unlimited/enhanced fastpasses are useful for what's leftover.
If you are a heavy e-ticket rider, that makes them useful on more days. If you're local with an AP, you'd rarely need a fastpass.
Fastpasses at Magic Mtn are $20-25, usable 4 times. Universal's are $60, unlimited use. Only so many people can buy either of those per day. I wouldn't mind $20-25 for 4 uses at Disneyland, but then I avoid packed days and it's expensive for a big family.
Posted By Sport Goofy Friday, September 7, 2007 at 9:40a Pacific Time
<< Just one more way of getting pushed around by people with more money than you. >>
I think that's called capitalism. Maybe you should vacation in Cuba.
Posted By grammy954 Friday, September 7, 2007 at 9:04a Pacific Time
I hate the idea of selling the fastpasses - it just gives another advantage to people with extra money. For anyone on a budget, who can only go if they stay off site at the much less expensive hotels, it just seems to be cheating them out of being able to enjoy the parks. Because let's face it - the hotels on Harbor Blvd. are always MUCH less expensive than the resort. Just one more way of getting pushed around by people with more money than you.
Posted By EighthDwarf Friday, September 7, 2007 at 7:26a Pacific Time
I see no problem with the system because (I'm guessing here) the number of Disney Resort guests that would actually use it would be fairly small compared to the number of guests that go to the park. And look at the number of guests that still use the stand-by lines when they could easily use the FP system now and don't!! There's a significant percentage of the population that is either too ignorant or doesn't care enought to bother with these conveniences.
And I actually think it's a great incentive to stay at a Disney Resort --as if I needed one! :-)-- for those of us who are tech-savvy. And, like most perks, it will be a selling point that won't always be used.
Posted By LuLu Friday, September 7, 2007 at 7:08a Pacific Time
I should have said, FP doesn't work as an *incentive* to stay on property, not as a perk - heck they can give any perks they like. But at WDW, free dining is an *incentive* to get more people to stay in the off-season, and a brilliant one - it's actually valuable, and probably gets folks to stay longer since they spend more time at sit down restaurants, so, less time for attractions.
FP gets people in and out more quickly, is this a benefit to Disney? However, most folks probably aren't at that level of planning...
Posted By copiratesteph Friday, September 7, 2007 at 6:34a Pacific Time
I'm not sure this will really effect me. I think people are sort of blowing it out of proportion.
Universal offers NO fast pass system for reg. guests and if you plan your day right, you won't wait much, if at all.
Being an AP holder, and visiting the Disney parks around 30 times a year, I rarely use FP. I get there early, or I stay late. I never wait more than 20 min to ride anything, and its just about careful planning.
People tend to think that going to Disney World is a right, but it's a privledge. Disney has to keep raising their prices and raising the bar to keep the experience something special. If every family could afford Disney, it would become as 'cheapened' as the amusement park that parks itself in the parking lot of our mall.
Disney Vacations are still affordable if you plan correctly. For instance, this Christmas I am staying in a studio at OKW that normaly runs $280, for $164, thanks to being an AP holder. So if they were offering this FP benefit now, Id be able to 'upgrade' myself to 'deluxe' benefits, for a moderate price. And even when i dont stay onsite, i never wait more than 20 min. for a ride. its all about planning.
Posted By DisneySuiteFreak Friday, September 7, 2007 at 2:52a Pacific Time
Berol, we loved the Enhanced FP when Disney and AAA offered it at DL. However, I agree that it does create a bigger divide between the haves and have mores.
When I went to Universal Orlando in 2001, I thought their system was a nightmare. I'll never forget the line for Duddly Do Right at IOA -- the sign said 60 minute wait. It was a 2+ hour wait. And it was frustrating to see so many people go to the front of the line with their magic pass knowing you've been standing in a 2+ hour line that was supposed to be 60 minutes. :( I hope Disney does not go this route.
Posted By 8 ilovemickey 8 Thursday, September 6, 2007 at 9:34p Pacific Time
Sweeper I believe that is more along the lines of a VIP type pass.
I agree with what you are saying LuLu but I always felt hey what harm could it do.
Posted By Sweeper Thursday, September 6, 2007 at 8:55p Pacific Time
I have a neighbor who claims his company is purchasing front of line passes for the executives and families for a trip to WDW.
Is there more going on behind the scenes here than just a FastPass change?
Posted By berol Thursday, September 6, 2007 at 7:54p Pacific Time
Yeah, unlimited fastpasses were useless most of the time.
Posted By LuLu Thursday, September 6, 2007 at 7:47p Pacific Time
FastPass as a perk for staying onsite seems not to work for this reason: the busy times when you really need FP, the hotels don't have problems getting guests. Seems like they need to do something to fill the hotels in the slow periods! But maybe they're just hoping their guests are too dumb to know that FP isn't always a big benefit.
Posted By vbdad55 Thursday, September 6, 2007 at 7:42p Pacific Time
I started a thread already under WDW General on this very topic as I read the article in last weeks Time magazine which rips systems that allow people to buy their way to the front of lines in the world, making the rich specially privileged more than they already are.
Please see that thread for more details as I was angry because the writer, misinformingly included WDW's system in his rant, after seeing Flashpass in action at a Six Flags. I wrote the editor of Time to explain that the current system at Disney allows anyone with a ticket to participate and that they should get their facts straight before going to press.
the story is The Waiting Game by Steve Rushin and you can see the negative light he paints a money driven system with - unfortunately he forgot to see that all his facts were actually correct before making this smart alec comment:
"At amusement parks, too, you can now buy your way out of line. This summer I haplessly watched kids use a $52 Gold Flash Pass to jump the lines at Six Flags New England, and similar systems are in use in most major American theme parks, from Universal Orlando to Walt Disney World, where the haves get to watch the have-mores breeze past on their way to their seats, as if Space Mountain were Spago."
Posted By 8 ilovemickey 8 Thursday, September 6, 2007 at 6:01p Pacific Time
To me giving guests who stay on Disney properties a few fastpass perks. It always seemed like a big selling point to me. I don't think they should ever go to a fastpass system where you pay. That just seems messy and complicated. Although it doesn't sound like that is what is going to happen.
Posted By fkurucz Thursday, September 6, 2007 at 4:16p Pacific Time
I guess I could see "Super Fastpasses" being offered as a perk to those who stay on property, with the level of "super" being tied to the cost of the resort. Stay at the GF and maybe you would get an unlimited fastpass.
Posted By berol Thursday, September 6, 2007 at 1:38p Pacific Time
...as the last paragraph already said. heh
Posted By berol Thursday, September 6, 2007 at 1:37p Pacific Time
They mighta decided not to alter fastpass, but filed the patents to own the ideas.
Posted By gmaletic Thursday, September 6, 2007 at 1:32p Pacific Time
I don't know that I directly addressed the issue about whether Disney would literally sell the FastPasses or whether they would simply be a perk of being a resort guest (which would amount to an indirect purchase.) I'm not wild about the idea either way.
I should note that my title, "FastPass Fairness," goes a little over the top; hoepfully as my text makes clear, I'm not suggesting that resort guests getting FastPasses not available to other park guests is truly "unfair"...people getting more for paying more isn't unfair. It's just that I think it creates a distinct class division in the park that doesn't exist today.
I guess I couldn't resist the alliteration.
Posted By Doobie Thursday, September 6, 2007 at 1:12p Pacific Time
I personally would be surprised if Disney ends up selling FastPasses in any direct way. Disney has shown with Magical Express and the yearly free dining that their concern is getting people to stay on property. Giving some kind of FastPass perks for being an on property guest is much more likely than actually charging directly for it, IMHO. But I've been wrong before.
Posted By fkurucz Thursday, September 6, 2007 at 12:59p Pacific Time
<<Disney does not need to resort to this.>>
It depends. If they can sell the fastpasses, or charge more per room if fastpasses are included, then they could make more money. Of course, any gains from selling fast passes could be offset by loss in revenue from off property guests who feel that Disney has gone too far this time, and take their vacation dollars elsewhere.
Posted By GalDisney Thursday, September 6, 2007 at 11:53a Pacific Time
I can see why Universal offers this service to their resort guests: Universal needs something to get guests to fill their hotele and visit their theme parks, Disney does not. Disney does not need to resort to this. WDW is has many, many more vistors every year than Universal. Heck WDW could stop advertising their theme parks today and people would still visit, not so with Universal. Uviversal has a decrease in guests every year while WDW sees growth. Disney does not need to charge a premium for this service. With as many visitors that WDW seees, espceially the MK , and the lengths of the attraction lines, fast pass is a nice perk for theme park guests, regardless if they are day guests or multi day vacationers who stay on property.
Posted By Doobie Thursday, September 6, 2007 at 7:35a Pacific Time
I definitely disagree with this one. I have no issue at all with Disney giving in-park perks to resort guests (and even more perks for certain resorts) over non-resort guests. Like anything, it can be carried too far and guests won't put up with it (Disney does care about the guest satisfaction numbers), but the concept is not a problem at all for me. Disney should do everything they can to take care of their Resort guests while, obviously, balancing that with the needs of their non-resort guests. Hopefully Disney will use the FastPass system to implement this so it's not obvious that these guests are getting privileges others don't have. IE: I don't mind if things aren't equal. But I do hope things at least look equal. That makes for a better experience for all.
Posted By twirlnhurl Thursday, September 6, 2007 at 7:25a Pacific Time
I know that Universal charging money for their fastpass was the best thing they could have done, because it made the regular lines move a lot faster as less people used it. However, Disney World's guests are more likely to use such a system, so I'm not sure if it would fix the problems that Disney's Fastpass causes the same way as it helped Universal.
Posted By ni_teach Thursday, September 6, 2007 at 7:11a Pacific Time
It's no secret that management has been wanting to change for fastpass since the start. We have hear talk about this for years now and have seen other amusement parks get away with charging for their version of the fastpass.
Personally I think that its a bad idea to charge for fastpass and I do have mixed feelings about the whole system. But I think that the pressure to want to charge more money will cause them to make this new system.