I’m always down on FPP. I am glad they are gone, and hope they don’t return. I’ve iterated why many times.
However, I would like to suggest that now, more than ever, FPP would make things even worse. Because in the “old days” (pre-COVID), Disney’s hope was that the time you “saved” by using a FPP meant you would shift your time into other attractions with more capacity such a shows, or into shops, or eating, etc. But, right now? All of those things are limited…and, in fact, the reduced capacity in shows is actually making those attractions have longer lines. (For example, Carousel of Progress has NEVER been more than a 10 minute wait for us…and yet, in August, it was one of the longest waits of our trip!)
Remember that FPP just shifts waits around. It doesn’t actually reduce average wait time across the board. For the time you save in one line, you will wait LONGER in the other lines. If you are particularly savvy, you can work the system to your benefit…but on average, it is a wash. And right now, it is even more so. Because if they re-introduced FPP right now, sure, you’d get to have shorter waits for those particular rides, but your other waits will be increased even more than usual because there are limited options.
If Disney wants to fix their line problem, it isn’t by re-introducing FPP. They need to increase attraction capacity. But the truth is, Disney ultimately doesn’t care if you have to wait 45 minutes for a ride versus 25 minutes UNLESS it leads to enough dissatisfaction in enough people that they won’t be willing to come. And I think this is why we’ve been seeing Disney lengthen their park hours on several days in October. Longer hours can spread the crowds/wait times out a bit.
So, the ways to increase attraction capacity?
Increase park hours (as mentioned above.)
Increase ride capacity. For Omnimover rides, this isn’t really possible. They are already running pretty much as 100% capacity anyhow, other than downtime for cleaning. And for other rides, increasing capacity would mean reducing social distancing on the rides themselves, which would be risky. Although, there are signs Disney is putting up more dividers on some rides in hopes to eek out a bit more capacity.
Open up more non-ride attractions, such as shows. This would help some. But since shows basically have 1/4 the capacity they once did, it doesn’t help as much as it used to. You’ll still have long waits for shows…but it does pull those people waiting out of the other lines throughout the park.
Open up more places to eat. (Which they are gradually doing.)
Here’s the rub, though. Doing the above things don’t help Disney make more money. Number 4 you could argue does…but not really. All it really does is shift WHERE people are buying their food. Most people will still end up eating pretty much the same (spend the same).
What Disney wants to do is drive up revenues. Which means if they want to increase capacity of attractions they would do so in order to allow more people into the parks, which increases revenue, and does NOT decrease wait times. So, if the average wait time is 45 minutes, then if they do all the measures needed to reduce wait times they could, the average wait time maybe drops to 30 minutes…but then Disney will increase park capacity, which will just raise the wait times again.
The only real advantage and hope I see of Disney making FPP available again (other than a paid version) in the short term is if they feel the psychological benefit it offers (since it doesn’t really offer any ACTUAL benefit) to people THINKING they are avoiding long waits is enough to keep people booking trips. But since they are now pretty much booking park capacity right now, that isn’t too important to them. But if they wait to raise park capacity from the ~25% today to 50%, say, perhaps.
ETA: I should mention that expanding hours has the potential to drive up revenues because if people are in the parks longer, they might have another meal or another snack, etc.