Fast Pass lament

There are definitely certain advantages to fast passes, but in the many years I’ve seen them used at Disney, I personally think they should be done away with.

First of all, Fast Passes artificially inflate the wait times for rides for those in the normal line. That is, while the people with the Fast Passes are saving same, all those people are effectively going ahead of the folks waiting in the normal line. This means that if there are, say, 100 people in the standard line and fast passes are being used, then the wait time for the 100 people ends up being more like the wait time for 200 people. (About double) HOWEVER, if no fast passes were being used, the wait time for 100 people in line would be, well, the wait time for 100 people given the ride throughput.

Now, popular rides, those who previously used fast passes would need to wait in the longer line…but they already are, really. Because since fast passes are limited in number, those same people who shave off time in one line using a fast pass will pay for it in another line where they don’t have fast passes. The savings becomes artificial at best. People THINK they are getting an edge, but apart from VERY informed planning, you ultimately aren’t. In the meantime, everyone else is suffering for it.

Furthermore, as lines lengthen due to the abandonment of fast passes, you end up with a normal self-balancing of lines. People will decide that the posted wait times are too long and head over to rides with shorter waits, etc. Like in the good old days.

From the first time I experienced Disney with Fast Passes, my overall experience has been less fun. We have to ultra plan every moment in the parks instead of letting them unfold more naturally. Yet, because EVERYONE is using fast passes, it has become NECESSARY to use them because it has inflated line lengths for everyone else.

I remember a particularly bad experience when my kids were young and we were at Disney on a particularly crowded day. We waited for Peter Pan’s flight for 2 1/2 hours because we did not have a fast pass. But I actually paid attention. For every 4-6 people who were allowed on the ride from the standard line, about 20 people were being allowed on with fast passes. This means that the total wait time was about 4 times longer than it would have been had there been no fast passes. (That’s not entirely true, since many of those fast pass persons would have entered the normal line, making it longer overall, but I think the wait time would have still been cut in half.)

I’ve also experienced cases where having the fast pass for a ride, when crowds were lower, actually LENGTHENED the wait time slightly.

Any more, we have to spend our month (or two if you stay on property) ahead of time knowing exactly what you want to do, then plan your day around those fast pass availabilities. Want to go hit Space Mountain? Well, that’s clear across the park when your fast pass is coming up in Frontierland!

Of course, there’s no point. Disney has sold the idea and invested probably millions into it. Other parks have followed suit. But, personally, I have found that it has not, overall, helped things and just gives people a false sense of it being a benefit. I just long for the good ideas where lines were, you know, lines!

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As with everything, it is all about the $$$. It helps Disney keep track of people and where they will be and where they will need extra personnel. Fast passes are a necessity when crowd levels are 9 & 10s - if you can’t make rope drop, you will wait a long time for the big rides - I’m sure it was that way before fast passes - at least this way they can spread out the crowds based on popularity of rides. It also makes sense for those with park hoppers (another expense) - if you arrived before rope drop and got to ride everything in a reasonable time period and wanted to head to another park after lunch, why would you even bother if you knew you would be waiting in hours of lines? That is where the FPs really come into play for us - we run around like crazy and get so much done at rope drop and can relax having secured 3 FPs with a nice dinner(another expense) at night. There is no fighting it, so you just have to make the best of it. Imagine the poor folks that don’t have a plan and just show up.

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Yeah, I hear you. Again, if you know how to plan, you can take advantage of the FP system. But that’s just it. overall, it doesn’t help things for most people. And it has unintended consequences. You can no longer just go to Disney. You can’t be the family that scrounges and saves and makes a “trip of a lifetime” with the family to see Walt Disney World for the first time, only to find they are effectively locked out of the rides because they didn’t know about the FP system, or know how to best utilize it.

We go to LOTS of amusement parks. Disney’s FP system is unique and my least favorite. Other parks, we can be spontaneous. We see the crowds naturally balance out on their own. We can do what we want when we want, knowing that getting there early gives us the best chance to ride everything.

At Disney, we have to schedule everything. We need to know, 30 days out, which park we’ll want to hit on which day. We need to know which rides we want most, and when we can’t get those FPs, we have to settle for something else. Then at the parks, we are a little bit tied to those decisions. We can always skip the fast passes (which we’ve done), but instead of organically going through the park, we find ourselves checking the clock, pushing ourselves to get to a certain area in time, missing things in the process.

It is merely a lament, though. It makes me feel better. Because I’m not crazy enough to think Disney even cares. :wink:

I’ve had perfectly wonderful visits without having FP in advance (at least it used to be that with the CM comp passes you didn’t get anything to link to MDE until that day) being able to be spontaneous.

It helps if you’re not allergic to lines - which I’m not.

I’ll have to think about this some more, but I guess I’m not convinced that FPP makes standby wait times longer for the major attractions. If the FPP people magically disappeared and they did not enter the standby line then yes, they wait would be much shorter. However, as FPP does not change the ride capacity, the number of people in the park, and the number of people who want to go on ride X, I would think that the wait times for the major attractions would end up being the same.

However, I think that you may be right that it increases the wait time in the second-tier attractions. Think of FPP as a “ghost man” who holds your place in a very long line. During the time that your ghost man is standing in line for you, you are free to go and stand in line for another attraction, essentially increasing its wait time for the next guest. But the thing here is that many of the second-tier attractions have a huge capacity, so putting more people in line might not increase the wait time there that much as the ride can easily handle the additional people.

This is a very complicated supply chain / queuing type of problem. @len - does your stats team have any views or models of the effect of FPP on overall wait times?


That’s kind of my point, though. We are made to believe there is an advantage (in general) to not having to wait in the longer lines. But all it does is shift the waiting around. In the end, though, I don’t think it really helps much of anything (except the hyper planners out there).

In the meantime, it has negative OTHER aspects, as I mentioned.

Truth is, I’m a Disney fan, through and through. I’ll continue to go. I just wish they’d get rid of the FP concept entirely.

I’m on the other side of the fence. I love FP and we make it work for us. We can work it so that for the most part, we’re not waiting in line longer than 20 minutes on any one attraction. So for us, it works very well all around.

It definitely increases standby waits but not by as much as you think, I suspect.

I do prefer the old paper system though, where you didn’t have to plan 60 days in advance. You got one FastPass at a time (could get a second one 15 minutes before your first expired, I think) so you could be more spontaneous, and would probably lessen the demand because people wouldn’t be booking their FastPasses 3 months in advance. Disneyland does it this way, except you can pay to make the single FP on your phone via MaxPass…

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Count me in as preferring traditional FP over FPP.

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Yeah, the only thing I really prefer about FPP is that I can make the reservation on my phone and I don’t have to worry about losing a paper ticket. Give me the old FP system but let me use my phone and magic band, and I’d be a happy guy.

For those who like the old FP system, but want the convenience of obtaining FPs on your phone you need to go to DL in CA. We went at Thanksgiving and used the new Maxpass system and were able to get 8 to 10 FP/ day when we hit the parks at rope drop. You also can do repeat attractions if you want.

Great system if you don’t want to have to plan your rides 60 days in advance.

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If you read The Unofficial Guide and many articles on this site, you will see FP is very beneficial at second tier attractions. Peter Pan’s Flight is a prime example. Very few people run there at RD to ride first. It is also a slow loading ride with a low riders per hour rate.

I don’t agree with the statement “everyone is using FPs”. I’m sure everyone here is, but some people show up to Disney without FPs, ADRs, or any type of plan.

If planning isn’t your style, then Disney isn’t the place for you. You may enjoy Universal more.

I said this in another thread - I was going through a FPP line once (I think it was Peter Pan actually) and someone from the standby line leaned over and asked me how I got into the faster line. So no, not everyone knows/uses FPP.