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!