The advent of the FP has actually allowed me to plan far less than I used to do. Now, we simply go for the 3 ‘must do’ FPs early in the day and we literally modify our way around for the rest of the day. I have stopped using the actual touring plans and we go wherever the FPs take us. Granted, we’re there far more often than the average consumer so it doesn’t matter if we skip something this time because we couldn’t get an FP for it, but it beats our old method where I struggled to put together the perfect plan and make folks stick to the schedule. It’s now a much more relaxed and enjoyable experience.
This is actually why I do NOT like the FPP system. We used to just be able to go to Disney. Now, everything has to be planned months ahead of time. The spontaneity of it is (mostly) gone.
The modify trick for the FPP is a game-changer, though. And, in fact, I wouldn’t mind if they eliminated the pre-planned FPP and instead just provided day-of FPP like they used to when the FP system (pre-FPP) was first introduced. Although, that first FP system was terrible as well. I really just long for the experience before they ever had the FP. It was much more fun then.
I get what you’re saying, but this is a good example of “your mileage may vary”. For me, I really think FP has made Disney doable… In the late 90s it was really difficult to go on any of the headliners without huge waits - which is why they introduced FastPass to begin with.
This article on the history of FastPass is interesting. One relevant section:
The first aspect to consider regarding the invention of the FastPass is its purpose. During the late 1990s, the most common complaint Disney received in feedback from guests was wasted time. Rather than enjoying all the restaurants, shops, shows, and attractions available at a theme park, guests across the world vented that they spent far too long stuck waiting in line. Their problem was also Disney’s problem, because people standing in a queue aren’t people buying food, drinks, or souvenirs, which cost Disney tens of thousands of dollars per minute.
In order to alleviate this issue, Imagineers needed a solution that would lessen time spent in line. This puzzle was trickier to crack than you may think. After all, anything they offered to shorten the customer’s wait must be available to everyone. That’s a vicious circle, because the new option would quickly become as congested as the old one. Plus, the idea of adding a second line seemed particularly counterintuitive. All that should accomplish in theory is giving people a different waiting queue. The same park guests are still in the same two lines, making the crowd levels for the attraction identical. So, what’s the enhancement?
The solution was an elegantly simple: design a pass-based system that empowered guests with the ability to virtually wait in line for an attraction without physically doing so. It’s the equivalent of calling for an imaginary baserunner in a backyard baseball game. Getting such a revolutionary process off the ground, however, was not an easy endeavor.
Disney is in a class by itself when it comes to crowds. I think to compare it to Cedar Point, Six Flags, or even Universal is a false equivalency. For me personally, I have no desire whatsoever to return to the days of pure standby lines. I thought that was miserable. FP has been a game changer to me, and FPP even better.
I would be fine if they got rid of the pre-planning (30/60/90 day windows) and switched to the MaxPass like system that they have at Disneyland - one at a time, day of only, but modernized with MDE rather than the paper system. But I doubt they’ll do that because the 60 day window gives them a reason to push onsite stays, and it also gives them data.
But regardless, FP + modify trick makes the parks doable and a lot of fun for me and my family. I hope they don’t ever get rid of it (and I don’t think they will).
See, my experience was the opposite. I remember the days before the FP was introduced. Much better than today. And I remember my first trip to WDW when they had the FP. Hated it. I can immediately see how the FP system was falsely shuffling waits around, and making the SB lines longer. I even timed things in line to see the difference, and it was quite significant.
FPP improved (in some ways) the FP system by not giving them out quite so freely, but then the need to preplan your park days 30 or 60 days out means the spontaneity is gone. Even as one who likes to plan things!
True. Waiting for 1 1/2 to 2 hours at CP is the norm, actually. Aside from getting there early enough, we usually wait 1 1/2 to 2 hours for Millenium Force. Maverick has been close to 2 hours at times. Raptor still tends to run 45+ minutes. So, waits at CP are, overall, longer. It worsened, of course, when they introduced FastLane.
No argument there. Invaluable, even. And data collection is only going to expand.
Semi-agreed. It’s a major carrot, for now. PhotoPass and ride photos are a growing part of that equation. I expect enhanced interaction with characters and cast members based on tracking data to debut any time now. There are probably dozens of other gee-whiz ideas for enhancing guest experiences through RF tracking on Disney’s drawing board. Soon FP+ will be even smaller potatoes than it is today.
It’s happening now, a step at a time. See my previous point. Also see Disney’s track record over the last several years. Anyone who bets on Disney NOT monetizing something is betting with his heart, not his head.
Agreed - they will monetize aspects of the FPP experience, but I am certain that they will still keep the initial 3 free FPP to make sure that they are getting data from the widest pool possible (and to also lure people into buying the additional FPP features).
I view it like a lot of utility software out there - there is the free version that does just enough to prove that it is useful, but then there are paid tiers above it that add functionality. If the free functionality does what you need then great, but I usually find that I need some of the paid features in order for the software to be really useful to me.
I tend to agree…HOWEVER, one of the benefits Disney gets directly from the FPP system today is that it helps them to balance the crowds. It also gives people the IMPRESSION they are saving time, whether or not it is actually true, which leads to happier guests, overall. Happier guests spend more, return more often, and convince friends to go. In a way it is Disney Magic. Or, rather, more like an Disney Illusionist. After all, David Copperfield doesn’t actually perform magic. He just makes you THINK he is.
Back in December, a cast member on one of the other Disney boards stated that Disney was predicting large crowds for Saturday, Dec 15 at Magic Kingdom. He claimed that they could determine this from the # of FPP reservations, and that in response to this, they’d be adding a second run of Festival of Fantasy that day to help alleviate ride wait times and not end up having holiday waits.
Sure enough, a couple days later, the schedule changed and added a second parade run. So, of course anyone can say anything on the Internet, but the fact that this person made this prediction (which isn’t something they usually do), and it came to pass, leads me to believe the claim (they added a second showing at 11 AM). .
100% agree, and that was never my point. They will definitely monetize FPP. In fact, they already have, with Club level. My argument is that monetizing it doesn’t necessarily mean the free tier goes away.
Exactly right, IMO. Even with PhotoPass and other enhancers, that doesn’t have nearly the reach that FPP has. FPP is the use case for Magic Bands. I highly suspect that the % of people who use FPP is a lot higher than those who use Photopass.
This is a great analogy.
Good point on the “happier guests” thought, although I continue to maintain that it does in fact save you time. The data and math back that up. But we’ve been down that road already .
The free software analogy is a good one. Taken further, as popularity (and, ideally, dependence) grows the most popular features will usually migrate into one of the paid tiers. Free FP+, if such a thing remains, will be just useful enough to convince most people that they need to pay for one of the premium tiers. Its primary role will be bait.
Incidentally, crack dealers employ a remarkably similar marketing strategy. The first taste is always free, or at least it appears so.
Edited to add that the freemium gaming marketing model might also be a good analogy for those of you in the always-free-to-play camp. Maybe even more accurate.
Sorry, I didn’t read the who thread, but I’m going to take a shot in the dark that nobody was brave enough to say this:
Lines are longer because there are more people with scooters being accommodated on the rides. This was not a thing many many years ago. When they have to slow down or stop the ride to load a scooter or to make a transfer, it slows down the whole process, which means fewer people per hour in the ride capacity. Likewise, when there are ride vehicles that have special accommodations built in, like being able to load a scooter onto a boat ride, this lowers the overall capacity because it takes up several seats that could otherwise be used (much like the busses).
If you take an omnimover ride with a capacity of 1800/hr and stop it for 2 minutes every hour, that’s 60 people who couldn’t ride that hour and are still in the standby queue. On a high crowd day, there might be a period of 6 or 8 hours when that line back-up (undercapacity) results in a 450 extra people waiting in line. That’s the difference between a 25 minute wait for HM and a 40 minute wait.
Before everyone hates on me for saying it, I’m not saying that Disney should not do it this way or that there is anything wrong with it. It’s just a fact of life.
While I think there is truth to this, I’m not sure the impact is really all that much for most rides. Now, it is true rides like HM or PP might need to actually slow/stop the loading for this purpose, many will see no appreciable impact.
Even an additional 60 minutes, when spread out over 12 hours, means only 5 extra minutes in the line per hour.
Still, it all adds up, I suppose.
I think it would add up, unless you get to a line length where people actually choose not to get in line. At peak times and on crowded days, I think most people just get in line and wait (lack of planning, right?). So all those little reductions in capacity will add up to a longer line in the afternoon.
I agree. I remember long lines as well pre FP and I do not want to return to that.
In my experience, for most rides this is not the case. If Philharmagic and People Mover are walk ons and small world and Buzz are 15 minutes, I think most people will balk at a longer wait for a different ride. The obvious exceptions being the “big new ride.”
I disagree. If that was true, all days would be low crowd levels because people wouldn’t get in to lines over 30 mins and the wait times would never be high.
Perhaps I overstated/misstated my point. What I was trying to say was that missing 100 people an hr. for 6 hours does not translate to 600 extra people in line later in the day. Especially as the line gets longer, more and more people will just balk.