I accept that what I’m about to say is certainly hypocritical and probably unreasonable. I’m not sure it’s irrational, though.
The FPP system is desperately unfair. The wealthy get their pick, the poor (i.e. me) are left with the scraps — if there are any. Yes, that’s capitalism. Welcome to the modern world. (And yes, I buy my way to the front of the queue at Universal, so who am I to talk.)
People on the Facebook Liners group are posting their (entirely legitimate) excitement at getting SDD FPPs and even posting what’s still available. This is torture! I can’t even attempt to book these until next Tuesday. And even that makes me fortunate. People staying off-property don’t get a shot until the end of May.
It’s just so frustrating!
It’s also somewhat ridiculous. I posted a thread yesterday about my complicated machinations as my FPP booking dates approach. OK, so it’s slightly fun. But it’s just ludicrous.
I don’t think I have a proposal to fix the system. I just want to rant, really. My Facebook feed has turned into Instagram — “Look at the lovely stuff we’ve got that you haven’t.”
I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again. I don’t like the FPP system at all. I wish Disney would do away with it entirely. I’ve done some layman’s modelling of the system and found that it really doesn’t offer benefit to MOST people, other than making people THINK they are getting a benefit.
But as long as the system is there, to NOT use it would be insanity.
And this is why I try to stay off Facebook/Instagram. Too many are living their lives via social media. I want to go back to the time without these social media platforms that put everything front-and-center-in-your-face All.The.Time.
Your rant is not irrational at all, in my opinion.
I can certainly see the benefit to Disney — it’s a money maker. Ditto the dessert parties, which are not quite as bad, but there’s something a little uncomfortable about those, too.
I don’t really have any understanding of who Walt Disney was as a man, but I do wonder if he would approve of the way richer people get a better experience at WDW.
I think a lot of FPPs are a fiction — they save trivial amounts of time: e.g. almost all the ones at Epcot. Some FPPs are worth having — FOP is an obvious example, but the mountains at MK, Soarin’, TT and so on.
But how to reform the system? Maybe FPPs on only the most popular rides? Everyone gets three? Everyone gets them at 30 days? No fourth ones. Can be split across parks. A sort of “guarantee” that you’ll get three short waits on three popular rides on any given day.
It isn’t directly a money maker. In fact, the irony is that Disney created a system that doesn’t pad their bottom line at all directly…but all their competitors came up with a system, modeled after Disney’s, that DOES create a source of revenue (such as the Express Pass at Universal).
The way the FPP system benefits Disney is only indirect…that is, giving the perception to guests staying on property of an advantage (60 day window instead of 30 day, etc). So, it MIGHT lead to an increase in people willing to pay to stay on property. I’m not sure how easy it is to confirm that’s the case, however.
The other advantage to Disney is more about predicting queue line balance. But again, that doesn’t provide a direct revenue.
In the end, FPP DOES benefit Disney (although not necessarily financially), and it does NOT benefit MOST people.
I think I’d be happier if Disney switched to an Express Pass concept instead. If people choose to pay, they are getting a clear benefit to themselves, and if they don’t, it harkens back to the good old days of just enjoying your time at WDW without the “pressure” of keeping to some predetermined schedule.
I have been to WDW four times since 2012. The first time was in 2012 before the current FPP system and we stayed at Polynesian. Went in 2015 and stayed at Bonnet Creek, went back in 2016 and stayed at Bonnet Creek again. Then, last year, my son and I went alone and stayed at All-Star Sports. A friend has tons of Wyndham points so we probably could have stayed at Bonnet Creek for free or for very little money. But we chose to stay on property primarily for the 60-day FPP. It did change our behavior. The Disney transportation is nice, but not necessarily a deal breaker. And with you having to pay for parking at your hotel, the benefit of free parking at the parks is sort of gone, giving another reason that staying off property isn’t so bad. But those dang 60-day FPP sure are nice, especially for FOP and the popular rides like that.
What it does is give you the FEELING that it is benefiting you. But all it is doing is shuffling around the wait. It redistributes the wait across other queue lines. So, while you are getting faster times in the lines where you have the FPP, it is also INCREASING wait times in those lines with FPP that you DO NOT have a FPP for.
Perhaps think of it like the mathematical example I remember from my high school calculus class. You are filling a bathtub at a certain rate. The drain empties at a constant rate, regardless of how fast it fills up. So the total number of people waiting, and total wait time for all those people adds up to the same.
But with the FPP system, rather than the drain emptying the bathtub, there is also a sink, and that sink is connected to the same drain with a valve that stops the draining of the bathtub as long as there is water in the sink. So, the water in the sink drains faster, but the water in the bathtub now stays around longer. The total wait time for the bathtub water is LONGER than it was before.
Of course, those people who are using the sink for one ride will end up in the bathtub for other rides. So, while they saved time (but NOT as much time as the queue line’s total wait time suggests), they will end up spending LONGER in OTHER lines where they have to drain from the bathtub.
But this is also why it is insanity to NOT use the FPP system. Because otherwise you are actually causing your total wait time to increase dramatically since you aren’t getting the time savings the FPP offers.
Indeed. I don’t deny that Disney ultimately benefits, but the benefit is indirect, not direct. And as a result, it is easy for Disney to ASSUME it benefits their bottom line in a way that isn’t necessarily easy to prove. Because they also ultimately invested a ton of money in building out the FPP infrastructure (special queue lines, the FPP kiosks, the Magic Band scanners, etc). But I can’t speak directly to the financial benefits to Disney because, as I said, it isn’t a direct financial benefit.
In the end, though, people THINK they are benefiting from it. And with Disney, it is more about the perception than the reality anyhow.
There is actually some benefit from being in the regular lines. There’s some fun to be had in the anticipation, and some of the lines are richly themed and you can miss out on that if you take the FPP route — this summer, for example, I’m doing FOP in the regular line as I feel I’ve missed out on some of the theming experience.
I’m willing to wait about half an hour for a ride. I regularly see much longer wait times posted for 7DMT, PP, FOP, etc — and I think that’s nuts. But then I’ll maybe be willing to wait longer for TSMM and SDD this summer if I don’t get FPPs.
Well, it wasn’t. Now that they are selling FPPs to Club level guests, there is some direct income coming through.
wait a second. Just so I’m clear,you are staying on property, correct> So how are they getting to get fastpasses before you? Is there a way they can buy access to booking fast passes before they are even available to onsite guests?
This has me extremely intrigued, but I’m not sure I would buy access to booking fastpasses early. I was able to get all of the fastpasses I wanted at the time I wanted when I stayed on property.
BTW, the first time I realized the smoke and mirrors benefit of the FP system was actually years ago when my oldest kids were 3 and 4. We were in line for Peter Pan’s Flight WITHOUT a FP. I started paying attention. The number of people that entered the ride from the FP line was about 20 for every 6 people that got on the ride from the main queue line. This means that if there was NO FP, then 26 people would be boarding from the main queue line in the same amount time that only 6 people were boarding from the main queue line.
This means the wait time was more than 3 times longer because of the FP system.
Doing a little math, that means our nearly 2 hour wait with the FP system in place should have, instead, been closer to a 30-40 minute wait. (Granted, that isn’t 100% accurate, since you have to account for the fact that the people using the FP would ultimately end up in some line as well, so the overall line length would perhaps be longer, but the time spent in line would still be significantly less overall.)
Now, Disney has improved the FP system with FPP, so that the “hit” against those without a FP isn’t as bad as it was in those early days, but the same hit is still there, regardless.
I’ll add that in the example of Peter Pan’s Flight, the “advantage” to those with the FP was NOT 2 hours. It was only 30-40 minutes, because without the FP system at all, they wouldn’t have waited 2 hours, but 30-40 minutes.
Here’s the other way that it’s robbing Peter to pay Paul.
When you have no FPs at all, every attraction has some wait that is one-behind-the-other. When you’re waiting for one attraction, you’re not waiting for something else.
Now, along comes FP. Now, your wait for a ride you have FP is done elsewhere rather than in the queue. You are literally doing two things at once. In lots of cases, that means you’re waiting in line for a ‘lesser’ attraction while you await your FP time to arrive. That means that now you’re waiting in 2 lines, when before you could only wait in one. This is having a demonstrable effect of making the lines for the ‘lesser’ attractions longer.
When it was paper FP, and you very nearly had to be “in the know” and make an effort to grab them, it was a minimal effect on overall wait times. Now that it’s electronic, and the majority of guests use at least a few FPs every trip… you can see the effect. Add to that the fact that Disney can now schedule fewer CMs because they have a better idea when crowds will be lower… FP+ is not an overall win for any guest.
That wouldn’t help. I already have my throwaway room which turns my 54-59s into 60s. But that’s the best you can do without a full stay. And the UK cancelllation terms make it uneconomic to book a fake full stay and then cancel it.
Besides, I’m staying on property for my last night for a reason. That wouldn’t apply to the first night. I did actually think about that but it would be very inconvenient in practise.