You all know me. Mr. “I hate FastPass.” And now, that hatred has become magnified with the creation of the Genie+ and LL+ changes. I’ve held off making a post detailing my reasons, however, because I wanted to let my initial emotional reactions die down a bit.
But, here I am, still angered by the new system…to the point that I really wish there was an effective way we could all boycott. (I don’t think that would work…as much as I think Disney needs to have us vote by our wallets, too many people are scared to go and NOT pay for the new service because they’d be behind everyone else who is…so, here we are.)
To start, let me say, I’m not against a “skip the line” system which lines Disney’s pockets in some fashion…but I AM against a “skip the line” system which borders on the equivalent of a pyramid scheme, in a way. I’ll get to that point shortly.
So here are my issues:
- Any system which allows a guest to bypass the standby queue, by definition, causes those who are in the standby queue to have to wait longer. This was the problem I had with FP+ as well. HOWEVER, with FP+, it was a “trade”. You skipped a long wait in one (or, actually, three) line, but made up for it (on average) by waiting longer in the other lines. Of course, there were those who could play that to their advantage, but as a whole, it was a wash. Smoke and mirrors, really.
But, as it turns out, Genie+ doesn’t have this “it all balances out” feature. Anyone who is paying for Genie+ is effectively making the lines longer not only for every guest who isn’t paying for G+, but also for the G+ paying guests themselves for each ride they get into the standby line for while they are waiting for their LL access.
As a result of number 1, what we have now is Disney creating false scarcity so that they can charge extra for something they wouldn’t have to pay extra for otherwise. As more people use G+ to skip the lines, the standby waits go up. As the standby waits go up, more people will want to skip the lines. The more people who want to skip the lines, the more will pay (extra) for G+. And round and round we go. Suddenly, Disney has an ever-increasing revenue stream by CREATING the very problem they supposedly set out to solve. This creates, in a sense, an artificial revenue stream, where they are making money on the backs of the guests…that is to say, G+ STEALS time away from paying guests entering the park and gives it to those willing to pay MORE for G+. For every guest who uses G+, it devalues the ticket that others who are NOT using G+ have paid for.
The secondary aspect of G+ (sort of) is the separate paid LL access. In fact, I read someone quoting Josh D’Amaro saying that it is to guests’ benefit because if they can’t get, for example, a BG to ROTR, they now have the option to buy LL access. But, this is entirely disingenuous. Ride capacity did NOT increase on ROTR simply because they started charging money for LL. Rather, in order to be able to allow some people to pay for access, they have to TAKE AWAY ridership potentiality from everyone else. That is to say, they have reduced the available pool of BGs. So, fewer people can now obtain a BG to begin with by Disney falsely increasing scarcity. As a result, someone who couldn’t get a BG before doesn’t really have INCREASED chance to ride. The same number of people can ride as they could before. Only, some people will now try to BUY their way onto the ride from a separate pool of riders…a pool which is still limited in capacity, and will likely cause a lot of people to be unable to actually obtain LL access. So…still no guarantee to ride, yet Disney is now making money by charging extra for entry into the line that they could have had access to for free.
At first glance, this may still seem advantageous to some. But remember, Disney completely controls this. If they could accommodate 10000 people before with “free” BGs, they might decide to reallocate 1000 slots to paid. So, 9000 people can ride for free, while 1000 people pay. Once Disney starts successfully selling access to those 1000 people daily, they can simply say, “Let’s make more money.” Bam. The take another 1000 people from the free BG pool. Now only 8000 people can ride for free, while 2000 can pay. This makes it increasingly difficult to obtain a BG for free, and drives more people to pay until, one day down the line, pretty much the only way to have a chance to ride ROTR is to pay…on top of your already expensive ticket price.
- Now to come to a point I hadn’t originally thought of on my own until I was watching an episode of Mickey Views on YouTube. Brayden was pretty much iterating a lot of the same points/concerns I already had. But then he mentioned one I hadn’t…which in a way ties to number 3.
Step back, for a moment, and consider ride capacity again. Disney has worked hard in the past to create rides with extremely high ride capacity. And, “demand” for a rider is almost entirely based on ride capacity. Peter Pan’s Flight, for example, used to be a coveted FP+ to obtain because it has very low ride capacity, which drives up wait times.
So, what happens when Disney decides not to bother designing rides that can handle the crowd demands? (I’m looking at you, ROTR! But not just you.) Well, first they’ve had to come up with the whole BG mechanism. Which now leads to them being able to start CHARGING access to the ride.
See where this is leading, though? Disney can actually control (once again) whether they can charge people for individual rides by PURPOSELY limiting ride capacity. In fact, it becomes in their best interest, financially, to reduce capacity on a ride so that more people are now willing to pay for it! This goes even for rides that have relatively sufficient capacity!
Future rides, in particular, are ripe for Disney to no longer care if they can only handle 1000 riders per hour. For them, that makes it a revenue-generating stream!
Compare this to FP+ (or just having no skip the line system in general). In such a scenario, Disney has reason to keep guests happy by trying to keep rides up and running as efficiently as possible. Lengthy wait times lead to customer dissatisfaction! But, if you, instead, have a paid skip-the-line system, then with that same lengthy wait time, rather than blame Disney, guests can “kind of” blame themselves because they “should have gotten Genie+” and didn’t.
But those Jedi mind tricks won’t work on me! Or well…I wish I could say they won’t…
In all of this, what we see is that Disney is in complete control of making money off guests for things that used to be entirely free, and for which each guest is paying exorbitant amounts already in the ticket pricing. They artificially create demand so that people UNNECESSARILY start paying more.
What is the “fix”? I don’t know. As I said from the start, I really wish people would express their outrage to Disney about this model by refusing to participate. But such a movement would have to be adopted by a huge number of people beyond just on Touring Plans. It would have to be a grass roots movement. I just don’t see that happening.
I think Disney could have had a skip the line system that would benefit their bottom line without causing the issues I mentioned above. Rather than charge for access directly, they should have followed a similar model to FP+. For example, give free Fastpasses to on-site or all guests (perhaps in a reduced fashion…maybe 2 per guest), and then grant first-dibs access to those FPs based on accommodations. Deluxe guests get 60 day access, Moderate 45 days access, Value 30 days out, and then off site maybe 15 days out (or some similar tiers). This would potentially drive more people to be willing to pay for higher-end accommodations, but still allow everyone access to the FPs.
There are other ways. That is just one idea.
Anyhow, sorry about the long post.