Fastpass+ Strategies by Steve Russo
How to best use the new systems might depend on your touring style.
Read it here!
Fastpass+ Strategies by Steve Russo
How to best use the new systems might depend on your touring style.
Read it here!
I think therein lies the problem. You're article approaches FP+ from the premise of the old system (I'll refer to it as FP-) being "broken", when many people, including myself, don't view it that way. Your stated reason for believing it's "broken", was that late arrivers (or maybe better said, non-early arrivers) might have difficulty obtaining FP- for popular rides, either at all or at times convenient to them. But here's the thing - that's a CHOICE that non-early arrivers make. Just like it's a CHOICE that early arrivers make. If you want to sleep in, eat breakfast, and arrive later in the morning or the afternoon to the park, fine - but that's your CHOICE. And as with any CHOICE, there are always consequences (some positive, some negative) to any given CHOICE. In this case, the CHOICE to arrive later than others carries the consequence that FP- tickets might be gone, or for times very late in the day, thus you may not be able to get them at all or at times convenient to you. Conversely, the CHOICE to arrive earlier than others, carries the consequence that FP- tickets will most likely be available AND for convenient times, thus maximizing one's ability to ride rides, especially headliners, and even more than once. Further, under FP-, I could pull as many FP- tickets as allowed based on that system's time constraints, AND could pull them at multiple parks should I make the CHOICE to park-hop, thus further maximizing my ability to ride rides. But, that was all based on a CHOICE I made to be at a park early, and not arrive later. I gave up the opportunity to sleep in and be leisurely, to be able to ride more, which was more important to me, thus my CHOICE. I worked hard to maximize the system. But here's the thing - EVERYONE had the opportunity to do what I did! Some, however (non-early arrivers, leisurely tourers, etc...) made the CHOICE not to. Which is fine. But as I said, that CHOICE has consequences.
You also said: "Essentially, if you didn't arrive sometime around park opening or shortly thereafter, you had little or no chance of visiting those attractions the entire day." That's not true at all. If one made the CHOICE to not arrive at opening or shortly thereafter, they still had every chance to visit the same attractions that I did - it just might require that they go through the normal line, rather than through the FP return line. It never meant they COULDN'T ride the ride - it just meant they would likely have to wait longer to ride it. Again, that's a consequence of a CHOICE that that particular tourer made, to not arrive as early as others. They still had the opportunity to arrive early, and not have to wait, like I did - but they made the CHOICE not to.
The issue I find with your article, Steve, is that it sets up problems that really didn't exist. They might have been inconveniences, but they were based on CHOICES that people made, according to how they wished to tour the parks. The opportunities were there, they just CHOSE to tour differently, and those CHOICES come with consequences. I gave up leisurely mornings and breakfasts, b/c I wanted something different. Everyone could have. That's not a "broken" system - it's a CHOICE.
I sense you're objecting to my saying the old system was broke and for that, I apologize. I merely used what some (many?) folks were saying (If it's not broke, don't fix it) and turned it around. Was the old system broke? Of course not but, at least in my opinion, it could have worked better to accommodate more touring styles - mine included.
I also believe that we might be better served to not focus on the individual - you and me - but on park guests in total. I'd have to believe that one of Disney's objectives is to spread out the crowds among the attractions as much as possible. I think Fastpass+ and the system of tiering the attractions is a step in that direction.
Last edited by stan4d_steph; 02-27-2014 at 08:55 AM.
I agree with HokieFan to a large extent (although maybe with a few less caps )...everyone had the same opportunity under the old FP system to decide what was important to them, and to take maximum advantage of the system. I personally don't feel the system was "broken" either, and would have been in favor of keeping it over the current version.
However, I'll agree that there was certainly a "weakness" in the system when it came to the high popularity rides such as Soarin' and Toy Story Midway Mania, as you identified. A system where people get FP's in the morning that aren't good until late afternoon or evening, and can't get anything after noon, just isn't ideal. I don't agree that the same situation was in place for the other rides you mentioned, except at extremely high volume times of the year.
The problem I have is throwing away the entire old system which probably covered about 20-25 attractions to address this "weakness" in the system that existed at only two attractions. If there was a desire to fix the problem, why not simply allow people to book these two rides ahead of time (using some variant of the Fastpass + system), and keep the old system in place for everything else? This would have served the needs of all the different types of park visitors you mention far better than the FastPass + system. You'd have the ability to plan ahead for the really big attractions, but wouldn't lose the spontaneity of everything else. Instead we wind up with a system where Maelstrom is considered "Tier One" attraction!
One last comment - I will say that the one thing I do like about the FP+ system is the inclusion of major shows such as Fantasmic and Illuminations, and Character Greetings. These are additional examples of what I'd call "signature events" for park visitors that are worthy of planning ahead for. In the past, our family simply avoided many of these events because we didn't feel it was worth dealing with the wait necessary for good viewing of these events.
Last edited by stan4d_steph; 02-27-2014 at 08:56 AM.
I think you hit the nail on the head when you reference Disney's objective. I don't think they changed from FP- to FP+ because something was "broken" - I think they did it b/c they have bigger plans in mind, and are trying to change behavior in the park by force. I don't believe it has anything to do with convenience, for anyone...
That said, I understand where you're coming from. If your touring style had you securing more than 3 in a day then the new system is a step down.
I don't think we were particularly unusual in our style of touring, and this change obviously will not be in our favor. I'd also probably argue that the change to FP+ will benefit very few people who actually knew the parks and understood how the old FP system worked - which is precisely why many of the Disney "pros" on these message boards are so upset about it. The real question is how it will be viewed by non-Disney veterans, for whom the FP system will be greatly simplified. Will they bother to do it and view it as a good thing, or will they just ignore the system, ridiculing the idea of planning in advance where they will be?
One aspect that might arise that would cause Disney to change the rule that all FP+ are to be for the same park on a given day is that many people would stop buying the Park Hopper upgrade for their tickets.. that would be a loss of revenue of about $60 per person, per trip (give or take).. I would be less likely to spend the extra on it if I didn't have a AP..
Who knows.. if/when the bean counters start seeing a drastic decline in a revenue stream (that essentially is free money for Disney), they may re-consider. I like your suggestion of 4 per day, 2 per park.
I totally agree with all of you, for my family the FP+ is a total downgrade and will cause us to ride less and wait in more lines. Last October we were able to use FP+ as well as the regular FP machines - yes that was a temporary thing while the two systems overlapped, but man was it nice while it lasted! For most people that used and understood the old FP system to it's full advantage this has to be a big downgrade.
I see the advantage of this new system when you are visiting two parks in the same day. You can make reservations for a ride in a park you plan on visiting in the afternoon without being there. However in California this is not needed at all. I can easily go between the two parks and pick up fast passes. I use fast pass constantly, between 6 to 10 times a day. When I get in the window of one ride, before I go I get another fast pass to another ride. I never wait longer thatn 20 minutes for any ride. Limiting me to 3 passes a day would make my day filled with waiting in lines. How is this better?
Although Disneyland is my home park, I have been to WDW enough times that I just don't think you can compare how the parks operate in one location to how it will operate in the other. I think these dissimilarities are probably one reason why they have not yet rolled out Fastpass+ in California.
Remember, at WDW, those guests who plan ahead already know whether they are going for dinner up to 6 months in advance. So getting a Fastpass for Toy Story Mania first thing that now conflicts with those plans is much more problematic. Knowing that my kids can get onto their favorite rides at predesignated times that don't conflict with dinner is a benefit.
Heavy Fastpass users will now have to change their styles, just like we did with the parks started enforcing the return times. That definitely cut into the number of fastpasses I was willing to get/use on a given day.
I thought I had read somewhere that you could change your FP+ reservations during your visit, i.e. if Splash for some reason has a 5 min wait and you used it for FP+, you walk to the kiosk and change it for another attraction (pending availability of course). I did not see that addressed in the original article. I agree with currence - Disneyland's heavy local day and AP holder mix would not work as guest models for the FP+ system. Unless, of course, they force the issue (won't THAT be a sight at City Hall).
"[Disneyland] has that thing - the imagination, and the feeling of happy excitement - I knew when I was a kid." - Walt Disney
There's another aspect to this discussion that's not getting a lot of attention, and I think it's significant. With the new system, ONSITE guests have the ability to pre-select their FastPass+ times at the parks in advance. This is clearly a benefit to guests who are staying on property, and makes staying off property less appealing because those guests will have an even harder time getting a FP at all.
For example, while everyone had a pretty even shot at getting Toy Story Mania FPs first thing in the morning at the Studios (provided they showed up, which isn't viable for some people's touring styles, but that's a personal preference). Now, all the Disney onsite guests have the chance to arrange their FPs for the ride, and well...there might just not be much of anything left over for those folks who don't stay onsite.
I dont blame Disney for upping the ante and making it 'better' for guests to stay on site, in addition to the Extra Magic Hours, package delivery service to the resorts, and complimentary airport transportation. I think being able to choose the FPs in advance is a huge plus for people's planning.
Disney has priced WDW options with a fine-toothed comb for the time vs. money perspective. Pay more and stay at a monorail resort because it's convenient and really nice. Pay a little less and stay at a moderate resort, but it's not quite as convenient. Pay less still at the value resorts, and you have fewer amenities but it's a very pleasant experience. But with this new system, if you decide to stay offsite, at a non-Disney hotel or a rental house, you might be spending less money than you would onsite, but you'll be spending a whole lot more time standing in lines, and that's a time vs. money aspect, at least in my thinking.
I am pleased that annual passholders are being considered in the next wave of FP+ technology because those loyal guests deserve to have that option.
Every objection I've read here about WDW would apply even more for DL/DCA:
1) Unlike WDW, DL/DCA are right next to each other. Therefore the "no park hopping" would feel even more restrictive.
2) This also means it's way easier to accumulate a lot of FP in DL/DCA due to the greater concentration of FP rides, in a short distance, making the 3 ride restriction a real downgrade.
3) The 2 rides that FP+ is supposed to "help" at WDW are Soarin' and Toy Story Mania. But at DCA, the former doesn't have long lines (maybe CA residents are unexcited about seeing pictures of California) and the latter doesn't use FP. So FP+ doesn't "solve" anything at DCA.
So I hope DL/DCA doesn't adopt FP+ unless they remove these restrictions completely. The only ride that could benefit is RSR, so if they did on-line reservations for that ride only, that would make sense.
Its been tiresome hearing people refer to us as "abusing the system". How exactly were we "abusing" anything if we were following the rules? There wasn't exactly a way to cheat...You could get another pass once your current window opened, or after 2 hours if it was way later in the day. Uh, those were the rules...
I can't speak for FP+ firsthand yet (at least for another couple weeks), but first impressions are that we will be standing in line a lot more and riding less.
On a positive note, I guess we will take in more of the stuff we used to skip and not ride the mountains, RRC, Everest quite as much--except for the single rider lines. Hopefully the single rider experience hasn't really been impacted--it shouldn't be.
One thing that I am glad the FP+ has fixed and that is the abuse that was used with the paper passes. People can't get them and hold them to use past the time or people getting them and giving them to someone else.
If it had been down for an extended time, I think they would let you redeem any pass allowing it to be abused again. It helped control the lines somewhat (keeping late night FP lines from getting ridiculous).
Anyone seen how they are handling this now? I.e. if Splash is down for several hours (which isn't uncommon), do people that had FP+ have to choose something else or maybe get an alternate time to return?
My boyfriend and I are also tourers like JMS1969 and hokiefan. We are rope droppers who spend the great majority of our days riding attractions. When we were there 3 months ago testing FP+ I wondered why we seemed to be waiting in lines rather than experiencing attractions. FP+ was a definite downgrade for us and for the way we like to tour. I think we only used our park hopper option once during the whole week and we usually park hop every day. We are gonna try our trip in June withour park hoppers and I hope we have a little better time with FP+.