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What would you do? Building a better Fastpass (and introducing @themepark's Tweet chats)

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Published: May 10, 2012 at 11:44 AM

I've been getting into the habit of starting "Tweet Chats" via the @themepark account on Twitter most weekday afternoons. Yesterday, I chatted with Theme Park Insider followers about ways to build a better ride reservation system at theme parks.

TwitterI started with this:

"Throwing this out there: I'd prefer Disney allowing guests to book two FPs in advance, and removing in-park FP machines, over status quo."

My thoughts behind that? I hate having to double-back throughout the Disney parks to get Fastpasses from various attraction sites throughout the day. I much rather use something like the new Fastpass+ system being tested with Disney hotel guests, where I have a couple of reservations "in the bag," if you will, before I arrive at the park, so I don't need to worry about making ride reservations once I'm there.

Let's compare it to when Disney switched from in-park restaurant reservations at Epcot to its current call-in-advance system. I'd prefer a system where Disney limited the number of ride reservations to just two per day, and no more than one per week at the same attraction, to help increase of ride capacity for the standby lines, speeding up those waits.

Readers responded:

@DLthings: " I agree it's a hassle running around collecting FP's. Any new reservation system should be free and available to everyone."

@DisneyDuchess: "I absolutely think a pay-only would be completely unfair. Park admission is expensive as it is."

@ItsAllAboutTour: "If others want to pay for extras; They should be able to. Universal/Sea World/Legoland all pay for FotL Passes. Why not Disney?"

@woodfieldalty: "As an overseas visitor to WDW I am against this, keep the FP system, it works. We enjoy the impromptu nature of the day"

@kellyloumugg: "I could get on board with advanced reservations if they were available to all guests - not just onsite, in the same way ADR's are"

@DisneyDuchess: "How tough is it to collect a fastpass, really? Standing in a 3 hour line is a bigger pain."

@DLthings: "@DisneyDuchess True, but collecting FP means you have to visit every attraction twice, and may still require waiting to get it."

@THEWILDWILL: "I agree it's imperfect, but as long as millions keep flocking into the parks annually, though the system is flawed, it is working"

@theADTraylor: "ride reservations seems to defeat the purpose of enjoying the themes of a theme park. Why skip the queue?"

@CraiGomez: "Imagine a Peter Pan's Flight queue that actually moved faster than a snails pace. Fastpass can just go away."

@m3nt4lwr3ck: "A bit late to the discussion (just got up in UK) - never need to use a FP if you get to the parks at opening time."

And that's just a sampling of the responses.

You're invited to join us for these afternoon chats (usually after 4pm ET/1pm PT), by following Theme Park Insider on Twitter. And to make following all the conversations easier, I'm going to start using the hashtag #themeparkchat. Please join us!

This is one of the ways that I'm trying to use Twitter beyond just pushing links to our latest Blog Flume stories. If you're on Facebook, I'm also offering some unique stuff over there for people who "Like" our Theme Park Insider page, usually daily photos and caption fun. I hope you'll join us at both places, as well as here on the website, for the complete Theme Park Insider theme park geek experience!

Readers' Opinions

From 74.79.165.47 on May 12, 2012 at 5:34 AM
Here's what I think: Disney should add fastpass+ for all guests at no additional charge. Here's the catch - hotel guests should be able to do it in advance, at time of reservation or after, but non-hotel guests should be able to only on the day of. Get rid of the fastpass distribution stations at each ride and instead set up reservation systems throughout the parks and especially outside of the turnstiles (for those waiting to get in before opening and who arrive early to reserve their fastpass). Allow people only one or two initially, but like current fastpass, let them book more a couple hours later if they're still available. Allow them to go to any station in the park to book for any ride in any park. That way you don't have to leave tomorowland to get your splash mountain face pass.

Obviously the most popular attractions would still go very quickly, but at least you wouldn't have people killing themselves on the stairs and escalators in the land to get their soarin fastpass. People could book their toy story mania at the turnstiles, then leisurely wonder through the park, working their way to the back.

What do you think?

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