that and staying at the on site hotels usually come with perks like early park admission, which is a necessity for really enjoying the Harry Potter section of IOA.
Therefore, I would pay up to double the current cost of a season pass. Of course it would start to get very expensive for a family of five, like mine, but double seems reasonable for that type of perk.
The USF premier pass isn't bad though.
I think Disney's Fast Pass system is the best system thus far because it is free to all who pay the already steep price (in this economy) of $80 something dollars to get in. I think it is the best blueprint out there at this time for a way to do a front of the line access perk.
As a CM, a lot of guest don't understand why, and angrily tells us so, there isn't a "get in front of the line pass" that they can pay for. Lord knows, people are willing to pay big money for that pass (and to bribe us) but Disney keeps it fair. Even celebrities with private tour guides have to use the Fastpass system.
I paid a bit over $70 for my Six Flags Great Adventure season pass for this season. Last year I paid $90. I don't think I'd be willing to pay double to include unlimited F.O.L. access, but I'd come close. I think a $50 surcharge would be reasonable for that kind of perk. I'd certainly get more rides on Kingda Ka than I do now...
If you are in the know about how to use the FastPass system, it does save you some queue time for a few of your favorite rides, but I maintain that that time is far surpassed by the time and effort expended to get to the kiosks to get your FastPasses before they are all gone and then having to move around the park in a wasteful manner just so you can fill the time up until your FastPass times and then return to the rides where your FastPasses are valid.
If you are not in the know about the FastPass system (many first time visitors), then you get to spend more time waiting in the queue because the FastPass riders get to go ahead of you. I've noticed that by the time that many of the newbies figure out how the FastPass system works, the FastPass tickets are all gone, and then they get the added frustration of feeling shut out. I believe that Disney could provide a better experience to the first time visitor by not having a FastPass system.
Until someone can quantitatively show me that the FastPass system allows quests to ride more rides on average or reduces the average wait time for a particular ride or qualitatively enhances the theme park experience, I will maintain that they are a negative factor for the average theme park visitor.
BTW: The best way to control crowds, reduce wait times, and enhance revenues for the parks is to go back to the old coupon books. Once you ran out of E-Tickets, you started to queue up for the D, C, B, and A attractions. If you wanted to ride more E-Ticket attractions, you had to fork over some more dough for either a new coupon book or buy some individual E-Tickets (pricey!). In essence, if you wanted to have more fun and were willing to pay for it, you could do it without wasting someone else's time, and without making them feel like second class citizens. It will never happen again, but I recall the wait times in the parks being considerably shorter in those days. (Yes, I am getting old.)
As for what people do with their time when they have a Fastpass, it is up to them. They are actually encouraged to go ride attractions that are not "E Ticket" so they can fit it in while they wait. This too, distributes the crowds much in the sense of your beloved (but impractical and expensive) ticket system. I don't know what you do, but I go ride the rides that don't have fast pass, and it is essentially waiting in two lines at once, which makes going to get the Fastpass and returning anytime that day (they don't expire until park close) completely worth it.
As for the people who don't know about Fastpass, I'm shocked at how unprepared people arrive. They don't put a thought into a bit of research and are left out in the dark, however this isn't Disney's fault, but they make sure to put the Fastpass information on every single park map AND the system is explained on every bus and monorail. They have two chances to understand it.
You might have noticed that Disney loves data, so they often have someone taking surveys at the end of rides. Their data shows that the system works in that the number of rides per visit has increased, that wait times have decreased and people like it. I'm not sure how anyone can hold a grudge against the system, other than they simply don't understand it, or how to use it.
I can't explain it any simpler, it makes wait times short, you can do more rides and people like it.
The Express Pass is the main reason for staying on site, but I'm not sure I would pay that much extra to add it to a season pass, however.
With season passes, you can really pick and choose those slower days to go and I'm sure most of the pople that own them already try to go when it's less crowded.
Express Pass is great for vacations, especially when you want to get through a park quickly on the last couple days to get your fix before returning home...
I read your comment and have to chime in. The first time we went to Universal, we stayed across the street at the Holday Inn and had regular tickets.
We constantly saw people tearing past us on rides while we sat in line like cattle, so I know the feeling. You do get a lot of dirtly looks from people who have been waiting for 2+ hours for Spider-Man when you arrive at the loading room with only one other family in front of you.
I have felt bad because it was almost 100 degrees last time we were there and the parks were packed. I feel bad when little ones (who are usually not very patient) who are soaked in sweat watch you go by and wonder why they are waiting in a longer line.
You do get this feeling of "VIP treatment" for staying on site as the regular Express Passes that you purchase only allow one ride per attraction.
There is always some loud mouth in line who has to say something that everyone can hear to vent thier frustration about the Express Pass perk. I have explained to a couple people every day we are there when the EP lines parallel the regular ones that all we did was stay on site. A lot of people still don't know that it's included.
I remember a few people ducked under the railing and followed us only to find out they wasted an hour and a half waiting in line to find out they check your room key when you enter the ride and at the loading queue.
They werent allowed to go backward and had to exit, then get in line all over again....
Anyways, I am looking forward to our Universal trip (July 12th through 20th).... I will still feel bad at peak times when we are whisked to the fron of the line, but I didn't make the rules.
I've actually taught queuing theory in a previous job, and I find it interesting that by managing the arrival patterns of patrons with the Fastpass system, Disney manages to improve the quality of the visit. I'll have to Google Fastpass to see if there is any literature out there that gets into the details of the concept.