Sure that's sarcasm. I'll tell you Disney is run by idiots. How can you build a high quality ride like 7DMT with this low capacity. Disney knows how many guests are coming and how popular FantasyLand is. You must be a complete idiot to approve a low capacity ride if you don't want to create a problem. The same goes for the princesses. Where Universal expanded Olivanders from 1 to 4 rooms this could even more easily be done by dressing up more girls as the hit princesses of the moment to meet demand. But clearly Disney doesn't care or isn't creative enough.
But I have family, friends, and see people post on various boards who could never do that. A lot of people want to just go on vacation and not have to plan, just want to go with the flow. That's not me. But for the sake of those people, I do think there should always be an option to wait in line if that's how they flow.
Another thought, as the previous commenter suggested, is that there is absolutely no reason Disney couldn't have multiple people in character for those popular meet n greets and have multiple rooms to push more people through. The young kids who are the ones who care about seeing them will never figure that out. The adults will 'get it' and appreciate the shorter lines. But I doubt Disney would ever do that.
Of course plan B is a little more worrying! What if parks just keep raising prices until demand levels out to a reasonable level? Tie that strategy into an 'airline pricing model' and the problem of line waits goes away!
Nice for the parks but dreadful for guests who can't pay the premium.
I do think they can partially fix the Anna and Elsa meet and greet line problem with a simple fix. Replace Jasmine with Elsa at the Cinderella Royal Table and Akershus. Instantly double up the girls who want to see her at the character meals.
You want to point to Universal as the model, but fail to note that lines for Olivander's were 2+ hours for the 5-minute show when WWoHP first opened in 2010, and that capacity issue was not solved until a month ago (4 years). Disney may not have announced plans to increase the presence and accessibility of Frozen characters in the park, but if you're going to measure Disney against Universal, they have another 3+ years to put something in place to address the popularity of the characters.
@Anon - I do think adding Anna and Elsa to the character meals would be a great way to quell demand. Heck, it would save me a lot of grief on my trip in October with an ADR already booked for Akershus. However, I think there's something to be said for keeping the characters relatively exclusive (look how popular the villains are during the MNSSHP and the Villains takeover party), and the princess character meals hardly need a reason to be more popular. A slow roll of the characters in the parks prevents over saturation, and I don't think Disney wants to make people hate Frozen before they have even had a chance to take a stab at making a bonafide theme park attraction around the property.
The people that want to meet Anna and Elsa will find a way to do it, and if it's that important to them, they will make the sacrifices necessary to make it happen. I'd certainly like to give my son the chance to meet them (I think he'd rather meet Olaf and Sven though), and will try to grab a Fastpass+ for them when I am able, and try to get a paper reservation if they're still doing it in October. However, if we strike out, there's plenty of other things that we can do, and if the characters are as endearing and long-lasting as everyone seems to think they are, they'll be there the next time we go.
This being said, reservations are not my thing, unless it is for a restaurant only. The Disney FP+ system is deeply flawed. I doubt that when you return at the scheduled time, you are anywhere less than another 45 minute wait.
I have heard of people waiting well over an hour in FP lines... it makes no sense to call it a "perk". I call it a time vampire.
Fastpass+ doesn't keep you from being spontaneous, but it does give you the chance to guarantee yourself an opportunity to experience some of the most popular attractions without having to wait in a huge standby line. Is the system perfect, no, but it's free, and helps guests ensure that they can experience a least a few of their favorite attractions without having to wait in a huge line.
You can be as spontaneous as you want, but you're going to wait in line, just like everyone else. If you don't like the lines, you can use the Fastpass+ system, or try visiting during less popular times of the year. If you look at it your way, the entire theme park industry is a "time vampire".
Not a big fan... from experience.
I can't be the first one to think of this idea, so what's Disney's reason for not doing it?
I think doing it with Fastpass+ only at least gives guest an honest assessment of whether they truly will get to see the princesses. They can then prepare their families for a reality.
I would never wait four hours for anything at a theme park. That is just insane, especially to see characters.
As to the people who say "everybody pays", I pay my money too, but thats not going to get me in Cinderella's Royal Table, Be our Guest, Jedi Academy, or American Idol to name a few.
But now that it can be seen that demand is remaining steady, they are trying to fix it. I personally don't think that the paper return times and shutting out everyone who doesn't get either those or a FastPass+ reservations is the right way to go. Not everyone who visits Walt Disney World researches first, nor should it be a requirement to do so. And to tell a family, whose child wants to meet Anna and Elsa just as badly as the child of a family who got FastPass+ reservations, that they are out of luck, no standby line, "sorry you should have been keeping up with the situation online now you're out of luck" is a very un-Disney solution.
I think the best reasonable solutions have already been put forward in this comment thread: the "Mickey Mouse" solution used at Mickey's House in Disneyland's Toontown, and adding Anna and Elsa to a character dining experience would greatly reduce the demand in Fantasyland. Sure, the waits will still hover around 2 hours for a while, but it's better than turning people away or advertising multiple meet & greets that prompt questions from the kids about how they're in multiple places at once.
Based on what I saw, they average 9 FP+ "slots" per hour for about 4 people per slot, not 9 people per hour. There are not deliberately rushed but the A&E CMs try to run smoothly and efficiently. However, there are about 15 to 20 guests in the room watching the previous guests do their M&G and this gives them a little more face time.
I'm fairly sure there are multiple rooms operating because you are led in through a series of short, walled, left and right turns and other rooms can be present. Magic Kingdom averages 50,000 guests per day and A&E can meet at most 100-150 guests per hour.