Just Published: Theme Park Insider: 2016 Year in Review
Now that being said, I agree that it is a money grab for Universal when they charge insane prices for it. They don't do that very often though. Only during summer and xmas seasons. I think if they went ahead and charged the flat 19.99 for studios, 25.99 for islands (newer and better rides), or 29.99 for both in one day no matter what attendance was and then just capped it like they already do anyway it would be perfect. It's still affordable but it is limited in amount to keep the purpose of the pass viable. Disney could do that - like 25.99 for each park individually per day or 65.99 if you have a park hopper and cap the amount. I would gladly save up a little longer for the ability to skip lines without a reservation slot needed.
I wouldn't really say they are rewarding the rich, some people are putting more money into the park and they get the benefits of it. It's kind of like bribing, minus the bribing part. If that makes sense. I would never buy an Express Pass; they really aren't worth the money unless the waits are all over one hour. I got one for free once and it made my visit pleasanter, but wasn't necessary.
Personally I hate the fast pass idea, and am glad that Universal found a way to still have a system, make money off it, and not have outrageous standby wait times due to the express lines clogging up the standby, which is often found at disney. The fast pass idea sounded good on paper, just wasn't executed properly, and they're still trying to tweak it here and there by playing with the amount of tickets they'd hand out to prevent that line getting too long. Reason why popular attractions such as Toy Story Mania and Soarin' FP's are gone first thing in the morning, and even still, standby is just too long. I'd really like to see what would happen if they'd taken FP off both attractions to see how they'd handle a regular line that will always be in constant motion because no one is cutting in front of you.
I tend to go to the parks when I probably wouldnt need an express but have bought them before. Party of 4 but we only bought 2 as not everyone does the rides. Anything we all wanted to do was done again in regular lines if reasonable wait times.
But - I planned the day we went by looking on the website and seeing which dates the passes were cheapest. Put off going for 4 days - saved $70.
I think larger families/groups would be put off buying them in the peak season, but you have to weigh up - is my time worth it? Do I want to max this day - or do I have a multiple day pass to do things leisurely. Or as said previously - is it cheaper to stay on site?
Never done it myself but I think staying on site at Uni can be overlooked by those who have tunnel vision about staying at Disney. (Never stayed there either in 22 years of visiting Orlando).
Key word - research.
The ratio of Fastpass guest to stand by is 70 to 30. Most people who ride a ride with Fastpass go through Fastpass only. First point is that you can't say that the stand by line would be shorter because those 70% would fill the stand by line. The lines move the same rate mo matter if it has Fastpss or not (100% of 100% stand by or 100% of 70% and 30%). So the lines could triple if the Fastpass line didn't exist because that 70% would be relocated into the stand by line. It's all confusing but the point is the same amount of people ride no matter what. But since more people go through Fastpass, that actually means the stand by line is shorter. The studies I saw concluded that wait time for rides were the same or shorter than before Fastpass. So why not have Fastpass if it helps shorten the line?
Here's another point. Fastpass people wait longer to ride in reality than Stand by. They just opt to go do something else in exchange for a longer wait. More Fastpasses are handed out for parade and fire work times and other slow times, moving people who would wait in line busy times to slow times to help reduce lines in the busy times.
By having some rides with Fastpass and others not, people with Fastpasses tend to fill up lines of rides without Fastpass. The Fastpass encourages a better distribution of people among all the rides. Before people would spend most of the day waiting in line for the E ticket rides and skipping other things. The effect of Fastpass is shorter lines with the E ticket rides and very ever so slightly longer lines on the other rides.
Another point of the research was that with Fastpass, people's average time total of queuing for a day. With Fastpass, people wait about 4 hours less in lines. On top of that, People have been able to ride about 5 more rides a day.
Some one pointed out that Fastpasses run out. That's the way it works. People who get the last Fastpasses at 3 pm could end up waiting until 12 am to use. It's first come first serve, like most things-parades, restaurants, non Fastpass rides, merchandise. If someone doesn't get a Fastpass before they run out, its the same as not going to ride the when the park first opens versus waiting until afternoon for a long line. But as I pointed out before, the Fastpass line wasn't the cause of the 75 minute wait, it was the capacity of the ride.
Some one else point out how Fastpasses cause too much running around the park. That can be solved with making to quicker loops. Collect Fastpasses as you work your way around a park and then make a second loop to cover the Fast Pass rides and other things missed. Or just stay in an area until the Pass is ready. But Animal Kingdom aside, most people don't mind the extra walking because in the end it still save them time.
It's true, that Disney does make money by allowing guest more time to eat and shop with Fastpass, but it is a win win for them and us.
There is the logic and proof why Fastpass, even though you may not use it, shortens lines. I rest my case.
So you've seen all the cold hard facts about FP stats and all, but have you worked an attraction dealing with FP? I'm going to take a stab in the dark and guessing by your name, you should either be familiar navigating the rivers of adventure, or off slaying sharks, correct? So I'm going to assume that you were once a jungle skip dealing with the FP mayhem that occurs in that little corner of adventureland.
Here's where I have beef with the whole system. It's a big stress causing system that creates unnecessary stress for everyone, guests and cast members. As a former skip, it drove me insane with all the FP questions, and having to explain the WHOLE process of FP to everyone. Yes, I know not everyone does their research or has even heard of FP, and I don't mind answering the same question multiple times a day, but the questions on FP are a bit much when compared to "Where are the bathrooms?" or "What time is the 3:00 parade?"
But besides explaining it to thousands of people a day, enforcing the FP system, making sure people come in their time frame as printed on their tickets and not before, and then there's the FP/Standby ratio. When I went through training, I was taught 80/20 and that for every 80 people in FP line we let through, we let 20 from standby, or basically for every 2 families of 4 from FP, let one couple from standby through.
Working FP merge point was by far the most stressful position at Jungle. You are the bad guy for holding up your line, no matter which line you stand in. If you're in FP, you're not letting them on right away as you let standby finally move forward 5 feet, and then standby for well . . . moving 5 feet in 20 minutes. I've had soo many people give me dirty looks or complaints as I did my job as instructed, and quite honestly, I think all this unnecessary stress caused from FP could go away with the system as everyone goes back to standing in a regular line.
But that's just my .02 from experience with FP, although it is nice to see someone who has actually seen some FP stats :)
If you stay on-site at Universal, your room key is your Express and it is unlimited for both parks.
I have made several mentions of the dirty looks we get at peak times, pretty much exactly what Stephen is referring to.
I don't see us as more fortunate, just a perk for staying on-site, which keeps us coming back. One ride in particualar really stands out to me for some reason.
We were waiting to get on the Woody coaster while my daughters were still very young, and an affluent family (it was a major NFL player and his extended family) with at least 12-15 people blew right past us and got right on. They then proceeded to get back in line two more times and our line did not move as I think the coaster only seats about 20.
This was our first time visiting and we stayed across the street at the Holiday Inn. Tony hit it right on the head. Going to Universal for a week and staying off-site in insane.
Universal Express for purchase is really only for a one day visit if you want to ride everything, and it is very steep for both parks.
I have to say, when we walk right through Spiderman or the Hulk at peak times and wait essentially 0 minutes to board, I do feel bad because I have waited in those crazy lines and felt the same way Stephen does. I don't feel special or priviliged in any way, however.
When people ask me, I simply tell them it's free if you stay on-site. There is the occasional person (almost always male and a heavy set loud mouth embarassing his family) who has to say something loud enough for everyone to hear when we fly through an almost empty queue. It gets worse if we go back for another ride and pass them again a few minutes later.
Spider-Man and MIB seem to cause us the most grief, and those queues are air conditioned and indoors. If you do ever decide to go to Universal and stay on-site, be sure to hang your key around your neck in a see through lanyard. The park employees and hostesses at the restaurants do take notice.
They (visible room key lanyards) got us an employee shortcut through Hogwarts / Forbidden Journey, even though we were willing to wait out the regular queue. A female employee flagged us down, opened a gate in the queue, sent us through a back door and radioed ahead to the loading platform that we were coming and to let us on in the single riders line as a group.
We weren't expecting anything other than regular wait times and it was the room keys that she noticed. We were all very grateful and I mentioned this to a Universal representative that I spoke to after our vacation.
So, Universal got it right with the free on-site perk, but wrong with the insanely high prices to purchase them. The strange thing is, the Express lines really don't slow the major rides down.
The Express Pass queues are mostly empty and people trickle in a few at a time, so there isn't 100 people going before everyone else in one shot. I understand that is how Disney Fast Pass operates.
I have read the comments about lines not moving for 20 minutes while they let on all the FP holders at once. With Express Pass, you can do a complete loop of the park, hit (almost) every ride and be out of there in 2-3 hours. You get a lot more them park for your money and a lot more time to relax, which is what a vacation is for.
Yes, I am probably the biggest Express Pass cheerleader on the TPI forums, but I think it changes the entire vacation for so many reasons.
Only three rides at Universal / IOA don't have Express Pass lines, but you can easily notice that Rip Ride Rockit and the Forbidden Journey are already set up for them. I was told they will eventually add them, but that is why they let you have early entry into WWOHP if you stay on-site, which pretty much amounts to Express Pass for that ride as you can go on 2-3 times in an hour.
The other ride is the Pteradon Flyers, which used to have crazy long lines, but they changed it so adults have to ride with a child and they have a dual height stick at the entrance with an actual person holding it. The adult has to be taller then the top and the child under the lower section. Children can ride together or by themselves, but adults cannot.
The wait times are now 10-15 minutes at peak times for a ride that used to have 60-75 minute waits all day long. My daughters got on in less than 5 every time.
That leaves Rip Ride Rockit as the only ride where you have to wait in normal lines or you can use the single riders queue. We waitied in the normal queue every time and it wasn't that bad, the line moves at a constant rate because of the conveyor type loading system. A first for any roller coaster that I know of.
Personal work experience aside, the system works pretty well. And some rides are 80/20 but it doesn't matter because it all adds up to the capacity of the ride.
But at the Jungle, you must have noticed how people show late in the day with Fastpass but the lines are short? That's just one way of the system works, it makes people come back when the lines are slower.
Unfortunately as Castmembers, we do have two lines about people complaining how long the line is, but imagine all those people that go through Fastpass, they would end up in the Stand-by and even that extra room back by pirates probably could barely hold the queue
Most rides like Space, we hand out the re-ads too, but we reduce the number handed out for a few hours from the machines, making up for the extra Fastpasses and nothing horrible happens. I think the Jungle/Pirates things is a strange problem that is unique.
And unless you can find ways to argue against my points above about how it shortens the wait times, than it would seem you don't understand the system at all.
Universal's passes, however, do just that, increase the wait for everyone else.
But seriously, read my long post above about how Fastpass really works.
You cannot simply make a loop through a park like you can with Express Pass. Fastpass is very similar to Six Flags Flash Pass. You either have to hang around until your reservation time or walk back from halfway across the park to time it just right.
I now know Skipper has never been in an Express Pass line. He would know that they are never packed with 200 people, even during peak Summer months. You rarely have more than a few people in front of you and a few behind you on any ride.
All I hear about are people complaining on here about Fastpass and how they let huge lines in at one time making people stand still for 20-30 minutes in line.
On our next trip, I will bring the Flip camera and film how it actually works to enlighten you, Skipper. You are of the mindset that everything Disney is better. I can assure you, it's not.
The argument was that Fastpass doesn't decrease wait times for the people holding them, whereas Express Pass does. So, in reality, Fastpass increases the wait for everybody in the park.
Since I used to teach queuing theory, I pulled up the patent application for Fast Pass and looked at the math. I wouldn't recommend doing that unless you are a math geek, but it is a rather clever application of queuing theory. If you are interested in learning more, I would suggest that you start with the Wikipedia page on Fast Pass and go from there. The link to the patent application is at the bottom of the page in the References.
Anyway, here's my take on Fast Pass:
1. Fast Pass is a ride reservation system, and
2. Fast Pass is a traffic management system.
Now, most of you may be saying, "So What? I knew that already." OK, but what you may not realize is how the system manages you and your expectations. Before I go into that discussion, I'm going to digress for a minute and talk a little history.
Back when I first started going to Disney parks as a pre-teen (Disneyland and Disney World), Disney used coupon books. Most coupon books had an assortment of E- thru A-tickets. As you entered the entry point for a ride, you tore off the coupon and handed it to the (no facial hair) ride attendant. If you ran out of tickets, you could buy more individual coupons or more of a particular type of coupon (usually E-tickets), but the individual or single-type coupons came at a premium when compared to the coupon assortment, so you tended to use up your coupons as best you could by going on less popular rides.
Then in a cost-cutting measure in the late 70s or early 80s, Disney replaced the coupon books with a pay one price and ride as much as you want type of system. Things started to change. Lines for the more popular attractions got longer as people started to act like a fat man in a buffet (more fried chicken! more BBQ ribs! more Haunted Mansion!). Instead of riding once on Space Mountain with an E-ticket and then hitting Carousel of Progress and Mission to Mars with B- and C-tickets, people just got back into line at Space Mountain. As long as the parks weren't crowded, the re-rides weren't a problem, but when was the last time you saw a Disney park that wasn't crowded?
Thus the development of the Fast Pass system.
As far as managing expectations goes, people are funny creatures. Countless studies have shown that people are far less satisfied if a service is promised in 5 minutes and delivered in 10 minutes than if the same service were promised in 20 minutes and delivered in 15 minutes. People are actually happier with the longer wait time of 15 minutes than they are with the shorter wait time of 10 minutes because the 15 minute wait time exceeded their expectations and the 10 minute wait time did not! Go figure!
Disney uses the Fast Pass system to under-promise and to over-deliver. Very clever, relatively easy to implement, and relatively inexpensive. Disney also uses it to manage the behaviors of the patrons to the patrons advantage as well as to Disney's advantage.
Here are the good points about Fast Pass:
-You are guaranteed a ride on at least one and usually two premium attractions with a relatively short time in the queue.
-Re-rides are discouraged.
-You get more rides per visit to the park. (I'm skeptical of this one, but I'll take Skipper Adam's word for it.)
-Your customer satisfaction is higher.
-You have more time to shop and eat.
Here's the bad points about Fast Pass:
-You have more time to shop and eat. (I guess I have mixed feelings about this one.)
-Most first time visitors don't catch on about Fast Pass until it is too late.
-Late arrivers to the park are usually shut out of the Fast Passes since they seem to be all gone pretty early in the day.
-You end up riding some rides and attractions that you really aren't interested in since they happen to be in the area where you need to be for your Fast Pass attraction and you've got time on your hands.
-You walk a lot more.
-Lines for lesser attractions seem to be longer.
-You've got to have a plan.
-Several thousand virtual visitors are added to the park queues due to Fast Pass.
-It enables Disney to NOT provide more and better rides and attractions than they should based on their attendance. (A totally subjective opinion of mine that I suspect is shared by many other people.)
So, I have mixed feelings about Fast Pass. I don't like it, but there really is no alternative other than adding rides and attractions to the park or limiting the number of admissions, and that's just not going to happen. Fast Pass is here to stay whether you like it or not.
I will concede there are frustrations. Some Castmembers hate it, but that's just because of angry people. Some people don't like the idea of Fastpasses running out, but first come first serve is a general rule of life.
For the argument that it forces you to stay in the park, here is why it doesn't.
1. Fastpass distrobution rates are based on several things. The rate of Fastpases being handed out and return times are separate calculations, each determined by factors such as time of day, crowd attendance, how long the stand-by lines is, ride capacity, park hours etc. It's all connected and calculated that way, not by making you wait longer as the day goes by. Some attractions will have shorter waits at the same time others will have longer ones, or some hand out more in general.
2. It's free, so nothing lost by leaving.
3. If you leave and go to another park, you can get a Fastpass there without waiting for one from another park to expire.
4. Generally, rides, shows, food, shopping and characters keep people in the park, not Fastpasses.
5. If you leave a WDW park, chances are you are going to another WDW venue anyway, so it doesn't matter.
6. There are more than just three Fastpass Attractions at each park.
7. While working, at least 20 people give me passes they can't use because they're leaving. I see another ten people hand them out to stangers directly. This takes place in a window of maybe 2 hours while I'm outside, and inside, and that's my one observation. All the people I miss doing the same adds up to a lot of people who don't mind leaving.
I have used Expresspass at Universal. I have had an annual pass for three years now, and usually go at least twice a week, all times of the year. In fact, it's hard to find any person who goes as often as me, and can observe how their system slows down the regular line, especially on busy days. What gets me is unlike Disney, the people cutting in front have not waited any time at all, they just walk up there.
We all have the opportunity to buy it or stay at an onsite hotel, but for many people that just isn't possible. Watching people breeze by you in line makes you feel second class or cheap.
If Universal is going to continue with the Express Pass program, I wish they would do a better job of disguising or hiding the Express lines so people stuck in the regular line aren't confronted with their lower class status. There's got to be a better way to do this.
That was very well thought out. I like the fact that Express Pass doesn't penalize you for arriving in the afternoon, or two hours before the park closes.
Express Pass does the opposite of Fastpass, it makes you spend less time in the park so you can enjoy your vacation and actually use the room and hotel services you paid for.
A day at Disney MK (for us) consisted of getting to the park when it opened, spending the whole day in incredibly long lines, not getting to ride everything because of the lines, and going home that night after the parade so exhausted that we could barely stand.
At USF, you can get into IOA an hour early to see WWOHP and ride FJ up to three times before the park opens, then ride everything else (more than once) before 10:30-11:00 AM. The rest of the park seemed almost empty after we left WWHOHP. Regular lines were 15-20 minutes for Hulk and Spiderman, whch are the two most popular non HP rides.
I would love to see a system at Disney that allowed this kind of time management. An entire park and multiple rides before 11AM.... if you are up for it, head over to Universal and ride everything and be out by 2PM.
You now have the rest of the day to relax. Of course, we would eat and swim, then do it all over again (except WWOHP) and be back to our hotel by 8:00 or 9:00PM for more swimming and late night drinks. Three more hours of poolside horizontalness and outdoor movies.
After 2-3 days of this, we head off to Discovery Cove for a day of snorkeling and more "beach" time. The fourth day, it's Sea World. Day five, Busch Gardens and a drive to Clearwater Beach to our favorite restaurant (Frenchy's Rockaway) and some sunset beach time.
We now have days 6-7-8 to visit Universal / IOA as much as we want, jumping from park to park, knowing we can ride everything in a short amount of time. My youngest did talk us into visiting IOA early for two of the remaining days, so it was another case of being done by 10AM, becuase by this time, we have mastered our routine.
All this is possible because of on-site Express. By day 8, it is USF overload and we are ready go home. Fastpass doesn't improve your relaxation time, it removes it by making you stick around.
I can't fathom how someone who has stayed on-site at both parks can't figure this out. You can argue all day long about how Fastpass is a great feature, but to me, it's a time vampire.
As a local, paying for Express Pass gets expensive, but most of the time, I don't need it anyway, unless it's a busy summer day.
Disney does Extra Magic Hours in the morning and at night. Experienced people would tell you to get there early, collecte Fastpass and enjoy the short lines, go back to the hotel for a rest or swim and then hit the parks for late hours.
I can appreciate people who do purchase Expresspass liking it, but that's for people who buy it or stay at the hotel. Overall, Fastpass is a fairer system that reduces lines for everyone, and helps you ride more rides. But if that still isn't want you want, you could shell out the money for a tour guide who gets you to cut all the lines.
But there is just so little to do at USF I can't imagine how fast I'd do everything with the Expresspass because I usually fit everything in half day.
Disney is overcrowded and there is no incentive to stay on-site, period. Fastpass is a joke. I'm done with this little back and forth, you just can't come up with anything logical.
USF will get tens of thousands of my dollars for years to come, Disney will not. You do not make any sense what so ever. A vacation to Orlando is a vacation, not spending an entire day waiting for sub-standard rides in three of the four Disney parks.
Staying on site at USF is better than anything Disney has to offer, and that is a fact. You think people need to spend all day in a theme park to have fun? Must be the Disney braiwashing seminars to keep people in the parks.....
I try to follow why you hate Disney so much, but you just give vague rants.
And yes, any one Disney park as more attractions than any one USF park.
I live about 450 miles away from the parks, so I get to act like a local as well as a tourist, and I visit the two resorts differently.
If I take a vacation to the Disney parks, I have to stay on site, and usually on the monorail. The drive onto the Disney property, the transport to the Transportation and Ticket Center, and the ride to the gates are more than I care to put up with for just a day trip. Because the Disney resort is so isolated and so large, it is hard to visit as a daytripper. As a result, my visits to the Disney parks are infrequent.
I keep an annual pass to the Universal parks and I visit them on a regular basis like a local would. The parks are easier to get into and far more relaxing than the Disney parks. I tend to have more fun for less money at Universal than at Disney. Doesn't mean that I dislike Disney, I just have to approach my visit to the parks differently.
On a slightly different note... I don't understand the disagreement between N B and Skipper Adam about things to do in the parks. First of all, Universal does not have a park like the Magic Kingdom or Epcot. Both MK and Epcot are 1-1/2 to 2-day parks with a lot to do that are in a class by themselves. Universal may eventually grow as large as MK or Epcot, but I doubt it.
Where Universal does shine is the comparison with Disney's Hollywood Studios and Animal Kingdom. USF and DHS have a comparable number of rides (19 and 18 respectively) with an equivalent number of premium attractions (4 each). When you factor in the lower attendance at USF (5.9 million) vs DHS (9.6 million), the visit to USF can't help but be a more relaxing experience for most visitors.
IOA really knocks the socks off of AK. (For those of you who disagree with my comparision of IOA with DAK and think that it should be compared to MK instead, I understand. I base the comparision on the fact that DAK and IOA were built around the same time.) IOA has 23 total rides with 7 of them being premium rides while DAK has 18 total rides and attractions with only 4 of them being premium rides. Throw in the attendance disparity of 9.7 million for DAK vs. 6.0 million for IOA, and once again it is easy to see why some people would prefer Universal Orlando as a more relaxing visit.
So really guys, you've got to give each other a little credit. Both resorts have a lot to offer. Disney World offers an awesome yet expensive and exhausting vacation experience while Universal Orlando gives you a less expensive yet more relaxing trip.
First of all, let me throw in a caveat. Numbers tell only a portion of a picture. McDonalds sells a lot of hamburgers, but would you want to take someone you are really interested in there on a first date? (For those of you who are tempted to say yes, Jerry Springer needs you in his audience.)
Quality is is hard to define, but I think that most of us might agree that Universal and Disney have comparable quality when it comes to theme parks.
I looked at the number of rides and attractions for MK and Epcot, and actually surprised myself. MK has 30 rides and attractions with 7 of them being premium attractions (subjective analysis). Epcot has 19 rides and attractions with only 3 of them being premium attractions. (Premium = E-Ticket)
From a numbers point of view, Islands of Adventure isn't far behind MK as far as the number of rides goes. Matter of fact, if they add another land, and sprinkle a few more dark rides (their weak point) in the existing lands, I think that they would be equivalent to or superior to the Magic Kingdom. Those are big ifs and it may be heresy to some on this site, but it is food for thought.
As far as Epcot goes, it is my least favorite Disney park, and it is the Disney park in the greatest need of help. 19 rides and attractions in that huge footprint? Are you kidding me, Disney? Break open the piggy bank and add some attractions to the back side of the lake. At least give me some reason to justify that miserable hike to the backside. After Oh Canada! I look at the trek around the lake and usually say Oh No! (Maybe if they added a Professional Rasslin' venue like Universal Studios has, I might consider it.)
What do you all think? Am I totally off base or do I have some valid points here?
The focus of Epcot wasn't rides when it first opened, but education. Expectations have changed, and a lot of people don't like Epcot, and thus the semi logical rides like Test Track.
DAK and MK are getting major upgrades, and before the 50th, I bet all the parks will get something. Already, chances are Test Track will get an update. But it's harder to update four parks than it is two parks.
But from personal experience, and I am saying this without all supposed bias, I can do most everything (I skipped attractions in every park, but just one or two) once and spend more time in a Disney park than Universal, and that's because there are more, albeit slightly, more things to do.
I still simply don't understand the desire to rush through a theme park. I take my time exploring the area, not rushing ride to ride. If it was about rides, perhaps Ceder Point would be a better vacation.
If it weren't for on-site Express Pass and early entry into WWOHP, I wouldn't be going year after year.
Disney is way more popular, hence the bigger crowds / long wait times and everything is spread out over a huge area. USF feels more like a planned community where everything you need is on one property and is in walking distance.
Parks, restaurants, shopping, movies, night clubs and live entertainment. Margaritaville is the closer for me, however.
The problem is WWOHP. It is drawing huge crowds and is way too cramped with narrow paths and tiny shops. 2 Butterbeer carts for the entire area....
USF has it's faults, but they are minor by comparison. My only gripe is the three foot deep pools and they need to open more gates for entry when it gets crazy at IOA.
Universal has a side entrance that NOBODY uses. We just head straight for it instead of using the front gates. 30 seconds vs 10-20 minutes at peak times.
I am hoping USF never becomes as popular as the Disney parks. Smaller crowds = better experience.
I have been on both sides of the queues. It is uncomfortable at times. There is a psycological aspect that I completely understand.
When we were at Busch Gardens over the Summer, I noticed the QuickQueue line was empty for Cheetah Hunt and there were people trickling in and getting right on. We waited an hour and fifteen minutes in the regular line although the sign read 45 minute wait at the entrance.
What I didn't know at the time.. the tickets for SeaWorld and Busch Gardens were free becuase we went to Discovery Cove. Paying for QuickQueue would have been a bargain. They only charge 40 a person for unlimited. I think tickets go for $70 a pop. Next time....
Of course if you have Express Pass or QuickQue (not sure what it's called there) sure it's better than Fastpass, for the people who have it only though.
I think we have found a mutual point of agreement on this, finally.
If Disney offered a multipark Express Pass type system for purchase, I think people would actually pay for it.
Barging-you-way-to-the-front-of-the-line access is available at almost every theme park these days.... Other resorts are starting include it with on-site stays as well.
But seriously yes, both at the Jungle and Space, and even for in house celebrities like Kelly Ripa uses Fastpass with her family.
Funny story about Miley. I worked the Christmas Day Parade filming where she sang in front of the castle. I was doing crowd control, which turned out to be more crowd gathering. We needed it to look like there was a massive crowd of people watching her, but we couldn't get people to watch her. Honestly though, I can understand why Space Mountain may be more fun that watching her.
To sort of go along with, but not exactly, with what you are thinking, what Fastpass does allow is more free time to eat and shop while they have Fastpass, and that's the real benefit Disney gets out of it. Does it keep a person in the park? Not any longer they people want to stay. From both the OG, the statistics and my observations-I'm in the parks almost everyday, work or not- there isn't the slightest shred of evidence to even give anyone that theory behind Fastpass, or evidence to support it.
Maybe a side effect of Fastpass is people staying longer, but I wouldn't ever say its the primary reason for it's existence. The business theory I think people are getting confused is the idea to keep people on property, not just in the park. If people never leave WDW on vacation, that's where the money is.
I would say that for ExpressPass and others. When you buy those, people probably feel a certain obligation to stay all day and utilize it.
Fastpass distribution is based on almost every factor other than making you wait longer to keep you in the park longer. Some rides will have a shorter wait time with FP while others in the same park will be three times as long. It is not based on how long you have been in the park, how many passes you have or on any thing to keep you longer. It is true, just like regular lines, Fastpass wait's get longer as the day passes, but should you not blame Disney for making the lines longer to keep people in the park?
Like a said before, it's free so no one really feels like they've wasted time if they give it away. From experience, people take Fastpasses they know they probably won't stay for. Aside from catching a plane, or a dinner reservation/another park (which most likely is on property-like the idea of keeping them on property) there isn't much reason for people to leave before the fireworks. Let me tell you, people stay because they paid so much money to get in, and that's why they are vacationing there...for the parks, not the passes.
I'll say this again, the up side for Disney is more time for shopping and eating, but not, as it has been implied, to force people to stay. If any one of you have from experience, known a pressure to stay, the need to stay, felt the obligation to stay longer than you wanted to because of Fastpass say something, please.
I'll concede this. Perhaps people stay longer because they enjoy using Fastpass. Even if you are a local just visiting half a day, Fastpass does nothing to keep you in if you don't want to stay. If you are there on vacation, chances are you stay in the parks, or do some other Disney venue.
And please point out any contradictory arguments I may have made. I'll clear them up, because there shouldn't be anything contradictory.
Some people buy them for both parks on a one day visit to ensure they get ride everything.
We visit both parks twice a day and are on overload by day 4, which is when we hit Discovery Cove, Sea World and Busch Gardens.
Discovery Cove and Sea World are never all day visits. We are usually out by 5PM, so we hit the parks for our favorites (Spiderman, Hulk, MIB, Twister) on those nights and do some CitiWalk afterwards.
I'll say this. With the flaws, we've still been able to use the Fast Pass system (or equivalent) pretty efficiently and with a good deal of success. We'll see how it works next June with a higher attendance volume and after we changed how we're hitting the parks.
This site is great for all sorts of info. There is a lot of WDW vs USF discussion and nobody is right or wrong. We just disagree.
As there is no benefit to wait times at WDW by staying on-site, but it will make your visit to USF seem like a pleasure by comparison.
The Disney parks are a 5 minute drive and you will be amazed at the amount of riding you can do in a single day... just flash your room key and enjoy.
I think these boards have a tendency to favour staying on-site for these queue shortening perks. Personally, with a lot of research and planning and an acceptance of getting up early, a theme park vacation in Orlando can be easily done without queueing too long for any ride (and yes, even in the height of summer) and a lot cheaper by staying off-site.
We have no daily plan or schedule. It has taken me years to get my wife to become spontaneous and stop carrying around stacks of iteneraries for each day. I like our trips they way they are now.
On the last couple of days, we sleep until noon. My first though is "Let's hit the Waffle House and then hit the parks". There is no worry about them being crowded, because it doesn't matter. We still manage to find time to swim and sit down to dinner.
USF on-site Express all about freedom to do whatever you feel like on a given day and not worry about wait times. They just don't do a good job of making people understand how cool it is and how much more you can do on your stay because of it.
There are times when my wife and little one want to swim and my oldest daughter and I want to ride. We walk over to the park(s), do our thing and come back in a couple hours. I couldn't imagine trying that at Disney while staying "on-site" at the Best Western Lake Buena Vista.
The unlimited Express perk and everything on one property is why we return year after year.
Walt Disney World
Tokyo Disney Resort