Walt Disney World has to scrap fast pass+ NOW

September 16, 2019, 9:19 PM

we use to go to Disney World every 2 or 3 yrs and stay on property but have not been there in 4 yrs and do not plan to go back until Fast Pass system changes. We loved the old system and last time we went they just changed to the new system. We stayed on property and at 59 days (we were not able to get on at 60) we went on and the only good rides we could get were at 5pm, 640pm and a 730pm. with scheduled character dinners were awful and then the added discomfort of cannot get more till use those - it was bad. We had such a bad week have not been back.
Been to Universal twice since, with staying on property there at one of premium hotels get to do fast passes on fly with your room. we were able to ride all the rides the kids wanted in one park by 1pm and then could start riding twice.
We have stayed at the Contemporary Hotel before and Polynesian, I could not imagine paying that money again to stay there and getting jacked on ride times.

Replies (22)

Edited: September 17, 2019, 9:14 AM

I can see the frustration many have with FP+, and I do wish Disney would do something about the system. I think the biggest issue with it is the fact that you are more or less forced to schedule your visit weeks in advance of ever setting foot on Disney property. I've never understood what purpose such advanced planning serves or who decided guests needed to plan their itineraries with such precision and so far in advance, but it's the system we're stuck with.

With that said, the best advice I can provide is that if you are not satisfied with your initial FP+ reservations, continue to check the system regularly in the weeks leading up to your trip. Not only are other guests constantly making changes to their reservation, but Disney deliberately holds back FP+ reservations and slowly releases them as time goes by to accommodate off-site guests and those who don't decide to visit until the day they show up at the gate. The same goes for advanced dining reservations (ADRs), which, if you didn't know, open up 180 days ahead though on-site guests can reserve for as many as 10 days beyond 180 days in advance of their check-in date. Depending upon when you're planning to visit, certain restaurants will fill up quickly, so just like any other high demand activity, if you want to eat at a popular restaurant during a prime meal time, you need to be diligent and quick on the trigger and if you're not available at the second those reservations become available then you should find a proxy or understand that the best of the best will be gone - just like high demand concert and sporting tickets. However, even some of the most popular WDW restaurants will hold back some availability for walk-up reservations and may have cancellations that will open up space, so it's always worth checking if you're not satisfied with your initial reservations - some restaurants do have waiting lists that will call you if there are cancellations like Victoria and Albert's.

WDW is one of the most popular tourist destinations on Earth, and despite the growth of the resort over the years, demand exceeds supply more often than not. However, aside from paying for a pricey VIP tour, there's no other reasonable way to pay your way around lines like at UO (through Express Pass or staying at their deluxe resorts that provide UE as a comp for all guests), so you either need to understand and work the system to your advantage, or deal with the consequences. There are many different strategies to utilize the FP+ system to your advantage, and perhaps because the new system had just been introduced when you last visited, nobody knew what to do. I don't really like FP+ either, but have been able to utilize it to my advantage on every visit since its launch to great effect. In fact, we were able to ride FoP 3 times in a single day by leveraging the system, and by making compromises in selecting FP+ attractions ahead of time (passing over top attraction with ride times later in the day in favor of lesser attractions with ride times earlier), we were able to experience 10-12 attractions each day with minimal wait by maximizing the system. I do wish WDW would shift to a system more like Disneyland's MaxPass (though that system costs $15/person/day), but I think the Orlando resort has invested so much money and resources into FP+ that there's no going back. At least FP+ is free, and rewards guests who are knowledgeable and tenacious, instead of giving advantages simply to those who are willing to spend more money (though WDW does give on-site Club level guests the opportunity to purchase 3 more FP+ reservations for an extra fee).

September 17, 2019, 9:41 AM

Russell raises some great points to enable a less stressful FP+ visit to WDW, so I thought I’d give you a couple of real-time examples of how I use the system. As it happens I was at DAK and MK this past weekend …. I hope my methods, and Russell’s suggestions, help you and other people get the best out of FP+. For me, it’s the best thing since the proverbial sliced bread, and I would be gutted if it ever went away. In fact, I would seriously consider dropping my pass if Disney stopped using the system. The times are not exact, my memory isn’t that good !!, but they are pretty close ……..

Saturday morning I sat watching the Premiership whilst eating breakfast, and pondering my day. I needed to go into SeaWorld to get a pass member car magnet for my friend’s daughter, so while out that way I thought I’d drop by Disney. I hadn’t been to DAK for a while, so I opened up MDE and started to look thru the FP+ selection. No top tiers, for the 1st couple of sweeps, but then a Navi’ came up at 7pm, so I took that. I had no plans to use it, but it was a top tier to modify to get my FofP. Having breezed in and out of SWO I was going thru the gates at DAK around 10am. I wanted the opportunity to ride FofP twice, so I buzzed a Bug’s Life and Lion King, so all I had left of my original 3 was the Navi’. Now I know when you are on vacation, searching MDE for FP+’s isn’t what you want to be doing, but when I go with a group, one of us will be the “designated” FP+ provider and it works great. So, back to Navi’ ….. it didn’t take long for a FofP to pop up in modify mode, so I took that at 1pm. As soon as I buzzed in for my FP+ I opened MDE and because I’d already ‘used’ the other 2, I was able to get a Navi’ again and then modify that later to get another FofP for 4:30pm. The algorithms seem to favor modifying more than searching. And this isn’t a top secret ‘local thing’ it’s all over the blogs and online Disney FP+ help pages. It works …. that’s the main thing. In the end I cancelled the 2nd FofP as it started to rain, so I headed home. It was good to get back on FofP though.

Sunday was going to be a challenge. I’d been given 2 CM comp. tickets, so I went to Magic Kingdom with my friend, her daughter and 2 grandkids. The oldest was 11, and she wanted to ride BTMR, Splash Mtn and 7DMT. Her mom was on board, and grandma was happy to look after the 2-1/2 year old while we went on the rides. It was now just gone 10:30am, and there I was as the designated FP+ provider with zero FP+ selections and 2 people linked to my account. Thankfully, after just one sweep thru, I managed to get a BTMR at 11:30 and a Splash Mtn at 3:15. We sauntered thru the park and ended up at BTMR at 11:30. It was important to get there at the start of the FP+ window because I wanted to move Splash Mtn forward as soon as I could. At 11:31 we were walking up the queue line, and I was trying to modify SM. By the time we’d got to the train, I’d found a SM for 11:50, so we would walk off BTMR and straight on to Splash Mtn. So far so good. They now give you a little ziploc bag to put your phone in, with Splash Mtn emblazoned on the outside. A nice touch for sure. I extracted the phone from the bag, and opened MDE to find a 7DMT at 5:45pm. I took that, and we headed for a bite to eat at the taco place by Splash Mtn. It wasn’t crazy busy, but it was tricky to find a table for 5. We sat down and chatted, and as I ate and searched, I moved 7DMT slowly but surely earlier and earlier in the afternoon. I will always take an earlier time if one comes up. No matter what, even 5 minutes, I will take it. So I continued to search and eventually ended up with a FP+ at 1pm. Perfect !!. We wandered over after lunch, and a good time was had by all on the mine train. Mission accomplished. Having zero FP+’s at 10:30, it was now 1:30 and we had been on 7DMT, BTMR and Splash Mtn. But now it was grandma and Emma’s turn, so Haunted Mansion and Dumbo were on the to-do list. Stand-bys were low, so no need for a fast pass for those. Meanwhile, Leah was having fun riding Barnstormer over and over again with me just walking up with her and passing thru the train at the station. Tron is looking good …. :) It was now late afternoon and she decided she wanted to go on BTMR again !!! It gets tricky to find FP+’s late in the afternoon, especially when it’s a Mickey Halloween night and the park shuts at 6pm. Even though modifying works at the MK, it’s hasn’t quite got the same impact as when you are modifying a top tier at DHS, Epcot or DAK, but by some good fortune I managed to find a BTMR at 5pm, so we were set. As we moved thru the park I tried to bring it forward, to no avail, but we did have the chance to ride 7DMT at 4:30 again ??, but no, it was to be BTMR, and so that’s how we finished our day ….. :)

I have to admit, I was apprehensive about Sunday at the MK, because it was the biggest “test” I’d had with putting all my knowledge of the intricacies of the FP+ system to work in a real time scenario. Yes, I can easily get FofP, Slinky & Test Track multiple times in a day when I’m on my own, but having 2 other people relying on me to get them on the rides they wanted to go on, and walking into MK with nothing ….. totally different that’s for sure. It was fun though, I like a challenge ……. :)

Next challenge will be getting a FP+ for SWGE ….. of course, first off we need the system to be up and running, and as yet no sign of that happening anytime this year.

September 17, 2019, 10:09 AM

I can definitely confirm what Makorider says about getting day-of FP reservations. There's plenty of evidence to suggest that Disney is constantly releasing additional FP+ reservation slots throughout the day based on ride performance (if there are no shutdowns or delays, they will continue to release more and more all day) in addition to deliberate hold-backs for guests who are not as tech-savvy and wait until they're physically in the park before making reservations.

This is why I don't understand why Disney forces guests to make reservations so far in advance. Based on the frustration by the OP, the process of making FP+ reservations 2 months before you arrive in Orlando is turning guests off, yet Disney obviously holds back reservations and tweaks availability all the time. So why even go through the stupid dance of making FP+ reservations ahead of time, and just open the system to guests when they walk through the front gate like at Disneyland? That may annoy some APs like Makorider since they want to get a feel for the crowds and ability to get on a top attraction before driving to the park for the day, but it certainly seems better than making people wake up at 0-Dark-Thirty 2 months ahead of time. Not only that, but it would almost certainly reduce the bandwidth needed to manage the system as a whole since you wouldn't have millions of guests all logging in at the same time trying to fiddle with reservations that are days, weeks, or months away.

Edited: September 17, 2019, 11:05 AM

I liked Fastpass+ when I was there. Being able to guarantee I would get 3 good experiences I valued, and that it was free made it perfect.

However, let me remind you of something. Disney does not owe you a fastpass.

I'll say that again. Disney does not owe you a fastpass.

For decades people visited with only the standby queue. If you don't like Fastpass, then you have the time honoured option of getting in the standby queue like your forebares did.

Any other park brand in the world, you'd have to pay for even one fastpass. So stop complaining and enjoy the park. If you're enjoyment is really ruined that much because you can't skip queues earlier in the day that it warrants this much drama, then please, don't let the turnstyle hit you on the way out.

September 17, 2019, 5:45 PM

Wow, Chad H. How incredibly rude was that response.

September 17, 2019, 6:53 PM

The biggest problem I have with fastpass+ is that it, in my opinion, seems to lengthen the lines of rides that normally would not be a very long wait. While the 3-4 rides you can get with fastpass+ are great with the minimal wait, the others get way too long and are many time too long to be worth the wait. I don't mind the stand-by line if everyone has to do it and there isn't that much of a disruption to the flow, but that never seems to be the case with many rides. I also find it difficult to get fastpasses the day of when you have a large party that is trying to go on rides together. When I did it with just myself it was great and I was able to get many fastpasses throughout the day, but when I needed 4-5, I could never get any of the rides or times that I wanted. Usually there was one available 8 hours away. But either way, I don't really have a solution on how to make it better.

September 17, 2019, 7:09 PM

JT14 is correct, and it's why Chad is wrong. I recently rode Millennium Falcon, which famously does not offer FP+, and was blown away by how quickly and efficiently the line moved. FP+ destroys the standby line, because you're merely inching along with at most 50% of the speed of what would be a normal standby line. And almost EVERYTHING has FP+.

So yes, actually, Disney does need to do something about this. As a knowledgeable AP, I love FP+ for the same reasons Makorider does, but it is a terrible system for the larger audience Disney courts and they really should do something about it, though I'd selfishly be sad to see it go.

September 18, 2019, 6:14 AM

>>Wow, Chad H. How incredibly rude was that response

I’m sorry you feel that way. However I find the level of entitlement here disgusting. Disney is giving a free additional perk that they do not have to give but we’re going to boycott the park because... why again? Oh that’s right, because I can’t get one until the afternoon. Geezus.

Edited: September 18, 2019, 6:45 AM

When we last went to WDW 2 years ago in October, we had the same issues, it was hard to get some of the more popular fast passes even 60 days before and, in some cases, we ended up just booking FPs we didn't really want.

Fast forward to a week or two before, also a few days before and even the same day in some cases, and there were more fast passes available and we were able to move things around and, more or less, book what we want.

We never did any advance dining reservations and pretty much got in where we wanted (we prefer eating outside regular times though as it's quieter - i.e. lunch at 3.30pm - maybe that helped).

So, in my experience, there is no need to panic about all this and just leave things until nearer the time. That said, we were visiting at one of the 'quieter' times of the year, not sure it would be the same in July :-)

September 18, 2019, 7:14 AM

I've experienced first hand the stand-by vrs FP+ lines, and I agree the stand-bys do suffer, but I've also noted that the stand-by line time estimations are still reasonably close to being correct, so I've always assumed Disney adds a compensation factor into the wait time if FP+ is available.

It will be very interesting to see if the wait time for stand-by on MFSR actually increases once the FP+ lines are opened. At the moment, evening wait times can be as low as 15mins, so I'm tempted to go back in for an alcoholic blue milk and try for a pilot's seat again .. :)

As for the group FP+ issue .... I have to admit I was surprised how easy it was to get fast passes on Sunday, with our little group of 3. I was expecting a harder than usual time, but my well tried and tested method of securing a FP+ worked flawlessly. As with MikeR, even though this was a Sunday, it is regarded as 'off-peak' right now, so that has to be taken into account as well.

September 18, 2019, 7:37 AM

Of course they do not owe you a fast pass, but they should realize that people come there to have fun. If they are not having fun, they will go elsewhere, which is what many people have done. I went almost every year. I cannot see going back anytime soon. It is not fun to preplan a trip down to every detail. As to checking the app; it is not fun to be a slave a a device over and over again while on vacation. The older system was more fun. Many times the app does not work. 90% of the families are not experts on the system. It is also true that many attractions, like fast loaders such as omnimovers do not benefit from the system at all. I have compared DL and WDW wait times on near capacity days, and I can experience more than DOUBLE the attractions at DL. Easily. The run of the mill families that go from WDW to UO with Unlimited Express Pass are blown away, and Disney should see that as a customer relations issue. They would have 15 years ago. Sure many people like the new system. It fits for a select group of people. I do not expect them to change it because it is inconvenient for me. I simply will take my money elsewhere. I would expect them to change it because that it what many other customers are doing, and they have to recognize it is a problem. I would postulate the current system is so bad that having no system at all is better than FP+. Please understand I am only discussing the reservation system. I have no problem with the armbands that open the doors, allow you to charge items, etc. I even have no problem with having to make dinner reservations in advance. The new mobile ordering is great. I only take exception with FP+. My families primary, secondary, and tertiary purpose in going to WDW is for the attractions, and this has sent us to UO.

September 18, 2019, 7:38 AM

@evanwesson - Why is Chad H wrong? He's merely pointing out that WDW's completely FREE FP+ system is what it is, and guests feeling wronged by the system should either learn more about it so they can use it to their advantage or stop complaining and get in the standby line like we used to.

You are correct though in that attractions that don't have FP tend to have shorter and more efficient standby lines. Some might point to the lack of popularity of those attractions as the reason why those lines are shorter, but if you look at nearly identical attractions at WDW and DL where the WDW version has FP+ and DL does not, you can clearly see that the standby lines in California are shorter.

It all goes back to the way many guests approach FP+, and how Disney pushes them towards getting reservations for attractions they may otherwise not want simply for the satisfaction of being successful. As Makorider noted, if you go on MDE trying to get a FP+ for FoP and none are available, you're naturally going to try to grab one for the park's other Tier 1 ride, Na'Vi River Journey. Savvy and smart FP+ users grab those reservations as a placeholder knowing that eventually more FoP FP+ reservations will be released and can be easily switched out, but the average guest is satisfied with that NRJ FP+ reservation because Disney artificially inflates the quality of the attraction by placing it in Tier 1 status. What ends up happening is that all of the guests that kept their NRJ FP+ reservations ride that attraction through the FP entrance, slowing what would probably be a 20-30 minute standby line to well over an hour. The phenomenon echoes itself all across WDW with guests grabbing FP+ reservations for attractions they probably didn't want in the first place simply because that's all that's available at the time they're setting up their itinerary.

I think FP in theory is a good system, but Disney has instead used it as a way for guests to feel good about their upcoming trip and to build excitement and anticipation. Disney also uses the system to try artificially steer guests away from top attractions by making more FP+ reservations available for lesser attractions, increasing standby lines for rides that otherwise wouldn't be more than 15-20 minutes. In the end, I think it causes more hassle than joy, particularly from first time guests that don't fully understand how the system works or simply don't want to deal with it, because they end up with less desirable attractions and times or maybe none at all, and then are forced into artificially long standby lines for the top attractions.

I would be curious to know how much research Disney has done on this, and if there is real value in getting guests excited (and at the same time nervous/frustrated) about their trip 2 months in advance. The system has been running pretty much unchanged for the past 3-4 years, so they must see the love/hate attitude towards it, while over in California a very similar system (that generates additional revenue FWIW) is in place that simply removes the need to make advanced reservations and is vastly superior and almost universally lauded.

I do think refusing to visit WDW again based on a singular experience with FP+ is very short sighted. As with any system, you only get out of it what you put into it, and it needs to be understood that FP+ requires some effort on the part of the guest to achieve maximum benefit. If you're not willing to learn about it and use it, then it's not going to work for you. However, if you understand how the system works and put in just a bit of time to make it work for you, it can make your visit to WDW all the more magical.

Edited: September 18, 2019, 8:11 AM

I agree that the posted wait times are usually correct for the stand-by lines, but it does seem like it takes forever since you are barely moving at times. I do wonder if the removing of fastpass would make the stand-by lines less, since more people would skip the lines if there was no fastpass, or if those people would just do the stand-by line and keep it at about the same length, just one that moves faster. I did do Flight of Passage once near the closing of the park, and once the fastpass stopped for the evening, the stand-by line was moving super quick and was very efficient.

I agree with Russell in that people are taking fastpasses on rides that normally they wouldn't need or want just because its available and they enjoy being able to walk on a ride with no wait. One thing I liked about the lesser rides was they usually had a short wait and the stand-by line length was proportional for the ride. But now it seems so many rides have lines that are just not worth the wait for the ride.

As far as getting extra fastpasses throughout the day for a large group, I do think the time of year and the size of the crowd plays an effect. I remember doing it for a group of 3 in mid to late August when the crowds were not too bad and we were able to get 5-6 in a two hour span one evening in Magic Kingdom. However, for my group of about 3-4 during the end of July one year, we really could not find anything for the popular rides we wanted despite constantly updating and checking. Usually the only thing showing up every now and then was right before park closing, and we were checking in the middle of the afternoon.

September 18, 2019, 10:18 AM

The posted wait times are accurate because Disney is constantly collecting real time data regarding line length. CMs at the start of the queue hand out red cards to selected guests that time in when they enter the queue and time out when they reach the FP merge (they also send red cards through the FP queue to make sure those guests are not waiting too long, and if a shift in the ratio of standby to FP needs to be adjusted). Once a red card reaches the merge, the posted wait time is immediately updated based on the new data. If Disney sends a card through the queues every 5 minutes, there's a constant barrage of data to ensure that the posted wait time is as accurate as possible.

Obviously a shut down or other interruption will make the wait times inaccurate, exasperated by longer lines, but in general Disney wait times are among the most accurate in the industry because they're using real-time data instead of just "eye-balling" the length of the line based on where the end is within the queue like most theme parks do.

I think the availability of FPs is completely random, but obviously based on the number of guests in the park at a given time. The more guests in the park, the more people that will be fighting for the limited number of additional FP+ reservations being released during the day. Since the supply of FPs is a finite resource, guests with larger groups are going to be given more limited options since few of the extra blocks being released will be able to accommodate these larger groups. For instance, lets say, FoP is running at optimal efficiency through the morning. Disney may release some extra blocks of FP+ reservations, but they don't want to give out too many in the event of a future breakdown, so only 4 reservations are released for each 5-minute time block from 2-4 PM. If you have a group of 5, the system won't show you any of these available FP+ reservations, because it is looking for attractions that can accommodate groups of 5. However, if you were to split your group of 5 into a group of 3 and a group of 2, the system would show you the available blocks (though the return times might be off by 5 minutes or more). Obviously smaller groups are going to have better luck picking up extra FP+ reservations throughout the day, because the system will find more matches than for those larger groups.

Also, when you query the system to modify or add new FP+ reservations, what you are shown in the listing is blocked out to every other guest in the system. What that means is if you are really just searching for a FoP FP+, when you pull in available attractions, everything else that's shown to you cannot be shown to anyone else even if you're not planning on selecting it. Those FPs don't go pack into the pool for other guests to see until you select a FP or refresh the listing. If a ride only has 2 FPs left for the rest of the day, and they're in your listing, they won't show up for anyone else that queries the system until after you release them.

Edited: September 18, 2019, 11:21 AM

Russell, I have never seen a red card, and I have spent many hours walking thru FP+ lines, as well as a few standbys. I would have thought with the RFID tech the magic band offers, the red card time check would be obsolete? As soon as I scan my FP+ at the entryway, the CM’s are aware of who I am as they are checking their I-Pads. It’s real time data they use for many more reasons than seeing if I have arrived for the correct FP+ time. With that in mind, who’s to say they don’t randomly check guests wearing magic bands in the standby lines ? The technology is there for them to easily do that. In fact, they could in theory, check every single person entering and exiting a ride, just as long as they are wearing a magic band. If you want anonymity, don’t wear that tracking device Disney cleverly disguised as a ‘magic band’. It truly is magic, but in ways most people don’t realise.

Good point on the find and hold for the FP+ as well. When Disney updated the MDE app to version 5 earlier this year, I posted a discussion that mentioned I was unable to hold a selection for seconds, let alone minutes. The app was allowing other people to see that same time, and unless you had extremely quick fingers it was gone. I talked and e-mailed at length to the techs at Disney about that problem, and within a day or 2 they had it fixed. I’m not entirely sure if it’s an infinite time, but it’s certainly long enough to get distracted, and then go back, and still book the time slot.

Edited: September 18, 2019, 12:08 PM

They were still using red cards when we were most recently in WDW in October 2017, and Disneyland was still using them when we were there last month. Maybe they are slowly transitioning away from them at WDW as MagicBands become more prevalent, but they are definitely using some form of real-time data to determine the posted wait times, while everyone else in the industry is eye-balling it.

I think the rumored nefarious use of MagicBands is a bunch of hooey. If MagicBands were as traceable in the parks as some seem to think they are, then why isn't Disney using the technology more for guest benefits? The reality of it is that the bands do not provide feedback if you're not in close proximity to a reader, so to get the level of tracking that people seem to think Disney can do, there would have to be antenna every 3-5 feet inside queue areas and throughout the park. While Disney can most certainly tell where you are when you tap on a Mickey Head, and knows when you go past a massive sensor array (like an on-ride photo location or the old talking Mickey meet and greet area), the fact of the matter is that it's not as "Big Brother" as some would lead you to believe.

September 19, 2019, 9:50 AM

I've seen them still using red cards as recently as this past summer.

I guess I haven't experienced the dark side of FP+ like other people. Even a week out I can get a fastpass for almost every ride (with the exception of FoP and Mine Train). Heck, day of Ii can normally get most rides.

September 24, 2019, 2:50 PM

Been 5 years since I visited Disney. FP+ was a fairly new thing during our last visit there. I also have to agree that the biggest drawback to FP+ is how rides with minimal waits became much more inflated. Considering the cost and stress, I don't feel the need to go back. When we went 5 years ago, we bought discounted military 4-day tickets. Can't imagine paying full price and feeling it's a good value. Just my opinion/preference.
Youngest member of our family (grandson) is 10 years and he LOVES Universal. Going back there in Feb.

September 26, 2019, 9:15 PM

Of our extended family, all of which were regular visitors to WDW, half refuse to go back and will only go to Universal. Half. People that post here regularly can say what you will, but this is significant. Families that I know that went in the past used to come back and say how they can't wait to go back. Friends of mine with young kids that go for the first time tell me they will never go again. The fan site opinions are skewed. It is the most counterintuitive thing for a basic vacationer that they ever could have done. Of course people that come here will figure it out.

Edited: September 27, 2019, 1:25 PM

I have mixed feelings on this issue.

First of all, I like FP+ over the old paper fastpasses. The new system may not be perfect, but at least I don't have to be at the park at opening to get my fastpasses.

I also prefer the experience at Universal Orlando, but I've found myself spending a lot of time recently at the Disney parks because my grandchildren are young and my wife doesn't like the overall more intense rides at Universal.

But for the life of me, I can't understand why the lines seem so much longer at Disney. Let me throw some numbers at you to illustrate why this is so confusing.

57,150 average daily attendance at the Magic Kingdom
59,450 average daily combined attendance at the Universal Orlando parks
38 rides and attractions at the Magic Kingdom (approximately)
47 rides and attractions at the Universal Orlando parks

Depending on how you define a ride or attraction, Universal Orlando has about 24% more rides and attractions than the Magic Kingdom and slightly higher combined daily average attendance, and the wait times in the Universal parks seem (anecdotal observation) significantly shorter.

Does having 24% more rides and attractions available to patrons really make that much difference? As someone who taught queuing theory for several years in a communications course, I'd say that's a fair possibility.

But, Does Disney need to build 20-25% more rides in the park to spread the patrons out like they are at Universal?

Or does FastPass+ force Disney visitors into queue-jamming behaviors in an attempt to occupy their time between FastPasses?

Or do Disney patrons attempt more rides per day than Universal patrons? I mean you haven't lived until you've done It's a Small World three times in one day.

Or does Disney need to build more upper tier rides in order to ease the demand on their existing E-ticket attractions?

Or is the attendance at Universal Orlando artificially inflated due to the ease of park hopping?

Or does the limited availability of the front of the line access at Universal Orlando (stay in one of three premium hotels or purchase a pricey upgrade package) have less of an influence on Universal wait times versus the effect that the available-to-all FastPass+ has on wait times at the Magic Kingdom?

Your guesses are as good or better than mine. I wish somebody with some inside data analytics information would weigh in on the discussion. That would be interesting.

September 27, 2019, 6:36 PM

Very interesting points, Tim. I'm inclined to think it is the final one, simply in seeing how much a standby-line sludges to a halt when a large fastpass crowd arrives, but that is just a guess. I rarely see more than just a few people trickle in for the express pass at Universal (which therefore doesn't delay the standby-queue as much), while I constantly see an endless flood of fastpass users at popular Disney attractions.

September 30, 2019, 6:53 AM

The old paper fast pass system did not have a line for many attraction, only the ones with increased demand, so Spaceship Earth, Haunted Mansion, Pirates, Small World, etc. did not have a fast pass line. Now they all do. That is why you see 50-75 minutes waits for Haunted Mansion at WDW but 30 minutes at DL. On the old system you would only have long waits for Haunted Mansion when the Riverboat disembarked. So, the increased lines are do to the extra FP+ people in the line delaying standby. This is also why you see 45 minutes for Falcon but still two hours for Flight of Passage. They do not have FP+ at GE.

It needs to go. It is great for some people. For people with families that can only come when school is out, it is a stress ridden disaster. For families with a member of the family with an anxiety disorder (which thankfully is not mine) it is a crisis. On days when it is crowded, the app fails and you have to go to a kiosk. For a solo traveler it is fantastic. To me, it is like a software engineer designed it who has never spent a day in the park with a family. I bet it was tested with a select, non-representative sample, they spent way too much money on it, thought the tech was cool, and implemented it despite the criticisms, and now can't roll it back.

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