The idea of Fastpass made sense when they first started doing it 20 years ago (note: I said idea) as it would clearly increase the rides per visitor numbers. I'm going to spare the details of why I think Fastpass in all iterations turned out badly because I could write a novel about it, but I think we all agree that it exposed the fact that if everyone gets a benefit then no one gets a benefit.
So now we have the coronavirus and Fastpass is gone. Reservations are required to get into the park and capacity will be limited, for the first time in 20 years the lines for major attractions will actually move at a good speed, and visiting the WDW parks might actually be fun again. At least for now.
So this leaves us with the question of what Disney should do when the crowd levels get back to their normal huge state, because I think we can all agree now that they finally had a good opportunity to rid the parks of the cancer that was Fastpass its time to think about the future. Here are some options I have thought of
*Note I am assuming the parks are back at their pre-covid crowds for these examples. And considering the amount of hotels, conferences, and infrastructure has been increasing in Orlando at such a rapid pace for so long, at some point you know everyone is going to be highly motivated to get crowds back up to those levels at some point*
Option 1: Fastpass be resort guest only.
The problem with this is there are so many rooms now that even if it were for resort guests only, the lines for the major rides still might move extremely slow and people still wouldn't get what they want. It isn't a secret everyone all wants FP for the same rides so people will get mad if they can't make a reservations for what they want. I would not go this route because no matter which way you slice it people aren't going to get what they want and will feel ripped off for paying the hotel premium, then will have to wait in standby for a ride they wanted while other hotel guests skip in front of them.
Option 2: Upcharge Fastpass
Speaks for itself and easier to control then the previous system, but it would obviously piss a lot of people off for many reasons. Also it wouldn't be as easy to control as one would think because there are a lot of special groups out there (hotel guests with more expensive rooms, DVC, Club 33, etc) who would feel entitled to benefits without buying the upcharge.
Option 3: No queue management system at all, keep Fastpass lanes only for disabled/rider switch/VIP tours only, no other changes
This would be nice but I do admit that the issues they tried to fix by introducing Fastpass (people not doing as much "lesser stuff" because they spend all their time waiting in line for the big rides) comes back into question. However, with the parks having gotten so crowded, the "lesser rides" running empty seats might not be as big of an issue. It also means hotel guests don't get as much of a benefit which could greatly reduce sales.
Option 4: Greatly reduce park capacity and require reservations for all days
I just don't think this going to be the long term solution for the simple fact that the parks are going to be way less profitable with way less people. This will stick for this year maybe into next, but nobody is going to be okay with just making less money forever.
Option 5 - my preference-: Expand EMH to all parks every day and eliminate FP (except for disability/rider switch/VIP tours)
It's no secret EMH has become more of a hassle than a benefit because of huge crowds due to so many on property hotel rooms now, so that solves that problem. Also imagine if every park did EMH from 8:00-9:30 every morning, from my point of view that would solve all problems:
-Increase the ride count on the "lesser attractions" because people have already done the major ones.
-Greatly reduce the amount of people in the parks in during the day, leading to day guests getting on more attractions.
-Give resort guests a huge benefit while also eliminating the FP debacle.
A decade or so ago that would've been a waste of money but if crowds return to 2019 levels that would be the most practical way to solve the problems IMO.
*Note WDW actually did EMH at MK and DHS every morning when Star Wars Land opened, and it didn't really turn out well because everyone went to DHS every morning and crowds weren't really what they were expecting to begin with because the land wasn't fully open yet.*
Now open, or date announced:
Still waiting on these: