Disney to change FastPass?

September 6, 2007, 4:17 PM · As reported by the Orlando Sentinel today, it looks like Disney may change not only how FastPass tickets are distributed, but also potentially creating guest tiers. Disney filed a patent application last week that "would use central computers to manage distribution of FastPass tickets throughout Disney World's four Central Florida theme parks and at Disneyland in Southern California." While that isn't very specific, it is thought this may allow guests to get their FastPass tickets via text messages or even email. Additionally, the patent application references "that the technology could be used to give preferential treatment to people who spend more money at the resort."

When asked to comment on the application a Disney spokesperson told the Orlando Sentinel that FastPass distribution wasn't changing and that they planned to use the technology discussed in the patent for several things.

If you don't already stay on Disney property when you visit Orlando will the possibility of this tiered system make you more likely to do so?

Replies (19)

September 6, 2007 at 9:09 PM · They should keep it the same!

First come, first served the fastpass!

September 6, 2007 at 10:45 PM · I am probably in the elite few who are a fine of different fast pass options. I don't know how many of you have been to Paris Disney, but they have a system much different than that in the states.

They have three types of fastpasses.

1) Standard Fastpass: You may get one per ride every 2hrs or so. You may have in your hand a fastpass for every ride int he park if you soo desired, but you cannot double up on the same ride.

2) Disney hotel fastpass: Guests staying at the prestigious Disneyland Hotel Paris each receive on fastpass to each attraction per day in the park. This means that you may in essence ride a ride back to back using a fastpass acquired through normal channels. However once you use the ticket given to you at the hotel it is gone.

This is especially useful in the summer months when the fastpasses get eaten up relatively quickly.

3) VIP fastpass: This is a fastpass given to guests who stay in a suite. It is useable an unlimited number of times for the duration of your trip on any fastpass attraction. This fastpass changed my trip! I was able to ride all of the attractions multiple times while still sitting down to relax for an hour any time I wished. We rode Space Mountain Mission 2 no less than 6 times! It was awesome... and it was in July!

Anywho... I understand resistance to the changes. But if this gets Disney to stop raising ticket prices due to increased revenue at the Deluxe resorts isn't it a win for everyone?

September 7, 2007 at 3:41 AM · I've seen at least one Disney insider who claims that even though they are patenting the technology doesn't mean the system is going to change.
September 7, 2007 at 5:25 AM · Maybe it will be a similar system to that at neighbouring Universal & I.O.A.

Guests of Resort Hotels can use their room keys as unlimited fastpasses.

Oddly enough we didn't always use them. If the lines were only 20-30 mins we preferred to soak up some of the theming. In by-passing the lines with a fastpass you sometimes miss out on that part of the ride experience.

September 7, 2007 at 5:25 AM · Well We've been going to Disney now for 24 years..fast pass helps but compared to Universals front of line entry used by resorts guest its very pale. I know Universal can do this more effectivly because they have far fewer resorts but I like idea of guest resorts being given advantage of front of line over others.
September 7, 2007 at 7:06 AM · Yeah, but thats really not much of a difference considering that a majority of the park goers to Disney World is resort guests while Universal has pretty much commuter guests. Its more of a perk, in my opinion, at Universal.

Secondly, I just came back from DLP and stayed at one of their resorts and got no special preferental treatment when it came to getting fastpasses. The only difference I saw was that their fastpasses were good only for an half hour instead of the full hour at WDW.

September 7, 2007 at 7:56 AM · It would make me more likely to spend more time at Universal, but, as stated, a patent application and implementation are 2 different things.
September 7, 2007 at 8:22 AM · I have made this statement before and will make it again, the virtual line systems at the parks (all of them) have created a monster!! Now it is something all guests expect and if it's not there it can stir very high emotions.

I saw this first hand when Universal got rid of the Express reservation system. Many pass holders vowed not to renew their annual passes, and others vowed not to reurn to Universal again, in essence because of a piece of paper.

Believe me, I understand why these are popular. I remember when I was kid waiting in long lines for a ride. It's what you had to do, and this is before personal entertainment devices like cell phone games or ipods. (Yes there was a time they did not exist, and dinosaurs roamed the earth.) So of course families are going to eat this up.

Two arguments from the removal of said system at Universal were:
1. The feeling of being a second class citizen.
2. You don't have to pay for it at Disney.

Interesting how this new procedure will pretty much cover both arguments. If you have the money you get to wait in shorter lines, if no lines at all, and to get that priviledge you have to spend a little extra money at the nicer hotels.

For a person on a budget, like myself, not exactly the fairest of deals. But being a local I know when to be at the parks and when not to be in regards to crowds. But not everyone has that option.

Just to get this out of the way, I'm not pro or anti any parks, I like Disney and I like Universal. There are pros and cons to both properties. (Yes I said that there are some cons at Disney.) But there are going to be mistakes we are human.

Of course we don't know if this is true, only time will tell. I would like to know what people think about this.

In college we actually had this discussion. If we were in charge of a theme park would we offer a premium like this if someone paid for it. In the end I think the positives out ranked the negatives, bottom line was money. I think that's what we have here. Not only will the guest pay the extra per night rates but will be more likely to stay on property thus spending all their vacation dollars at Disney. From a business stand point this could be like the most brilliant thing ever. From a PR customer service side, believe me I would not want to be a Guest Redlations person if this would come into play, it can be a nightmare.

However, the business side doesn't really have to handle the guest service side of it. Again it will be interesting to see what happens.

Just my 2 cents. Thanks for reading!! :)

September 7, 2007 at 9:34 AM · Believe me, I am a spender, so this isnt at all about being on the cheap. I buy Fast lane tickets at 6 flags for my entire group. But this move would show how far we've really come from Walt's original plan: To have a park that everyone could enjoy. We saw the dissalusion of this concept first with the pay one price entrance.(Remermber how many "A" tickets you used to have in your kitchen junk drawer?). Walt turned over in his grave that time, probably did so again with the advent of the $8 Donald Duck Puck. Can you imagine walking into his office & saying "we want to charge people different prices to have an even better experience"?
Being in the tourism industry myself, I know its about business. But I hold Disney to exemplifying a higher caliber. If it weren't for its founder, this wouldn't be an industry.What he wanted still should count. Its not like D is on the verge of loosing money, & it shouldn't be just about making more when you're already on top.
Lately it just seems to be that they're keeping up with the Jonses. Everytime something happens with their neighbors, they follow suit. When did D stop being a leader & become such a follower?
September 7, 2007 at 11:22 AM · I understand it from a marketing point of view. It's brilliant. Until it starts to drive people away.

At some point won't Disney price themselves into ridiculousness? It won't be that long before they are charging $100 per day to get into the park. When you stop and think about how many rides you can physically get on in a day, you are paying between $7 and $10 per ride.

Stop and think for a moment... is getting on Winnie the Pooh really worth $7 per person, or $28 for a family of 4, for that 5 minute ride? Would it be worth $10 a person?

When you pay your admission fee you buy into the illusion that you can go on as many rides as you want as many times as you want. But you can only get on as many as there is time to wait in line before the park closes (leaving aside for a moment the issue of how much energy and tolerance you have for standing in line).

I wonder how many people would be as excited about Disney if they really let you know the true cost of each ride as you got on it. Imagine if you had to swipe a credit card or fork over cash at each ride. Would Mom and Dad really whip out 40 bucks for everyone to ride the teacups?

September 7, 2007 at 11:28 AM · I cannot see what difference it should make as to where you are staying. In principal, we all pay the same amount of money to enter a theme park and should all be treated the same. ie one fastpass for all. No VIP or preferential treatment for resort guests.
September 7, 2007 at 2:04 PM · Universals hotel fotl works. Why? 3 hotels.
Disneys will not work. Why? I lost track of how many hotels they have on property.
They will exhaust their fastpass system, and people, such as Florida Residents will not stand the 4-5 hour waits that will ensue.
It is a brilliant marketing ploy, as someone else said. And as someone else said, its terribly flawed. Its going to drive people away....especially locals. I'm not very likely to buy an AP to disney, however, if this plan comes into reality, it will be most likely that I would never return to disney ever again.
There's got to be a point where consumers say enough.
September 7, 2007 at 5:31 PM · FastPass is the best system in the theme park industry. It works nearly flawlessly and I don't know anyone with complaints? So why change it to a system where people will obviously not be as happy with it. In the long run, I don't think that Disney would benefit very much, while all the people who dream of having that dream Disney World or Disneyland vacation would be very disheartened by the fact that they no longer can choose which rides they want to see and get their FastPass for it. On my last trip to Disneyland, our group used two FastPasses, for Space Mountain, and for Grizzly River Run (which on a warm day is EASILY the longest line in DCA). We also rode Screamin' twice and did everything that we wanted to do. The FastPass system works fine and I don't see the point in changing it, especially since I personally think that it is so perfect and enhances the trip for everyone in comparison to the people who just show up in line at Six Flags. The ride reservation systems work a lot better if there are a controlled number of people skipping the lines. FastPass only lets a certain amount of people get on in the allotted time, and if you're too late getting the pass, you simply wait the 3 hour line for Space Mountain, or you don't ride it at all. One thing that really irritates me and non-Disney parks is the HUGE groups of people that just show up at the same time and get on the ride, and with Disney, that doesn't happen. Sorry about the long response that seemed to repeat itself alot and didn't have any organization, even while writing it.
September 7, 2007 at 7:21 PM · I make it a point to only travel to Orlando during the fall or other slow seasons. As a result, it's very rare that I even use FastPass. Last trip, the only attraction I needed it for was Expedition Everest, which was still new and was apparently drawing much larger crowds than normal to Animal Kingdom. So for me, no, I am not more likely to stay inside a Disney hotel because of this. Many other factors are much more important in affecting my choice.
September 7, 2007 at 9:14 PM · Just another example of the rich getting better access/privilages than the rest. And the gap gets bigger!
September 8, 2007 at 7:02 AM · Filing for a patent may be a pre-emtive strike against Universal, Busch, or other theme parks from adopting the technology and gaining an advantage over Disney's implementation of their FastPass system. It may or may not change the current system. That being said, I do favor a tier system where people with Annual Pass and, or stay on property can be given an advantage of getting FastPass easier or quicker than the average visitor. I am fortunate that I can afford to stay on property when I visit and I am an annual passholder at Disney and Universal. Passholders should be given some sort of "perk"(i.e. FOL access) for their loyalty. If I stay on Universal property, I can use my room key as a Universal Express access. I don't have to be a passholder to take advantage of this perk, but, I believe there should be some added benefit or perk for a passholder in this regard (at Disney parks). The debate will continue, even if the FastPass changes are minimal, somebody won't be happy.
September 8, 2007 at 9:28 AM · I guess the next step is a "reservations system" wherein you must reserve a time slot at each attraction 30 days in advance - for a fee, of course...otherwise, it's to the back of the "unwashed, unmoneyed" line for you, as in "Get back to steerage, you third class passenger, you!" Bad move, selling "premium fastpasses." This is one goose that's getting tired of giving up the golden eggs! As for passholder perks, you got them when you paid a substantially discounted price for multiple accesses!
September 10, 2007 at 8:07 PM · Why ruin a nearly flawless system? Looks like they're being Universalized!
September 11, 2007 at 10:02 AM · I think that setting up tiers is really a step away from what Mr. Disney envisioned for his parks. They were supposed to be a mecca of fun for everyone, not just the rich and elite. I can't afford to stay in Disney hotels when other hotels in the area are less than half the cost. If that also means that now, I'll have to wait longer in lines, it would affect my decision to visit that park all together.

I do like the program that Universal had a couple of years ago. You could pay a flat rate (I think it was like $20 per person) to get a pass that allowed you one fast pass entry to each ride that day. But it was available to anyone and not outrageously priced.

Having tiers, VIP programs or priority based on how much money you spend hurts eveybody else that paid the same money to get in at the park gate.

My two cents....!!!

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