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Disney’s Fast Pass, a problem looking for a solution

I missed linking to the Orlando Sentinel‘s article on the listing of expired and counterfeit fast passes on eBay. But a post on MouseExtra reminded me that I really felt like Disney has a solution that’s readily available to this problem. Get rid of the Fast Pass.

I am not a big fan of the FAST PASS system. I believe it cloggs the parks, reducing the effective capacity for each day, and is bad show for everyone who is forced to use the standby queues for whatever reason. That’s just the tip of the iceberg. However, I use Fast Pass to its max capabilities when I’m in the parks because I would be a fool not to while others are.

Disney implemented Fast Pass not because there was guest demand (they just trot out that excuse because it makes them look good (see the recent Pleasure Island announcement) and there is no way for anyone to check their figures, so why not), but because they thought it would result in higher sales in their stores and restaurants. Turns out any positive affect on sales was barely noticeable, and difficult to attribute to FP. With the same merchandise in every park and store it doesn’t matter when they shop, only that they do. Plus with advent of the the Disney Dining Plan artificially creating volume for sit-down dining, demand is surpassing capacity for restaurants, so that’s a red herring too.

Fast Pass is also labor intensive requiring 3-5 extra Cast Members per attraction. Disney would be better off using those labor hours to increase attraction capacity via better maintenance–putting more ride vehicles on the track, more efficient queue management, and providing in-park entertainment that keeps guests out of queues by providing alternate things for them to do when the parks are busiest (ever notice that queue length goes down just before and during a parade… same thing during Fireworks). Heck you can even sell your guests food and light up spin thingies while you have them held captive waiting for the show to start.

So, as far as I’m concerned, more power to the people who wish to subvert and manipulate Disney’s Fast Pass system. The faster it breaks down and is discarded, the sooner Disney will return to some crowd control normalcy and fatter profits at its theme parks.