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Let me start with a full disclosure. I would be perfectly happy if FastPass went away tomorrow. On the whole I think it is a bad thing for the parks. Here’s a short list of FastPass’ problems as I see it: it artificially inflates wait time for rides with high-throughput, creates unhappy guests, and crowds the open spaces of the parks effectively lowering park capacity. It never really drove in-store sales and increased dining revenue the way it was originally intended too either.

What FastPass does do is effectively create an elite class of theme park attendees. Those who know how to maximize their day in the park by efficiently using FastPass have a very different experience in the parks than those who wait in every standby queue. Keep this point in mind. We’ll be coming back to it.

The big news earlier today was that Mickey and Minnie’s Main Street Meet and Greet would be opening with the benefit of Fastpass to avoid the long waits that the Toontown Fair location had become known for. I’m a bit on the fence about this. I don’t like Fastpass in general because I think it A) is unnecessary for most attractions, B) upsets the guests in the standby queue which is bad show, C) artificially inflates the guests in public spaces which means a lower overall capacity for the parks, D) totally negates the chance to enjoy an afternoon in the parks with an equal chance to enjoy the fastpass attractions… I can go on… but I’ll stop now. Positioning FASTPASS as convenience, which you’ll see Disney has done in their press release, is only true for those who are able to use it. Once Fastpass runs out or the return time passes beyond your availability, then it’s no longer a convenience and instead becomes a huge burden.

That said, I can see Fastpass working for character meet and greets if, and it’s an important if, they dedicate one room to that queue and then manage the standby queue to keep it under a reasonable length (say 20 minutes for the Big Cheese). Do I actually see Disney managing the queues that way? I doubt it, but I hope I’ll be pleasantly surprised.

Yes, I know that people “hate” to wait for attractions and characters. Nothing sucks more than waiting 45 minutes for a 30 second experience with a character that can’t even talk to you. To me that is a staffing problem and a capacity problem. Fastpass does nothing to address either of those. But it does make the guests that use it happy and they say good things about it, so it does have that one thing going for it. I don’t see how that outweighs the rest, but oh well.

Disney’s full press release for the announcement is below the jump. Please jump in on the comments with your thoughts on the changes: